By: Karuna Eberl
Picture tropical paradise, maybe a palm tree on the beach with blue-green water in the background. Pretty. But too easy. You can do better. Here are a few quintessential places to capture paradise that will make your #floridakeys stand out from the crowd. And when that happens, think of us #allaboutfloridakeys.
Christ of the Abyss
This 8-foot-tall bronze sculpture has been waiting half a century for you to put your phone in a LifeProof case and snorkel down for a selfie. John Pennekamp State Park, Key Largo, mile marker 102.6.
Of course your magnificent Mahi or sailfish catch will make you the envy of friends back home, but in the off-chance you don’t catch the big one, don’t fret. Grab a bait fish, outstretch your arms to put it close to the camera and your body far away, and you’ll at least get some chuckles with your optical illusion.
Betsy the Lobster
Lots of folks pose with spiny lobster, but even their biggest catch can’t rival Betsy, the 30-foot-tall, 40-foot-long statue that hangs out in front of the Rain Barrel at mile marker 86.7.
Dine barefoot on white sand overlooking the water while the band plays lazy island music and the sunset lights the clouds ablaze in reds and yellows. The music won’t come through in the photo, but the sparkle in each other’s eyes will. Lorelei Restaurant & Cabana Bar, mile marker 82.
Noble Sea Creatures
Move beyond pretty vacation photos to a heartwarming photoessay of humans helping sea turtles get back on their feet… or flippers. Time it right and catch a release of a turtle back to the ocean, complete with many human cheers and tears of joy. The Turtle Hospital, Marathon, mile marker 48.5.
Seven Mile Bridge
As you crest the top of the hill on the Key’s longest bridge, the ocean and Gulf look like they stretch out to the end of the planet. Mile marker 43.9. Please reserve this photo op for passengers only. Or get a better bird’s-eye view with a helicopter tour from the Marathon airport.
Okay, so this state park is overflowing with iconic white sand beaches and palm trees swaying majestically in the wind. But it is tremendously pretty, with gradations of whites, yellows, greens and
blues intermingling into the ocean. For something more original, point your lens toward the historic railroad bridge. Mile marker 36.8.
No Name Pub
For many decades visitors have been writing their names and messages on dollar bills and stapling them to the walls and ceiling at this little eatery. Today, sparse sunlight streams through the windows, illuminating the fluttering expanse of cash, making for irresistible photo ops. Big Pine Key.
By day, tourists line up around the block to get a photo op with Key West’s giant cement buoy. Try skipping the line by coming at night. Get extra creative with some flashlight lighting effects.
Courthouse Deli Bench
Across from the Green Parrot Bar, the legendary “Bench” isn’t too photogenic, but the eclectic mix of locals, travelers and tourists who hang out on it not only make for interesting photos, but company as well. Whitehead and Southard Streets, Key West. Walk just one block for another classic photo op: Mile Marker Zero.