Washington Oaks

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2 Miles South of Marineland, off A1A 

6400 N. Oceanshore Blvd.
Palm Coast, Fl   32137
(386) 446-6780  



Direct Link to JCC Photo Album for Washington Oaks        

Click image for JCC Photos

Although the formal gardens are the centerpiece of this park, Washington Oaks is also famous for the unique shoreline of coquina rock formations that line its Atlantic beach. Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas River, this property was once owned by a distant relative of President George Washington. The gardens were established by Louise and Owen Young who purchased the land in 1936 and built a winter retirement home. They named it Washington Oaks and, in 1965, donated most of the property to the State. The gardens make remarkable use of native and exotic species, from azaleas and camellias to the exquisite bird of paradise, sheltered within a picturesque oak hammock

Across A1A there is a road that leads down to a nice boardwalk to the beach. For miles each way there are formations of the coquina rocks The access road opens usually long after sunrise, so if you want to catch a sunrise here, you need to walk in from A1A. The problem with this is not only the length of the walk, but that the deputies don't like for cars to be parked on the side of the road.  Parking is also available in the Marineland parking lot. Some have used a path that goes down to the water by one of the condos just south of Marineland.


A tripod and your favorite zoom lens.  
A hat, sunscreen and water are good to carry.
Filters to slow shutter speed to get soft water effects.

1 thought on “Washington Oaks”

  1. From Gordon Ira:
    Of all of the photography venues that we have in North Florida, Washington Oaks seems to be mentioned more often than any other. Maybe this is because there are so many different things down there that it appeals to photographers with different interests. There are the gardens, the wild Florida trails, the water front, and my favorite, the beach with the coquina rock formations.

    For the sunrise picture over the rocks at Washington Oaks, setting up a time to go has to be pretty well thought out. There are several things that need to fall into place. The weather should be nice. A little cloud cover sometimes is ok, but if the horizon is obliterated with clouds, forget about the sunrise. The best pictures are taken when the tide is coming in and almost high. Chris Moore is always actually in the water when he takes his pictures. For others, having the water come up to the rocks, and using the rocks for seating and balance is a wimpier solution. The sunrise needs to be about one hour before high tide. So, to summarize, pick a nice day when the sun rises an hour after high tide. This happens about twice a month. Oh, and think about the sand flies and mosquitoes.
    Get there 30-45 minutes before sunrise and walk up and down the beach to find your spot. Pick a spot with rocks that form some sort of pattern that ideally leads out to a beautiful sunrise. Close up shots of the rocks are nice too, with wave patterns.
    Exposures and “how to shoot” vary all over, with every shooter. Usually the picture with slightly blurred waves and perfectly focused rocks and sunset are the best. To do this the shutter speed needs to be 5 secs to 60 secs, To get these shutter speeds when it get lighter, a neutral density filter will be needed. The variable neutral density filter is the best, and is a pushover to use, but is a little more expensive. Ask me if you want to know the quick and dirty was to use this filter. It is an easy way to always get the right exposure. By using a combination of the variable neutral density filter and “live View”.
    Getting the perfect focus from foreground to background is very hard, and personally I was never satisfied until I started using focus stacking. While this is easy with non-moving subjects, with moving waves and water, it takes a good tripod, some forethought and imaginative post processing.

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