“Oyster Planting with Jeanine on Corrigan’s Reef….”


I have written about this photo before, but since this is the first time it appears in the Photo-Store I think a repeat of how this suite of oyster planting photos came about is ok:

There was no doubt that it was going to be a hot Cedar Key summer day. Although the Cedar Keys stick out a couple of miles into the Gulf of Mexico, and one might think they get nice cool ‘ocean breezes’ in the summer – that is not the case, quite the reverse. The Gulf becomes extremely warm then, with water temperatures above 80 degrees, day and night. When the tide is out it gets even warmer on the sun burned flats and oyster bars surrounding the islands. So when Jeanine invited me to come along with her crew to photograph them while oyster planting, I prepared by wearing a wide, floppy hat, lose clothing, and carrying a small cooler with loads of water and sandwiches. Oyster planting involves moving oysters from exposed oyster beds to deeper water where they can grow better, and later can be ‘harvested’ and sold. While I thought I was prepared, for the day, I was mistaken. Gathering clumps of oysters into their big red plastic buckets, then carrying these buckets out to the boat and emptying them into wooden crates, to be transported to deeper waters and dumped, was enormously strenuous and back-breaking work for the crew. So that there is no misunderstanding, I was not doing that, I was just standing around on the exposed oyster beds observing and taking photos. I was also beginning to be extremely thirsty and hungry. There was no way that I could, in good conscience, eat and drink while the crew was working at top speed, without any breaks. Eventually they did take a short break, but what saved the day for me was getting some great photographs and a thunderstorm that materialized early in the afternoon forcing all the boats with their crews to return to Cedar Key earlier than planned.

About christian harkness

Photographer and printmaker; living and working in north Florida.
This entry was posted in art, black & white, blurb book, cedar key, documentary, film photography, fl 32625, Florida, photography, Southern Photography, waterwomen and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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