View Full Version : Info on Fort Jefferson and Key West

Ed Richards
18-Sep-2010, 09:18
I am curious about arrangements for getting to Fort Jefferson, the time consumed, whether there are any photography restrictions, what day of the week would have the fewest visitors. Also on other interesting venues in Key West.

Brian Ellis
18-Sep-2010, 10:54
Interesting venues in Key West? Depends on what you consider interesting. If you like buildings there are some very interesting older homes that you can photograph, Duval Street has some interesting old bars and other buildings. The interior of Ernest Hemingway's home was photographically interesting though I was using a 35mm camera and could photograph quickly and a little surreptitiously, not sure you could use a 4x5 on a guided tour and I'm not sure you can see it any other way. I didn't see much in the way of landscape on my three trips to Key West that interested me but then I'm from Florida so sand, water, and palm trees are nothing special. However, the sunsets from the pier downtown can be stunning if you can find a spot and like sunsets. Someone here who lives in Key West can probably give you better information about other things.

The main thing is to make sure you don't go there from May through September. Even living in Florida most of my life and being used to heat and humidity, Key West was absolutely miserable in the summer. I took three and four showers a day every day, just walking a block or two worked up a big sweat. That was the main reason I was using 35mm (pre-digital age) rather than LF, I can't imagine getting under a dark cloth in Key West in the summer.

22-Sep-2010, 08:57
Ed, during our last trip to Key West we did visit Ft. Zachary Taylor on Key West. Here are a few examples of the interior of this very interesting fort with a D300S. I think it would be a great place to spend some time with a large format camera. The island has many interesting homes, buildings, & piers to photograph as well.

Getting to and from Ft. Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas NP is an all day event. We have not taken that trip yet but it is on our list of Key West to do's. If you visit the National Park service website they should have information on any photo restrictions.



22-Sep-2010, 09:15
Strange... in all my trips to Key West (1998-2005) I've never seen the algae or whatever that green growth is around the gun portals. I've never shot it with LF either, but spent several rolls on Forts Zachary and Jefferson with 35mm and 6x9.
I used to spend a week in Key west every 3 months for work. When I was there one afternoon in June 2004, killing a few hours (waiting on a contractor to finish work back on the job site), I happened to see a group of people taking measurements around the gun portal casing and discussing power. When I approached with my camera, one of the guys asked if I could make suggestions to photograph the details. It turns out they were with a conservation project and looking to preserve the iron and mortar. The topic of power was for some iron restoration (a method of electrolysis in which to restore corroded metal). I'm not sure if their plans ever came to fruition, but I hope so. There is a lot of history there that should be preserved.

22-Sep-2010, 10:16
I grew up in Key West and was just down there to visit and photograph a couple years ago. I took my wife there at the beginning of May and that year had a record dry spell and it was hot. In addition, we stayed in a studio apartment more accurately described as a broom closet. The trip out to Dry Tortugas/Ft Jefferson was definitely one of the highlights though.

To travel out there, you'll need to take one of two options. You can find the operators through google or the NPS website easy enough.

#1 - you can take a plane out there. They generally let you stay for about half day and charge alot more if you want to stay all day.

#2 - you can take a boat out to the island. It takes all day, and you get about a half day on the island.

#3 - you can take a boat out to the island and camp with a permit from the National Park Service.

22-Sep-2010, 10:44
I'm not sure if their plans ever came to fruition, but I hope so. There is a lot of history there that should be preserved.

There was significant restoration underway when we were there in 2008.