While most visitors to central Florida visit Disney World and the theme parks in and around Orlando, a quieter but equally interesting destination is found near the city of Ocala, in Marion County.
Silver Springs is one of America's natural wonders thanks to one of the largest artesian spring formations in the world. It produces more than 500 million gallons of crystal-clear water every day.
Since the mid 1800s, people have visited the natural beauty of this area. In the the 1920s a theme park was built near the head waters of the spring. Today the Silver Spring Nature Theme Park features animal exhibits and tours of the water world in glass-bottomed boats.
When Disney World was built, it drew many out-of-state visitors away, but Silver Springs remains famous for amazing photographs of the water. Credit for this goes to an unusual and talented photographer. Bruce Mozert arrived in 1938 and produced some unique photographic artwork.
The story goes that Mozert was passing through central Florida that year and decided to stop in Silver Springs to see swimmer-turned-actor Johnny Weissmuller filming one of the early Tarzan movies there. Mozert liked the place so much he decided to stay.
He went on to develop some of the first underwater cameras and began shooting photographs of models underwater posing for promotional campaigns. The photographs are really interesting and stand out for their clarity. They give you a good idea just how clean the water is in these parts.
You must take a look: some samples are available in this slide show at Smithsonian.com.
Mozert still lives in nearby Ocala and, now in his 90s, continues to work in a photographic studio.
Brief history of Silver Springs, from Wikipedia.
The Life Aquatic with Bruce Mozert, in Smithsonian.com (full article).
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