Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
I may be heading down to Orlando for a few days in mid-November, and I hate Disney World. My wife is attending a conference, so I was thinking of doing some shooting while she's otherwise occupied, maybe birds, but not necessarily. I was kind of interested in trying to get to Merritt Island NWR, but it seems that portions of it are closed due to hurricane damage.

So what's interesting and currently accessible in central Florida that isn't an amusement park?
You'll be in my neck of the woods!

Blue Springs in nice, there is a good hiking trail with lots of variety of the Florida scrub and some wetlands as well as a spring, an historic house, and a boat tour of the St. Johns River. It can be crowded at times but should not be bad right now. I was there last weekend to do some shooting and it was quite nice. $5 entrance fee if I am not mistaken (I have a state park pass so I don't know exactly, but it wont be over $5).

Leu Gardens is great for flowers. It is an historic estate and the gardens cover the entire grounds. Lots of different stuff, plus you can heckle the wedding photogs, (just joking!). Nice place and not expensive, $4 I think.

Bok Tower is also a botanical gardens, but is a bit of a drive from Orlando. A couple of hours if I remember correctly. It is very nice, has a huge carrilon (bell tower) and lots of scenic vistas.

DeLeon Springs has an historic sugar mill and a boat tour on the weekends that will give you lots of chances for birds shots. Just let the boat 'captain' know what you want to see and he will point things out. Otherwise he defaults to alligators. There is a nice trail there too, but not as much opportunity for vistas.

It's not the best time for nesting birds or the Alligator farms would be great. During the nesting season you can get right in there and nab some fantastic shots without the need for a telescope on your camera.

Rollins College, in Winter Park, has a very nice campus with lots of opportunites for building shots. Most of the buildings are historic and have an interesting design.

There is also St. Augustine, which is a bit North of Orlando, but offers many opportunities for historic subjects, nice, closed streets loaded with shops, and some nice views of the intercostal waterway.

Stay away from Daytona Beach and Downtown Orlando though. Not too many opportunities for photography unless you do street stuff.

If can think of anything else I'll let you know.


- Randy