Rock Springs - Main eVent. Where the magic begins.
Tucked away in an off-the-beaten-trail corner of Orange County is a gorgeous Florida gem called Rock Springs. Not that it is a sleepy place... the locals know and love it well, with hundreds of tubers floating the run on any pretty weekend. The springhead lies in Kelly Park, a beautifully-kept county park with camping and many other amenities. A dramatic rock wall - pierced by two caves from which cool crystaline water gushes - stands at the heart of the Park. John Moran made a spectacular photo on Rock Springs Run last year, and raved about the beauty of the area. So I was inspired and psyched. He and I spent two lovely days here in May, intent on making one of our signature collaborative nightscapes. While at the Park we hiked the trails, swam in the springfed natural pools, and watched the wildlife. We spent most of one day paddling on Rock Springs Run downstream from the park, putting in at Kings Landing. The spring run meanders through lush classic Florida habitat, and eventually spills into the Wekiwa River. Words describing its beauty are inadequate, so let me entice you with a selection of juicy photos... ending with our nightscape, Water from Stone.
Rock Springs Panorama. A pretty spectacular spring bowl. (I used artistic license to digitally remove the red and white buoyed line from mid-frame.)
Summer Delight. Pretty beautiful way to stay cool!
Upper Rock Springs Run. Late afternoon, the last of the tubers has floated around the bend.
Upper Rock Springs Run 2. With early morning sunburst, a quiet peaceful scene.
Limpkin with Apple Snail. We sat quietly watching a nearby pair of limpkins rustling up their favorite escargot.
Rock Springs Bridge.
Down the Run. Yes, this is a real place.
John Moran, hard at work. (Best job ever!)
Paddlers on the Run. A steady stream of paddlers passed to and fro in the dappled light.
Palm Perch. Getting a little higher perspective.
Swallowtail Delight. We came upon a buttonbush in a cloud of flitting yellow (Eastern Swallowtail) butterflies drawn in by the sweet-nectared flowers.
Coral Bean Blossoms.
Creekside Nap. Hammocks make the perfect portable bed in Florida.
Drinking the Hemlock. Deadly to us, but I guess not to the honeybees.
Shining a flashlight from beneath, the bee is brought into the limelight.
Emerald Cut. A pair of treed isles center stream...
... transform the run into a gentle obstacle course.
Palm Fan. Art is all around us.
John and I spent a good part of one evening at the springhead. We had a long pole rigged to handle any of several different lighting attachments - video lights, flash, underwater lights - with which we lit the scene, making over 200 exposures of the exact same composition, but with different lighting in each. Then, with great patience and effort in the digital darkroom, the files were carefully layered and finessed into this final art piece...
Water from Stone - Rock Springs
This was my first visit to Kelly Park's Rock Springs, despite having lived and traveled in Florida my whole life. What a treat! And so great to know that our state still holds hidden treasures and fountains of youth, even for old explorers like me. Hope you enjoyed the visit to Rock Springs as well. I'd love to hear your reactions in comments below, and please share the link widely.