Twilight at Crooked Sapling Pond

Pine flatwoods line the edge of Crooked Sapling Pond in the Juniper Prairie Wilderness of Ocala National Forest. Vast shallow ponds and grass prairies connect ancient dune islands along this portion of the Florida Trail.

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Twilight at Crooked Sapling Pond. Juniper Prairie Wilderness, 2019.

Pine flatwoods line the edge of Crooked Sapling Pond in the Juniper Prairie Wilderness of Ocala National Forest. Vast shallow ponds and grass prairies connect ancient dune islands along this portion of the Florida Trail.

The hike to this pond leads you over and through sand pine and oak scrub, pine flatwoods, and along shallow lakes and grass prairies with sweeping views. My wife, Jodi, and I camped on a shaded, narrow rise between Crooked Sapling Pond and the spring-fed Hidden Pond on a cold night in November, 2019. This image was composed shortly after sunset as the temperature quickly began to drop. Mist rose across the shallow water bodies that night and an atmospheric dance took place around our campfire as a cloudy veil swept back and forth from pond to pond, silently slipping over our campsite. We would spend minutes wrapped in pale, dense grounded clouds as the earth around us seemed to inhale. With a centered and steady exhale, the mist would drift out into the night, a moment of release until the next cycle began.

This was made with a Calumet 4×5 monorail camera using Ilford FP4+ film, 125 ISO, and scanned with an Epson Perfection v850 Pro. Ilex-Calumet 215mm Lens. Shot at Juniper Prairie Wilderness in the Ocala National Forest, Florida on November 24, 2019.

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