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.


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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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

Looking back just prior to Sunset

This shot was taken after 8:00pm the other night when the sun was already below the horizon. I decided to look towards the east and noticed this varied cloud formation. My biggest regret when taking landscape photos during sunset is leaving too soon. The sun is great and all, but the real magic happens just after it is gone.

I snicker when I see other photographers leaving before the sky reaches this dramatic peak. It’s a gamble; never knowing when it’s going to occur. It can change from one minute to the next in the most unbelievable way.

There is something to be said about having patience…

Looking back just prior to Sunset

From wiki: As a ray of white sunlight travels through the atmosphere to an observer, some of the colors are scattered out of the beam by air molecules and airborne particles, changing the final color of the beam the viewer sees. Because the shorter wavelength components, such as blue and green, scatter more strongly, these colors are preferentially removed from the beam.At sunrise and sunset, when the path through the atmosphere is longer, the blue and green components are removed almost completely, leaving the longer wavelength orange and red hues we see at those times. The remaining reddened sunlight can then be scattered by cloud droplets and other relatively large particles to light up the horizon red and orange.

Mars Convergence

In my opinion some of the most spectacular sunsets occur just minutes after the sun disappears below the horizon. Under the right circumstances the sun illuminates the clouds and turns them into the most spectacular backdrop. This was taken on 11-26-2014 at 6:42pm at the Arthur R Wildlife Refuge.

I shot other photos beginning 45 minutes prior that I also enjoy. Place them side by side and the difference is staggering. It’s amazing how much our surroundings change in a matter of minutes.

The sky reminded me of Mar. It was as if I was this awestruck 5 year old. The enthusiasm. I was fumbling with my phone to snap pictures. I was nervously trying to study my camera settings to make sure everything was perfect. It was one of those moments that I had to act fast and I knew I only had s small window of opportunity.

If you look just above the silhouette of the land you will notice what looks like wavy plumes of smoke. It reminded me of the Aurora Borealis! It was dancing as I stood taking pictures. Taunting me to take more – so I did!

I think this was my closest experience to visiting another planet…
Mars Convergence

20 Mile Bend

Western Palm Beach County

If you have followed my photography for any length of time you probably already know my interest in Western Palm Beach counties agriculture area. This was shot close to the area of 20 mile bend. Semis with payloads of sugar cane hurried just behind me while I stood waiting for sky to do something interesting.

Photography requires a lot of patience. Luckily it’s those times when I wait that I truly appreciate the peacefulness of my surroundings.