Live Oaks and Spanish Moss in Florida

Cool Trees

Live oak trees and Spanish moss in Florida

Spanish moss hangs from live oak trees in Florida, as seen during the 2019 Band and Chorus Disney Trip.

This scene to me is one of those “typical” Florida views. Live oak trees are all over the state. And Spanish moss is all over the live oak trees. And just about anything else that it can hang on, actually. Yes, I know that Spanish moss does not just grow in Florida. On our drives there, we actually start seeing it around Montgomery, Alabama. However, it has still always seemed more like a Florida thing to me.

I would love to tell you that this beautiful scene was from some exotic location off on a nature trail in a wilderness preserve. But actually, it was not. No, this scene was at a shopping mall in Tallahassee, believe it or not. Specifically, this was in the mall parking lot.

After eating lunch in the mall food court, my group had gone back to where the buses were parked, but not everyone was there yet. Right there in the parking lot next to the buses was a grassy strip with some live oak trees in it. The branches of the trees were long and draped over the grassy strip, providing a nice bit of shade. Instead of sitting on the bus while waiting for everyone, I decided to stand in the shade for a few minutes, since we had been sitting for much of the day.

As soon as I walked up to stand there, I noticed just how nice the view was. So I got on the bus and got my camera to capture the view. And that is what you see here. You can find nature in some of the most unexpected places sometimes.

Little Surprises

I like how God works because he does not always do things as we expect. Sometimes, he puts things in little places for us to discover. I like to think that he hides those things there, just to see if we find them. And then he waits to see how we react when we find them. So many times we just say, “Well that’s pretty cool.” But I imagine God is really hoping that instead, we will say something along the lines of, “Look how great our God is!” Because after all, that should be our reaction to everything.

I am sure someone would argue something like this: “Well actually, that grassy strip in the parking lot was put there by the engineers who laid out the place. The landscapers put in the trees. It was all planned out. It really wasn’t God directly putting it there.”

But it was God who created the beauty of the trees and moss in the first place. He set all that up long before there were engineers and landscapers. Men can help to move things around, arranging the things that God created to make them even more beautiful. But we cannot create trees. We cannot create moss. We can only use what he has given us.

You can also find God in unexpected places outside of nature, of course. You can see him in someone’s actions. That can often be God working through his people to accomplish his will. Or you can see him when some situation that looked difficult turns out to be just right. Maybe you don’t see it right away. Maybe it takes some time for you to realize it. But you can look back and see that God was there working through everything all along, even if we were too shortsighted to realize it at the time.

Our God is always there, just waiting for us to find him. And sometimes we find him when and where we least expect it. Which to me is pretty cool, because God is great.

Bible Verse

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us. - Acts 17:24-27

About the Photo

For this one, I used five different exposures, blending them together with Aurora HDR. I have used Aurora for some of the other recent photos that I have posted here. But this was the first time I used it specifically for how it was intended, which is merging exposures together to create an HDR image.

I still did not quite do things properly and get out the tripod for the set of photos. Fortunately, I held the camera pretty steady. And fortunately, Aurora does a good job of matching everything up properly.

I also used Aurora to enhance the colors, contrast, and so on. But once I exported the image from there, I saw one or two small things that I wanted to fix. So I loaded the image into Luminar for that. You might not have noticed anything if I had not done that, but I would have seen it every time I looked at the photo.

Photo: Five Raw exposures (-2, -1, 0, +1, +2), processed in Aurora HDR and Luminar. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens
Date: March 10, 2019
Location: Tallahassee, Florida


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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through Burnsland.com, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.