FAKAHATCHEE STRAND 5 © 1999Western Everglades
Sloshing around in the lush green summer swamps of the Everglades fills Clyde with a deep joy of being alive. He says, “There is something primeval about it that connects to my very soul.” When he came across these Guzmania bromeliads, he was overwhelmed by the abundance of the plants around him. Today he’s glad to have this photograph, as this fragile ecosystem is under attack by the invasive Mexican bromeliad weevil. The Guzmania population today is drastically reduced, and overall only one percent of the plants left are adults. Bromeliads This area of the Everglades, in the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, is often likened to the Amazon rainforest of South America by park biologists. Even with the devastating effects of the weevil, this roughly 20-mile-long cypress swamp provides the thermal protection needed to support one of North America’s highest concentration of naturally occurring rare and endangered tropical bromeliads. The Florida Park Service is working with regional botanical gardens to secure specimens. Their goal is to preserve the genetic diversity of several species of existing plants for later seed production and reintroduction into the Everglades. Fakahatchee Strand 5 was taken with a Deardorff 5×7 camera on T-Max 100 film. This photograph is hand-printed in Clyde’s darkroom on fiber-based paper, selenium toned, then mounted and matted to current archival standards. The photograph is a limited edition and signed by Clyde. Camera settings f/45 | 120mm Nikkor SW lens | orange filter | 1 second. Disclaimer – Cropping, contrast, and image density may vary. To learn more about the darkroom printing process, click here.