Florida beaches: Destin lifeguards inspire local photographer

Shalimar photographer Tyler Elizabeth Zern submitted this photo essay of the Destin Beach Safety guards. She told the Destin Log she chose the hardworking guards as a topic because she considers them to be some of the "most amazing humans in existence."

In her words:

"Every day they put themselves second to the public that surrounds them and give their lives and their time to help and serve and save in any way they can. From working on this photo essay with them I have learned so much and my admiration of them has grown only deeper. No matter what they see in a given day: a drowning, a lost child, a dozen rescues, or just a calm and sunny summers day, they remain composed and kind and beyond willing to lend a helping hand to any and everyone who is in need of one.

"They may (have to answer) endless curious questions or (become) someone's saving grace on a day in dire need. They wear many hats and they wear them very well.

"Some of the lifeguards are local and return year after year, summer after summer. Others, travel from Australia (in their off season) every summer as part of the visa program with Destin Fire & Beach Safety; they really are chasing an endless summer. (Others) are local firefighters in season and off-season.

"What I have observed through the lens of my camera is that every Destin lifeguard seems to hold a similar grace of kindness, patience and an intense drive to help and save in any way in which they are called upon to do so. It shows when you speak with them or when you are just at the beach for a summer's day swim and you know that someone is looking out for you.

"It's almost as if the sunshine that soaks into their skin everyday has somehow filled them with its warmth and they in turn radiate it to everyone who surrounds them."