History of Bradenton Florida

photo of Siesta Key beach

A photo story of the sunshine state, Florida

Written and photographed by Gary Wonning

One of the best kept secrets of Bradenton is the memorial park dedicated to Hernando De Soto early explorer to Florida.

Located off Manatee avenue on the northwest corner of Bradenton, the park is a quiet refuge from the rigors of modern day life. 


Sunset on Anna Marie Island

Anna Marie Island offers a beautiful sunset and a view of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.


Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:




Rye Preserve Manatee County, Florida

Rye Preserve, Manatee County Florida

Rye Preserve Manatee County Florida

Located on Rye Road north of Florida Highway 64, (Florida Cracker Turnpike) the Rye Preserve is a small park located on the Manatee River.

photo of wooded walkway

Secluded trail in Rye Preserve

Quaint path leading to the Manatee River

photo fo Rye Preserve

Manatee River in Rye Preserve

This 145 acre property located just northwest of the Lake Manatee Dam. The preserve features nature trails, horseback trails, picnic areas, a playground and a canoe/kayak launch. 

The preserve’s trail system leads visitors through four distinctive ecosystems, including sand pine scrub, xeric oak scrub, oak hammocks and the river community. A variety of interesting creatures can be seen in these areas including the rare gopher tortoise and Florida scrub-jay. 

A quaint path in Rye Preserve in Manatee County Florida

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome