Running all over the state this summer and fall, I sometimes forget to appreciate the hidden treasures of my local Orlando area. After becoming exhausted from traveling all over the state, I moved Rocks Springs Run up my list of places to shoot.
While it is true that many of the pristine open areas are gone, the rivers and swamps make you think your traveling through Florida 200 years ago, or maybe a Tarzan movie 60 years ago. The run was nothing but impressive, and a joy to paddle.
Rock Springs: Walking the River
From Wekiva River State Park, I started out at 8:30AM and paddled up the Wekiva to the fork for Rocks Springs Run, and began my 9 mile paddle upriver. Rock Springs Run, for most of the trip, had very clear, shallow water, with a soft, clean sand at the bottom. Like the Loxahatchee a few months back, I was able to walk the river with the kayak pulled behind me.
Walking a river is the true way to experience Florida. You get the interaction and the observer aspect of experiencing nature. Riding in a Kayak/Canoe does disconnect you slightly from the experience. Walking the river forces the observer to look in all directions, and watch more carefully where you’re going. Plus, paddling upriver can take more energy than just walking it anyhow.
Running After My Sea Eagle Kayak
While shooting this several minute exposure below, I noticed my kayak had floated away about a minute down the river while shooting the photograph below. I left my $8,000 camera with the shutter open, and swam down the river after my Sea Eagle. I paddled back up river, and immediately turned off the shutter when I returned. I got the photograph below, which is about at 2.5 to 3 minute exposure:
Rocks Springs Run: Shooting the River
Passing canoe paddlers had the same question as always: “what are you taking a picture of, is there an alligator or something?” I always chuckle inside, but politely explain that I am shooting “the scene.” Many paddling enthusiasts purchase my work, but have no idea what I’m shooting if they were physically standing next to me; this always makes me smile, and reminds me how far I’ve come as an artist.
I stopped many times to shoot interesting compositions of lilly pads and palm trees. Much of the river is shaded by the trees, and really locks you inside. Since the water was conveniently shallow I stopped and set up the tripod for long exposures. This was a very peaceful shoot, with heavy overcast and a light current.
Toward the last 1/3 of the river, their wasn’t as much to shoot, but I had fun in a challenging twists and turns, with water changing from shallow to very deep, with currents constantly changing. I just enjoyed paddling this part of the river, with more open skies and dense lillie pads.
I turned around as it got dark fast. Returning down the river was a breeze with the current pulling me back toward Wekiva River State Park.
I’ll be back again just for leisure and good exercise.