The featured image above is a satellite shot of De Soto Park in St. Petersburg, Florida. Colorful, I admit, but it doesn’t begin to depict what this eerie location appeared like at 6 AM, 11/15/2018.
It is of course named after Hernando de Soto (c.1496/1497 – May 21st, 1542), the Spanish explorer and conquistador who led the first European expedition deep into what became the United States. Like Confederate generals, he appears as statues throughout Florida and children are taught what a master explorer he was. What popular history leaves out is that de Soto also mastered the conquista strategy of systematic ruthlessness to crush and subdue the natives he encountered. Contemporary historians at the time like Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo chronicled the savagery of the Spanish invaders like him, as they searched for precious metals and slaves to carry their booty and supplies. Many times de Soto gave the locals he’d subdued only two choices: Surrender and provide his army with food and scores of servants to carry their gear, or face annihilation. Not much of a choice.
Our Sun City Center Photo Club went there not to honor this scoundrel, but to capture the dawn. For the second time. Fifteen months previous, we’d picked the wrong day and had to photograph the Sunshine Skyway bridge surrounded by . . . . let’s say just-okay clouds hanging around like they were waiting for something to happen. But not a whole lot did. This time, we got so close to the bridge we could see cars passing over it.
And clouds, lots of clouds, some with a high weirdness quotient. On the drive over, it started to drizzle. We thought the weather gods had screwed us again and so we were tempted to turn back. But we pressed on. When we arrived, the clouds had reformed and day was breaking. They turned into the best damn dawn clouds I’ve ever seen. Ideal for a timelapse, nearly perfect as they performed dazzling feats, like . . . well.
That’s enough description. Click below and see for yourself.