After spending all summer walking and photographing the local parks we decided it was time to try one of the state parks that was outside the local area. I had never been to…
Rainbow Springs, so we decided to visit Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon, Florida.
The history of Rainbow Springs goes way back. It started out in the late 1800’s as a phosphate mine. It was then turned into a tourist attraction, (this is Florida! the land of road-side attractions!) where waterfalls, plants and animals were added to pull those tourists in!
With the increase in big attractions in the Orlando area, the smaller attractions in other parts of Florida lost business, and many disappeared. Fortunately, this one was one of the few that had enough redeeming qualities and environmental importance that the State purchased the land, and Rainbow Springs State Park was created!
My Photo Equipment
I decided before I left home that I wanted to go lightish, so I brought my two mirrorless cameras. The Nikon Z7 with the 24-70mm f4 lens and my infrared converted Nikon Z6 with the Nikon FTZ Converter and my 16-25mm f4 lens. I also added the 850nm IR filter to the Z6 so all my IR images would be Black & White. Sometimes it is beneficial to limit your equipment so you have to figure out how to get the images you want with what you have!
I met a friend very early at the gate, as at that time, they were only allowing a limited number of visitors into the park per day!
We parked the vehicles and walked into the main gate and immediately saw the reason it is called Rainbow Springs.
The water is clear and very colorful!
Remembering I had the Infrared camera with me, I took another shot that is quite different.
There are paved trails that wind along the Rainbow River and up and down the hills created by the old mining operation.
We started to hear waterfalls so we headed for that sound!
There were very small falls.
There were several medium size falls.
And a long falls (for Florida)!
And even one multi-layered falls.
We came across one of the park rangers at work near one of the falls and she told us we were lucky! We asked why and she told us that since it was not the busy season (October), they had recently shut down all the waterfalls (something they can’t do with natural falls) for their annual maintenance and they had just turned them all back on! Wooo! We were lucky!
Since it was October we did not expect to see much in the way of flowers but I was surprised to find a few azaleas, which this park is famous for (in the spring), actually blooming here and there!
There were some small wildflowers also.
I even found a very colorful Ginger plant blooming in one of the many gardens. I really need to go back for a visit in the spring!
Landscape images took up the remainder of our time at this beautiful Florida park.
The clouds were perfect for wide angle infrared!
I had to make one last image of the “springs” area where a small group of lucky folks were enjoying the swimming area of Rainbow Springs State Park.
If you are in the Tampa or Orlando areas this very Florida state park is a must-see that is only a short drive into the “other” parts of Florida.
For more details on the park and any current restrictions please visit their website.
That is all for now!