My summer vacation – Day 1 : A visit to Wekiwa State Park and a solo canoe trip down the Wekiwa river where I attempt to paddle, navigate and make photographs, all at the same time, and where success is measured by returning without once falling overboard, with all the gear I left with, and with all my body parts still attached and undamaged (although somewhat sore).
I’ve been to many of the springs in the Central Florida area, but just never got around to going to Wekiwa, so with a few days off, I thought it was about time. I’ve heard a lot about this park and there is a lot of info on the web. You can find out plenty at their main web page . I had visions of capturing “The Shot”. My vision was this: The camera half in the water as a massive gator swims toward me and I make photos from the safety of my canoe. To prepare, I purchased a WP-DC21 underwater housing to protect my Canon G9. See the results below of my search for “The Shot” (go to the galleries to see higher resolution versions of these photos).
What happened you ask? Well, life is a journey, not a destination, and so is photography. I’ll try again for “The Shot” another time. I haven’t been in a canoe for many years – paddling while handling the camera and staying out of the trees is trickier than I thought. And I forgot my raw chicken to lure the gators within camera range. Wekiwa is a great place. Photo tips: Bring an assistant to help paddle. Take sunscreen, you’ll need it. Get there early of course for the best light and to avoid the crowds. Going on a week day will help avoid crowds too. I didn’t see anyone when I got on the river at 9 on a Monday morning, but by the time I came back around 10 or 10:30 there were a few people in canoes and kayaks. You’ll see lots of birds, turtles, gators, fish, and river otters. The river otters move pretty fast so be alert – I almost fell out of the canoe trying to get a photo of them. Here are more of my photos from day 1 .
My summer vacation – Day 2 : Another day break hike through Orlando Wetlands Park
When I made a return visit to this wilderness located 20 miles from downtown Orlando, Florida I was the only human there and once again I felt like I was in a different world far away from everyday concerns. Just what I was looking for. I strolled through a primitive Florida landscape and visited with some varied wildlife including possum, deer, gators, and various birds including herons, hawks, and egrets. It’s close enough to my home so that I can get there by dawn, even in the summer and the sunrise can be very pretty. Here is a link to the first blog post I did about this park. It has some more information and photos.
My summer vacation – Day 3a : A return visit to Black Point Wildlife Drive in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
I’ve been to Black Point Wildlife several times, and although spring time seems to be the best time of the year for viewing wildlife, it is still very pretty in the summer time as long as you go early in the day. I was a bit disappointed at first since I didn’t see much, but to make up for it there were no other people there at all. Toward the end of the drive there were a lot of birds including a flock of spoonbills, although they were far away. Mike Thomas has a blog entry (no longer available) about this place and he mentions gators big enough to eat a Volvo. That should be enough to motivate you to go over there, even if gas is $4! I haven’t seen those particular gators (although I was driving a pickup truck, not a Volvo), but I have seen their little brothers. Here’s a link to a map of the drive.
My summer vacation – Day 3b : A drive down Bio Lab road along Indian River lagoon, where I survive repeated attacks by bloodthirsty monsters!
Mike Thomas also mentions BioLab Road . This is a really pretty drive along the Indian River north of the cape. Lots of birds, gators, and mosquitos here. Make sure you take insect repellent – I didn’t have any and I never even set up my tripod because I couldn’t stay out of my truck long enough. I was swarmed by mosquitos and bitten within a minute or two whenever I got out of the truck. This is a dirt road, but it is pretty well maintained although I did get my truck muddy! Here is a link to a map of the area.
©2008, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.