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A Trip to Lettuce Lake Park – Tampa, FL

Lettuce Lake is a photographer’s destination. I can’t count the number of times I have seen the wonders of Lettuce Lake Park grace my Instagram feed. On this, my first, trip to Lettuce Lake Park, I was on a true photographer’s quest. I was out to capture a reflection, as prompted by the Tampa Bay Times All Eyes Photography blog. Once a week, All Eyes issues a challenge to Tampa Bay area photographers – both amateur and professional – to capture something in particular. Last week it was “reflections,” which left me with three options: puddles, tidal pools, and lakes. Lakes are my favorite, and I had quite a few to choose from in the Tampa Bay area, including Lettuce Lake, Tarpon Lake, Sawgrass Lake, Seminole Lake, and Eagle Lake. Since I have already photographed Tarpon Lake on multiple occasions, I decided to check out Lettuce Lake.

Lettuce Lake reflection

Lettuce Lake, a wider section of the Hillsborough river, is the center-piece of Hillsborough County’s Lettuce Lake Park near the University of South Florida. When I pulled up to the entrance, the guard told me (without any prompting) that the boardwalk is the best place for wildlife photography. And so, without even asking, I already knew exactly where to go. The Lettuce Lake boardwalk is 3500 feet long (0.66 miles), and travels through some beautiful Florida wetlands.

Lettuce Lake boardwalk

lettuce lake boardwalk

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What I found most impressive were the number and variety of insects living here. Oddly enough, it seemed I was running into all the most dangerous ones. Can you believe this fuzzball is the most venomous caterpillar in the United States?

puss caterpillar
Puss caterpillar

And check out these wasps. Unchecked, they built a beautiful nest outside of suburbia.

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There’s a part of me that wishes I’d seen some more wildlife (I really wanted to see a gator), but there is also a part of me that knows this park is pretty enough by itself. I loved the water, the foliage, and the winding pathways. And as an added bonus, I got to see a skink (photo below) and some cool insects.

lettuce lake vert duo web

My “reflection” photo wasn’t one of those chosen for the #TBTimesGram gallery, but I was happy to see the work of some of my favorite Tampa Bay area Instagrammers, including srod2000, featured here. If you are interested in participating in the Tampa Bay Times weekly Instagram challenge, you can follow them (on Instagram) @TampaBayTimes. Florida Illustrated is on Instagram @FLillustrated.

Jennifer Ring

Jennifer Ring is a freelance writer & photographer living in the Tampa Bay area, on Florida’s west coast, home to some of the best beaches in the state.

http://flillustrated.com
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