Hobbies

Photography

Gators
Alligators rest together on a rock during the winter months at the prairie.

One of my favorite hobbies is photography. Ever since I got a Canon EOS Rebel T3 about a year ago, I can't stop taking pictures.

I love taking pictures at LaChua Trail on Paynes Prairie in Micanopy, Fla. I never know what I'll see on the trail and each visit is different. No matter how many times I see an alligator or a herd of wild horses, I'm amazed.

I usually spot alligators in the bodies of water along the trail. On one trip, I counted more than 60 alligators.

I've seen herds of wild horses on two seperate trips to the prairie. The first time I didn't have my camera with me, so I used my phone to take pictures. It was memorable because I was on the prairie around dusk, which made the lighting in the photos beautiful.

Exploring Florida

Butterfly
A butterfly lands on flowers next to the trail at Paynes Prairie.

If I'm not taking pictures at Paynes Prairie, I'm often exploring the abundance of springs, parks and wildlife that north central Florida has to offer.

I love visiting Ichetucknee Springs State Park in the summer. The clear, cool water is perfect for tubing or taking a dip on hot days.

The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park in Cross Creek, Fla., is another one of my favorite places to visit. The benches surrounding the boat ramp are great spots for enjoying the park's views.

Just up the street from the state park is The Yearling, a restaurant named after Rawlings' book. The restaurant has delicious "cracker cuisine" and a small library in the back room. Every time I visit, I feel like I've stepped back into a simpler time in Florida's history.