I've been fortunate to spend a lot of time in Florida over the last thirty years or so. The reason for so many returns to the southeasternmost U.S. state is mostly for the boundless photographic opportunities. From theme parks to wildlife to seascapes and landscapes there is plenty of subject matter to satisfy the most insatiable photographic appetites. Without doubt, my favourite subjects are the dramatic and vibrant skies that can be found throughout the year, especially during the stormy season. No surprises, all shots were taken on an iPhone.
I'm no weather specialist, so I can't offer any scientific reasoning as to why the dawns and sunsets can be so exhilarating in Florida but with the right clouds before, during and after a storm, the skies fill with amazing cloudscapes that ignite with a spectacular colours as the sun reflects and refracts off the clouds. Take a stroll down to a beach or a fishing pier at either end of the day and you'll have a front row seat for a most spectacular offering from Mother Nature.
I have always preferred photographing 'interesting' skies rather than the perfect, uninterrupted, blue skies that are usually associated with postcards. The blue and golden hours before/after the sun rises or sets are my favourite times, I recently listed my top 10 tips for golden hour photography.
It's not just we photographers who appreciate this Floridian colour show. From the South West beaches of the Gulf of Mexico all the way through the island chain known as 'the keys' to the most southerly point at Key West, sunsets in particular are celebrated on mass by crowds of tourists and locals alike. Mallory Square in Key West hosts a nightly extravaganza of street performers and music to accompany the setting sun, elsewhere the ritual is repeated as my photograph from Naples Fishing Pier shows.
And it's not only the dramatic, storm-fuelled skies that can create beautiful scenes. On quieter days when the clouds hug the horizon and the sky is not so technicolor, I concentrate on foreground interest. Along the coast at Naples there are old pilings that once supported small jetties, presumably serving the beautiful mansions that line a large stretch of the beach. These old relics make beautiful, interesting subjects when set against clouds and the sinking sun.
And of course Florida beaches have endless palm trees to add interest to a composition.