Destination…. Almost Cedar Key

Destination…. Almost Cedar Key

Do you know how you’ve traveled past a certain place a hundred times and always wanted to stop, but you never seem to have the time? I have one of those places, it’s Cedar Key, Florida.

Recently, I met up with a friend of mine in Crystal River to do some nature photography around the state park and in a nearby forest. It was a great time, but rain put an end to our outing early. Heading back north to my home in Tallahassee, I suddenly came out of the storm and into the tail end of that “golden hour” sunshine that is famous in Florida – especially on the beach. It was about 7:30 PM and the beach was 40 minutes away…. could I squeeze in time for some sunset shots? There were plenty of clouds in the sky… you bet’cha!

Looking at my GPS – the closest beach from my location on US 19/US 98 was Cedar Key….Perfect! I’d been meaning to stop there many times, but it was always dark whenever I was in the area while passing through, or I was in a hurry and never seemed to have time.

By the time I was on State Road 24, heading towards Cedar Key, darkness started coming on much faster than I would have liked. Finally reaching the the bridge that was the first of several leading to the series of islands (they are called the Cedar Keys) I accepted the fact that it was too dark for regular landscape photography.

The sky was beautiful, dolphins were chasing mullet, and the last of the seabirds were flying home to roost. I couldn’t just let this opportunity pass. With several tricks up my sleeve for the trickiest of photographic challenges, I parked the car and started pulling out the gear I’d need. I definitely would be needing the tripod. Minutes later, I had this shot….

It was one of a few similar shots I got from the island, and afterward, I went into the small, history-rich town just to satisfy my curiosity. It is like stepping back into time… I will definitely be heading back soon!

Rich Leighton
August 1, 2009

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About The Author

Pro photographer, writer, master naturalist, Florida native in the PNW, lucky husband, father of two boys, big hockey and soccer fan, and native orchid hunter.

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