The Glades Eternal – as encountered along Loop Road, Tamiami Trail, FL


“I am temporary. Nature can be cruel, but the alligators, the Everglades, and the dead are eternal.”
— Mira Grant


While Mira Grant’s quote has an apocalyptic feel to it I know that our individual 100 years is a blip on the radar of the universe. Earth itself maybe too, but it is the most permanent thing we have to enjoy, explore and care for in our time and for the generations to come.  Let’s hope that the mystery of the glades, which is eternal, extends to physical nature as well. If not the birds and cypress trees, certainly the sight of an alligator in the filtered light of a swamp takes us through a modern portal to a primeval world. This is what visiting the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp really gives us, even if only a day trip bouncing along a dirt road in a pickup truck alert to every beautiful and evocative scene that comes our way.

These images are from my birthday trip out to Tamiami Trail and Loop Road, a year after the images of my last post. We had the pleasure of sharing the place and the day with friends who hadn’t had the opportunity to see these wild places yet. Fun to show it all off. And, I must say the alligators were particularly cooperative and in great abundance. Generally, you will see alligators more often when it is cooler sunning themselves. In the summer heat they seem to prefer staying under the cool water. Having spotted some young gators, I think maybe it is breeding season and so best be observant of protective gator moms. I wasn’t careful as I should have been in that focusing on a bird I didn’t see a gator sunning near me until I heard the splash of its rapid departure.

Loop road has a variety of scenes involving the cypress forest and swamp. So the images of the Little Blue Heron in the cypress forest have much more light than the scenes in the swamp and shadowy areas. The cypress forest often has gray and muted lavendar hues, but the swamps and strands often have bright green foliage and aquatic plants and golden light coming through the canopy.


Little Blue Heron in Cypress


Great blue heron stands on a decayed tree encrusted with Tillandsia airplants. I cannot see a nest or platform there but I always find the bird and Tillandsia evocative.


Alligator swims amid leafy reflections.


White egrets in Big Cypress swamp appear luminous against the shadowy background.




Alligator rests at the feet of cypress trees and knees.



Alligator with interesting cypress knees and a cypress branch over head with bright green leaves.


This gator floats over some aquatic plants with its nose in the reflection of blue sky. I was fond of the eye on this one.


May we all enjoy such retreats and get the chance to recharge our emotional and spiritual batteries after our hectic workaday lives.





~ by Judy on March 2, 2023.

14 Responses to “The Glades Eternal – as encountered along Loop Road, Tamiami Trail, FL”

  1. There is a colour-way here that I adore. It’s not the greens one imagines of the Everglades, but the silvery greys of lichened, naked trees and gators and the birds. Not easy to capture, yet you do it to perfection. Makes of the eternal glade something truly ancient. Love it!!!

    • I do love the muted hues in a cypress forest and those textures you mention. Guess I am a nerd on those kinds of details too. I enjoy every detail whether on bird or nest or gator. the curl of dry leaves or berries woven into a nest and texure of wood and the lichens you mention. My husband kind of glazes over at such things. But, we who see through a viewfinder love that stuff. Glad you enjoy these.

      • It can puzzle & dumbfound the non-photographer when we train our sights on something scarcely noticed by others

      • I guess we all have those little details that turn us on but others don’t get. For my husband it is electronics, wiring and programming details… me it is a sharp image of a bird’s eye. LOL!!

      • For me it tends to be powerful shapes, contrasts and unexpected lighting

  2. Beautiful photos and lyrical writing like “Earth itself maybe too, but it is the most permanent thing we have to enjoy, explore and care for in our time and for the generations to come.” So true. I hope you had exactly the kind of birthday you wanted, Judy.

    • Oh thanks so much! We seem to have fallen into routine last few years of getting out to Loop Road area in February. That month blesses us with wildlife and comfortable temperatures at the same time. Not to be taken for granted here in Florida. And, no mosquitoes.

  3. What a terrific birthday! Celebrating Nature.

    Your photographs and narrative are all superb. The sentiment expressed in your last line about recharging our emotional and spiritual batteries is exactly why we try to spend more days in our local Green Swamp than inside a building.

    Thank you, Judy, for sharing the wonderful birthday presents you found along Loop Road!

    • This is exactly why I love Wendell Berry’s poem, The Peace of Wild Things, which I just pasted below:

      When despair for the world grows in me
      and I wake in the night at the least sound
      in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
      I go and lie down where the wood drake
      rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
      I come into the peace of wild things
      who do not tax their lives with forethought
      of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
      And I feel above me the day-blind stars
      waiting with their light. For a time
      I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

  4. This looks like the perfect birthday trip: not only for the sights themselves, but also for the opportunity to show them off to people less familiar with them. One of the changes in perspective I’ve noticed after a few years of enjoying our somewhat-similar places is a move from fear to appreciation when it comes to alligators. Of course I’m cautious around them, and try to be aware of them, but after seeing mama gators sunning with their babies on their backs, it’s hard not to feel affection for them.

    On the other hand, I was surprised by two bull gators fussing and bellowing last weekend: a sure sign that mating season isn’t far away.

    One of the things I have the most difficulty with photographically is dealing with a ‘cluttered’ environment. You always prove that it can be done. This set of photos, despite the abundance of shadows, ripples, vines, and roots, still manage to reveal the nature of the creatures living there — quite a trick!

    • The tangle of wild nature is something to contend with in trying to isolate a subject but in keeping with its environment. It is certainly easier when the bird for example is standing on something a distance from the background, then a short dof is perfect. But, many times everything is kind of on the same plane. Time of day when light is favorable and on the specific subject is great, but you don’t always get to a place with perfect light. So I do my best with dof and sharp focus on the subject and if that fails to convey the image, I do use some Photoshop and filter adjustments. Primarily these can be neutral density filters where you can reduce light in backgrounds and put more on the subject. Or other filters like Niks Darken Lighten where you can put light where you want it. All this helps tame the wild tangle.

      In this group of pictures the one I wanted to fix was the Great Blue Heron. I loved where it was standing on the stump with all the tillandsia plants and branches curved around the bird like a crib. But, the capture looked flat and the background too distracting…and the scene was way too bright in person. I just liked the bird and where it was. So for it I dampened the light in the background and on the bottom of the image. I put the light on the bird and tried to angle so that the tillandsia plants stood out. Not a perfect scene but tried to get out of it what made me attracted to it. That spot with a further away background I would have liked a lot. Or maybe I am just stuck on the evocative tillandsia airplants of the glades. 🙂

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