I got up early with the express purpose of finding a unique location to take photo’s in Naples, Florida.  While this part of Southwest Florida is spectacular with its white sand beaches and turquoise water, there are only so many pictures you can take of sand and water.  I wanted something different, something off the beaten path, a place less….Accessible.

Delnor-Wiggins State Park

Truth be told, I found it by accident.

I was trying to turn my car around when I noticed a make-shift guard-shack with a nice lady occupying it.  So, instead of turning around, I drove up to the gate and asked the guard, “are there some good places here to take photos”?  Her monotone response was “yes”, “I would suggest going to Parking Area 5″, which will cost $4”.  I happily peeled of four Washingtons, and proceeded through the entrance.

Once I got to Parking Area 5, I parked the car, got out and started exploring.  The signs for ‘beware of alligators’ was a subtle reminder of my being a visitor in their habitat, so I paid it the utmost respect.  Thankfully, I didn’t cross paths with any reptile capable of lopping my leg off with its powerful bite.  I did however, encounter these White Ibis’, nestled on top of this group of downed trees.

Look closely at the three White Ibis’ frolicking about, as if in a world all their own.  Their privacy interrupted by a stalking photographer, but I’m guessing they’re used to being caught in the frame of an admiring lens.  Unfazed, they continued their daily routine while disregarding the invasive clicks of my camera shutter.  If you want to know the truth, I actually sensed their willingness to pose.  It was as if they were amused at the sight of this curious human who was essentially laying in the water, to shoot them with the perfect composition.  Perhaps in White Ibis dialogue, they were laughing at this silly human who would go to these lengths, for what they were thinking, was a measly photo op.

But, it turned out to be much more than a measly photo op!

The rich colors of the moss effortlessly hang like stalactites, undisturbed by the Gulf water rolling in and out.  The powder blue sky, dotted with cumulus clouds, made for the ideal backdrop.  The weathered tree bark has survived many years of exposure, with the canopy of tree branches being its only form of shelter.  The boaters in the distance were oblivious to the fact that they were part of the scene, but as they say, its easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

So, sometimes when you think you’re making a wrong turn, its actually what Fate’s intention really is, and you’re suppose to just follow your gut.  I could have easily turned around and left, but it certainly would have been a colossal shame to have missed this photo opportunity, wouldn’t you agree?

If you want to vote for my picture in the National Geographic Photo Contest,

Please do so here.

It would be greatly appreciated!

If you want to see other fabulous pictures around Naples Florida, please check out Dennis Goodman Photography.