Outdoor Day Trips: Blue Springs, Florida

Writing out 2015 is weird. It’s hard to believe this past year is already over. Everyone’s writing their year-in-review and while a lot has happened in 2014, I don’t really have a lot to share. I did some things that I’ve always wanted to do and pushed myself further than I have in the past. I started a new magazine, went out and sold every ad and created a lot of new relationships with businesses in the area. Doing it all myself was really tough, though, and I wasn’t able to plan out all the hurdles.

Through that time, I really didn’t have a chance to photograph much other than what I was shooting for the magazine and other clients. I started off last year really wanting to shoot more for myself and I just didn’t get the chance. So I took the camera with me this weekend on an impromptu trip to Blue Springs near Deland where the manatees come in the winter to keep warm. However, it was like 82ºF in the beginning of January so there weren’t gaggles of them wading. We did see about 10 of them, though, including a baby.

The park itself is really nice with lots of grassy areas where people were picnicking and playing frisbee, a really nice paved and boarded pathway that goes all the way to the head of the spring, and overhanging docks along the way to get really good views in the crystal clear water. Even though the manatees are the star of the river, I enjoy just watching the fish swimming.

Towards the end of the day, a red-shouldered hawk was far too close to a group eating at some picnic tables. They threw down a hotdog and the hawk swooped down and took it. Later, they threw another piece into the air which it swooped and caught in mid-flight. I’ve never seen a hawk behave that way and be so fearless of the people around it. Very strange.

It may be nice to head back over earlier one day when it’s colder out to see the manatees may be in bigger numbers, but also to walk through Deland’s downtown and try out a few of the nice looking restaurants we passed by. My favorite shot of the day was the last one in this post where the light was hitting that tree branch over the water.

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