#207 TEN THOUSAND ISLANDS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, FLORIDA
These islands, on the very Southwest tip of Florida south of Naples, are some of the best aerial photo subjects in the lower 48. Planes are available for charter from the airport at Everglades City during the winter months, and Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge is very close. You can make reservations and since most winter days are pretty sunny and nice, you’ll most likely have good weather. The area in Everglades National Park shares some of these islands, but that area is not nearly as spectacular as the Refuge. Also, don’t expect 10,000 islands—there aren’t that many, but there are enough. Shooting aerial with a digital camera is such a dream compared to the horrors of using film, I’m surprised more people don’t do it seriously, and shooting here will make a believer out of you as you glide out over the amazing shapes and colors of these islands. I don’t think shooting at sunrise or sunset gets you too much here, and may actually diminish the colors of the water. Also, I found my best shots came as I got higher. Down low, the true majesty of the Islands is somewhat less impressive. I found 6,000 feet to be the sweet spot for me, and the pilot was happy to go that high.
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