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St. Augustine and Vilano Beach

Waves Glistening in the Afternoon Light, Vilano Beach

Waves Glistening in the Afternoon Light, Vilano Beach

At the end of May, I took my family to Vilano Beach for a weekend.  Until this year, I had not been to the beaches near St. Augustine since I was a child.  I suspect this was not a typical weekend, but I do want to go back and make sure. The light and the cloud formations were unique.  We were sitting inside the house we rented one afternoon, and my son's girlfriend called to me to get my camera quickly and go outside and see the waves because the light was amazing.  She was so right.  It looked like a painting.  All weekend they were alerting me to opportunities to make images and they are not photographers.  That's how good the conditions were.  What a magical time we had.

Waves and Full Moon, Vilano Beach

Waves and Full Moon, Vilano Beach

t was also the time of the full moon, which no do doubt contributed to the beauty and rhythm of the wavs.

Pelicans Flying Overhead

Pelicans Flying Overhead

The only other place I have seen pelicans fly in such orderly swoops by houses and along the shoreline was in Sa Diego.  

Sunrise, Vilano Beach

Sunrise, Vilano Beach

Sunrise was very dramatic the first morning.  Huge clouds formed and caught the light at just the right moment, before turning to storm clouds and causing me to run back to the house.

Breaking the Horizon

Breaking the Horizon

Every morning there seemed to be clouds when the sun broke, but then they cleared up for the rest of the day.  It was if they were called on queue to make beautiful compositions.

Sunrise Reflections

Sunrise Reflections

Each morning was unique and full of wonder.  I couldn't wait to walk out onto the beach each morning.  It also made me realize how much a miss the beach and the ocean.

Sunrise Looking North, Vilano Beach

Sunrise Looking North, Vilano Beach

Spotlight on the Waves

Spotlight on the Waves

One morning, it actually looked like the sun was forming a spotlight on the waves.  How I would love to be able to wake up to such infinite wonder every day.  I felt simultaneously peaceful and like anything could happen.

Ominous Cloud Reaching In

Ominous Cloud Reaching In

Opposing Cloud Vectors

Opposing Cloud Vectors

I don't believe that in the more than 50 years I have inhabited this planet that I have ever witnessed such diversity of clouds, waves, and colors.  There is no better show than the one nature puts on for us when we show up.

Full Moon, Vilano Beach

Full Moon, Vilano Beach

Even the full moon was surrounded by clouds and echoed by the lights of St. Augustine  It started out mostly clear, but pretty soon the clouds began to shape shift and it all became more mysterious and moody.  

Clouds Forming Before the Midnight Storm the Night of a Full Moon

Clouds Forming Before the Midnight Storm the Night of a Full Moon


Clouds Converging on the Full Moon

Clouds Converging on the Full Moon

It was difficult to decide which moment was more beautiful.  Each captured a different aspect of the experience.

Castillo de San Marco at Sunset

Castillo de San Marco at Sunset

We did manage to pull ourselves away and experience the grandeur of some of the old historic buildings illuminated by the setting sun.  

St. Augustine Bay

St. Augustine Bay

When the last rays over light hit Anastasia Island across from the Castillo de San Marcos, the entire shoreline turned gold.

Lion's Gate Bridge

Lion's Gate Bridge

We also took a sunrise boat trip around the bay and were lucky that the perfectly sculpted cloud formations continued.

Clouds Over St. Augustine

Clouds Over St. Augustine

The tall building near the waterfront is the tallest sky scraper in town.  What a beautiful and mostly natural skyline this city still has.

Spanish Ship, St. Augustine Harbor

Spanish Ship, St. Augustine Harbor

The Spanish ship is a monument to what once was.

Islands in the Matanzas

Islands in the Matanzas

On the boat trip, we were able to get up close to a myriad of little islands in the river.  

Stuck in the Muck

Another time in the late afternoon, I  kayaked in the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve.  My son and his girlfriend had gone hiking in the park and I'd promised to be back by a certain time.  I was afraid I was not going to make it, as I ended up getting stuck in the midst of all the grasses.  For a while I had no idea which was the way out.  I was getting afraid I might have to call my son and ask him to go for help.  Fortunately I made my way out in time to see the evening descend on the scene below.

In the Midst of the Grasses at Dusk

In the Midst of the Grasses at Dusk

Below our images of my companions enjoying the natural beauty in this area.  it was so much fun to have people along with me who appreciated all that was there to take in.  Takoda, my labradoodle, was especially ecstatic to be there.

Takoda Resting by the Guana River

Takoda Resting by the Guana River

Thomas and Arias by St. Augustine Bay

Thomas and Arias by St. Augustine Bay

Carolyn and I at Castillo San Marcos

Carolyn and I at Castillo San Marcos

It is rare I include photos of others because typically I am alone when I do my work.  What a gift it was to share this special time with my beautiful family.