Welcome to Central Florida Photo Ops – a great place to find out about photography in our 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 both locals and visitors to the Orlando area find the information useful and can use these pages as their “photo scout” resource while they’re here.

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 “Places (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.  I use tags 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 January 2018, there are over 521 published posts covering a broad variety of (mostly) photo related subjects.

With so many entries it’s become hard to find information even with categories and tags, so I decided to add this Table of Contents 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 the 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.  Use your RSS reader 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 via the contact form.

I’d love to hear from you!

Photo Ops in the Central Florida area:

PlaceWhat's there?Travel from Winter SpringsMain BlogOther PostsGalleriesSample photographBest time to visit
Airstream Ranch - Dover, FloridaA Stonehenge / Cadillac Ranch like arrangement of vintage travel trailers90 minutesAirstream Ranch, March 2013 Airstream Ranch SearchAirstream Ranch on FlickrAirstream Ranch B&WGONE - as of early 2017
Audubon Birds of Prey Center - Maitland, FloridaCaptive Birds (eagles, owls, hawks, etc.), some flowers & plants25 minutesAudubon Birds of Prey, May 2009Birds of PreyeagleAll year
Barberville, FloridaHistorical buildings and re-enactments40 minutesBarberville, Nov 2014Barberville categoryBarberville on FlickrThe SchoolroomAll year
Baseball Spring Training - Kissimmee, FloridaSports stadium, major league baseball45 minutesSpring Training Baseball, March 2013BaseballHoustons's Brandon Barnes (#2) connectsLate February through March
Big Tree Park - Longwood, FloridaLady Liberty - 2000 year old Cyprus tree.10 minutesBig Tree Park - Home of the Senator, September 2011 Big Tree Park CategoryBig Tree ParkLady LibertyAll year.
Cypress trees may have some color in the fall.
Black Point Wildlife Drive - Titusville, FloridaWildlife (birds, gators, wild pigs, Bobcats(?)), some wetlands landscape1 hourNo 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 reflectionsSpring and winter for birds.
Year round for landscapes.
Blue Cypress Lake - Vero Beach, FloridaCypress trees, landscapes, ospreys, birds2 hoursBlue Cypress Lake, June 2012 Blue Cypress Lake CategoryBlue Cypress Lake on FlickrMany cypress treesAll year for landscapes.
Ospreys nest March and April.
Blue Spring State Park - Orange City, FloridaManatees, Alligators, birds, Thursby House45 minutesBlue Spring State Park, January 2014Blue Spring State Park on FlickrTake a breathWinter for Manatees
Bok Tower - , Floridalandscapes, birds, architecture, plants90 minutesBok Tower, October 2012Bok Tower on FlickrBok Tower and reflectionAll year, but spring is best for flowers
Brevard Zoo - Melbourne, FloridaCaptive Animals60 minutesBrevard ZooBrevard Zoo on FlickrMuddy Meerkat says "Cheese"All year
Bulow Creek Plantation - , Floridalandscapes, architecture,ruins90 minutes Bulow Creek Plantation"Bulow" searchBulow on FlickrBulow Plantation RuinsAll year
Butterfly Rainforest - Gainesville, FloridaButterflies, Flowers & Plants2 hoursButterfly Rainforest, June 2009Butterfly galleryButterfly on flowerAll year
Canaveral National Seashore - New Smyrna Beach, FlOcean, surf, few birds1 hourCanaveral National Seashore, August 2009CNS on FlickrCNS_-2Enjoy the beach All year
Casey Key - Nokomis, FlGulf, snorkeling, shells, sunsets, fishing, birds2 hoursCasey Key, September 2010Casey Key CategoryCasey Key on FlickrCasey Key Sunset 1Great summertime beach fun
Central Florida Zoo - Sanford, FlCaptive animals,  displays and small rides, zip line30 minutesCentral Florida Zoo (Sanford)The Central Florida Zoo in this set on FlickrRiver OtterYear round, although it's hot in the summer
Circle B Bar Reserve - Lakeland, FlWildlife; many varieties of birds; woodland, marsh, swamp landscapes1 hourCircle B Bar, November 2010
Circle B search
Circle B Bar on FlickrPerched, 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
variesCruise Ship Photo-Ops, April 2012Cruise categoryPort 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 CreekKayaking, manatees, mermaids, old Florida, culturevariesCrystal River, Weeki Wachee, Micanopy, and Cross Creek Crystal River on FlickrLynn gets pretty far aheadWinter is the best time to see manatees
Daytona International Speedway - Daytona, FloridaRace cars
50 minutesMain review, February 2013Daytona International Speedway on FlickrJulian Jousse in car #94Whenever they're racing
Disney's Animal Kingdom - Orlando, FlMany captive animals, scenic displays and attractions, rides1 hourAnimal Kingdom, May 2009
Animal Kingdom Tag

Animal Kingdom gallery

Animal Kingdom on Flickr

Adult Silverback gorilla profileAll year
Disney's EPCOT - Orlando, FlDisplays, attractions, rides, and occasional special events1 hourEPCOT, March 2010EPCOT on FlickrCoke truckAll year (avoid the crowds)
Flower and Garden Festival March – May.
Downtown Orlando- Orlando, FlArchitecture, street photography, trains, parks, concerts, wildlife, flowers30 minutes Downtown category Downtown category Orlando on Flickr All year
Dry Tortugas National Park - Dry Tortugas, FlBirds, architecture, culture, sea scapes7 hour drive to Key West,
Then ~2 hours on ferry
Dry Tortugas National ParkDry Tortugas set on Flickr Fort Jefferson InteriorSpring migration (late April) is best for birds
Emeralda Marsh - Lake County, FlThe crown jewel of bird watching in Lake County - at the right time of year1 hourEmeralda Marsh, June 2010Some of the photos in this set on FlickrOld plow and horseOpen to cars  mid-February to May on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m
Florida Aquarium - Tampa, FlAquariums, exhibits, wild dolphin ride75 minutesFlorida Aquarium, Sep 2014Florida Aquarium on FlickrAll year
Florida Waterfalls - Rainbow River and Falling Waters, FlWaterfalls and sinkholesvariesFlorida Waterfalls

Falling Waters on Flickr

Rainbow Springs on Flickr

Falling Waters State Park sinkholeCheck with the Falling Waters ranger about water flow at this park
Fort Christmas - Christmas, FlOld Florida Settlement30 minutes Ft. Christmas, December 2009Fort Christmas Tag Ft. Christmas on FlickrFort-Christmas__DSC3956_Old hides on the side of a cabinAll year
Fort De Soto Pinellas county, FlBirds, landscapes, beach, pier,  kayaking, hiking, old fort, and more2 hours, 20 minutesFort De SotoFort De Soto on FlickrThe end of the day at Fort De SotoAll year, birds especially during migrations
Gatorland - Orlando, Fl.
Gators, and other captive animals, many wild birds at the rookery, zip line1 hour

Gatorland, January 2010

Gatorland Category Gatorland on FlickrA great blue heron portraitSee 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 minutesGaylord Palms, July 2010Gaylord Palms photo set on FlickrA 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 birds25 minutesGreenwood Park and Cemetery, April 2011Greenwood set on FlickrMale Wood DuckEagle  nest: October - May
Haulover Canal - Titusville, Fl.
Dolphins, Manatees, birds50 minutesKayaking at Haulover Canal, December 2013"Haulover"searchHaulover on FlickrManatee swims close byAll year
Hillsborough River State Park - Thonotosassa, Fl.
Award winning state park with Class II rapids45 minutesHillsborough River State Park, September 2013Hillsborough set on FlickrHillsborough River rapidsAll year for landscapes
Jetty Park - Cape Canaveral, Fl.
Jetty, pier, campground, and beach.  Many shorebirds and some pelagic species1+ hoursJetty Park, Cape Canaveral, January 2012Jetty Park CategoryJetty Park  set on FlickrBrown Pelican in flightAll year
Kennedy Space Center - Titusville, FlSpace memorabilia, attractions / rides1 hourKSC, October 2009 KSC CategoryKSC on FlickrIMG_0865All year
Lake Apopka - Apopka, FloridaWildlife, some landscapes1 hour Lake Apopka Two-ferLake Apopka CategoryLakeApopka on FlickrProbably best during migration (spring and fall)
Lake Eola - Downtown Orlando, FloridaCityscapes, sunsets, street scenes, some birds20 minutesDusk at Lake Eola, April 2010Lake Eola CategoryLake Eola set on FlickrDusk, Lake Eola, 8:14pmAll year.
Free parking on Sunday.
Lake Jesup Conservation Area - near Sanford, FloridaFlowers in late September / early October20 minutesLake Jesup wildflowers

Lake Jesup Category

Lake Jesup on Flickr

Lake Jesup gallery

_DSC3667Swamp Sunflowers bloom for ~2 weeks starting in late September
Lake Louisa - Clermont, FloridaLandscapes, wildlife, flowers, kayaking, hiking45 minutesLake Louisa State Park, May 2014 Lake Louisa Category Lake Louisa set on Flickr.All year
Lake Toho - Kissimmee, FloridaLandscapes, wildlife, kayaking1 hour Lake TohoLakeToho and Kissimmee on FlickrAll year
Leu Gardens - Downtown Orlando, FloridaFlowers, plants, landscapes20 minutesOrlando’s Leu Gardens, March 2012Leu Gardens set on FlickrPot headsSpring for the best flowers
Lion Country Safari - West Palm, FloridaDrive through safari park, Many captive animals, Interactive exhibits, scenic displays, smaller rides3 hours & 45 min.Lion Country Safary, May 2015Lion Country Safari on FlickrStriped stareAll year but winter is the best weather
Lowry Park Zoo - Tampa, FloridaMany captive animals, Interactive exhibits, scenic displays, smaller rides1 hour & 45 min.Lowry Park Zoo, March 2013Lowry Park Zoo on FlickrResting behind momAll year but winter is the best weather
Lukas Nursery Butterfly Encounter - Oviedo, FloridaFlowers, Butterflies, small birds10 minutesButterfly Encounter, October 2010Butterfly Encounter on FlickrButterflyAll year.
Call ahead for an update.
Marineland Beach - south of St. Augustine, FloridaLandscapes, sunrise100 minutesMarineland Beach, January 2014"Marineland Beach" search Marineland Beach on FlickrMarineland Beach morning 3Sunrise is later in the winter
High tide is best for water motion
Mead Gardens - downtown Orlando, FloridaFlowers and birds, some landscapes20 minutes Mead Gardens, November 2012 Mead Gardens on FlickrForest pondSpring for bird migration and flowers
Melbourne Beach - Sea Turtle Preservation Society Turtle WalkNesting Loggerhead turtles, beach scapes, nearby bird sanctuaries90 minutesMelbourne Beach Turtle Walk Melbourne Beach on FlickrLoggerhead sea turtle laying eggsNesting 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 landscapes50 minutesMINWR - Fall is here!, October 2011MINWR Category
(Also see Black Point Wild Life Drive)
MINWRFlorida Scrub Jay watches usSpring and winter for birds.
Year round for landscapes.
Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival in late January
Orlando Wetlands Park - Orlando, FlWildlife (many birds, gators, deer, raccoons, otters, etc), some wetlands landscapes30 minutesOWP, 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 flightClosed  11/15 - 1/31.
Spring and winter for birds.
Alligators breed starting in April.  Young stay with mother for 6 months.
Paynes Prairie - Gainesville, FloridaWildlife (Bison, wild horses, many gators, many birds including whooping cranes)2 hoursPaynes Prarie, April 2008 Paynes Praries galleryAlligators breed starting in April.  Young stay with mother for 6 months.
Ponce Inlet Beach and lighthouse - Ponce Inlet, FloridaShore birds, surfers, sunsets, lighthouse1 hourLighthouse and Night Photos, August 2010 Ponce Inlet Gallery on FlickrPonce Inlet lighthouse, sunset, birdAll year
Ravine Gardens State Park - Palatka, FloridaAzaleas, Rose Garden, Ravine, Suspension Bridge2 hoursRavine Gardens, June 2010Ravine Gardens CategoryRavine Gardens set on FlickrThe suspension bridge over the RavineAll year
Azaleas in February – March.
Seaworld - Orlando, FlMany aquatic captive animals, wild birds, rides35 minutesSeaworld, December, 2007
Seaworld Tag

Seaworld on Flickr

Seaworld gallery 1

Seaworld gallery 2

Seaworld- Seal__DSC3828-nx2All year
Sebastian Inlet - FlBirds, landscapes1 hour, 50 minutesCocoa and Sebastian, January 2013Sebastian on FlickrA Magnificent Frigatebird glides overheadAll year
Shingle Creek - FlLandscapes, wildlife, kayaking, historical buildingsReflecting on headwatersShingle CreekCategoryShingle Creek on Flickr All year
Silver Springs - FlLandscapes, wildlife, kayaking, historical buildings Silver Springs, July 2014Silver Springs on Flickr  All year
South Florida, The Everglades, and the Florida KeysBirds, animals, landscapes7 hours South Florida, the Everglades and the Florida Keys South Florida, Everglades, and Keys on FlickrBrewing stormGo when it's cool
St. Augustine, Fl. & the Alligator FarmGators, and other captive animals, many wild birds at the rookery, old town, Ft. Matanzas, lighthouse, many other attractions, zip line2 hoursAlligator Farm, May, 2007
St. Augustine Category

St. Augustine gallery 1

St. Augustine gallery 2


St. Augustine on Flickr

Lightner MuseumAll 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, FloridaWater landscapes and wildlife40 minutesSt. Johns River, September, 2010 

St. Johns on Flickr

The St. Johns River near Blue SpringsAll year
St. Joseph Peninsula State Park and the Panhandle - FloridaLandscapes, beaches, fishing, kayaking, birding, wildlife6 + hoursA short trip to St. Joseph Peninsula State Park  Florida Panhandld on FlickrAll year, although it can be crowded in season
Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area - Christmas, FloridaBirds and other wildlife, variety of Florida landscapes1 hourExploring Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area, March 2014
Tosohatche on FlickrLonesome lifeless pineSpring and winter for birds.All year for landscapes.
Roads may close to vehicles after hard rain.
Viera Wetlands - Melbourne, FloridaMany birds, some gators1 hourViera Wetlands, January,  2010
Viera Wetlands Category
Viera Wetlands on FlickrSome winter color in the trees at Viera WetlandsSpring 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, FloridaLandscapes, historic buildings, swimming, wildlife, birds4+ hoursEdward Ball Wakulla Springs State ParkFlorida Panhandld on Flickr All year
Photo Ops in Central Florida was last modified on January 16, 2018

Photo Ops outside of Florida:

PlaceWhat's there?Blog EntryGalleries
Acadia National Park, Bar Harbour, MaineLandscapes,lighthouses,wildlife,lobsterMaine category Maine on FlickrA calm morning on Bubble Pond
Alaska Cruises, Glaciers, wildlife, mountains, landscapes, cultureAlaska CategoryAlaska on FlickrBreaching humpback whale near Juneau
Chicago, IllinoisScenic city, parksChicago categoryChicago on FlickrUnder the L
Cincinnati, OhioScenic city, parksOhio to Kentucky and back

Cincinnati Christmas
Cincinnati galleryCincinnati photos on Flickr
Death Valley National Park, CaliforniaLandscapes, vistas, wildlifeDeath Valley CategoryDeath Valley on FlickrMorning at Mesquite Dunes
Evansville, IndianaCasino, Ohio River, Not too far from St. LouisEvansville, Indiana Photo OpsEvansville GalleryThe night time Ohio River at Evansville
Garden of the Gods - Colorado Springs, ColoradoLandscapes, rock formationsDenver, 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
GeorgiaLandscapes, waterfalls, hiking Georgia categoryGeorgia on FlickrThe night time Ohio River at Evansville
Mount Evans, ColoradoWildlife (Elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, marmots, pika, etc), flowers, landscapesMt. Evans

Mt. Evans Redux
Mt. Evans galleryMt. Evans Trees and Flowers
San Francisco, California and Muir WoodsVery scenic city, major photo ops close bySan Franciso and Muir WoodsSan Francisco gallery
Muir Woods gallery
SanFran Seal
Shenandoah National Park, VirginiaScenic vistas and landscapes, waterfalls, wildlife, hikingShenandoah search on the blogShenandoah on FlickrBig Meadows Milky Way
Washington, DC
Landmarks, monuments, museumsWashington DC CategoryWashington DC photos on FlickrAir and Space Museum photosWashington Monument
WisconsinScenic countrysideWisconsin CategoryPort Washington galleryWisconsin photos on Flickr
Yosemite, CaliforniaPremier landscape photo ops, wildlifeYosemiteYosemite gallery
Photo Ops Outside Florida was last modified on January 16, 2018

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.

PlaceLink to articles on another site
Bird watching / photography sites
Everglades photography sites
Florida Animal Attractions Guide,0,
Florida Rambler
Free Time Florida
Multiple destinations in Florida
Multiple destinations in Florida
Multiple destinations in Florida
Scott Simmons places visited
Links to Florida Photo Op info on other Web sites last updated January 16, 2018

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.

PlaceWhat's there?
Lake WoodruffBirds, landscapes
Big Cypress National PreserveLandscapes, wildlife
Highlands Hammock State ParkOld growth oak and cypress forest, swamp
Ralph Chisolm Park in Narcoossee
Little Big Econ State ForestHiking, kayaking, hunting, wildlife, birds, camping, ...
Shired Island, Florida"Darkest site east of the Mississippi" - star photos
Fakahatchee strand
Lake Istokpoga
Locations that I hope to report on in the future last updated January 16, 2018

The Central Florida Photo Ops Content Page was last updated in January, 2018.©2007 – 2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.