Contents / Index


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 September 2017, there are over 500 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

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 Search Airstream Ranch on Flickr Airstream Ranch B&W GONE – as of early 2017
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 eagle All year
Barberville, Florida Historical buildings and re-enactments ~ 40 minutes Barberville, Nov 2014 Barberville category Barberville on Flickr The Schoolroom All year
Baseball Spring Training – Kissimmee, Florida Sports stadium, major league baseball ~ 45minutes Spring Training Baseball, March 2013   Baseball Houstons's Brandon Barnes (#2) connects 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 Lady Liberty

All year.

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)

Black Point Search

(Also see Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge)

Blackpoint 1

Blackpoint 2

Blackpoint 3

Sunrise reflections 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 Category Blue Cypress Lake on Flickr Many cypress trees 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 Take a breath Winter for Manatees
Bok Tower – , Florida landscapes, birds, architecture, plants ~90 minutes Bok Tower, October 2012   Bok Tower on Flickr Bok Tower and reflection All year, but spring is best for flowers
Brevard Zoo – Melbourne, Florida  Captive Animals  ~60 minutes  Brevard Zoo   Brevard Zoo on Flickr Muddy Meerkat says "Cheese" All year
Bulow Creek Plantation – , Florida landscapes, architecture,ruins ~90 minutes  Bulow Creek Plantation “Bulow” search Bulow on Flickr Bulow Plantation Ruins All year
Butterfly Rainforest – Gainesville, Florida Butterflies, Flowers & Plants ~ 2 hours Butterfly Rainforest, June 2009   Butterfly gallery Butterfly on flower All year
Canaveral National Seashore – New Smyrna Beach, Fl Ocean, surf, few birds ~ 1 hour Canaveral National Seashore, August 2009   CNS on Flickr CNS_-2 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 Casey Key Sunset 1 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 River Otter 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, November 2010

Circle B search

Circle B Bar on Flickr

Perched, yelling Osprey

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

Port Canaveral – Bahamas

Tampa – Grand Cayman – Cozumel

Alaska 1

Alaska 2

Alaska 3

Arriving in the Cayman Islands at sunrise

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 Lynn gets pretty far ahead 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 Julian Jousse in car #94 Whenever they’re racing
Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Orlando, Fl Many captive animals, scenic displays and attractions, rides ~ 1 hour

Animal Kingdom, May 2009

Animal Kingdom Tag

Animal Kingdom gallery

Animal Kingdom on Flickr

Adult Silverback gorilla profile All year
Disney’s EPCOT – Orlando, Fl Displays, attractions, rides, and occasional special events ~ 1 hour EPCOT, March 2010   EPCOT on Flickr Coke truck 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  Fort Jefferson Interior 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 Old plow and horse 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  

Falling Waters on Flickr

Rainbow Springs on Flickr

Falling Waters State Park sinkhole 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 Fort-Christmas__DSC3956_Old hides on the side of a cabin 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 The end of the day at Fort De Soto 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 Category

Gatorland on Flickr A great blue heron portrait 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 A waterfall in the Everglades portion of the Atrium. 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 Male Wood Duck Eagle  nest: October – May
Haulover Canal – Titusville, Fl.
Dolphins, Manatees, birds ~ 50 minutes Kayaking at Haulover Canal, December 2013 “Haulover”search Haulover on Flickr Manatee swims close by 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 Hillsborough River rapids 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 Brown Pelican in flight All year
Kennedy Space Center – Titusville, Fl Space memorabilia, attractions / rides ~ 1 hour KSC, October 2009  KSC Category KSC on Flickr IMG_0865 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 Dusk, Lake Eola, 8:14pm All year.

Free parking on Sunday.

Lake Jesup Conservation Area – near Sanford, Florida Flowers in late September / early October ~ 20 minutes

Lake Jesup wildflowers

Lake Jesup Category

Lake Jesup on Flickr

Lake Jesup gallery

_DSC3667 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 Pot heads 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 Striped stare 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 Resting behind mom 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 Butterfly 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 Marineland Beach morning 3 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 Forest pond 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 Loggerhead sea turtle laying eggs 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 Florida Scrub Jay watches us 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

OWP, Jun 07

OWP Category

OWP on Flickr – 1

OWP on Flickr – 2

OWP gallery – 1

OWP gallery – 2

OWP gallery – 3

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck in flight 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 Ponce Inlet lighthouse, sunset, bird 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 The suspension bridge over the Ravine All year

Azaleas in February – March.

Seaworld – Orlando, Fl Many aquatic captive animals, wild birds, rides ~ 35 minutes

Seaworld, December, 2007

Seaworld Tag

Seaworld on Flickr

Seaworld gallery 1

Seaworld gallery 2

Seaworld- Seal__DSC3828-nx2 All year
Sebastian Inlet – Fl Birds, landscapes  1 hour, 50 minutes Cocoa and Sebastian, January 2013   Sebastian on Flickr A Magnificent Frigatebird glides overhead 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 Brewing storm 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

Alligator Farm, May, 2007

St. Augustine Category

St. Augustine gallery 1

St. Augustine gallery 2


St. Augustine on Flickr

Lightner Museum 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  

St. Johns on Flickr

The St. Johns River near Blue Springs 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 Lonesome lifeless pine 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, January,  2010

Viera Wetlands Category

Viera Wetlands on Flickr Some winter color in the trees at Viera Wetlands 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 Breaching humpback whale near Juneau
Alaska by cruise ship from Seattle Glaciers, wildlife, mountains, landscapes, culture

Other Alaskan photos



Home from Alaska

Alaska on Flickr Breaching humpback whale near Juneau
Chicago, Illinois Scenic city, parks

Chicago category

Chicago on Flickr Under the L
Cincinnati, Ohio Scenic city, parks

Ohio to Kentucky and back

Cincinnati Christmas

Cincinnati galleryCincinnati photos on Flickr
Evansville, Indiana Casino, Ohio River, Not too far from St. Louis Evansville, Indiana Photo Ops Evansville Gallery

The night time Ohio River at Evansville

North Georgia  Landscapes, waterfalls, hiking  Georgia category Georgia on Flickr

The night time Ohio River at Evansville

Garden of the Gods – Colorado Springs, Colorado Landscapes, rock formations

Denver, Dec 06

Garden of the Gods

Denver on Flickr

Denver, Mar 09

091126_IMG_1095_Dawn in the Garden of the Gods, Thanksgiving day, 2009
Mount Evans, Colorado Wildlife (Elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, marmots, pika, etc), flowers, landscapes

Mt. Evans

Mt. Evans Redux

Mt. Evans gallery Mt. Evans Trees and Flowers
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
SanFran Seal
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
Washington, DC
Landmarks, monuments, museums The National Mall in Washington DCWashington DCDulles Air and Space Museum Washington DC photos on FlickrAir and Space Museum photos Washington Monument
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.

Place Link to articles on another site
Florida Animal Attractions Guide,0,
Scott Simmons places visited
Multiple destinations in Florida
Multiple destinations in Florida
Multiple destinations in Florida
Bird watching / photography sites
Everglades photography sites
Free Time Florida
Florida Rambler

To do

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.

Place What’s there?
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
Fakahatchee strand  
Lake Istokpoga  

This page was last updated on 9/30/2017.

©2007 – 2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.