The Lake Apopka Wildlife trail is an unspoiled patch of wilderness in Central Florida. It covers more than 20,000 acres, has over 20 miles of trails and is teeming with wildlife. I am glad to report that it has now reopened after suffering significant damage from hurricane Irma.
If you see a couple of vehicles parked on the edge of the berm, slowly pull up behind them and park too. Perhaps they have seen something interesting and its worth getting out to take a look. When getting out, remember to be aware of your surroundings. I have often been intent on photographing (say) a falcon sitting on a branch and then I hear the splash of an alligator entering the water behind me!
When there aren’t many people around, you might even find an alligator sunning itself in the middle of the trail. I can tell you, alligators can be quite obstinate and sometimes won’t move easily. Patience, and slowly inching towards them in a big truck, usually wins!
I prefer to visit in the mornings as I find the light is at its best. Keeping my Nikon D3x and 500mm lens handy, I will drive slowly along the trails until I see something. Usually, my Gitzo tripod with Wimberley head is sitting on the back seat ready for a quick set up if needed. Many times, even 500mm is not enough lens so the 1.4x TC always goes with me.