After several years of drooling over my friends’ images, I finally made it out to Lake Jesup for the wildflowers this year. Wow!!! I found fields of yellow flowers under the rainbow! It was just amazing!
For those not familiar with the area, Lake Jesup is a large lake northeast of Orlando, close to Sanford. In late September and early October, the fields around the lake erupt into bright yellow color as the swamp sunflowers bloom. When you drive past the area on highway 417, you see the masses of color. Often there’s at least one car pulled over to enjoy the sights. The bloom lasts only a few weeks, and boy is it spectacular!
I’m very grateful to bloggers Ed Rosack and Jeff Stamer for their tips on visiting the wildflowers. They explain where to park and hike in order to walk right out into the flowery fields. They were absolutely right about wearing long pants and waterproof shoes for hiking in these low, wet areas. I took their advice and took my tripod, knowing that the flowers would be taller than I am. I still had trouble framing the wide-angle shots…it’s too bad that I can’t easily tuck a ladder into my camera bag! :)
I didn’t have much time out in the fields to enjoy the flowers, as a thunderstorm was approaching. (One of the great things about having a smartphone is that you always have the weatherman in your pocket when you’re out on a hike!) The skies were dark and menacing, which was actually a pretty backdrop for the yellow flowers. I was so in awe of the flowers that I didn’t even notice the rainbow in my first shot until I got home!
I took my macro lens for flower close-ups, and I managed to get a few that I liked despite the pre-thunderstorm breeze. It can be tricky isolating your subject when there are so many flowers in the frame.
I went to Lake Jesup in the afternoon, figuring that the warm light of the afternoon sun would provide pretty front-light for the flower fields. Next time I want to go in the morning. I’d really enjoy shooting sunrise there!
I was glad I’d thrown my 70-200mm lens into my bag, as it was great for doing shots of the masses of flowers. For the image above, I added a Flaming Pear Flexify twist! I also wanted to try some zoom blurs and panning blurs, but the thunder got closer and the lightning started to flash. I had a brisk hike back to my car before the rain started. I hope to make it back out there before the flowers all die back. And if not, it’s something to look forward to next year! :)
Want to learn more about nature photography at Lake Jesup?
Check out my Lake Jesup page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!
Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!