I spent countless hours on the sugar white sands of the Gulf of Mexico. First they were spent building castles, then digging for sand crabs, then dragging Hobie Cats over their surface as I launched for the horizon. This beach has endured endless storms and a handful of hurricanes yet they seem untouched. Well, with the exception of perhaps human development in the local area.
Behind the Photo
There’s nothing particularly tricky about this photograph. I contemplated using a brackets sequence to bring out more detail of the sea oats, but on a strictly personal level I preferred having the oats in silhouette. I did however, intentionally include them to give the photograph depth and a certain contrast to the bright sunset.
Gulf of Mexico
Despite its notoriety for its beaches and MTV spring bring escapades there is a surprising amount of history in this area of the Florida Panhandle. Most of the area was named by Spanish explorers hundreds of year ago; mostly after Catholic Saints.
Written records of these early Spanish expeditions reported sightings of “tall” Indians living in lodges thatched with palm trees along the many magnificent harbors and deep pockets customary to this area. The Spanish explorers built several forts and outposts along the Gulf Coast… one was in a sheltered shallow-water cove on Shell Island, still know as Spanish Shanty Cove.
Until the purchase of this land, by the U.S. in 1819, it was a “no man’s land” for runaway slaves and Indians. General Andrew Jackson was infuriated by the lawless nature of the place and brought national attention to the area in 1818, when his army marched through on their way to New Orleans.
Jackson was the first American to survey St. Andrews Bay, and his army spent considerable time here. Many of his soldiers and officers returned to the area to settle when the territory opened for settlement in 1821. Relocating the Indians became an argument that plagued the area until Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830.
And of course, there’s so much more, but I’ll say that for other photos of the area…