It’s almost mango time here in Florida, and the fruit is beginning to bare its soul. Our neighbor has a mature mango tree right in his backyard, so we can’t help but see the mangoes out there every day. Hanging there. Tempting us. Thankfully, we’ve been granted “neighbor rights” to pluck from the tree’s generous harvest. A few raccoons seem to think they have picking privileges, too: we’ll often find half-eaten mangoes in our backyard or spot a raccoon swinging from a branch. Those sneaky masked thieves haven’t grasped the concept of sharing either. Traitors!

Using my 300mm, 70-200mm, and 100 macro lenses, this turned out to be my most delicious shoot ever.

 

Florida Mango Low-Hanging  Fruit

Low-Hanging Fruit

 

These two low-hangers are prime victims for hungry raccoons. We’ve had three years of raccoons lurking around at this time of year, so unless they’ve moved on to bigger and better neighborhoods, we should start seeing mango carcasses very soon. Hmm. Maybe the raccoons will be my next photo op?

 

Florida Mango Camouflage

Mango Camo

 

In this shot, Mango Camo, I captured what appears to be the perfect mango camouflage. Is this good enough cover for our little mango? Or will he become a sweet and tasty snack grasped between two furry little paws? Or two human paws, ha! We shall see.

 

Florida Mango Macro Stem

Macro Mango Stem

 

Adding the 100 macro to the mango shoot was a last-minute decision, but it produced two interesting shots: Macro Mango Stem and the featured image, Macro Mango Vein. I did have to compete with a strong westerly wind that kept my subjects moving and bobbing. And I also had the challenge of quickly-changing natural light, since the sun was setting fast. But even with these hurdles, I snapped off some surprisingly good shots. Being this close to the swirling, bobbing, juicy fruit was an exercise in self-control and a level of madness I’m just not accustomed to. Oh, mango!

 

Florida Mangoes, Higher Up and Harder to Pick

Harder to Pick When the Time Is Ripe

 

It may very well be too hard for us to pick the mangos at the top of the tree, but the raccoons have figured out how to shake the tree almost dry of mango gold. Spraying them with a jet stream from our garden hose is only a minor distraction. They just thumb their noses at me and decide to work the night shift. If we could all just share—it could work. Maybe?

 

Florida Mango with a Long Stem

Long Stem

 

During a shoot like this, it’s hard not to imagine all the ways we’re going to enjoy mango this year. Perhaps a mango-infused vodka over ice with a splash of soda water? Or maybe some dark rum and spritz of mango juice? Couple that with a dip in the pool, sliced fresh mango, and we’re making the full-on tropical scene happen. For dinner, could I interest you in a mango chutney drizzle over a grilled chicken breast? Dessert, you say? How about a homemade slice of mango cheesecake? Slap! Wake up!

 

Dream on. Dream on. Dream on. Dream until your dream comes true. –Aerosmith

 

Water Drops on a Florida Mango

Drops

 

It’s hard not to lick your lips as you cast your eyes on the fruit. (And it was hard for me not to lick those drops off that mango.) The craving. The madness! Thankfully, the time for picking is near, and we will be ready. We must prepare now! We’ve been in this position before and have learned a lot over the years, so between the raccoons and mother nature, we will be ready to strike. The mangoes will be ours.

My friends, enjoy mango season. Of course, any delicious mango stories, treats, and recipes are always welcome…