During our recent visit to Florida, we decided to try some new things and see some different sights from some of the usual things that we seem to do over and over again. One of those new places that we visited was Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka, not too many miles from Walt Disney World and the Orlando area.
Wekiwa Springs is, as you might guess from the name, a natural spring that feeds the Wekiva River. Yes, that’s right, there is not a misspelling there. The springs are Wekiwa and the river is Wekiva. Confusing, isn’t it? Both are alternate spellings of the same word, and since the Native Americans that once lived in this area did not write things down quite like we do, I can see where the difference might come from. However, you would think that they would standardize on one or the other, but they don’t. However, that is just a minor point and does not detract at all from the natural beauty found at Wekiwa Springs.
The view above was taken from a bridge that crosses the water. This first view is looking out toward the river as it flows from the spring. You can also see how nice and clear the water is. When you are standing there looking down, you can see straight down to the riverbed, because the fresh water from the spring is so clear. Pretty cool!
Turning around and looking the other direction on the same bridge, you can see the main attraction of the state park, and that is the swimming area. The clear water is probably just as clean as most swimming pools, and I am sure it feels great on a hot day.
However, as you can see from the clouds in the sky, this was not the hottest part of the day, and in fact there were some rain drops falling the whole time we were there at Wekiwa Springs. That did not stop the swimmers, though, as you can see here. But I would guess that there are many more swimmers in the water when the sun is out.
Although the water looks greenish here, that is actually the bed that you can see, because once again the water was very clear. There were signs all around saying, “No Jumping! No Diving!” I would take those signs seriously, because when you are standing at the water’s edge, you can see lots of very large rocks in the water. Evidently, not everyone takes those signs all that seriously, because we saw lots of people jumping in the water. Never mind that they were standing right beside one of the warning signs when they jumped. And never mind that they could see the big rocks in the water, too. I guess they thought the signs did not apply to them.
Although we knew that swimming was the main attraction, we did not come prepared to swim. We were there more to check things out and to walk some trails. Our walking was cut a little short because of the rain, but it was still a nice place to visit, even for us non-swimmers.
Here we are standing on the bridge at Wekiwa Springs, with the Wekiva River back behind us. See, I told you that we took lots of photos like this on our trip. You can also see the raindrops on the bridge and on the handrail, just to confirm my report of rain. Not that you did not believe me before.
If you are curious, there was a $6 charge per car to enter the park. Not quite free, but that is much cheaper than most of the other attractions in the area, and much less than you would pay for water park admission. Unlike the water parks, there are no water slides and tube rides here, but instead you can find a little bit of the real Florida, looking much like it has for centuries. Except for a few bridges and concrete walls and such.
It was fun to branch out and try something new. And I have a few more photos of the park to share sometime, later, too.
“For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.'” – Revelation 7:17
About the photos:
Because of the rain that was falling, I did not spend a very long time setting up these shots, so that I could keep my camera as dry as possible. So I tried to frame it in my mind as best as I could before getting my camera out. That is one of the reasons why it is good to practice with your camera before you do something important. I had a good idea of what I would get in the frame and how it would look before even getting out my camera.
Also, the last photo shows just how wide the fisheye lens is. You can clearly see us and the scenery behind us, but you can also see the ground (or bridge, in this case) that we are standing on. Sometimes with that lens, I have to be careful not to get my feet in the photo, because that is how wide that lens is.
Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Photoshop. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10
Lens: Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye Lens
Date: July 20, 2017
Location: Wekiwa Springs State Park, Florida