Clouds and Trees at Myakka River State Park

The Trees of Myakka

On Saturday, the weather was cloudy. Many people, when faced with a cloudy day, find something to do inside… but for a photographer, a good cloudy day can be an adventure. Clouds offer texture, dramatic light breaks, and something to reflect the changing color of afternoon light. So, I packed up my camera bag and tripod and headed to Myakka River State Park.

As usual, I began by climbing the canopy-walkway tower to get the lay of the land. I could see that the river was low, and the flood waters that had enveloped the park in the autumn had entirely vanished. I decided to follow the power-line road out to the nearest hiking trail. I passed a pond replete with wildlife, including a healthy looking alligator and what looked like a young night-heron.

After an hour or so, the wind picked up and the clouds rumbled across the sky. I set up my tripod to take a few time-lapse shots, only to discover (too late) that one of the adjustment clamps had broken and the leg was no longer stable.

Golden Hour Prairie Light, Myakka River State Park
Matthew Gore | Light And Matter

Before long, the bulk of the clouds had blown over, and as I walked back to my car, the golden-hour light descended on the prairie. I stopped under a big live-oak and watched the sun sink behind the hazy trees and palms on the horizon.

Tree and Evening Clouds, Myakka River State Park
Matthew Gore | Light And Matter

This video represents about a half hour’s worth of my time-lapse experiments. The combination of a high winds and a broken tripod make it a bit more shaky than I’d hoped for, but there are a few glimmers of beauty that make it worth posting here, I think.

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Mike Scott

I really like the last few seconds of the time lapse where you can see those rays of light coming out of the clouds and sweeping along along — like a giant Light Broom!