Tag Archives: cabin

Lion Country Safari

Intro / Description

I’d heard about Lion Country Safari and I’ve wanted to visit for a while.  Lynn and I finally got a chance to go last week.

“Lion Country Safari is a drive-through safari park located in Loxahatchee (near West Palm Beach), in Palm Beach County, Florida. Founded in 1967, it claims to be the first ‘cageless zoo’ in the United States.  In 2009, USA Travel Guide named Lion Country the 3rd best zoo in the nation.”  Wikipedia’s Lion Country Safari Page

Striped stareStriped stare

There are about 5 miles of paved roads running through several large areas divided by water and fences with more than 1,000 animals throughout.  I haven’t been to Africa, but it seems like a wonderful place to get a small taste of what safari might be like.

Info for Photographers

Rhino napRhino nap

Access for photographers is excellent.  It’s similar in some ways to Animal Kingdom in Orlando.  The photo ops for most of the large African animals  are better than the safari ride at Animal Kingdom.  At Lion Country Safari you go at your own pace in your own car.  At Animal Kingdom, you’re in a vehicle with others that you have no control over and most of the time you’ll have to shoot from the moving / shaking vehicle.  That said, Animal Kingdom does have some animals that Lion country Safari doesn’t have and in some cases with much better photography access.

Photo hints:


You’re cautioned to drive slowly and not stop too close to the animals.  You’re also supposed to keep your doors locked and windows shut at all times.  I did cheat and one of the rangers yelled at me on a loudspeaker – “Close your window right now!”.  I did, of course and felt a little embarrassed.  The ranger probably would have been embarrassed too if she knew she yelled at the Central Florida Photo Ops lead writer!

When we drove through the zebra herd, I was a little leery of stopping behind any of them – I believe they have a very powerful kick.  But in general we felt very safe and I didn’t have any problems positioning the car for the shots I wanted.

Tripod/Monopod:  Nope.  You’ll be in your vehicle – so they aren’t useful.

Lenses:  Long lenses are good, although the animals are very close at times.  You’ll do fine if you have at least a 200mm equivalent lens.  Zooms are also very helpful to frame your composition from inside your car.  Unless it’s very overcast you should have plenty of light, but you’ll want to use a wide open aperture to blur out distracting detail (e.g. fences, etc.) and to keep your shutter speed high.

Best time to visit:  The animals are most active early in the morning.  Plan to drive through at least twice (no extra charge):  the light and the animals activities / positions will change.


The entrance fee is $31, although you can find discount coupons on-line.  This includes both the drive through safari park as well as the walk through safari and amusement park areas.  Lynn and I didn’t really explore the amusement park side, for more info on this, please see the Lion Country Safari web page.

We stayed at Jonathan Dickenson State Park in Jupiter, Florida in one of their small cabins and it made a great base of operations for exploring the area.

Our cabin at Johnathan Dickenson State Park

Our base of operations at Jonathan Dickenson State Park


We both liked Lion Country Safari.  The animals all seemed well fed, healthy, and even interested in the visitors.  They do animal rehabilitation, sanctuary, and research and seem to take very good care of the residents.  It’s one of the best zoos I’ve been to and I wish I’d gone sooner.  You can see more Lion Country Safari photos in this set on Flickr.

My Gallery /  Flickr photo set:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/sets/72157650144549843
Website:  http://www.lioncountrysafari.com
Address / Phone: 2003 Lion Country Safari Rd
Loxahatchee, FL 33470
(561) 793-1084
Central Florida Photo Ops Rating:  A Central Florida Photo Op must do!


On a different subject, this blog celebrated its 8th birthday last week – the first post was published on May 4th, 2007.  That’s a long time ago in web years!  I hope that my photography and writing has improved at least a little since then.  Many thanks to everyone stopping by to read the articles and comment on them. It really helps to motivate me!

Now – go make some photos!

©2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Pioneer Settlement at Barberville

The Pioneer Settlement for the Creative Arts in Barberville, Florida was founded in 1976. Lynn and I first went there when our kids were little – sometime in the 1980s. It’s grown a lot since then and the non-profit organization that runs it has kept it up and added many more buildings and displays than I remember.

Three of us from the retired chapter of the Photography Interest Group went over on November 19th.  The centerpiece of the campus is the original Barberville High School.

The Schoolroom
The Schoolroom – This is in the Barberville Central High School, built in 1909.  It was added to the National Register for Historic Places in 2002.  The window light and the wooden floors and desks were lovely the morning we were there.

The photos in this post are from just four of the buildings / displays that you can tour.  There are 22 in all.  I have photos of several more that I haven’t processed yet.  As I finish them, I’ll add them to this Barberville set on Flickr.

The store below was originally at the turpentine operation in Bakersburg, Florida.  It was moved to Barberville in 1984.

The H. L. Wynn Country Store
The H. L. Wynn Country Store – Get your insurance and your livestock feed, all in one place!

The only building at Barberville that isn’t from Florida is the log cabin.  It was built by Mr. Jim Lewis in 1875 in southern Georgia, and moved to Barberville in 1992.

Log Cabin Porch
Log Cabin Porch – complete with laundry!

The blacksmith’s shop was built in 1987.  The Florida Artist Blacksmith Association uses it for their monthly meetings and to work on their projects.

Tools of the trade
Tools of the trade – I love the huge bellows and the overwhelming number of tools available.

Check out the Pioneer Village web site for much more information.  They have many special events scheduled including their upcoming annual “Florida Christmas remembered”.  I think it’s worth another visit back to see the decorations.

Barberville is only about an hour from Orlando – right where SR 40 crosses US 17.  It’s well worth the trip.  If you have kids, they’ll like the exhibits, demonstrations, and animals.  Adults will enjoy seeing how Floridians used to live.  And as a photographer, it’s another “target rich environment”.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Silver Springs State Park

Intro / Description

I spent some time at Silver Springs State Park in late May.  This is Florida’s newest park, created in October of last year when the former Silver Springs and Wild Waters commercial attractions were merged with Silver River State Park.  Lynn and I used to visit when our kids were younger and the commercial attractions were going strong.  But that was a while ago and it’s a different place now.

Silver Springs headwaters, view 2
Silver Springs headwaters – A glass bottom boat returns to the dock before a storm

Florida’s renovating Wild Waters and has already re-opened some of the water rides.  The Glass Bottom Boats still run in the Silver Springs area, although the jungle river boat tour and antique car museum that I remember from past years are gone.  It’s a little soon to say what the park will look like after the state is finished merging the areas together, but it always was and still is a fine place to visit.

Info for Photographers

Photo hints:

There are hiking and biking trails throughout the park, but I think the real attraction is the water.  You can rent canoes and kayaks or bring your own, and there are several places to put in.  I used the launch close to the headwaters.  It’s a short paddle to the main spring.  It’s also very close to the Fort King paddle trail (where the Jungle Cruise used to go) which is open to paddlers now for the first time since the 1800s!

In addition to the put in I used (off the Silver Springs parking lot) there’s also one inside the main park, but it’s about a 1/2 mile carry to the water – too far for me!  One other place you can put in is at Ray Wayside Park where you can paddle upstream to the spring.   Silver Springs also offers guided kayak tours and a shuttle service to / from Ray Wayside.

A view from my kayak
A view from my kayak – Along the Fort King paddle trail near the Silver Springs headwaters

Here are a couple of articles from other sites about paddling at Silver Springs.  Take a look – they like it as much as I do!

If you can’t go on a paddle, at least ride the glass bottom boat or take an air boat excursion.  You’ll get to see more of the scenery and wildlife than you can from the land.

Airboat ride on the Silver river

Airboat ride on the Silver river

Tripod/Monopod:  I did have mine, but didn’t use it as much as I thought I would.  It’s a very wooded area and landscape opportunities aren’t as numerous as they are in some other places.

Lenses:  Bring what you can carry.  I got the most use out of a normal range zoom (~24-70), but longer and wider would be nice to have in your bag if you need them.  If you have any waterproof equipment, bring it for paddling expeditions.

Best time to visit:  It’s starts getting very warm in May and doesn’t cool off until September or October, so plan accordingly.  If you’re going on the rides at the water park or kayaking, the heat is a bit more tolerable.  I went during the week.  Weekends will be crowded.


There’s a variety of wildlife, but not as much as some other locations in Central Florida.  For instance eBird lists 112 species at Silver Springs vs 293 in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.   I spotted Ospreys, Cardinals, Black Vultures, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, a few wading birds, Alligators, Deer, Turtles, Cormorants (on the water and in nests, and one swimming underwater), Barred Owls (calls and one in flight), Hawks and a few other species.  There are recent reports of Manatees in the springs.  And although I didn’t find any, there’s a troop of feral rhesus macaque monkeys  descended from ones let loose in the 1930s.

Typical Turtle
Typical Turtle – Along the the Fort King paddle trail near the Silver Springs headwaters

The River side of the park is home to the Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center (open to the public on weekends and holidays).  Tours through the pioneer cracker village are offered once a month, except in the summer.  You’ll have to call the park for details.

Cracker cabin
Cracker cabin

Finally, 60 campsites are available along with 10 very nice, two bedroom cabins.  I’d recommend staying for one or two nights so you have some time to explore.  There are also several other great areas nearby including the Ocala National Forest, Rainbow Springs State Park, Juniper Springs Recreation Area, and Salt Springs Recreation Area.


Click on any of these photos to go to Flickr where you can see larger versions.  My Silver Springs album on Flickr includes these and a few other  photos.

Silver Springs State Park is a wonderful place to visit and an especially wonderful place to paddle!

My Gallery /  Flickr photo set:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/sets/72157644924434114
Website: https://www.floridastateparks.org/silversprings
Address / Phone: 1425 N.E. 58th Avenue, Ocala, Florida 34470(352) 236-7148
Central Florida Photo Ops Rating:  A Central Florida Photo Op must do!

P.S. – In the good news department, it looks like those of you that subscribe to the blog via email are getting the updates.  If you’re having any issues, please let me know.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Now, go make some photos!

©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

A quick visit to Fort Christmas

Lynn wanted to take Christmas cards to the Christmas, Florida post office to be postmarked.  So we drove over there this morning and dropped them off.

On the way back, we stopped for a few minutes at the Fort Christmas Historical Park.  Here’s a few of the photos I made while we were there.  We’ll have to re-visit this place when we have more time.  There’s definitely some interesting photo opportunities lurking about, and I’ll report on them once I have a chance to explore.

Fort-Christmas_DSC3964_The washroom on the porch - B&W

The laundry area on the porch

Fort-Christmas__DSC3956_Old hides on the side of a cabin

A shed out behind an old cabin.  Animal hides hanging on the walls.

Fort-Christmas_IMG_0190_Sleeping quarters

A bedroom in one of the cabins.

I also took this photo of Crepe Myrtle berries and leaves this morning before we left. There’s so little fall color in Florida, that this caught our eyes.
Fort-Christmas_DSC3951_Crepe Myrtle berries and leaves - autum in Florida

All content ©2009, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Three Letter Acronyms For Success (TAS), TAS #2: GAS

OK, gentle reader, our first TAS was HAC – Have a clue . So, once you have a clue, what’s next?

What’s the next thing you need to do to be successful in life and also in photography?  TAS #2 is GAS.  We’ll use the family friendly version here, which is GAH or “Give a Hoot”. In other words, care about your photography, be passionate, be motivated, take all the knowledge you’ve acquired and apply it.  Get out there and make some photographs!

Are you a “serious” photographer? I don’t mean serious as in don’t have any fun with it (quite the opposite).  I mean do you care about your photography? I suspect if you’re reading this blog you do.  That’s really all GAH is about.  It won’t make you a success all by itself, but it is necessary.  And it’s the motivation you need – and combined with the knowledge you acquire with HAC, you’ll be much more likely to be successful.

OK, so TAS #1 (HAC) is all about acquiring knowledge and TAS #2 (GAH) is all about applying it.  The more you apply your knowledge the more it becomes something you do instead of something you just know.  Practice builds the skills you need to get the shot when you don’t have the luxury to think things through.  This happens quite a lot in photography – the light or the situation changes quickly and you have to change quickly to capture it.  Big secret here:  I think most honest photographers would tell you that they have screwed up a photograph many times in the heat of battle.  You will too.  You need to try to minimize this.


  • Carry a camera – use it. Always look for scenes / subjects that would make a good photo.  Make the shot.
  • Think about photography as much as possible.  Mental exercises – how would I shoot that: framing, composition, lenses, ISO, etc.  When you look at your finished photos, think about what you should have done different.  When you’re getting ready to take photos, think through how you’re going to do it. Look at other people’s photographs and try to understand how they made them.
  • Try a new photographic technique as often as possible
  • Show your work to people.  Accept feedback and use it constructively

There are the two photos that go with this post.  I used the second one in a prior post , but this is the first time I’ve posted the other one.  I think the pair together is a good illustration of TAS #2: GAH.  I was very motivated and passionate about this particular photograph and went to a good deal of effort to make the image, edit it, and print it.  It looks pretty good up on my wall.

This is the raw capture straight out of the camera:

Littleton, Colo. cabin (straight from camera)

And this is the processed image ready to print.  It took a lot of knowledge (HAC) and a lot of passion (GAH) for the final print to come out like this.

Littleton, Colo. cabin (post processed)

As your homework for this session, you can point out things that are different between the two images and how you think they got that way.  As before, I’ll grade your answers before I post TAS #3.  Oh, by the way, I’ve added a comment to TAS #1 explaining what I meant about the photo in that post.

Be passionate about your photography .  To help you with TAS #2 – Give a Hoot, and to help you stay motivated, here’s a few inspirational photo related links I’ve come across recently.  Please take the time to explore these.  They moved me, and if you’re at all interested in photography, I’m betting they will move you too.

Zack Arias – Transform Video http://www.zarias.com/?p=284
David duChemin – A question of definition (link no longer available)
Darwin Wiggett -Beyond the trophy http://darwinwiggett.wordpress.com/2009/06/12/beyond-the-trophy/
Paul Indigo – Do professional photographers love their jobs? http://paulindigo.blogspot.com/2009/06/do-professional-photographers-love.html
Scott Bourne – Taking the best photo you possibly can (link no longer available)
Rick Sammon – It’s “Have Kid Will Photograph” (link no longer available)

©2009, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Some more Denver pictures

Here is a gallery of three more pictures from our recent Denver trip.

The first image in the gallery is a colony of cliff swallows nesting under an overpass near my Mom’s place. Lynn first noticed these birds during our frequent trips in and out. They’re very hard to photograph since they seem to be in constant motion. When I tried to get close on foot, they grew very agitated and noisy. I finally got a not very good photo by using the car as a blind and taking the shot through the sun roof. I was zoomed in all the way with my 70 – 300mm, but didn’t have enough light to stop the motion, even though I upped the ISO to 400 to take this at 1/250 sec. Lesson learned: It’s better to get the shot, even with some noise in it – so up the ISO as much as you need to stop the action.

This old log cabin is just off the backroad between my sister's and my Mom's house.

I saw this cabin along the side of the road between my sister’s and Mom’s places, and really wanted to make a photo of it. I didn’t have time to go by at sunset, but this late afternoon shot captures the mood pretty well. I had to play around with curves in Lightroom to bring out detail in the clouds without losing it in the trees and cabin. I also cloned out a TV antenna on the roof and a power line on the right side. With those gone, it’s more appealing to me and could almost be a high definition window into the past.

The final shot in the gallery was taken from the balcony of my Mom’s place. The sunsets weren’t very colorful while we were there, since late afternoon thunderstorms covered the mountains to the west nearly every day. We finally saw a little color and this shot, especially the cloud shadows on the lower left, turned out pretty well.

©2007, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.