Clyde Butcher's All-Time Favorite Photographs

The world-renowned nature photographer selects the images he treasures most from his 50-year career.

 

MYAKKA OAK 20
2014 | Myakka State Park, FL

"As I was walking down a trail in Myakka State Park, I came across this old oak tree but couldn’t find a good composition for photographing the entire tree. As I circled the tree searching for a composition, I found myself enjoying the scene of the grassland embraced by the rugged oak limb, so I set up my camera and took the photograph."

 

CYPRESS CREEK 7
2005 | Florida Panhandle

 

Related: Clyde Butcher: Behind the Genius

ROCK ISLAND PRAIRIE 
1987 | Western Everglades, FL

"I glanced up and saw a wonderful pattern of clouds filling the sky. I realized something exciting was going to happen."

 

DUNES
1983 | St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, FL

"Every day for a week I went out to the dunes, set up my camera and waited for the light to be right, but the weather didn’t cooperate. Finally, on the last day I was there, the sun broke through the clouds just long enough for me to shoot two pieces of film."

 

BIG TALBOT 5
1989 | Jacksonville, FL

"This area of Big Talbot Island, near Jacksonville, reminds me of the coast of California near Carmel: rugged and wind-blown."

 

GASKIN BAY
1998 | Everglades National Park, FL

"This set of mangroves is located near the channel into Everglades City. I passed by it many times, but the light for shooting was always wrong. On this day, everything came together—the light, the clouds and the stillness of the water."

 

FAKAHATCHEE 12 
2004 | Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve, FL

 

BLOWING ROCKS 10
1994 | Jupiter, FL

"The majority of beaches in Florida are white-sand, so when I heard that there was a beach in Florida with large rocks, I was curious to see what it was like. I was surprised to see that it resembled so many of the beaches that are on the west coast of the U.S. I had a great time photographing. It took me back to my days on the beaches of California."

 

HIGHLANDS HAMMOCK 30 
2017 | Sebring, FL

"One of my first goals after my stroke was to be able to walk the distance of the Highlands Hammock boardwalk using my walker … and of course, taking photographs along the way. I did it, and it seemed everywhere Niki and I looked along the boardwalk were photographic opportunities. It was a perfect day filled with the joy of doing what we love: photography."

 

SANTA FE RIVER 26  
2012 | North Florida

"I first discovered this area of the Santa Fe River during the dry season of Florida. It was beautiful and I enjoyed photographing it, but I wondered what it would be like when the wet season began, and so I returned. I was pleased to see how much more beautiful the scene was with water at the base of the cypress trees. I was lucky there was a soft mist while I was photographing. It gave the image a feeling of gentleness."

 

GLACIER POINT HALF DOME   
2009 | Yosemite National Park, CA

"When we arrived, the railing at the overlook was crowded with people. The light was perfect, but I couldn’t squeeze my camera and tripod into the crowd. While I was waiting for an opening, the fog rolled in and the people rolled out! The view was obliterated with fog and only a few photographers stayed, but then they too left. Only Niki and I remained. I was rewarded at last. I got a couple of shots until the fog rolled in, completely covering Half Dome and the valley once again with beautiful white silence."

 

INSPIRATION POINT 70   
2006 | Yosemite National Park, CA

 

BADLANDS 1   
2006 | South Dakota

"I woke up at our usual 4 a.m. and looked out the window. There wasn’t a star or even a glimmer of light on the horizon. Thinking the sun would be blocked by the clouds, I went back to bed. I lay there for a few minutes and changed my mind. As we drove out of the parking lot, the sun began to break through a slit in the clouds. In front of me was this wonderful mountain formation with dark storm clouds behind it and the sun starting to cast brilliant light on the mountains in the foreground. Niki and I jumped out of the car and set up the camera as quickly as we could. We captured the scene just before the clouds covered up the sun."

 

LOXAHATCHEE RIVER 1 
1991 | Jonathan Dickinson State Park, FL

"I spent three years photographing the river before I felt like I had captured the essence of the Loxahatchee. On one particular day, two things happened: First, the light was right, and second, I got out of my canoe and walked it down the river, rather than paddling it. I became one with the river, and it seemed like I saw perfect subjects for photographs everywhere I looked. I shot this image while my tripod and I were deep in mud. Since this was a 6-minute exposure, I had to stand very still. The slightest movement, even the movement of my toes in the mud, would have caused the tripod to shift and blur the image."