Mini Cart

  • No products in the cart.

Miami's South Beach Lifeguard Stands


* * * * *

In my dozen or so trips to Miami, I had somehow never made it to iconic Miami Beach.

A couple years ago, I decided that had to change! I wanted to check out the art deco buildings and bright lifeguard towers, as well as explore the canal in the South Pointe Park area.

Palm trees and pathways lead to the beach and lifeguard towers on Miami's South Beach
Click on the photo to view this image in my shop

On a Friday night in March, I arrived in Miami and crossed over onto the beach.


I'm a few years removed from college :D :D, and had completely forgotten that this was a big Spring Break week! Ocean Drive was a solid wall of people. Intoxicated ones. Just hanging out wherever. Including the middle of the street. Traffic was at a standstill. It took me 20 minutes to travel a couple blocks. Throngs of partiers were on the beach. It was going to be damn near impossible for me to photograph anything.

I needed to step back and come up with a Plan B.

* * * * *


My Plan B was to scrap the sunset and night shots altogether, and come back before sunrise when all these folks were sleeping off their evening of fun. 

I'm a South West Florida girl.  I'm used to sunsets. I'm used to the light getting better and better as the sun sinks into the Gulf of Mexico. I'm used to not getting up at 5am to get the shots I want :D.

Sunrise is different. It usually happens much more quickly, and the moments of beautiful light are more fleeting.

Within minutes of having enough light to shoot, you've generally got too much light. Harsh shadows and washed out colors can happen fast.
With my time stuck in traffic, I'd had plenty of time to look around and figure out where to spend the precious few minutes I'd have when I came back before dawn.  I scoped out where to park and made a plan to capture at least 3 lifeguard stands, and I crossed my fingers for a lovely sunrise.

It was 55* and windy and still dead dark when I returned to Ocean Drive.

As I waited for the first light to hit the sky,  I was shivering and craving coffee and wishing I had gloves. Yes, gloves. In Miami. I was COLD.
It was a gorgeous sunrise, and I worked fast at first, trying to photograph several stands that were about 1/4 mile apart through thick sand. 

Blue art deco lifeguard tower on Miami's South Beach near Ocean DriveClick on the photo to view this image in my shop


Then a really, really cool thing happened... a line of clouds came and parked itself along the horizon.

This line of clouds grew into a light overcast, thick enough to keep a 'sunrise' feel to the light but thin enough that the sky and ocean retained their color.

I thought I'd have about 15 minutes to shoot and get the feel that I wanted.  I ended up with nearly 2 hours of delicious light. I was able to walk a couple miles up and down the beach, and photograph nearly a dozen different lifeguard stands.

When I got home, I couldn't WAIT to work on these images!

These photographs - and specifically this set of 9 - were a hit as soon as I posted them. I love knowing these colorful, fun photos of an historic area bring so much joy to people!

Set of 9 colorful Miami Beach lifeguard tower images in a gallery wall displayClick on the photo to view this image in my shop


Categories: Travel