I made it out to the East entrance of the Okefenokee soon after my exploration of the West (see my previous post on March 12). A much shorter drive from Jacksonville, from I-295 and off the New Kings Road Exit (US-1). This takes you through some depressed areas in Georgia, lots of abandoned gas stations and hotels from the pre-interstate days when US-1 was the main corridor from the north. One day I will dedicate some time to just these abandoned structures. When I arrived the park was virtually empty. Early spring is great for the weather, lack of people, and lack of mosquitoes. I was told that the gators were beginning to come out of hibernation and beginning to look for mates, hence a lot of grunting noises in the swamps.
The East side of the park contains a nature drive and concessions area with lots of opportunities to pull off the road for photography. The main road leads you past pine forests and several burn areas. From the Visitor's Center, Swamp Island Drive takes you to some boardwalks where you can get deeper into the swamp. It started to drizzle and rain, so I was the only crazy person out walking around. At the end of the main boardwalk there is an observation tower that gives a great view of the area. I did not opt for the boat tour this time, as the sun decided to come out. I did hike the short Canal Diggers trail.
I love overcast, windless days for tree photography. Look for the special light that illuminates the branches and new spring growth. It's soft and allows the details to really show. Getting out to the wilderness by yourself is great therapy. Even if the images are not there, you can recharge and renew yourself in nature.
For my Okefenokee gallery click here.