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Orlando Wetlands Park

Orlando Wetlands Park is a nature preserve located in Christmas, Florida (between Orlando and Cocoa Beach). It's a fun place to hike and photograph all the typical Florida marsh species. A rare Vermilion Flycatcher makes regular appearances in the winter.

Photography advice: Take the longest lens that you're willing to carry on a hike. You'll likely walk several miles. Also carry a wide-angle lens for sunrise.

Visit the Orlando Wetlands Park website


Musical Trees with the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Musical Trees with the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks - June 2017

Black-bellied Whistling Duck nesting territory disputes are very animated when more than 2 birds lay claim to a dead palm tree!Read More


Sunrise Walk at Orlando Wetlands Park

Sunrise Walk at Orlando Wetlands Park - June 2017

A summer sunrise at Orlando Wetlands with the birds...Pileated Woodpecker, baby Purple Gallinules, some Least Bitterns, and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks!Read More


Winter Birds Returning to Orlando Wetlands Park

Winter Birds Returning to Orlando Wetlands Park - November 2016

The winter birds are coming back to Orlando Wetlands Park. We had a Painted Bunting, American Bittern, and a camera-shy MerlinRead More


Tiny Dancers and Other Birds at Orlando Wetlands

Tiny Dancers and Other Birds at Orlando Wetlands - September 2016

An early September walk at Orlando Wetlands Park yielded photos of Snowy Egrets, Belted Kingfisher, and other wading birdsRead More


Sunrise at Orlando Wetlands Park

Sunrise at Orlando Wetlands Park - September 2016

Finally!  A day off when it wasn't raining!  So I dusted off my cameras and headed to photograph sunrise at Orlando Wetlands Park.  I got there just as the gate was being opened - perfect timing!  The sky was already lightening as I headed to one of my favorite sunrise spots. It never fails.  We get beautiful wispy clouds every morning as the sun rises on the way to work. …Read More


Sunrise at Orlando Wetlands

Sunrise at Orlando Wetlands - September 2015

Mother Nature treated me to a beautiful sunrise at Orlando Wetlands Park over my Labor Day vacation. The colors were magnificent!Read More


A Breath of Fresh Air

A Breath of Fresh Air - September 2015

A quiet nature walk at sunrise at Orlando Wetlands Park. Barn Swallows posed for me and the Belted Kingfishers are back in Florida!Read More


Last Orlando Wetlands Park Visit of the Year

Last Orlando Wetlands Park Visit of the Year - November 2014

The birds were great at Orlando Wetlands Park. Eagles and whistling ducks and a Peregrine Falcon, oh my!Read More


Cool Fall Day at Orlando Wetlands Park

Cool Fall Day at Orlando Wetlands Park - October 2014

Michael and I spent the first cool fall day at Orlando Wetlands Park, where we enjoyed a sunrise, dancing Snowy Egrets, and a cute surprise!Read More


Spring Morning at Orlando Wetlands Park

Spring Morning at Orlando Wetlands Park - April 2014

On the morning that Deb and I saw Rich's awesome turtle, we also saw a bunch of fun birds.  Springtime is the best time of year for Central Florida nature photography.  Some of our winter visitors are still hanging around, the migrants start to move through, and the local birds get all spiffy-looking for courtship and breeding.  So I was excited to get out and see what we could find …Read More


Snapping Turtle for Rich

Snapping Turtle for Rich - April 2014

A fun surprise at the Orlando Wetlands Park, a snapping turtle crawled out on the road and let me take pictures of him.Read More


Sunrise and a Vermilion Flycatcher

Sunrise and a Vermilion Flycatcher - November 2013

When Michael Libbe and I headed out to Orlando Wetlands Park in late October, we had two goals: to photograph a great sunrise and a Vermilion Flycatcher.  Michael ordered some nice wispy clouds for sunrise, and he sorta got his wish.  I love being at the wetlands for sunrise, but I'm always annoyed at my pictures because there is so much clutter in the water and in the foreground.  I …Read More


Hot Summer Days at Orlando Wetlands Park

Hot Summer Days at Orlando Wetlands Park - August 2013

It's been quite a while since I last visited Orlando Wetlands Park, so when my friend Michael Libbe suggested that we go there for sunrise, I was excited to go back.  Summer days at Orlando Wetlands Park are very hot, but there was a nice breeze to keep us comfortable.  We arrived a good half hour before sunrise, and we found fog and clouds to obscure the horizon.  So we …Read More


Watching and Waiting

Watching and Waiting - December 2012

This Black-Crowned Night Heron was just sitting in a treetop of Orlando Wetlands. He was watching and waiting, probably planning out his next meal. I like how his bright red eye stands out against the clear blue sky.


Blue Skies Ahead!

Blue Skies Ahead! - December 2012

I'm tired of all this cloudy, foggy weather we've been having lately! I hope the skies clear up for my upcoming time off from work. This was taken back in November at the Orlando Wetlands Park. I liked the cloud formations of the original image, and then I really liked the effect of the golden colors framing the clouds in the polar coordinates version.


Half an Hour

Half an Hour - November 2012

When you want to photograph sunrise, it always pays to be in position at least half an hour before sunrise.  That sounds like a long time, especially if you have to get up early and drive to your location.  But look at the difference it makes.  This image was taken at 6:37, about 10 minutes before sunrise: This one was taken at 7:11, about twenty minutes after sunrise. What a …Read More


Head Shot

Head Shot - November 2012

I photographed this Sandhill Crane at Orlando Wetlands last weekend.  He just wouldn't get off the trail, which made it really easy to photograph him.  The grasses behind him were nicely out-of-focus (well, mostly), and they contrasted beautifully with his bright red head.  I like how the grasses give the background a feeling of motion, reminding me of the nice breezes that day.  I'll have to check backnext spring to …Read More


Similar but Different

Similar but Different - November 2012

Yesterday I posted a picture of sunrise at Orlando Wetlands.  The sun was peeking through the clouds thick on the horizon, and several minutes after sunrise, the light peeked through the clouds and created "God rays" of light.  The primary tones were oranges, which contrasted with the blacks of the trees in silhouette.  Today's image is also from Orlando Wetlands, not too far from where I took yesterday's image.  The …Read More


Sunrise from Orlando Wetlands

Sunrise from Orlando Wetlands - November 2012

This sunrise image was taken on Saturday at Robert's photography workshop.  He had us photographing the front-lit cabbage palms at first, probably because there were clouds on the horizon and the backlit sunrise against the trees wouldn't be so impressive.  Then we noticed the sun peeking through the clouds, creating beautiful rays of light.  I learned something useful from Robert and this image: do not use auto white balance at …Read More


Exploring Orlando Wetlands Park

Exploring Orlando Wetlands Park - November 2012

Yesterday I went to a photography workshop led by Robert Amoruso at Orlando Wetlands Park.  It was only my second time to visit the park, and I figured the Audubon fundraiser would be a fun opportunity to meet a good photographer and learn some of the good spots in the park.  Robert was awesome.  He did a great job of balancing the various skill levels of the workshop participants.  He …Read More


Tiny Dancer

Tiny Dancer - November 2012

A few weeks ago I had fun visiting the Orlando Wetlands Park for the first time with friends.  We were searching for the Vermillion Flycatcher.  But when we came across this stretch of water with lots of fishing Snowy Egrets, it was impossible to pass them by.  They'd fly in front of us and dive for fish.  It made me realize I'm a little out of practice for flight shot …Read More


Black and White Warbler

Black and White Warbler - October 2012

While I waited patiently (or impatiently!) for the Vermillion Flycatcher to come closer at Orlando Wetlands, one bird decided to cooperate with me.  This Black-and-White Warbler hopped into a pine tree right in front of me.  She perched for just a second and then flew away.  These little guys are very good at helping me practice quick focus!


My First (Blurry) Vermilion Flycatcher

My First (Blurry) Vermilion Flycatcher - October 2012

Yesterday I posted a picture of a clump of Cypress trees with two birds.  If you missed the red dot, don't feel badly…that's how I felt when I got my first glimpse of a Vermilion Flycatcher at Orlando Wetlands this weekend.  The other bird in the shot was a Belted Kingfisher.  There are lots of those at the wetlands right now, and it's really hard to miss them.  I met …Read More