This Landscape photo, Morning Glow, the winner in the Professional/Hobbyist category, was taken at Manatee Springs State Park. “Getting up early in the morning is essential to capture the wildlife here. It is always a big inspiration for my photography, and this morning proved to pay off big,” wrote the photographer. “As the sun ascended, the combination of the fog and sun created a near-picture-perfect combination that stopped me in my tracks. [ John Hootman ]

Natural seduction

State parks’ photos capture their allure

It has long been said by environmentally conscious Floridians, who wish to treat the fragile outdoors gently and ethically, that it is best to “take only pictures, leave only footprints.”

In homage to that commandment, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection each year offers a photo contest to find the best images found among the 175 state parks, trails and historic sites that offer beautiful backdrops for recreational and nature-based photos.

The department wrote that “the judges of this year’s photo contest, “Capture the Real Florida,” received numerous submissions from talented photographers, and their awe-inspiring images left everyone speechless, making judging them a difficult task. 

Semifinalists were selected within three photography divisions: Professional/Hobbyist, Student and Mobile Phone, from the 12 photo contest categories: Landscape, Wildlife, Birds, Waterscapes, Night Skies, Details and Small Things, Park Experiences, Park Adventures, Plants and Flowers, Camping, Trails and Sightseeing.

The Star and Times are pleased to present some of the contest’s winners, as well as a sampling of the top finishers among photos taken along the Forgotten Coast.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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