GASKIN BAY 7 © 1998Everglades National Park, FL
When I first moved to Florida from California, I was surprised trees could grow in saltwater. From that time on, I have loved the sculptural quality of mangroves, especially red mangroves, surrounded by water. As I traveled through the Everglades’ Ten Thousand Islands by boat, I passed these mangroves often. On this day, everything came together—the light, the clouds, and the stillness of the water. Today these mangroves have all but disappeared due to several hurricanes. Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge At the southwest edge of the Everglades lies one of the world’s most productive and biodiverse estuaries, the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. This coastal wetland, spanning 35,000 acres, is a labyrinth of mangrove islands. Mangroves contribute to a rich source of nutrition in the form of leaves, bark, and twigs— debris that becomes colonized by microorganisms and eaten by small fish, shrimp, crabs, and their larvae. The plant’s ability to trap and accumulate debris creates new islands and habitats for other vegetation and allows juvenile creatures to flourish. The mangroves, with their sprawling, submersible root structures, offer a hiding place to a diverse array of inhabitants from both larger predators and the pounding destructive forces of seasonal storms. These sturdy barriers are essential in protecting the coastline from tidal surges and pounding waves, as hurricanes and tropical storms roll through. 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. Disclaimer – Cropping, contrast, and image density may vary. To learn more about the darkroom printing process, click here.