Honeymoon Island, Gulf of Mexico Sunset

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1/24/2010 – Honeymoon Island, Florida – Gulf of Mexico Sunset: The Central and southern Florida Gulf Coast is known for many things. One of them is definitely sunsets and often, it does not disappoint. In this particular day I spent much of the day wandering the mostly wild and undeveloped, and fairly little known barrier island of Honeymoon Island. This small barrier island off the coast of Palm Harbor, is a true gem. It is mostly still in its natural state ans features natural white sand and coral rock shores, as well as many species of flora and fauna native to the state. This day it was mostly sunny, low 80s with a very strong and gusty 35-45 mph wind lit of the southwest coming on shore. The gulf was very churned with large waves and the white sand was blowing and drifting up the beach and into the dunes. There are several spots along the beach that have these swings built next to Sabal Palmettos. The perfect spot to sit and watch the sun sink below the watery horizon on a lazy tropical afternoon. This particular day the sunset was about 2.5 hours long and it was spectacular for a very long period of time. If you ever find yourself in the Tampa/ Saint Petersburg area, it is very much with the drive to just north of Clearwater to give this island park a visit. As always please, take only pictures and leave only footprints. (Except seashells- that's allowed) #florida #floridagulfcoast #gulfofmexico #flstateparks #staysaltyflorida #lovefl #honeymoonisland #honeymoonislandstatepark #fl #flstofmind

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James River Sunset

Live Oaks in silhouette against a brilliantly colored sunset along the James River.  12/28/2013

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Sunset from Fort Monroe National Monument / Old Point Comfort, Hampton, Virginia. After a beautiful mild winter afternoon for a walk around enjoying the sights we were treated to this spectacular sunset looking west up the James River. Located at the mouth of the James river where it meets the Chesapeake Bay, Old Point Comfort has been in use as a military installation of some kind and varying names since 1609, and is also home to the second oldest lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay, the Old Point Comfort Light. (seen in prior photos) Many more photos of this trip to follow.

Swampy River Reflections

Near perfect reflections in the slow moving “black” waters of the Black Water River. 12/27/2013

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12/27/2013 Swamp River Reflections: Loblolly, Longleaf pines, Bald Cypress reflect nearly perfectly in the slow moving ‘black’ water of the Blackwater River. The river is surrounded by many cypress swamps, marshes, lowlands and pine lands and sand hills. This area is surrounded by the Blackwater Ecological Preserve, the Zuni Pine Barrens, and the Antioch Pines Natural Area Preserve in far southern Isle of Wight county, near the village of Zuni. Virginia. This type of environment / ecosystem is common on the coastal plain of extreme southeastern Virginia.

Virginia Pine Barrens Winter Sunset

A lone sentinel Loblolly Pine silhouetted against a beautiful winter sunset in the Zuni Pine Barrens. 12/26/2013

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Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) restoration project in the Zuni Pine Barrens, Isle of Wight county in extreme southeastern Virginia. This area is comprised of by the Zuni Pine Barrens, the Antioch Pines Natural Area Preserve, and, the Blackwater Ecological Preserve. This is an endangered native pine to this area of VA and much of the southeastern USA. This area was once covered in extensive Longleaf Pine Forest Savanna covering about 90 million acres with vast expanses of it in southeastern Virginia. About 97% of this original forest was destroyed, largely by logging / naval stores practices back in the 1800s. In this area the forest is managed. Some areas allowed to grow while others are harvested. These harvested areas of loblolly pine are being restored with Longleaf pine in an attempt to restore some of this native pine savannah in Virginia. This area will not be logged again, and is subjected to low intensity prescribed burns as it is a highly fire dependent ecosystem. This particular pine is virtually fire proof under these conditions, especially when young. The soil is mainly sand in this area of the state as it is on much of the coastal plain. These trees will take 100-160 years to reach maturity and will live 500 or more years and will attain heights of 150 or more feet eventually.

Young Longleaf Pine Silhouette

A  young Longleaf Pine is silhouetted against a beautiful  winter sunset.  12/26/2013

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Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) restoration project in the Zuni Pine Barrens, Isle of Wight county in extreme southeastern Virginia. This area is comprised of by the Zuni Pine Barrens, the Antioch Pines Natural Area Preserve, and, the Blackwater Ecological Preserve. This is an endangered native pine to this area of VA and much of the southeastern USA. This area was once covered in extensive Longleaf Pine Forest Savanna covering about 90 million acres with vast expanses of it in southeastern Virginia. About 97% of this original forest was destroyed, largely by logging / naval stores practices back in the 1800s. In this area the forest is managed. Some areas allowed to grow while others are harvested. These harvested areas of loblolly pine are being restored with Longleaf pine in an attempt to restore some of this native pine savannah in Virginia. This area will not be logged again, and is subjected to low intensity prescribed burns as it is a highly fire dependent ecosystem. This particular pine is virtually fire proof under these conditions, especially when young. The soil is mainly sand in this area of the state as it is on much of the coastal plain. These trees will take 100-160 years to reach maturity and will live 500 or more years and will attain heights of 150 or more feet eventually.

Opposite Sunset.

Sometimes beauty is where you least expect to find it.

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This was a sunset in late July 2013, only looking east in the opposite direction. While the true sunset was spectacular as well, this was equally as beautiful, if not more so. Looking east toward the Catoctin Mountain from the foot of Short Hill Mountain in Loudoun Valley in western Loudoun County, Virginia. Heading south on Hillsboro Road in Purcellville, Virginia at 8:34pm. The setting sun was lighting up thunderstorms off to my east near Leesburg and Lovettsville. Spectacular to say the least. I only wish I could have gotten the lighting in this photo too.