James Phillips Photography

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Bleak Beauty

I was out hiking the scrub when the storm broke. I’d seen it coming, but misjudged its trajectory, assuming it would pass to the north. Now, suddenly, it was almost overhead, a grumbling slate-grey behemoth gliding on a curtain of rain, with a bellyfull of lightning and a real bad attitude. Cold winds whipped the […]


Be You Later, Alligator

It was late in the morning when I set out by canoe from Rocky Ford, on Sarasota County’s scenic Myakka River. The air was hot and still, and despite recent rains the current was molasses-slow. I drifted downstream, past low deltas and sandy, head-high bluffs, over a riverbed laced with fossils. The banks were lined […]


Drought Fishing

The little pond had almost disappeared. Another week or two and it would dry up completely, victim of the worst drought in Florida’s history. I was shocked and saddened to find it in this condition; I was expecting the same perfect microcosm I’d chanced upon many years ago, an obsidian pool hidden deep in the […]


The Seafood Solution (excerpt)

(2001 Florida Magazine Association Charlie Award Winner, Best Article In A Magazine Under 50,000 Circulation) As the world’s fisheries become depleted, an ailing seafood industry struggles to stay afloat… The little fish wasn’t going quietly, which was fine by me. I was in the deck chair, working the heavy boat rod. We were pretty evenly […]


Lido Beach

Lido Beach (2004) On the restless border of two worlds time is a shadow in the burrow of a ghost crab, the fleeting radiance of a morning glory, the fierce hunger of a heron. In the soft sand, every passage is recorded. Evidence is preserved, at least for a while. The tide rises, bearing gifts […]