Drowned Forest, Study 3, Ocklawaha River, Florida. 2020

A tree without a crown, this hardwood remains anchored to the Ocklawaha River’s historic floodplains in a cypress stumpfield known as the Drowned Forest.

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A tree without a crown, this hardwood remains anchored to the Ocklawaha River’s historic floodplains in a cypress stumpfield known as the Drowned Forest. You’ll be hard-pressed to find this bend in the river today, however, as the area is (barely) maintained as an artificial lake.

The stumps are secured under several feet of water, the river strapped. The sacred is waterboarded.

After many years of this, the state enacts a ritual, a silly pantomime of a functioning system, lowering the water and allowing the natural river to cough, breathe and heal.

In the space of a few moons, a new, very old thing grows.

A one-of-a-kind free, nutrient-cleansing, ecotourism-generating, food-making system.

Then, old, rusty gates on a dam without a clear purpose are lowered and the fast-moving, springfed water is directed to stall out and learn turbidity. To, once again, pick up the preferred modern practice of clearing floating vegetation from a watery, old clearcut.

Learn more about how you can help Free the Ocklawaha.

Captured on Ilford FP4 125 4×5 sheet film with a Ilex-Calumet 215mm lens. Scanned with an Epson Perfection v850 Pro. This scene was composed near Orange Springs in Marion County, Florida on the morning of January 12, 2020.

Check out the Trip Report from this day to read about making this image!

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