One of my favorite driving destinations is to Pahokee Florida in Western Palm Beach County.  There isn’t a lot to see on the South East coast where I live. Nothing that interest me anyways.  Luckily a change of scenery exists 20 miles west. As a landscape photographer I struggle to find new places in my vicinity.  Western palm beach county however never fails.

I live less than 10 minutes from the famed Mar-a-lago owned by Donald Trump. I am not interested in the perfectly landscaped mansions or any other reminder of the income disparity that exists by simply crossing our local intracoastal waterway.

I had to actually pause while writing the last sentence. Driving out west demonstrates a disparity as well. It’s a small farming town in which the economic lifeline is the local farming. The numbers are staggering when you research the yield from the area. The largest presence being the local sugar industry, but sugarcane is not the sole star of the show.  Corn, rice, green beans, cabbage, and a dozen other crops are planted amoung a half million acres of agricultural production.

The large companies who own this land are making large sums of money. The general population in the area are not so lucky. The vast majority of the homes, businesses, and my intuition tells me this is a very difficult place to live.

This photo is facing northeast off a dock located at the Pahokee city park which is situated on the edge of the Herbert Hoover Dike.

Pahokee is a crossroad of sorts. 85% of the states 12 million residents are within 100 miles of this location.  I’ve read countless statistics touting the the production. My guess is the average resident is a generation or two from early inhabitants that were gainfully employed during a time when harvesting equipment and mechanization wasn’t as widespread. A time when men and women were needed to harvest the hundreds of thousands of acres; back-breaking work I cannot even fathom.

Muck City

Photo taken from Muck City

So what is the difference between the disparity here and the aforementioned disparity of Palm Beach Island; minutes from my home?  Perhaps the biggest difference is I have more in common with the folks here. I, like most Americas, am only a couple of paychecks away from living in the same conditions. The environment is more relatable than Bentleys,  receiving residuals from a sitcom, or the income derived from a trust-fund created by relatives who begot great wealth whom the recepient has never met; the kind of wealth that future generations will never have to worry about making ends meet.

Muck City

The brilliant green terrain and the farm equipment in the distance lured me into taking some photos here

Did I mention the vastness of Lake Okeechobee?  Also known as the “Big’O” ? This lake stands out when viewing any Florida map and touches 5 difference counties and occupies 730 square miles. I have taken quite a few photos at the edge of the lake at Port Mayaca.

Port Mayaca

Panorama taken at Port Mayaca – The vastness is striking

The size of the lake means you cannot see the land on the other size and the Florida weather means you are sure to view amazing clouds and sunsets as seen in the above photo.  It’s the second largest freshwater lake to Lake Michigan when comparing lakes in the contiguous 48 states according to the “Lake Okeechobee wiki page.

Disciples of Light

You owe it to yourself to take a drive out to Western Palm Beach county if you have the opportunity.  I hope you have enjoyed a preview of the area through both my words and my photography.  I have included some additional work below.  Enjoy!

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Glades God Clouds 3

Belle Glade God Clouds

Western Palm Beach County

Early morning Panoroma. Loved the sky on this cool morning.


The farm equipment means business

Western Palm Beach County Sunset 1

Admired the storm in the distance.

Sugarcane fields in Western Palm Beach County - 26.710008, -80.428909

On the outskirts of private land. Loved the old farm building

Connors Highway

My long awaited closeup of a tractor. I had wanted a shot like this for years.
20 Mile Bend

One of my favorite moments.  I had the kids hiding in the car due to the lightning and the ominous clouds. We left in time to avoid a torrential downpour that was headed in our direction.


Pasta con le Sarde

Pasta con le sarde – The national dish of Sicily. It is most associated with Sicily’s capital Palermo, but it can be found all over the island.
The flavors are a mix of sweet and sour with several key ingredients brought by the arabs around 900 AD. Notably raisins, saffron, and pine nuts.
Although the Sicilian cuisine has a lot in common with Italian cuisine, Sicilian food also has Greek, Spanish, French and Arab influences.
The Sicilian cook Mithaecus, born during 5th century BC, is credited with having brought knowledge of Sicilian gastronomy to Greece: his cookbook was the first in Greek, therefore he was the earliest cookbook author in any language whose name is known.

Pasta con Le Sarde

The principal ingredients are olive oil, onions, pasta and a finely chopped mixture of sardines and anchovy. Various types of pasta are used for the dish, but bucatini is traditional. Wild fennel, saffron, pine nuts, raisins and salt are added to flavor the dish. To finish the dish it is topped with toasted breadcrumbs.
I thought I would take some photos of the individual ingredients as well.

Fettuccine con Sarde

“Fettuccine con sarde” served up in about 15 minutes.
I have been reading and thinking about sardines…alot… How was I going to cook them in a dish? Especially with “stinky” fish haters so intertwined in my life. Surely I would have to wait until Meek Micaela was not here. My already wild beard, while impressive, will not be very tidy after consuming them…
Don’t think about it too much. It only becomes more reprehensible…

Especially since the mere mention of our sea dwelling friends cause Isaiah and Christian to go into near panic. It’s one thing to prepare fish that is somewhat neutral in regards to it’s bouquet, but we are talking about sardines here.

I made my way home tonight after Christian’s birthday party and it was the perfect opportunity to cook those sardines. I walked into the front door rubbing my hands together and laughed maniacally. Honest! The only other living creature here at the moment is Augustus and he doesn’t talk or protest.

Fettuccine con sarde

I heated a pan to medium high heat with extra virgin olive oil; Antico Frantoio Trampolini to be exact – since 1785! I placed a cup of cherry tomatoes in the pan for several minutes until they started to blister, pop, and release their liquid. At this point I added an entire sliced sweet onion and let it cook along with the tomatoes. I then added a generous amount of salt and some black pepper. Not wanting too much liquid I allowed a few minutes for some of the liquid to evaporate. Next I added 4 sliced gloves of garlic and sauteed them until fragrant. With the heat turned to low I added some sardines that were packed in EVOO. I reserved half of them so I could finish the dish with some whole sardines since they break apart easily when incorporating into the pan. My fettuccine had just finished cooking so I drained them and added them into the sauce pan. I finished the dish with some fresh lemon juice, capers, and in the very middle a dollop of calabrian chilies that were packed in oil. This added a nice spicy kick.

Next time I want to try a recipe from Sardinia that uses fennel, saffron, pine nuts, and raisins! Sounds amazing.

The Daily Disappearing Act

I had a last minute opportunity to travel to my favorite place and took a path that I have never traveled on. There was nobody around except for the changing of the guard that occurs each day as the sun sets and the second shift of crepuscular creatures make their grand and vocal entrance.

It was me, a raccoon, and some great-horned owls nearby. I I was really excited to see these beautiful pink streaks above these magnificent clouds.

The Daily disappearing Act

Lake Worth Pier 9-27-15

I remember waking up early Sunday morning. I had my usual mental struggle which doesn’t necessarily involve what I am going to eat or wear, but whether or not I should take photos. I am happy where I live, don’t get me wrong, but I am not usually very enthusiastic about taking pictures here in downtown Lake Worth. I am more comfortable in nature without the sound of horns, expletives, and police sirens.

The couple of hours prior to church doesn’t afford me the luxuery of taking photos. Sunday was an exception.

My brother called me on his way to the Lake Worth pier which is about 5 minutes from where I live. “Robby I am on my way to the pier – grab your camera”. The opportunity gave us time to catch up, laugh, and take some photos in between those moments.

Lake Worth Pier 9-27-15

I remember going to this very same place as a little boy. Fishing off the pier despite not having any clue what I was doing. I was more comfortable fishing at a lake or canal. It was more familiar.

This particular morning was busy and it was evident I was not going to be able to setup at the very end of the pier.
I am usually not a fan of having people in my landscape shots, but it really helps to give perspective here.

I find it fascinating how light dramatically changes a picture depending on your angle to the sun.

Here are two other photos from the pier.

View from the Lake Worth pier - Single Exposure - Not HDR

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Storms Rolling In

I hadn’t taken pictures in a while. Meek Micaela​ went to her cousin’s so I thought it was a good time to bring the boys out to take pictures. I needed a much needed mini-minecraft mental break.

I had originally set out for Arthur R Marshall and had some reservations due to the amount of ground we would have to cover. Long distances do not pair well with 9 and 11 year old legs. As we drove west the sky became dark and it was evident a really terrible storm was converging at my intended destination.

Storms Rolling in - Not an HDR

I arrived at Lantana and 441 and headed towards Southern Blvd so I could head much further west and hopefully beat the horrible weather.

Isaiah and Christian were easy to bargain with. All it took was a couple bottles of water and some chips to convince them that going further west was a good idea. I even picked up some spicy chicharrones. In fact I am still suffering some discomfort, but it was worth it.

This was one of the shots taken tonight because the boys were weirded out from the isolation. I left a little earlier than I had planned. We were in the middle of this vast space and you could see walls of rain and lighting approaching. I think it was the lack of video games that was the real motivation…

The night ended dining at the boys favorite place, Downtown pizza, and I get to relax and go through my photos. Perfect day!

“And the Kingdom Fell” Photoshoot

I really enjoyed this photoshoot on 8-2-15. There was initial worry concerning the unpredictable weather, but it provided the perfect backdrop for the shoot.

I am always looking to integrate my subject(s) with the environment and I was pleased with this result.

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Photo shoot with "And the Kingdom Fell"

Night Lightning at Lake Worth Beach – 8-13-15

I was fortunate enough to photograph another storm recently. They are a daily occurrence in South Florida’s tropical savanna climate. The most ideal time for me is when I am able to take photos of lightning, at night, without actually getting rained on. This particular combination is not nearly as frequent. A perfect storm within a storm if you will.

I know my camera is weather sealed. I am just too paranoid about being outside in the rain with electronics. I suppose it’s about as crazy as someone putting plastic on their furniture. No offense to anyone who still subscribes to this practice…

I was able to find a few places at Lake Worth beach that allowed just enough cover to keep my gear dry while taking photos.

I made the mistake of going under the pier and there was a couple under it. A lot of giggling ensued and things were just entirely too creepy so that didn’t last long. I also found out that it’s not wise to try and take long shutter shots when the tide is able to reach your tripod. It makes for a rather unstable platform.

Luckily I was still able to come away with the following photo.

Lake Worth Beach - 8-13-15 - Lightning between Florida and Freeport Bahamas

Magnolia Green Jumper – Lyssomanes viridis

This little jumper gave me just enough time to snap a couple photos before he jumped out of the frame.This was the smallest magnolia green jumper I have come across. I didn’t expect a worthwhile shot because I wasn’t using my extension tubes at the time, but am pleased with this effort.

Magnolia Green Jumper - Lyssomanes viridis


In Florida and other southeastern states, the Magnolia Green Jumper is one of the most easily recognized of all the jumping spiders. Its vibrant green coloring along with that stupendously orange cap and huge, forward-looking eyes give it an eerily cute appearance. But have no doubt, this little spider is a balls-to-the-wall predator, easily hunting and capturing prey many times its own size.

Jumping spiders are small to medium in size, stout-bodied and short-legged, with a distinctive eye pattern. The body is rather hairy (pubescent) and frequently brightly colored or iridescent. Some species are ant like in appearance. The jumping spiders forage for their prey in the daytime. They approach prey slowly and, when a short distance away, make a sudden leap onto the unfortunate animal. They are good jumpers and can leap many times their own body length.

Jumping spiders have excellent vision, with among the highest acuities in invertebrates. The eight eyes are grouped four on the face (the two big Anterior Median eyes in the middle, and two smaller Anterior Lateral eyes to the side), and four on top of the carapace (two medium-sized eyes toward the back, and two very small eyes in front of them). You can think of the Anterior Median eyes (AME) as acting like our fovea, with high acuity but small field of view, and the remaining six eyes acting like our peripheral vision, with lower resolution but broad field of view.
The AME’s are long and tubular, which helps their resolution (longer focal length, more magnification) but which means they have a narrow field of view. Since the AME’s have a narrow field of view, the spider needs to point them in different directions to see different things. To some extent this is done by moving the carapace, but the eyes can move as well. This is not done by moving the whole ‘eyeball’, since the lenses of the eyes are actually built into the carapace. Instead the retina moves around, while the lens stays fixed. This retinal movement is accomplished by extremely tiny muscles.


Lake Worth Beach Night Lightning 7-30-15

Micaela and I were grocery shopping a few nights ago and I couldn’t help to notice the constant flashes of lightning just east of our location. We luckily live approximately a mile from the ocean and  I was long overdue for lightning photos. It was not raining at the moment so I was already considering the possibility of lightning photos. I quickly used my android lighting tracker titled Blitzortung Lightning Monitor. Really amazing and easy to use program to find out exactly where lighting is striking, it’s frequency, etc.

In a matter of seconds it was evident the lighting was situated between between Lake Worth, where I live, and the Bahamas which is a short distance away off our coast in South Florida.

I drove home to drop the groceries and Micaela off and then was at the beach within 2 minutes. Unfortunately by the time I arrived the flashes were no longer constant.

Luckily I will still able to pull of a couple shots.


Lake Worth Beach Night Lightning 7-30-15

Lake Worth Beach Night Lightning 7-30-15