There are many beautiful and productive places to photograph in Florida. Being a resident, I try to get to a few each year. One of my favorite places is Blue Cypress Lake. The combination of a beautiful shoreline full of Blue Cypress trees growing into the lake and several hundred Osprey nests in these trees makes an incredible photo experience.
First of all, I must confess, I love the big raptors. I've been to Alaska to photograph Bald Eagles. While we have some eagles in Florida, it is nothing like the homer area of Alaska. But, what we do have are Ospreys. They migrate down here and can be seen flying over our lakes watching for the opportunity to swoop in and catch a fish. It is an incredible sight.
Located about a half hour west of Vero Beach, Florida, is another Osprey experience that isn't to be missed if you like these majestic birds. The location is Blue Cypress Lake. It is a large lake with very little developed shoreline. On the lake are hundreds of beautiful cypress trees that create a perfect nesting environment for Osprey.
In the branches of these surreal looking trees are hundreds of Osprey nests.
If you pick the right time, usually late April or early May, you will find all of these nests full of young chicks. This creates a flying frenzy as the adults shuttle back and forth from the nest bringing fish that they catch to feed the young. There are so many flight shot possibilities that it is difficult to pick the bird to photograph.
I like to go with a couple of friends and rent a pontoon boat from Middleton's Fish Camp. We usually travel to Vero Beach the day before so we can get up and be at the fish camp at first light. It is a leisurely cruise along the western shore stopping when we encounter an interesting photo op.
Long lenses in the 500-600mm range are helpful but there are many opportunities in the 200-300mm range. I even find that wide angle scenics present themselves as we move along.
Here is a short slide show of some of this year's images:
For me, about three hours in the early morning and you have covered the part of the lake with the trees and birds. I usually only go one day and then drive home, being home for dinner.
I should note that several professional photographers lead workshops to this area and it is very easy to hire a guide to drive the pontoon. In fact, I recommend it if you are going for your first time.
We stay at a hotel near Highway 95 near Vero Beach. A great, old Florida, seaside restaurant is the Ocean Grille, right on the beach. Highly recommended.
And, HERE is the gallery from the past three years of visits to this magical place.