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See It. Save It.

Featured Photo from See It. Save It.

This Oviedo photographer proves exactly why our area’s natural beauty is worth protecting

Dave Pellar routinely shoots stunning photographs of Seminole County’s rural trails, woodlands, and wildlife, yet the Oviedo resident is quite humble about the gorgeous images he captures.

“It sounds kind of corny, but God paints the scene, and I just point the camera and snap the shutter button,” he says. “All the credit is His.”

An avid hiker, Dave has been exploring Central Florida’s network of trails for more than 20 years. Along the way, he documents the awe-inspiring sights he sees – from colorful sunrises and sunsets to pristine woods and waterways. Dave estimates that he has taken more than 10,000 images on the trails including spectacular scenes of the Econ River, Black Hammock, and Geneva wilderness areas.

“The Little-Big Econ State Forest is my playground,” Dave says. “I know it from one end to the other. I’ve kayaked and canoed up and down the Econlockhatchee River from Oviedo all the way to the St. Johns River and beyond.”

A self-taught photographer, Dave frequently posts his nature pictures on social media including the My Oviedo and Our Winter Springs Facebook sites. He shares his images in large part to call attention to Seminole County’s irreplaceable natural resources and to stress the importance of preserving what we have for current and future generations. Dave also posts his pictures for a simpler reason – just to make people smile.

When Dave started sharing his photos on a regular basis, Facebook users began suggesting that he create a coffee-table book or a calendar of his work. One appreciative post describes his pictures as “a photographic love note to the Econ Wilderness Area.”

Dave is still mulling over the book idea, but he’s already jumped on the calendar suggestion. Late last year, he published a 2021 calendar titled Beautiful Seminole County, culled from his favorite images. All proceeds from sales of the calendar benefited Save Rural Seminole, a nonprofit organization that works to preserve the rural character of east Seminole County.

David Bear, president of Save Rural Seminole, admires the shutterbug’s artistic eye and his efforts to raise funds and awareness for the community organization. Dave’s limited run of calendars, which sold for $20 each, raised $650 for Save Rural Seminole. At press time, a few 2021 calendars were still available for sale at the My Oviedo Store. Due to the success of his first-time effort, he is already considering doing another calendar for 2022.

“Dave’s way of promoting the natural beauty of our county is by capturing it in pictures and sharing that with our neighbors on Facebook,” says David, who lives in Winter Springs. “He’s doing it so that people who don’t know the beauty that’s around us can learn about it. And if they understand the beauty that’s around us, then they’ll fight to save it.”

For Dave, photography is a hobby – albeit a serious one. His actual career is far removed from snapping pictures while hiking through the woods. Dave, who earned a computer science degree at Florida State University, 
was a senior software engineer for years. Now, he is a senior systems analyst doing Army acquisition work.

In 1999, Dave moved to Oviedo and has called it home ever since. His wife, Joyce, is a retired nurse who works with the worship arts ministry at CrossLife Church in Oviedo. Their son Nick is a youth pastor who graduated from Oviedo High School, and their daughter Hilary is a second-grade teacher who graduated from Hagerty High.

Dave’s appreciation for the great outdoors started long before he reached adulthood. He and his younger brother grew up splitting their time between their father’s ranch in Wyoming and their mother’s home in South Florida.

“We were outdoorsmen from the time we were knee-high,” says Dave, who has fond memories of exploring the mountains of Wyoming and hiking through the Florida Everglades.

When Dave hits the trails these days in Seminole County, he has an eager and energetic hiking partner – his dog Winston, a two-and-a-half-year-old Shiba Inu. The photogenic pup, also known as the Adventure Sheeb, has made his way into more than a few of his owner’s pictures.

Dave has an interesting backstory to tell for every one of the environmental pictures he has taken – from a hawk that followed him and posed for the camera to glorious sunbeams bursting through trees. Being out in the wilderness, with his dog by his side, feels like the most natural thing in the world for Dave.

“At times, it’s a spiritual thing,” he says. “All the problems that we have in our society today just melt away when I’m out there.”

To see more of Dave’s photos, visit his galleries at DavePellarPhotography.smugmug.com.

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