Bonita Springs Florida

Bonita Springs, FL is located on the Gulf of Mexico between Fort Myers and Naples. I’ve been going down to visit since my wife Courtney started taking me there around 2005.

As a professional photographer since 2004, there’s no “vacation” from shooting (mostly because it’s not work), so I’ve built up a pretty good catalog of images of Bonita Springs and the surrounding area.

This is the first time I’m sharing a comprehensive post about what it’s like to visit the area. These images date from 2010 to 2019.

The Beach

bonita-springs-florida Barefoot beach
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Wildlife

Bonita Springs is a great place for wildlife. Egrets and gopher tortoises (pictured below) are plentiful. Manatees are visible if you take a boat through one of the many inland bays. And while not native, I couldn’t resist a photo of feeding the giraffes at the local zoo.

Local Color

Florida is a colorful place and Bonita Springs is no exception. This section of images isn’t really any particular category other than to capture the look and feel of the area.

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Barefoot Beach

Barefoot Beach in Bonita Springs is a beachfront community of homes and condos just south of Fort Myers. It’s bordered by a nature preserve on the south. The beaches in the community are private, but nature preserve is open to the public for a small fee during daylight hours. Barefoot Beach Preserve has its own photo story you can see here.

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Safari Golf

“Which day are we going to Safari Golf?” is one of the first questions asked when we announce the dates of our annual (+/-) trip to Bonita Springs. It’s not the newest & slickest mini-golf place in the area, but it’s definitely the most charming and it earned its place in our hearts.

I have probably 6 or 7 years of Safari Golf photos, but I’ll limit it to just a few to give you the flavor. After a few years of visits, we ended up talking to the owner and found out he was an Indiana native before heading south and ultimately opening this little spot in paradise. Maybe that’s why we connected with this place to begin with: we could sense the Hoosier in it.

The Club

We’re fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time at The Club at Barefoot Beach. What’s better than having drinks, food and more drinks brought to your chair on the beach or by the pool? The answer is nothing.

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bonita-springs-florida

Royal Scoop

Royal Scoop has some of the best ice cream anywhere. ANYWHERE. No trip to Bonita Springs is complete without at least 5 visits to Royal Scoop. Don’t be discouraged if the line is out the door. They are one of the few places I’ve been to that staff their restaurant appropriately, so the lines move quickly.

To see more local stories, check out my posts on Barefoot Beach Preserve and Bonita Skies. If you’re into the tropical vibe, be sure to see the stories about the Florida Keys.

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barefoot beach preserve bonita springs florida

Gulf Skies

Here are some never-before-seen photos from my Florida archive. This series of skies are all shot from the same stretch of beach in Bonita Springs, Florida, (many in the exact same spot) on different days and years. Sky and water only. NO FILTERS.

bonita-springs-florida-sky barefoot beach at sunset
bonita-springs-florida-sky barefoot beach sunrise
bonita-springs-florida-sky barefoot beach at sunset
bonita-springs-florida-sky barefoot beach clouds
bonita-springs-florida-sky barefoot beach sunrise
bonita-springs-florida-sky barefoot beach storm
bonita-springs-florida-sky barefoot beach at sunset
bonita-springs-florida-sky barefoot beach
bonita-springs-florida-sky barefoot beach sunset
bonita-springs-florida-sky barefoot beach sunset after rain

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barefoot beach preserve bonita springs florida

Disney World

Everyone remembers their first trip to Disney World, right? I certainly do because it was only a few years ago and I took a bunch of photos. Through these images, I’m looking to capture the feeling of taking a trip and experiencing a new place.

This is neither a guide to visiting Disney World nor a chronicle of my family. Though my wife and kids pop in from time to time, there are just as many people in these photos that I’m not related to.

Travel with us as we start at Indianapolis International Airport and head to Orlando, Florida to visit Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT and Animal Kingdom.

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Magic Kingdom

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EPCOT

At EPCOT at Walt Disney World, I mostly found myself shooting the Spaceship Earth Geodesic Sphere from different perspectives all over the park. I find it interesting to take something iconic and find a unique way to view it.

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The Monorail

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disney-world-monorail

Animal Kingdom

disney-world-animal-kingdom giraffes
disney-world-animal-kingdom aquarium
disney-world-animal-kingdom gorilla

What’s your favorite Disney Memory?

Have you been to Walt Disney World? If so, did these photos remind you of anything specific from your trip? Let me know in the comments.

Did you capture an image you’d like to share? Tag me on social media or send it directly. I’d love to see it.

Interested in more from Florida?

barefoot beach preserve bonita springs florida

Barefoot Beach Preserve

A walk through native landscapes

Humans and nature are inextricably linked and I work to show that when I shoot nature and landscapes. Walking through Barefoot Beach Preserve in Bonita Springs, FL is an interesting experience.

As I began down the trail, a thicket of native plant life surrounded me. But as I progressed, I noticed more and more signs of human life.

The images below reflect this progression.

Into nature

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An unexpected visitor

While shooting some detail shots of the plant life, I happened to catch a small creature on the leaves. I didn’t notice it when I took the original image, but while editing I found it and cropped the second image to get a better view. Wish I noticed that when I was taking the photo! I could’ve gotten some even better images of it.

“It was a shock to notice the construction through the trees, a building rising from the earth.”

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barefoot-beach-preserve-florida

Walking down the trail at Barefoot Beach Preserve, feeling completely immersed in nature, it was a shock to notice the construction through the trees, a building rising from the earth. That moment snapped me back to realize where I actually was, and that unless you’re traveling to the most remote of places, humans are always present having some sort of an impact.

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Shell yeah

When the trail reached the beach, dozens of retirees walked the surf picking up shells or just the morning.

I felt that all of the human interactions were important to document with my camera. I want to create a visual record of our world. Viewing images and drawing my own conclusions from people, places and moments in time is what pulled me to photography, and what I aim to do with my work.

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barefoot-beach-preserve-florida
barefoot-beach-preserve-florida

Where are some of your favorite places to explore? What type of human interactions with nature do you encounter? Tell me in the comments!

To view some other images of images of Florida nature, check out my post on state parks in the Florida Keys.

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Key West

“We seceded where others failed.” That’s the motto of The Conch Republic, the nickname taken on by Key West when they declared independence from, then war on, the United States in 1982.  Key West does not disappoint! It has an amazing mix of scenery, history, food, drinks, entertainment and more.

Our four kids traveled with us on this road trip from Key Largo, to Key West and then back up through Marathon and Islamorada. Every link we have listed here was a worthy adventure for the whole crew. We browsed through shipwreck artifacts in the Shipwreck Museum and met all the Hemingway cats. We chatted with roosters while we dined and enjoyed street performances nightly in Mallory Square. The food in Key West is profoundly good and a couple of places we visited more than once (ahem, Glazed Donuts).

Key West is remarkably walkable: we strolled west to east and back a number of times during our visit. Our stay at the Margaritaville Resort was awesome. The location can’t be beat and we woke up to a new cruise ship outside our window every morning.  If you haven’t made a trip to the Keys since you had kids, you’re missing a whole different island.

Here are some links to a few of our favorite spots…

Margaritaville Resort
Glazed Donuts
Ernest Hemingway Home
Amigo’s Restaurant
Garbo’s Grill
Shipwreck Museum
Fort Zachary Taylor State Park
Croissants de France

Thanks for visiting The Florida Keys with us! Be sure to join our mailing list to see our latest documentary projects.

Special thanks to the Monroe County Tourist Development Council: www.fla-keys.com. ¬†For more of the Florida Keys, take a look at our posts dedicated to the state parks of the Keys and the greater Keys. And be sure to check out the online print shop, where for the whole month of May 2018 we will be donating 20% of our shop’s proceeds to help hurricane relief efforts in the Florida Keys.

More Florida right here.

Florida Keys State Parks

The Florida Keys State Parks are some of the most fantastic in the country.  Here are some of our favorite shots from the following parks:  John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park (Key Largo), Bahia Honda State Park (Big Pine Key), Curry Hammock State Park (Marathon) and Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park (Key West).

An interesting fact about the Keys (which I didn’t know in advance) is that due to the coral reefs, shoreline erosion doesn’t happen in most areas and therefore there are very few natural beaches.  Bahia Honda is widely regarded as the best natural beach.  The Loggerhead Beach on the Atlantic side was closed at the time of our visit due to damage from Hurricane Irma, but Calusa Beach on the bay side was open and really nice.  Loggerhead is slated to reopen at the end of June 2018.

While some parts of the Florida Keys State Parks are being restored because of Irma, there is still plenty of beauty to enjoy. Please go and support them! They use the funds to help their restoration efforts.

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The Florida Keys: Key Largo, Islamorada and Marathon

We spent about ten days driving from the mainland to Key West and back and spent a couple of days each in Key Largo, Islamorada and Marathon. The upper, middle, and lower keys’ communities offer coral and rock beaches and blue green waters popular for fishing.

Islamorada-Fishing-Florida-Keys

The Florida Keys are made up of around 1700 islands and many lie beyond the famous overseas highway. However! We loved every minute of this scenic drive. This stretch of America bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other is worth the time to witness.

Robbie’s Marina on Islamorada is a must-see where you can buy buckets of fish to feed huge tarpon (and sea gulls). Fish Tales Market and Eatery on Marathon had innovative and delicious seafood. We had a classic relaxed keys stay at the Coral Bay Resort with the friendliest guests who return year after year to enjoy their beach front property.

Islamorada-Boats-Marina

For our first post from the Florida Keys, we are sharing images from the communities of Key Largo, Islamorada and Marathon. Posts about the amazing State Parks of the Keys as well as an extensive gallery of images from Key West are coming soon!

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Here are links to some of the places featured in this post…

Robbie’s of Islamorada
Fish Tales Market & Restaurant
Bud ‘n Mary’s Marina
Coral Bay Resort

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Sunset. Islamorada, Florida Keys.

Thanks for visiting The Florida Keys with us! Be sure to join our mailing list to see our latest documentary projects.

Need more Florida?