Welcome to Central Florida Photo Ops – a great place to find out about photography in this area!
I’m a photographer living in Central Florida. My main photography interests are nature / wildlife. I enjoy writing about places around here that I’ve visited and photographed.
In addition to sharing my experiences, I try to make each blog entry helpful to visiting photo enthusiasts by including links to information about the place as well as some hints on what and how to photograph there. I also include some of the photos I’ve taken and links to more photos in galleries so that readers can get a better idea of what’s there and what the photo ops are like.
My hope is that visitors to the Orlando area can use these pages as their “photo scout” resource while they’re here. I also hope that residents will find the information useful.
In addition to the photographic opportunities in the Central Florida Area, I also write about my photo experiences in other areas. These too may be useful to photo enthusiasts.
To help you find what you’re looking for, you can search the blog from the search box on the upper right of every page.
You can also use “Categories” and “Tags” to find entires. Categories are like the table of contents. If you click on the Categories pull down on the right, you can see how I’ve categorized blog entries – most are place names, such as “Orlando Wetlands”. This allows you to filter blog entries by place. The tags are like an index. You can click on each tag to see the associated blog entries – for instance ones that include the “flowers” tag.
This blog has been up and going since May of 2007. As of May 2017, there are 482 published posts covering a broad variety of (mostly) photo related subjects.
With so many entries it’s becoming harder to find information even with categories and tags, so I decided to add this Table of Contents / Index page to organize the photo-op information. I’ve divided it into the four tables below so you can more easily find what you’re looking for:
- Photo Ops in the Florida / Central Florida area
- Photo Ops outside of Florida
- Links to Florida Photo Op info on other Web sites
- To do
If you’re interested in this kind of info on Central Florida, you can also subscribe to this blog, either via your RSS reader or by email. Email subscriptions are easy – just enter your email address and hit the subscribe button over on the right. Your email will only be used to send you a copy of the blog each time there’s a new article. I also have a button on the right to subscribe via RSS.
Although I can’t promise to keep blogging forever, I do very much enjoy it. Comments and constructive criticism on how to improve the blog, or suggestions for places to visit are welcome. And if you have questions on the area, please feel free to ask. I’ve lived here for many years, and just may have the answer you’re looking for. Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d love to hear from you!
Photo Ops in the Central Florida area:
|Place||What’s there?||Travel from Winter Springs||Main Blog||Other Posts||Galleries||Sample photograph||Best time to visit|
|Airstream Ranch – Dover, Florida||A Stonehenge / Cadillac Ranch like arrangement of vintage travel trailers||~90 minutes||Airstream Ranch, March 2013||Airstream Ranch on Flickr||All year|
|Audubon Birds of Prey Center – Maitland, Florida||Captive Birds (eagles, owls, hawks, etc.), some flowers & plants||~ 25 minutes||Audubon Birds of Prey, May 2009||Birds of Prey||All year|
|Barberville, Florida||Historical buildings and re-enactments||~ 40 minutes||Barberville, Nov 2014||Barberville category||Barberville on Flickr||All year|
|Baseball Spring Training – Kissimmee, Florida||Sports stadium, major league baseball||~ 45minutes||Spring Training Baseball, March 2013||Baseball||Late February through March|
|Big Tree Park – Longwood, Florida||Lady Liberty – 2000 year old Cyprus tree.||~ 10 minutes||Big Tree Park – Home of the Senator, September 2011||Big Tree Park Category||Big Tree Park||
Cypress trees may have some color in the fall.
|Black Point Wildlife Drive – Titusville, Florida||Wildlife (birds, gators, wild pigs, Bobcats(?)), some wetlands landscape||~ 1 hour||
No main review / write up, please see the search results (next column)
(Also see Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge)
|Spring and winter for birds.
Year round for landscapes.
|Blue Cypress Lake – Vero Beach, Florida||Cypress trees, landscapes, ospreys, birds||~ 2 hours||Blue Cypress Lake, June 2012||Blue Cypress Lake on Flickr||All year for landscapes.
Ospreys nest March and April.
|Blue Spring State Park – Orange City, Florida||Manatees, Alligators, birds, Thursby House||~ 45 minutes||Blue Spring State Park, January 2014||Blue Spring State Park on Flickr||Winter for Manatees|
|Bok Tower – , Florida||landscapes, birds, architecture, plants||~90 minutes||Bok Tower, October 2012||Bok Tower on Flickr||All year, but spring is best for flowers|
|Brevard Zoo – Melbourne, Florida||Captive Animals||~60 minutes||Brevard Zoo||Brevard Zoo on Flickr||All year|
|Bulow Creek Plantation – , Florida||landscapes, architecture,ruins||~90 minutes||Bulow Creek Plantation||“Bulow” search||Bulow on Flickr||All year|
|Butterfly Rainforest – Gainesville, Florida||Butterflies, Flowers & Plants||~ 2 hours||Butterfly Rainforest, June 2009||Butterfly gallery||All year|
|Canaveral National Seashore – New Smyrna Beach, Fl||Ocean, surf, few birds||~ 1 hour||Canaveral National Seashore, August 2009||CNS on Flickr||Enjoy the beach All year|
|Casey Key – Nokomis, Fl||Gulf, snorkeling, shells, sunsets, fishing, birds||~ 2 hours||Casey Key, September 2010||Casey Key Category||Casey Key on Flickr||Great summertime beach fun|
|Central Florida Zoo – Sanford, Fl||Captive animals, displays and small rides, zip line||~30 minutes||Central Florida Zoo (Sanford)||The Central Florida Zoo in this set on Flickr||Year round, although it’s hot in the summer|
|Circle B Bar Reserve – Lakeland, Fl||Wildlife; many varieties of birds; woodland, marsh, swamp landscapes||~ 1 hour||Circle B Bar on Flickr||Spring and winter for birds.
All year for landscapes.
Burr Marigolds in mid to late November.
|Cruise Ship Photo-Ops – Port Canaveral, Tampa, etc.||Wildlife; birds; landscapes; people; places; culture||varies||Cruise Ship Photo-Ops, April 2012||Cruise category||All year|
|Crystal River, Weeki Wachee, Micanopy, and Cross Creek||Kayaking, manatees, mermaids, old Florida, culture||varies||Crystal River, Weeki Wachee, Micanopy, and Cross Creek||Crystal River on Flickr||Winter is the best time to see manatees|
|Daytona International Speedway – Daytona, Florida||Race cars; people;||Main review, February 2013||Daytona International Speedway on Flickr||Whenever they’re racing|
|Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Orlando, Fl||Many captive animals, scenic displays and attractions, rides||~ 1 hour||All year|
|Disney’s EPCOT – Orlando, Fl||Displays, attractions, rides, and occasional special events||~ 1 hour||EPCOT, March 2010||EPCOT on Flickr||All year (avoid the crowds)
Flower and Garden Festival March – May.
|Dry Tortugas National Park – Dry Tortugas, Fl||Birds, architecture, culture, sea scapes||~7 hour drive to Key West, then ~2 hours on ferry||Dry Tortugas National Park||Dry Tortugas set on Flickr||Spring migration (late April) is best for birds|
|Emeralda Marsh – Lake County, Fl||The crown jewel of bird watching in Lake County – at the right time of year||~ 1 hour||Emeralda Marsh, June 2010||Some of the photos in this set on Flickr||Open to cars mid-February to May on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m|
|Florida Aquarium – Tampa, Fl||Aquariums, exhibits, wild dolphin ride||~75 minutes||Florida Aquarium, Sep 2014||Florida Aquarium on Flickr||All year|
|Florida Waterfalls – Rainbow River and Falling Waters, Fl||Waterfalls and sinkholes||varies||Florida Waterfalls||Check with the Falling Waters ranger about water flow at this park|
|Fort Christmas – Christmas, Fl||Old Florida Settlement||~ 30 minutes||Ft. Christmas, December 2009||Fort Christmas Tag||Ft. Christmas on Flickr||All year|
|Fort De Soto Pinellas county, Fl||Birds, landscapes, beach, pier, kayaking, hiking, old fort, and more||2 hours, 20 minutes||Fort De Soto||Fort De Soto on Flickr||All year, birds especially during migrations|
|Gatorland – Orlando, Fl.
||Gators, and other captive animals, many wild birds at the rookery, zip line||~ 1 hour||
Gatorland, January 2010
|Gatorland on Flickr||See bird nesting guide.
Check Florida resident discounts in the summer.
Early entry program @ 7:30am (Feb – mid June)
|Gaylord Palms – Orlando, Fl.
||Resort hotel, with scenic atrium, etc.||~ 45 minutes||Gaylord Palms, July 2010||Gaylord Palms photo set on Flickr||All year|
|Greenwood Park and Greenwood Cemetery – Orlando, Fl.
||Small park, cemetery next door with a surprising number of wild birds||~ 25 minutes||Greenwood Park and Cemetery, April 2011||Greenwood set on Flickr||Eagle nest: October – May|
|Haulover Canal – Titusville, Fl.
||Dolphins, Manatees, birds||~ 50 minutes||Kayaking at Haulover Canal, December 2013||“Haulover”search||Haulover on Flickr||All year|
|Hillsborough River State Park – Thonotosassa, Fl.
||Award winning state park with Class II rapids||~ 45 minutes||Hillsborough River State Park, September 2013||Hillsborough set on Flickr||All year for landscapes|
|Jetty Park – Cape Canaveral, Fl.
||Jetty, pier, campground, and beach. Many shorebirds and some pelagic species||~ 1+ hours||Jetty Park, Cape Canaveral, January 2012||Jetty Park Category||Jetty Park set on Flickr||All year|
|Kennedy Space Center – Titusville, Fl||Space memorabilia, attractions / rides||~ 1 hour||KSC, October 2009||KSC Category||KSC on Flickr||All year|
|Lake Apopka – Apopka, Florida||Wildlife, some landscapes||~ 1 hour||Lake Apopka Two-fer||LakeApopka on Flickr||Probably best during migration (spring and fall)|
|Lake Eola – Downtown Orlando, Florida||Cityscapes, sunsets, street scenes, some birds||~ 20 minutes||Dusk at Lake Eola, April 2010||Lake Eola Category||Lake Eola set on Flickr||All year.
Free parking on Sunday.
|Lake Jesup Conservation Area – near Sanford, Florida||Flowers in late September / early October||~ 20 minutes||Swamp Sunflowers bloom for ~2 weeks starting in late September|
|Lake Louisa – Clermont, Florida||Landscapes, wildlife, flowers, kayaking, hiking||~45 minutes||Lake Louisa State Park, May 2014||Lake Louisa Category||Lake Louisa set on Flickr.||All year|
|Lake Toho – Kissimmee, Florida||Landscapes, wildlife, kayaking||~ 1 hour||Lake Toho||LakeToho and Kissimmee on Flickr||All year|
|Leu Gardens – Downtown Orlando, Florida||Flowers, plants, landscapes||~ 20 minutes||Orlando’s Leu Gardens, March 2012||Leu Gardens set on Flickr||Spring for the best flowers|
|Lion Country Safari – West Palm, Florida||Drive through safari park, Many captive animals, Interactive exhibits, scenic displays, smaller rides||~3 hours & 45 min.||Lion Country Safary, May 2015||Lion Country Safari on Flickr||All year but winter is the best weather|
|Lowry Park Zoo – Tampa, Florida||Many captive animals, Interactive exhibits, scenic displays, smaller rides||~1 hour & 45 min.||Lowry Park Zoo, March 2013||Lowry Park Zoo on Flickr||All year but winter is the best weather|
|Lukas Nursery Butterfly Encounter – Oviedo, Florida||Flowers, Butterflies, small birds||~ 10 minutes||Butterfly Encounter, October 2010||Butterfly Encounter on Flickr||All year.
Call ahead for an update.
|Marineland Beach – south of St. Augustine, Florida||Landscapes, sunrise||~ 100 minutes||Marineland Beach, January 2014||“Marineland Beach” search||Marineland Beach on Flickr||Sunrise is later in the winter; High tide is best for water motion|
|Mead Gardens – downtown Orlando, Florida||Flowers and birds, some landscapes||~ 20 minutes||Mead Gardens, November 2012||Mead Gardens on Flickr||Spring for bird migration and flowers|
|Melbourne Beach – Sea Turtle Preservation Society Turtle Walk||Nesting Loggerhead turtles, beach scapes, nearby bird sanctuaries||~90 minutes||Melbourne Beach Turtle Walk||Melbourne Beach on Flickr||Nesting season peaks in June and July. Go on a full moon for photography|
|Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge– Titusville, Fl (Blackpoint Wildlife Drive, Scrub Ridge Trail, Bio-Lab Road, Shiloh Marsh Road, Visitors Center, etc.)||Wildlife (birds, gators, deer, raccoons, otters, wild pigs, etc), some wetlands landscapes||~ 50 minutes||MINWR – Fall is here!, October 2011||MINWR Category
(Also see Black Point Wild Life Drive)
|MINWR||Spring and winter for birds.
Year round for landscapes.
Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival in late January
|Downtown Orlando– Orlando, Fl||Architecture, street photography, trains, parks, concerts, wildlife, flowers||~30 minutes||Downtown category||Downtown category||Orlando on Flickr||All year|
|Orlando Wetlands Park – Orlando, Fl||Wildlife (many birds, gators, deer, raccoons, otters, etc), some wetlands landscapes||~ 30 minutes||Closed 11/15 – 1/31.
Spring and winter for birds.
Alligators breed starting in April. Young stay with mother for 6 months.
|Paynes Prairie – Gainesville, Florida||Wildlife (Bison, wild horses, many gators, many birds including whooping cranes)||~ 2 hours||Paynes Prarie, April 2008||Paynes Praries gallery||Alligators breed starting in April. Young stay with mother for 6 months.|
|Ponce Inlet Beach and lighthouse – Ponce Inlet, Florida||Shore birds, surfers, sunsets, lighthouse||~ 1 hour||Lighthouse and Night Photos, August 2010||Ponce Inlet Gallery on Flickr||All year|
|Ravine Gardens State Park – Palatka, Florida||Azaleas, Rose Garden, Ravine, Suspension Bridge||~ 2 hours||Ravine Gardens, June 2010||Ravine Gardens Category||Ravine Gardens set on Flickr||All year
Azaleas in February – March.
|Seaworld – Orlando, Fl||Many aquatic captive animals, wild birds, rides||~ 35 minutes||All year|
|Sebastian Inlet – Fl||Birds, landscapes||1 hour, 50 minutes||Cocoa and Sebastian, January 2013||Sebastian on Flickr||All year|
|Shingle Creek – Fl||Landscapes, wildlife, kayaking, historical buildings||Reflecting on headwaters||Shingle CreekCategory||Shingle Creek on Flickr||All year|
|Silver Springs – Fl||Landscapes, wildlife, kayaking, historical buildings||Silver Springs, July 2014||Silver Springs on Flickr||All year|
|South Florida, The Everglades, and the Florida Keys||Birds, animals, landscapes||~7 hours||South Florida, the Everglades and the Florida Keys||South Florida, Everglades, and Keys on Flickr||Go when it’s cool|
|St. Augustine, Fl. & the Alligator Farm||Gators, and other captive animals, many wild birds at the rookery, old town, Ft. Matanzas, lighthouse, many other attractions, zip line||~ 2 hours||All year
See bird nesting guide.
Check Florida resident discounts in the summer.
Check on yearly Photo Pass (has early entry to the rookery March – mid July 15, 2012
|St. Johns River – near Deland, Florida||Water landscapes and wildlife||~ 40 minutes||St. Johns River, September, 2010||All year|
|St. Joseph Peninsula State Park and the Panhandle – Florida||Landscapes, beaches, fishing, kayaking, birding, wildlife||6 + hours||A short trip to St. Joseph Peninsula State Park||Florida Panhandld on Flickr||All year, although it can be crowded in season|
|Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area – Christmas, Florida||Birds and other wildlife, variety of Florida landscapes||~ 1 hour||
Exploring Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area, March 2014
|Tosohatche on Flickr||Spring and winter for birds.All year for landscapes.
Roads may close to vehicles after hard rain.
|Viera Wetlands – Melbourne, Florida||Many birds, some gators||~ 1 hour||Viera Wetlands on Flickr||Spring and winter for birds.
Alligators breed starting in April. Young stay with mother for 6 months.
Road may close to vehicles after hard rain.
|Wakula Springs State park -Wakula Springs, Florida||Landscapes, historic buildings, swimming, wildlife, birds||4+ hours||Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park||Florida Panhandld on Flickr||All year|
|Winter Park, Florida|
Photo Ops outside of Florida:
|Place||What’s there?||Blog Entry||Galleries|
|Acadia National Park, Bar Harbour, Maine||Landscapes,lighthouses,wildlife,lobster||Main category||Maine on Flickr|
|Alaska by cruise ship from Seattle||Glaciers, wildlife, mountains, landscapes, culture||Alaska on Flickr|
|Chicago, Illinois||Scenic city, parks||Chicago on Flickr|
|Cincinnati, Ohio||Scenic city, parks||Cincinnati galleryCincinnati photos on Flickr|
|Evansville, Indiana||Casino, Ohio River, Not too far from St. Louis||Evansville, Indiana Photo Ops||Evansville Gallery|
|North Georgia||Landscapes, waterfalls, hiking||Georgia category||Georgia on Flickr|
|Garden of the Gods – Colorado Springs, Colorado||Landscapes, rock formations|
|Mount Evans, Colorado||Wildlife (Elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, marmots, pika, etc), flowers, landscapes||Mt. Evans gallery|
|San Francisco, California and Muir Woods||Very scenic city, major photo ops close by||San Franciso and Muir Woods||San Francisco gallery
Muir Woods gallery
|Shenandoah National Park, Virginia||Scenic vistas and landscapes, waterfalls, wildlife, hiking||Vacation, Part 2: Shenandoah National Park||Shenandoah on Flickr|
|Wisconsin||Scenic countryside||WisconsinThanksgiving in Wisconsin||Port Washington galleryWisconsin photos on Flickr|
||Landmarks, monuments, museums||The National Mall in Washington DCWashington DCDulles Air and Space Museum||Washington DC photos on FlickrAir and Space Museum photos|
|Yosemite, California||Premier landscape photo ops, wildlife||Yosemite||Yosemite gallery|
Links to Florida Photo Op info on other Web sites:
Here are some links to articles that I’ve found on other web sites describing Florida Photo Ops.
A list of locations that I hope to report on in the future. I’ll add to this list as I hear about and visit more spots in the area.
|Lake Woodruff||Birds, landscapes|
|Big Cypress National Preserve||Landscapes, wildlife|
|Highlands Hammock State Park||Old growth oak and cypress forest, swamp|
|Ralph Chisolm Park in Narcoossee|
|Little Big Econ State Forest||Hiking, kayaking, hunting, wildlife, birds, camping, …|
|Shired Island, Florida||“Darkest site east of the Mississippi” – star photos|
This page was last updated on 10/10/2015.
©2007 – 2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.