I have lived in Florida my whole life. Thirty-seven years to be exact and when you live in Florida (specifically Orlando), you get a lot of friends and family that ask if you can take them to "see the mouse". For a good portion of my life, that's really all I knew of my home state when it came to the topic of "things to see in Florida"; go to the tourist spots and theme parks. When I picked up photography as a hobby, I made a commitment to myself to see more of what Florida had to offer and, if you haven't seen it, there's so much more than just waiting in long lines and eating gigantic turkey legs.
When you get away from the tourist areas and just go exploring, you start to see so much more. There's history, there's wildlife, and if you find the right spots you can actually discover something you didn't know you were looking for. For me it's discovering both the calm and excitement.
Taking photographs is calming and I really get into the zone when I'm behind the lens. Everything else tends to disappear and I am just as much IN the moment as the one I am trying to capture. Of course, anyone that loves to take photographs knows how exciting it is when you know you nailed it.
Since I started shooting with my Sony a7ii, I decided that at least once a month I would go and explore my home state and visit places that I rarely or never get a chance to see. I've found myself going places that are off the beaten path and reconnecting with other places I haven't been to since a middle school field trip. I've even found myself actually getting excited to make an hour drive just to see the sunrise on a beach that I've never been to before.
So the next time you're in Florida, by all means visit the land of fairy tales, princesses, and pirates but don't forget to check out the places where real adventure also takes place. I'll be out there with my camera in hand and tripod on my back and I'd love to show you around.