Loop Road Scenic Drive

The Unpaved part

Loop Rd Big Cypress National Preserve, Ochopee, FL 34141

Loop Road is a 24-mile-long two-lane road, that parallels the south side of Tamiami Trail through the Everglades, in the middle of South Florida’s undeveloped center. There are signs on Tamiami Trail from the east and the west for the entrance.

Tamiami Trail is certainly a lot more scenic than Alligator Alley although not as direct. It bisects the state, with the southern part of big Cypress National preserve to the north and on the south, we have Everglades National Park. Tamiami Trail cuts across Florida, from Miami all the way over to Naples and then swings up on its way to Tampa hence the name Tamiami.

The eastern seven miles are paved and after that, it is gravel or dirt. In the late summer through the end of the year, parts of the road can be under water 3 to 4 inches. In the summer it is dry and dusty going, you will have to wash your car when you get home.

My son and I went in December, the road has areas, where you can pull off to the side. Some places you can see a large expanse and others it is just swampy water. The one thing you will see for sure, is alligators there is lots of alligators right off the side of the road in the water pools.

Side of the Road

Sometimes they are on the road alongside the shoulder. Do not be tempted to walk up to an alligator, these guys do not have a lot of fear people since they been exposed to them probably their entire lives, maybe the alligators having a bad day in which case you will too.

Head Shot
In a Pond

Here are some images of the landscape

Side #2
Side #5
Side #$
Side #2

You can expect in December to see these birds and an occasional turtle.

Egret #1
Turkey Vulture
Anhinga #1
Anhinga #5
Vultures In a Tree
Anhinga #9
Hawk In Tree

We went twice, my son and I, the first time we went as mentioned was in December, we saw some birds and reptiles as we drove along.

The second trip was in the beginning of July, and it had been raining all throughout June yet the roads were dry and the very very dusty, my car had at least ¼ inch dust just caked on in the wheel wells.

Unfortunately, there was absolutely nothing to see except alligators and very very very few birds.

There were some exceptionally large grasshoppers, when I say large, I mean probably five or six inches long, on the road. That was sort of odd, we saw no birds swopping down for lunch. Other than that, there was no fauna or insects other than the occasional horsefly that would land on your windshield. If you are going to go, I suggest strongly that you probably would be very well put to go between October and December. Oh, I should also mention NOT as hot. One point of interest is that when driving (coming from the east) on Tamiami Trail, before you get there is the famous Clyde Butcher gallery. Mr. Butcher who has made a name for himself and, a post career out of wading into the swamps off Tamiami Trail with a large-format camera on a tripod and shooting black-and-white film. It is worth the stop since you are there, so might as well take advantage.

Published by Philip Goldberg Photography

Every photographer has a mantra, and my mantra is: It's all in the printed photograph. With today's snap and up-load mentality, we have gotten further away from what photography is about and it's about the print. A good photograph should be a physical image that causes you to look a second or third time. It should also be an image that arrests your subconscious, touches your emotional center, fascinates your imagination and it should pull you up sharply. That is what is known as the decisive moment. My journey in photography began when images appeared in a tray and had to be fixed. The hours spent in the dark put you in a creative zone in which life did not impinge and the only life was the one that you breathed into the photograph under the concentrated light of an enlarger. In those days, my trusty Nikon F was not only my camera of choice; it was the only one I could afford. As a native of Detroit, my camera, car and curiosity were my holy trinity in my wanderlust for good photographs. Older and hopefully wiser, my photography is now digital. The Nikon now sits on the shelf, but next to it are my modern digital cameras: Canon, Leica, Mamiya, as well as tech and field cameras. However, I still compose the shot. There are many other photographers who believe in the craft of the printed image, which is the reason why, I have been commissioned several occasions to print for their exhibitions in China and Berlin. I trust that the photographs that you have viewed in my galleries embody my belief in photography. If you have seen a photograph that you would like to own or if you are a fellow photographer looking for a good printer then please contact me. I still believe that the printed image is the end game in photography. A good photograph, is about making decisions, planning and being prepared, because as the saying goes; 'fortune falls to them, who are prepared for chance'. Thanks for viewing. I can be contacted by email at alajuela@msn.com if you have any questions or would like usage rights to any of the photographs on this site.

2 thoughts on “Loop Road Scenic Drive

  1. Phil

    Some nice shots here. I assume those taken at a distance were with the Canon and those closer with the SL2?

    Am liking the colours, very nice without being too garish.

    Two comments:
    You have the same photo but with different attributes: In photo the Hawk is a Vulture and the other the hawk is a hawk. Which is it as I do not have my ‘James Bond Book of Birds’ handy, not are my ornithologistic abilities up to discerning which is which.

    Also you mentioned Mr. Butcher; however, the sentence is a non sequitur. What has Mr. Butcher made a name for himself doing?

    Also did you visit or did you just cock a snoot at him and drive on past in a cloud of dust?! I believe he suffered a stroke not long again and had to give up his Deardoff for a DSLR – probably a Leia SL. He actually made his fortune producing fine art photos for sale to hotels and office buildings. He had a pretty thriving business and employed several hundred people, before he sold to concentrate on taking photos in alligator infested swamps.

    I think you should join LSHA – Leica Owner’s Society – see the link in the WeChat I sent you. You can post some of your visits and some of you grumbles and tumbles on their online magazine. Obviously you would need to be Leica specific, but as your camera collection is almost 50% biased toward gear made by the guys in Weztler, that shouldn’t be hard.

    Of course you should write your pieces with a bias that should leave no one reading in doubt that Leica camera equipment is the pinnacle of photographic nirvana. Of course the more the pieces are sprinkled with the mentions of Noctilux and Summircon then your readers will be much happy. General praise bordering on sycophantism is the name of the game and mentioning HOW many Leia lenses and cameras you own will certainly provide you with the cache required to be considered a Leia Shooter. Alas, I would not even be a plowed to join due to my heretical deviation in putting a Sigma lens on my SL!

    Anyways, keep on clicking and keep Rumbling and a Grumbling.


    …of all man’s inventions, there is none more beneficial as the long weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Pat

    Thank you for the kind comments. Yes your analysis of equipment used is spot on. Also you eagle eye caught the error of duplication, which has been corrected, greatly appreciated. Along with the missing info on Mr. Butcher. We did not stop as it was insanely hot, and could only think about lunch. Although in all fairness , have been to his gallery in Sarasota.

    I will give some thought to joining the LSHA, as I paid for the price of admission. As you are aware, Clubs, are not the natural environment for me, sorta like crowed elevators and tunnels. Have you joined? You should not feel too bad about the Sigma / Leica combination as your heart is in the right place. Also if you mention you still shoot film, on your trusty Leica, that should surely compensate among the faithful. Your strategy to becoming popular is well noted and considered.

    Stay tuned, as there shall be several follow-up posts, to finish out the Birds capture.

    Thank you for reading and I always look forward to your comments, which are pertinent and valued.




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