Dean M. Chriss
Pinelands, South Florida
(Click image to enlarge)
As we walked toward the edge of this Florida pineland I was struck by the huge number of thin and nearly branchless tree trunks. These trees have most of their branches and greenery only near the top. But distracting "stuff" such as small shrubs and some limbs kept a typical photograph from conveying the feeling of the scene in front of me. To distill and simplify this scene of vertical tree trunks surrounded by prairie I panned the camera and 600mm lens vertically to create the image shown here.
Florida pinelands, or Everglades flatwoods as designated by the USDA Soil Conservation Service, occur on locally elevated areas of limestone bedrock bordered primarily by wet prairies and mangroves. The single canopy species in these pinelands is the south Florida variety of slash pine (Pinus elliottii var. densa), which is closely related to longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) and Caribbean pine (Pinus caribaea). The "wet prairie" in this image was dry, a result of a prolonged drought in Florida during the winter of 2008 - 2009.