Orlando Photographer Mark Winder | Harry P Leu Gardens

Orlando Photographer: How it all came about

The journey to this Orlando photographer’s photo session with Cassandra Johnson all began while sitting outside Orlando’s Florida Mall on Orange Blossom Trail. A crazy thing happened. Two frightened European tourists ran up to me, dropped to their knees and literally begged to borrow my new iPhone. I immediately thought, “Ummmm that’s never going to happen” (lol).  So I looked around in confusion, wondering why they’d singled me out of the angry mob of pre-thanksgiving shoppers. What the hell was happening here? Was this a scam? Was I being Punk’d? Or was this an opportunity for me to do a good deed for someone in need of assistance?


Apparently, they’d mistakenly left their cell phone with a new hired driver. I think I’d totally LOSE MY MIND if I somehow lost my phone in Orlando, or anywhere else for that matter. So in the absence of divine intervention, a pillar of smoke, or even a magic 8 ball, I asked myself the question thousands of classic daytime TV fans ask themselves everyday:

“What would Oprah do?”

Of course she’d help. She’s Oprah! So I ever so slightly loosened the death grip on my brand new smart phone, and cautiously dialed the numbers on the business card they handed me. When it was all said and done, my new European friends were considerably grateful that they were able to recover their phone. I was grateful too. What goes around, comes around, and I was most certainly in need of positive energy coming my way. I’d just arrived in Orlando and my photo shoot the next morning was canceled. I needed  someone to shoot in less than 12 hours, but what were the odds of that happening at such short notice?

Almost immediately after helping my new friends find their phone, however, I’d gotten the answer to my prayers.


I received a Facebook notification from Orlando’s Cassandra Johnson. She received my request, and was willing to mobilize a photo shoot the next morning. Cassandra is a third generation model with Slavic roots, an eye for fashion, and a undeniable love for sexy shoes. In other words, she’s totally hot! She’d recently moved to the city, and was in need of an Orlando photographer to expand her already versatile portfolio. Needless to say, I was appreciative for the opportunity to make photos of her.

Orlando Photographer

Orlando Photographer: Harry P. Leu Gardens

The next morning, Cassandra was professional, on time, and ready to shoot at the Harry P Leu Gardens in Orlando. The Harry P. Leu Gardens is the perfect spot for an Orlando Photographer to capture great photos of semi-tropical landscapes and colorful botanical nurseries. There are art galleries, a butterfly garden, a lake, a river, and countless two hundred year old trees there to make nearly any kind of natural landscape photo composition you’re looking for.

Here’s the thing: Cassandra and I aren’t typical tourists, so it only took a few minutes for us to get off the typical tourist’s path. I’m an adventure photographer always looking to go beyond where other photographers go. She’s an adventurous woman willing to do whatever is necessary to get the right shot. We were a perfect fit!


My specialty is finding the best backdrop for your photo shoot at your ideal location, and this particular out-of-bounds area was calling my name.  Before you know it, we were both climbing down the Gardens’ weather-beaten wooden bridge, and were setting up my photography lights in potentially questionable areas. Cassandra ended up barefoot in a creek posing for my favorite shot of the day. Go team! I love what we ended up with.

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Orlando Photographer - Harry P Leu Gardens


Orlando Photographer: Winter Park

We had another couple of hours before I had to put on the cap of Orlando photographer once again, and Winter Park was nearby. So we headed over for more photography opportunities. Winter Park is a quiet area great for Orlando photographers looking for a great blend of nature and city life. We didn’t have the time we needed to explore it all, but quickly found a great spot to take photos. I look forward to spending more time as an Orlando photographer capturing great photos in Winter Park.

Orlando Photographer

Thank you so much for allowing me the privilege to work with you, Cassandra. You’re a true professional, and I look forward to capturing more photos of you in the future. I wish you all the best in all your goals.

All Smiles,

Comments ( 2 )

  • Yeah, I believe I might have a minor heart attack giving someone my brand-new phone. So the act of lending it to someone to help them must have been difficult! The good deed paid off. Cassandra Johnson’s timeless elegance was a compliment to the beauty of the Harry P. Leu Gardens, you captured her in an extraordinary way.

    • MarkWP

      Letting a complete stranger use my phone was definitely an exercise in trust (lol), but I’m happy it all worked out in the end. You’re absolutely right about Cassandra. She’s such a joy to work with, and it’s so hard to take a bad photo in the Harry P Leu Gardens. Maybe I’ll get to go back there for another shoot soon.

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