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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Please remember to visit my website at http://www.robertoaloiphotography.com
Belle Glade God Clouds
Early morning Panoroma. Loved the sky on this cool morning.
The farm equipment means business
Admired the storm in the distance.
On the outskirts of private land. Loved the old farm building
My long awaited closeup of a tractor. I had wanted a shot like this for years.
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.