Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Navarre Beach

with 49 comments

On the way from Atlanta to Mobile on August 9th we deviated from the most direct route to stop at Navarre Beach on the Gulf of Mexico in the Florida Panhandle. The dark clouds beyond the sea oats (Uniola paniculata) foreshadowed the downpour that hit us west of Pensacola an hour or so later.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 10, 2019 at 4:45 AM

49 Responses

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  1. Very dramatic sky!

    Robert Parker

    September 10, 2019 at 5:21 AM

    • I’ve long been fond of scenes that reverse the normal order by having darker above and lighter below.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 10, 2019 at 6:03 AM

  2. Was the rain storm part of the hurricane that hit Florida? Very ominous clouds!

    Peter Klopp

    September 10, 2019 at 8:24 AM

  3. I love this drama-filled photo. We had a doozy of a thunderstorm early this morning. It’s funny how innocent the world looks after a storm, as if to say, “Who me?”


    September 10, 2019 at 8:28 AM

    • Yay, drama, at least if you don’t have to experience it personally it. For maybe a quarter of an hour we went through rain heavy enough to make driving difficult.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 10, 2019 at 8:57 AM

      • I was going to ask you about that. The one that hit this morning was before the morning commute, thank goodness. Much as I love a good storm, this was a very powerful one.


        September 10, 2019 at 9:21 AM

        • Coincidentally, this afternoon we were in Belton, about 60 miles north, to watch a movie in a Czech film festival up there. On the way back down we ran into the first rain in the month since we returned from our trip. For a while it came down so hard that I had trouble seeing where to drive. Traffic on the Interstate slowed to about half normal speed and some drivers pulled over to the side to wait out the rain. Unfortunately our Austin neighborhood got just a little light rain so we remain in a drought.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 10, 2019 at 9:12 PM

          • Oh, dear. That often happens~heavy rains where they aren’t helpful, and only sprinkles where the moisture is needed. I’m thankful you made it back safely. It is scary to be on the interstate when visibility and road conditions are compromised like that.


            September 11, 2019 at 7:27 AM

            • I turned on my flashers because I was worried someone going too fast might plow into the back of us.

              The forecast calls for a 40% chance of rain today in Austin, so we still hope to get more in our neighborhood. I’m happy for the people farther north who got a good watering yesterday.

              Steve Schwartzman

              September 11, 2019 at 7:46 AM

              • I hope you get the rain you need. I thought of you last night when a massive storm hit. It went all night, and dumped enough water to fill our basement. Our next house, we’ve decided, will have no basement. And be at the top of a mountain. In a desert.


                September 12, 2019 at 8:51 AM

                • Let’s hope you can make that future house come true, although at the top of a mountain in a desert you’d have the opposite problem of ensuring a water supply.

                  We got a little more rain in our neighborhood yesterday evening but far from enough to end the drought. The forecast isn’t predicting any more rain for at least the next week.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  September 12, 2019 at 9:32 AM

                • Oh dear. I can remember what it is like to wait and hope for rain. Here it rained hard again all night long. Hard to sleep when you know full well your basement is filling up with water and sure enough, there is an even deeper lake down there this morning. I don’t really want to live on a mountain in a desert, of course. Drying out is an appealing thought at the moment, though. I imagine several roads around here are under water, too.


                  September 13, 2019 at 8:13 AM

                • Sorry about your basement lake. Sometimes the national television news shows video from flooded places but I haven’t seen any from your area. I can see how a desert seems appealing at a time like this.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  September 13, 2019 at 8:37 AM

                • Thank goodness for shop vacs and new weather patterns. Crisp air has moved in. My little dog, of course, thinks the lake in the backyard is just for him.


                  September 14, 2019 at 7:55 AM

                • Paul and I talk about hitting the road more in a few years when he retires. I hope we do.


                  September 14, 2019 at 7:57 AM

                • I hope you do, too.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  September 14, 2019 at 8:01 AM

  4. Great image and effect Steve. What’s keen is this observation of light amidst a rainy cloud formation. The light comes and goes so I imagine it was transient and not easy to shoot. The grasses light up with the sun always giving it so much life.


    September 10, 2019 at 10:49 AM

    • Fortunately for me as a photographer the dunes and the grasses on them stayed pretty bright against the dark background long enough to take 15 pictures at various angles and in various compositions over two minutes.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 10, 2019 at 9:22 PM

  5. I, too, like the ground-sky reversal. This is great.

    Michael Scandling

    September 10, 2019 at 11:47 AM

  6. That is a stunning photo Steve and reminds me of the stormy skies often seen on the east coast of England which is known for its ‘big skies’. Different grasses on the dunes there of course.


    September 10, 2019 at 2:21 PM

    • Where England is known for stormy skies, Florida is susceptible to hurricanes at this time of year. I kept checking the weather forecast as we headed that way, ready to take a more northerly route if necessary. Luckily all we had was regular rain and I got to take my pictures of grass-topped dunes with dark clouds behind them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 10, 2019 at 9:29 PM

  7. Those are indeed ominous clouds. I guess that’s all part of seeing the country. Love the sinuous beach line against that sky.

    Steve Gingold

    September 10, 2019 at 7:21 PM

    • We made out pretty well, considering that in 5100 miles of driving we got heavy rain only a few times, none of which lasted long. I don’t recall seeing any dunes at Acadia, but then the Florida coast isn’t rocky the way the Maine coast is. Each place has its attractions. I had my piece of coast and now you’re about to get yours.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 10, 2019 at 9:33 PM

      • No dunes in Acadia or anywhere nearby. There are a few places that describe their beaches as having dunes but they are not anything resembling true dunes…just windblown sand.

        Steve Gingold

        September 11, 2019 at 1:56 AM

        • Then you have another enticement to drive south on a trip instead of north. In the last ice age the glaciers got as far south as the north shore of Long Island. Those beaches are stony, but the south shore has broad beaches with fine white sand, most of them on barrier islands.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 11, 2019 at 7:08 AM

  8. I can almost feel that sand underfoot; we have some lovely white sand on our Gulf beaches, but it’s not common on the upper coast. As pretty as colored clouds can be, the drama inherent in storm clouds is exciting, even when a tropical system’s on the doorstep. Driving in the rain can be exciting, too, but in a different way.

    The last time I was at Navarre Beach, we were on our way to Pensacola to bring a boat back to Galveston. The boat was moored at Palafox Marina (now renamed Palafox Pier) and the first time I saw one of your photos of some species of Palafoxia, I thought of the marina. Now, you mention Pensacola, and I’m thinking of the two species of Palafoxia I found this year: P. reverchonii at Sandyland, and another in Brazoria I haven’t identified yet. As they say, what goes around comes around.


    September 10, 2019 at 10:21 PM

    • Your mention of the feel of the sand made me realize it had been a long time since we walked on white beach sand like that. Although we’d been to Atlantic beaches in Maine, New Brusnwick, and Nova Scotia the year before, they were all rocky and lacked dunes.

      I should’ve known that with all your sailing experience you’d have been to Navarre Beach. In contrast, I don’t believe I’d ever heard of it till we were in Atlanta and I checked a map to look for a convenient beach in the Florida Panhandle that we could stop at.

      As soon as I saw Palafox Marina in your comment I thought about the botanical genus, even before I read further in your sentence. Not surprising, is it? The Palafoxia in central Texas is the small one, P. callosa. The nearest fancier species I’m aware of is one county to the east, in Bastrop.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 11, 2019 at 6:55 AM

  9. You don’t know this about me, but I was stationed at Pensacola, FL in 73 – 74. I loved those white sands, sea oats and the pines that grow right down into the beach. As I am now living so close, here in Alabama, it is on my bucket list to go back for a visit.


    September 11, 2019 at 6:17 AM

    • I thought about you when we crossed into the little piece of southern Alabama that we saw. If we could get to Pensacola, you can make it back there too—and you can fill your bucket with fine white beach sand.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 11, 2019 at 7:02 AM

  10. Lovely, Steve. White Sands meets the Gulf of Mexico!


    September 11, 2019 at 7:28 PM

  11. Like the stormy sky and color combination as well as the simplicity of the scene.


    September 12, 2019 at 5:59 PM

    • Those are all characteristics that endeared the scene to me as well. You can imagine my enthusiasm as I moved around on the sand looking for good angles.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 12, 2019 at 6:44 PM

  12. Wonderful … great contrast Steve


    September 17, 2019 at 3:29 AM

    • When Cornwallis surrendered to the Americans at Yorktown in 1781, the British band is said to have played “The World Turned Upside Down.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 17, 2019 at 7:16 AM

  13. I love watching storms roll in at the beach.

    Singing Mermaid

    September 22, 2019 at 8:15 PM

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