April 5, 2008

The Forgotten Coast: Scenes from St. George

Although I've been bringing my camera to St. George island for going on fifteen years now, I've never before managed to take it out of its case and actually photograph -- until this year. No doubt my reluctance was due to that fact that the area, part of Florida's "Forgotten Coast," is already home to one extraordinary photographer, Richard Bickel. The images from his "Last Great Bay" series, which adorn the walls of many local restaurants and gift shops, have always haunted and inhibited me. After all, what can an amateur photographer hope to capture that this National Geographic photojournalist hasn't? The other part of my reluctance, no doubt, was that I was always much too busy having fun on the beach with my family to do much shooting.

But this year I actually brought out my camera and started photographing -- and I never stopped. My brother and I had rented bikes for the week -- "beach combers," the locals call them -- and we rode for hours every day, exploring the island's piney swamps, its wind-swept beaches, and even venturing across the 10-mile long causeway into nearby Apalachicola. Since my little Leica C-Lux 1 fits comfortably into my pants pocket, I could take it with me everywhere and pull it out whenever I was struck by a curious or beautiful natural scene, which was pretty much every five minutes.

The images I've collected here are nothing special, by Bickel's standards or even by my own, but I thought I might as well post them, since they do capture some of the island's amazing natural variation. I hope you enjoy!

Note: Some pictures are courtesy of my cousin, Reed, and are labeled as such. His are the best of the lot, I think.

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