The Place We Call Home – From Above

The Place We Call Home – From Above

Pine Island Aerials

We are blessed. We live in paradise. A little spot of ground surrounded by palms and tropical fruit trees. On an island. Just minutes to the Gulf of Mexico.

Pine Island Aerials

Saint James City, a tiny waterfront community of about 4500 year-round  residents, forms the southern tip of Pine Island in Southwest Florida. Islands, of course, are surrounded by water and ours is no different. One piece of water with four different names: Charlotte Harbor to the north, Matlacha Pass to the east, San Carlos Bay to the south, and Pine Island Sound to the west.

Pine Island Aerials

We have  neighbors. Hundreds of them. Large and small. Well known (Sanibel and Captiva Islands) and obscure (Panther Key, Mondongo, Punta Blanca).

Pine Island Aerials

The real beauty of the area is the water itself, especially from the air. I expected that, but I was overwhelmed at just how enchanting. It was like being in a gigantic abstract painting by nature done in swirls of vivid hues of turquoise, cobalt blues, and dark greens.  The task at hand was to photograph the islands and geological features of Pine Island Sound for Denege Patterson for her upcoming book, A Tour of the Islands of Pine Island Sound, slated to be released early next year. Leaning out of a doorless helicopter, photographing an area I know so well from the water made for an exhilarating adventure.

Pine Island Aerials

Come along for a birds-eye view of where we call home.

Pine Island Aerials

The Sanibel Lighthouse looking out over the Gulf of Mexico.

Pine Island Aerials

Looking across Sanibel Island toward St James City and the southern tip of Pine Island.

Pine Island Aerials

A boat passes by Useppa Island.

Pine Island Aerials

Cabbage Key with the restaurant that allegedly inspired the song “Cheeseburger in Paradise.”

Pine Island Aerials

Pine Island Aerials

Fish Shacks, reminders of the waterman’s life of a bygone day.

Pine Island Aerials

Looking south from the tip of North Captiva Island across Redfish Pas toward Captiva Island and Sanibel on the horizon. Eleven years ago Hurricane Charley cut a new pass through the island. Time and tides have since closed the pass, but the outwash is still evident.

Pine Island Aerials

Mondongo Rocks, a cluster of oyster bars and mangroves.

Pine Island Aerials

The village of Matlacha on the only road leading to Pine Island.

Pine Island Aerials-8

Looking north over Useppa Island toward Charlotte Harbor.

Pine Island Aerials

Looking through Boca Granda Pass into Charlotte Harbor. Cayo Costa is on the right and Boca Grande the left. The northern tip on Pine Island is on the upper right. Boca Grande Pass is the most famous area in the world for tarpon fishing and the fishermen in the boats below are hoping for a hookup.

Pine Island Aerials


Ron Mayhew

Fine Art Photographer specializing in Still Life and Commercial Photography.

This Post Has 39 Comments

  1. You captured such beauty in our own back yard!

    A wonderful blog – thanks so much for posting!

    1. Thanks, Penny. Hope it made you a little homesick. ๐Ÿ™‚


      1. And it still is – just much more crowded. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for your comment.

  2. Gorgeous photos of an amazing place! I would love to visit. Used to work with aerial photography at my job and still love looking at the world from above ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you. I hope you get to visit. The world from above is fascinating, as you say.

  3. Fabulous aerial shots, Ron. What a beautiful place you live in. It was great to see Sanibel lighthouse from the air. I loved our visit there earlier this year. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I remember that you were in the area and spent some time being a tourist. ๐Ÿ™‚ Did you get to Pine Island?

      1. Yes we did driven onto Pine Island. It looks like a very relaxed place.


    1. Thanks, Karen and thank you for visiting.

  5. Truly enjoyed the photos! Have been coming to Pine Island for years. My parents retired there. Have boated and fished there. Thank you so much.

    1. I am happy you enjoyed the photos. Do you still visit the area?

    1. Thanks, Eric and thanks for visiting.

  6. Thank you Sandee for giving us such an awesome tour of your living in paradise.Really am amazed. Linda

  7. Beatiful pictures and great information! Love it!

    1. Thank you so much, Cindy. And thank you for visiting.

  8. This is outstanding. And to think is was there under our noses all the time.

    1. You said it well, right under our noses. Thanks Robert.

  9. Mr. Mayhew,

    Thank you so much for your beautiful photography. My family were all mullet and trout fishermen in SW Florida since the late 1800s. My parents lived in a fisherman’s “shack” on the beach in St. James City when I was born in 1951. My first memory in life was awakening before daybreak in my mother’s arms as she carried me down to the boat, climbed in, then placed me under the bow. When I awoke a little later and crawled from under the bow, she and my father were catching “shiners” for their long day of trout fishing. Egg sandwiches for lunch, some lemonade, a thermos of coffee, enjoyed in the shady breeze under a mangrove tree. A fisherman’s little family, hard work, honest work, simple times, good times, precious moments. Your photography has touched my heart, allowing me to visit again that paradise that, for a little while, seemed all ours. Thank you again, so much. Rachel

    1. Rachel, what a wonderful childhood. I am so glad my photographs triggered childhood memories and that you shared them here. Are in still in the area?

  10. Wow Ron, you really do live in a magical place – these are such incredible photos and show a land that has a history and story all its own, and one you own as well. Very cool. This series of shots shows a diverse land and waterways, I am still in awe. Beautiful work, simply beautiful.

    1. It is a magical place and I really didn’t realize how beautiful it was until I was able to fly over it at such low altitudes.Thanks for your wonderful comments.

  11. Thanks Ron, awesome. I am going to send to my family up north, so they can see why I am so enchanted with Saint James City and the whole area.

    1. That’s great Julene. But, we don”t want too many knowing our secret. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much. I am happy you enjoyed it.

  13. What a fabulous tour of the place you call home, Ron. It was lovely being in the airplane with you! The water textures and colors are amazing. I’ve never been to Sanibel Island and only spent an afternoon on the west coast of Florida, in Tampa, so I definitely would love to explore more. Wonderful photos! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Its a beautiful area. You should come and check it out. Doing the photography was great fun. Lynne got to come with me on one of the flights.

      1. I bet Lynne loved going on the flight with you! What fun! I will have to take you up on your offer sometime! I’m still dreaming of Cuba, but I have no money right now, and unless Mike wants to come along and pay, it’s out of my reach!! Unless it’s all filled up that is!

  14. These photos are absolutely amazing! When I’m flying into RSW, I always want to sit next to the window to see if I can spot my house in St. James City! But, you have done a spectacular job of capturing what the rest of us cannot see daily! Thank you!

    1. I do the same thing, but the plane is too high to get the detail I was able to get at 500 feet. Thanks for visiting.

  15. You have given us a priceless treasure. For the first time I can see it all. Not until this aerial view of this whole area have I been able to see each island and waterway in relation to all the others. It will help so much when we are heading out of Blue Crab Key in Bokeelia, trying to find our way to one island or another. But more than that, we have it all in the stunning photography of a master photographer. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. It pleases me to know you enjoy my work.

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