Saturday, March 15, 2014

Notes from Broward County, infrastructure edition

As I noted before, there is vital infrastructure that crossed into the Glades, and even though the restoration is in it's second decade, they can't be moved. High and medium voltage lines crisscross the Glades, moving power from generating stations to end users. Power lines are almost always laid in the most direct, "as the crow flies" line, even if it crosses a protected wetland. Just like the canals, it's benefit and necessity outweighs the restoration process.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Notes from Broward County, Kendall

Kendall (Or Kendale, depending on the subdivision) butts up against the park. There's no over way I can describe it; the roads and canals that border it are the hard lines between man's encroachment and the Everglades. 

To your left, houses. To your right, the Everglades.

 Kendall, from the Everglades.

The Everglades, from Kendall.

Infill, even though I expected this place to already be 100% built out, considering it's location and the scarcity of land in the immediate area. Again, power lines cutting into the park, that can't easily or practically be moved.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Notes from MDC County, canals edition

One thing I never really considered about the Miami is the sheer quantity and length of the canals. I'm used to canals being small waterways, intended for minor water runoff and (advertised, at least) for boats to get out to the gulf. In Miami-Dade, they're everywhere, shuttling water from the Glades to wherever it needs to go to keep it from causing flooding. 

I found this one canal, not named on a map, but since it runs along Okeechobee Road, and runs all the way from the lake, I'm guessing it's called the Okeechobee Canal. It terminates into the Miami River, which dumps into Biscayne Bay. It's pretty damn epic to have a navigable waterway that runs all that way, but that's how the Glades where carved up before restoration began. This canal will never go away; it's too important to maintaining MDC to not have it. There's a lot of infrastructure like that in the Glades; an obvious spoil on the landscape, but too important to remove.

Headed away from downtown Miami:

Headed towards downtown Miami:

This canal follows a similar path, although it goes east-west into the Glades, following the Tamiami Trail deep into the Glades, past the Seminole and Miccosukee reservations and gaming establishments. It also meets up with the Miami River and dumps into Biscayne Bay.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Notes on SFWMD

I've been going back and forth with various folks at SFWMD trying to get levee access. I think I may be close, but it's crazy expensive. Oh well. I need to be on the levees, to see the swamp and the suburbistan in Broward and MDC Counties.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

notes from Broward County, part 1

I'm in the Miami area for the next couple of days, mainly doing some site visits and getting the lay of the land in anticipation of further visits. I'm trying to take a few pictures too, but I'm not pushing myself when the real challenge is just boots on the ground type observations, figuring everything out and correlating the countless satellite views with what it looks like through the camera.

Navigating the photography of the areas where the Glades back into the world is going to be a bureaucratic nightmare. Some of the canals and levees are controlled by SFWMD, some by USFWS, some by NPS. There's going to be a lot of phone calls.

And here's a preview:

And some maps of locations:

There's some dredging/land construction going here:

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And two levees, one controlled by SWFWD and the other USFWS. 
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And this looks nothing like this now: 
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More tomorrow, unless a 300 lb, 18 foot long python eats me.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Foxbrook, Parrish, FL

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I found this little piece of an otherwise very large development, where they cleared the property lines, but not the lots. Something like this is odd, but welcome. I suppose they're charging a premium for these lots, seeing how they're heavily wooded compared to their eastern neighbors.

It's also 11:30 AM and the moon is still out. 

Friday, November 01, 2013

River Reach, Parrish, FL

 River Reach, as a subdivision, is pretty unremarkable. I did get to see ponds being built, which is something of a treat. There's something odd about building ponds in Florida; the landscape is already giant sponge with lakes everywhere, and yet we need to build more? I know they're nice, and also there for retention purposes, but geez, the land make it this long with a odd shaped pond every 500 yards.
The real story of River Reach is how it's built around the old Rye Settlement. If you look at the map above, down and to the right you'll find the Rye Preserve, but there's two significant parts of the settlement that are being dovetailed in the River Reach, the cemetery, and the remnants of the school and bridge to the community. 

It warms my cackles knowing that the cemetery will back up to someone's yard. I bet that house won't be haunted at all.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Unnamed subdivision, Riverview, FL

Sometimes you just find places.

There's something visceral about seeing a house in this state. It seems so empty, just waiting on the construction fury that will accompany another house.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Harrison Ranch, Parrish, FL

1/10/14 EDIT: The map image has changed since the images were taken. A revisit is planned. 

So I'm completely obsessed with these "roads". The typical trend is to build houses on slightly higher grade for drainage, with the roads receiving the runoff and transferring it to a retention pond. Since these roads haven't been paved, the rainy season render them into canals. The flag is there to indicate where a man hole will be, or maybe there's already one there and it's covered by water.

I also got to see a snake swim across one. It was too far away to identify it but this being Florida, I'm not going on a snake hunt.

There was also this seemingly random fence separating the plots.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Unnamed development, Myakka City, FL

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I found this development while map surfing, and was intrigued by the series of ponds. Clearly they're man made, they're too uniform in size and distribution. 

The development is dead, quite dead, with only one accessible gate. Well, while we where in there, someone helpfully came along and locked the gate. I hate to say it, but I had to 4x4 it through some barbed wire fence to escape. I would feel worse, but the fence posts where already 95% rotten and only being held vertical by the fence tension. Still, I had to push it down and we escaped, promising to ourselves to never visit Myakka City again. I'll probably break that promise.

So, now, I carry a big ass pair of bolt cutters in the truck box. Working on the project has let to some odd purchases: the afore mentioned bolt cutters, a mil surp folding shovel (also used for removing roadkill from the road) and boards for when I get bogged down in sand, a variety of towing straps and chains, and, in my dreams, a 9000 lb. winch for the front of the truck. 

And when I win the lottery, another winch for the back of the truck.

Tomorrow I have surgery, so this is it for awhile.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Isles, Sarasota, FL

Some images of the finished sections, these being in the northwest part of the development.
This is from the northern most bridge, looking south. I'm not in love with the image, but I do like what it shows.

These last two images are from the triangluar portion from the east of the main development. Looking at the road and the late construction, it seemed like they found some bonus land, and BOOM, built some more houses.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Michael P. Smith Fund for Documentary Photography 2013 grant

So I'm a finalist for the for the Michael P. Smith Fund for Documentary Photography (MPS Fund) 2013 grant.

I know the work of a few of the other nominees, but I've only met one, JT Blatty. I met and talked with JT at SPE in Dallas a few years ago, where her work on the oil spill stood out from the typical student work that surrounded her (she wasn't a student at the time). I think we had a good talk, and I've been following her work since. I'm glad to be on a list with work like hers.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Parrish, FL

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I love the geometry of carving out a rectangle. Like, let's excise just all that we need instead of going at it willy-nilly. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Twin Rivers, Parrish, FL

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 I challenge you to find the twin rivers. I'll even wait here while you go full screen Google Maps.

It warms my cockles to see a an Animal Crossing sign. I want to believe there is some reverence for the land and the wildlife, but sometimes I think it's more like the old roadside Kodak moment signs, letting people know where to stop and take pictures. 

Stop here and wait until you see wildlife! see the real Florida cross the road!

that white pole reads "Conservation Area". That's what wooded areas have become; instead of the norm, they are areas. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Unnamed Development, Bradenton, FL

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Look at this map. There's nothing. (maybe in the future they'll be something, but as of today, it's a field from the birds eye view)

No roads.

No houses.

Just pasture land.

Well, Google's wrong.

The streets have names: Royal Dornoch, Tobermory, Eastwood and other silly compound names that make no sense, but there's no record of them (yet).

Friday, February 08, 2013

Central Park, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, FL

It's been a long "winter" here. Like many in the academy, my for-pay responsibilities get the better of my time.

So here goes the shake off of the winter ice, and the restart of Alas, Babylon.

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Lakewood Ranch is a gigantic development, consisting of villages then divided down into neighborhoods. From the air, it's a patchwork, but looking at their website reveals the final plan.

The Central Park village is no under construction. I haven't been by here in a year or so, and in that time there was (and still is) a boom of construction. I was able to slip in and out. More visits are in order to follow this village from it's birth til it's biting toddler years.

There is still the deception of keeping a minimum amount of cattle of land to keep the ag tax rate, even though the land is destined to be houses in the near future. Do these cows know they're about to evicted so a shopping center can be built?

Friday, October 05, 2012

It's been a long time

This is the Sarasota National Golf Course. Unlike Augusta National, anyone can wander onto the premises unhindered, including feral hogs. 

This was the first time I felt fully justified carrying a hand gun while outside of the truck cab.

Most houses had at least some of their storm shutters in place, meaning that they are unoccupied or abandoned.

Even though it's a functioning golf course and a barely functioning housing development, the entrance has gone to seed.