Friday, September 25, 2009
A big TV weekend with "Big Cypress" and "National Parks"
After they produced "Living Waters: Aquatic Preserves of Florida" in 2004, renowned nature photographer Clyde Butcher joked with cinematographer Elam Stoltzfus that next time, they'd have to film in Butcher's backyard.
And they did just that, to produce "Big Cypress Swamp: The Western Everglades," which airs this weekend on PBS television stations across Florida. Check your local listings or click here.
Big Cypress is part of a twin act on television this weekend for nature lovers. PBS also will begin airing Ken Burn's series "The National Parks: America's Best Idea" on Sunday at 8 p.m.
Butcher, who lives in Big Cypress Swamp, has made his mark with the expansive black-and-white photography of the Everglades and Big Cypress. His son was killed in 1986 by a drunk driver, leading Butcher to escape to the swamps of South Florida for solitude and his photography.
Stoltzfus, owner of Live Oak Productions, lives in the Blountstown near the Apalachicola River. With Butcher, he also produced 2005's produced "Apalachicola River: An America Treasure."
Big Cypress National Preserve, Stoltzfus said, is his second home away from the Florida Panhandle. And he said he hopes his production along with Butcher of "Big Cypress" will make people interested that area of Southwest Florida.
"It's a tract of land that is really well-protected for the animals and rare plants," he said. "Fakahatchee Strand is where you have the ghost orchids, bromeliads and panthers."
"It's a story that not that many people know about or not that many people choose to even go out there," he said. "We are trying to provide, as (my wife Esther) coined, an 'armchair experience' of going into the swamp without having to go there."
(Photos courtesy of Live Oak Productions. Story copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and FloridaEnvironments.com. Do not copy or redistribute without permission).