Upon my return from Longwood Gardens in March, 2020, the world shut down. After about 2 months of walking in circles in my yard, …
the local parks started to reopen, so it was time to get out and explore some of the parks that I had not been to in awhile and also some that I had not had the time to visit in the past.
Eureka Springs Park
I started with a small county (Hillsborough) park not far from my home, Eureka Springs Park. This is a 31 acre park that has an emphasis on plants as the property was donated to the county by a botanist. There are nice gardens, a greenhouse and a great collection of waterlilies in the streams near the entrance and covered bridge. There is a nice boardwalk that takes you through a typical Florida wetland. The gardens and boardwalk make a nice walk even on a hot sunny day as most of it is in the shade.
This park is great for macro and infrared photography. I carried both my regular camera with the long macro lens (180mm) and the infrared converted camera with a wide angle lens.
I went back a number of times since it is so close. One bit of info, to see or photograph the waterlilies be sure to go in the summer and mid-day. The blooms don’t open until the sun is shining and then close mid-afternoon.
Lettuce Lake Park
I really like another county park that is about 10 minutes from home, Lettuce Lake Park. This park has a 1.25 mile paved trail for walking, running and biking plus a few unpaved hiking trails. There is a 3,500 foot boardwalk, with a 2 story observation tower, that goes along the Hillsborough River.
This park was where I honed my infrared skills! The landscape is not that exciting but by using my infrared converted camera I was able to create some unique images. I even went back over and over with the purpose of getting different cloud formation (our Florida summers are great cloud producers) images for a future blog post.
There are many old oak trees in this park, they are perfect subjects for B&W infrared as the leaves and Resurrection Ferns on the branches turn white and the trunks and branches are much more prominent than in a regular color image.
Those trees look great even with a Super Color Infrared Filter.
Morris Bridge Road Preserve
I again took my infrared converted camera to get some images of the wetland area. The trails go along the Hillsborough River and under the Morris Bridge.
Trout Creek Park
On the way to Morris Bridge Road Preserve is another large park that is maintained by the state water management district, Trout Creek Park.
This is another park that runs along the Hillsborough River. There are hiking/biking trails, kayak and canoe launch areas.
My infrared converted camera was my pick again as there were some spectacular cloud formations and a lake…my favorite combination!
Alderman Ford Conservation Park
Another county park, Alderman Ford Conservation Park, a bit further from home, about 30 minutes, was one I had passed when going elsewhere but had never visited. When I finally stopped I was sorry I had not gone there sooner.
This park has a 1.9 mile paved trail as well as kayaking/canoeing and camping. There are several boardwalks and bridges as the Alafia River and its branches are the main water features of this park.
Brooker Creek Preserve
8,700 acres with an education center, boardwalks and hiking trails, I hit this one on a hot day in May. Most of the trail is in the shade so it was not too bad.
John Chestnut Sr Park
I had been to this park a couple of times in the past with a friend who was doing family photo shoots but I had not had a chance to visit with my own camera in hand.
I used both the regular and infrared cameras at this park. There are boardwalks, observation tower, bridges and boat ramp.
The lockdowns and limitations on travel are hard on everyone but especially hard on a traveling nut like me! The Tampa Bay local parks helped me keep my sanity and physical condition (I walked more in 2020 than ever)! Since I was shooting so much infrared I had to really learn how to do the post-processing which for super color is not simple! So I am so thankful for these small parks that are so close to home! And I am still visiting them in 2021!
If you are in the Tampa Bay area please check out our county and water management parks. These are just a handful of the many parks we have available to use.
Where ever you live, look for your local parks, utilize, and support them. These are the places that can keep us going even in these not so great times!
For larger versions of these images please click on the image.
For many more images from these amazing little parks please visit my Galleries listed below: (click on the name/link)
That is all for now.