The Best of Florida is Underwater - Right in Our Backyard
known for the only living coral reef in the continental U.S., the
atttractions of the Orlando Area, and the beaches along the
coastline. Not as many people realize Florida has rolling grass
hills with large oak trees, spanish moss, palm trees, numerous
lakes, rivers and springs. How many people get to see when they
drive to town, bald eagles and osprey soaring above, alligators,
wild bison, deer, herons, storks and sandhill cranes? I do....living
in the north central Florida area enables me to see this every
Our rivers run the gamut of being gin clear to tea colored, from the tannic acid of the cypress trees. Canoeing and kayaking are favored in some parks, like Alexander Springs, The Ichetucknee River and Juniper Springs.
and boating are popular in the Silver, Rainbow, Santa Fe, Suwanee,
St. Johns and Oklawaha Rivers. Fishing is a popular sport along some
of the rivers and in the many lakes. Several of the rivers, such as
the Silver and Rainbow are first magnitude springs, bringing forth
many thousands of gallons an hour of fresh, clear water. There are
many other large springs in the area, some parks(like Manatee), some
privately owned (like Ginnie Springs) that offer canoeing, swimming
,tubing, picnicing,and yes, snorkeling and scuba diving.
As a matter of fact, people come
from all over the world to snorkel and scuba dive these rivers and
springs. There are several privately owned dive sites that are deep
sinkholes that connnect to cave sytems underwater that can go for
miles. To dive these sites, you must be trained in cave diving.
a photographer, you should expect to see many types of birds, turtles, manatees, alligators, otters, racoons,
deer , wild hogs, and even monkeys (along the Silver River). But has
it occurred to you what you might photograph underwater?
Imagine....you put on your mask,
and you are either snorkeling or scuba diving - as you immerse
yourself, you take a quick gasp, partly due to the cool water, and
mostly due to what you might be seeing. You could be floating with
the current, among the eel grasses, where numerous types of fish,
turtles, snails, and comorants diving for fish can be seen. Because
the water is so clear, any alligators that see you are beating a
hasty retreat to hide from you.
Very hard to photograph
underwater - fleeing tails are uninteresting. You come upon white
sandy boils, or small caves where water is gushing out from the
aquifer. Numerous shells litter the bottom. In some places you can
peer into caverns, feeling the water pull at your mask with enormous
force. In some places, depending on the season, manatees call this
home, and can be viewed underwater. All this in my backyard. So, you
are asking, how does one get started in underwater photography?
Click on PhotoTips, and I'll have a "How
to " on getting started, and some tips on getting consistently good
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