News Flash!

The Pacific Whale Foundation is holding a charity auction ending very soon on Monday, November 11, 2018.  They have over 100 donated items up for bid (at this link).

As readers of the Central Florida Photo Ops blog, you might recognize two of the items. MK and I have each contributed one of our whale photos as an 11×14 inch modern metal print with float mount from mpix.

MK’s photo was featured on the blog in February 2018 ( https://edrosack.com/2018/02/24/majestic-maui-migration/).

Humpback Whale Spy Hopping

Humpback Whale “Spy Hopping”

You can see the auction listing at this link:  https://www.biddingowl.com/Auction/item-detail.cfm?auctionID=3324&ItemID=606667&viewType=1&style=46&font=1&catName=Art

My photo is from way back in September of 2009 (https://edrosack.com/2009/09/20/north-to-alaska-ch-1-intro-and-wildlife/).

Breaching humpback whale near JuneauBreaching humpback whale near Juneau

And you can see this auction here:  https://www.biddingowl.com/Auction/item-detail.cfm?auctionID=3324&ItemID=606672&viewType=1&style=46&font=1&catName=Art

Pacific Whale Foundation is a 501(c)(3) IRS tax-exempt charitable organization dedicated to protecting our oceans through science and advocacy.  MK and I both strongly believe it deserves our support.  If you get a chance, please check out the auctions and consider bidding on these two prints to help out this worthy cause!

Thank you!!!

©2018, MK Rosack and Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Veterans Day 2018

Lynn and I were able to visit Gettysburg for a short time on our way home from  Pennsylvania last July.  It was a bright and sunny day, but you can’t help but feel somber  thinking about what occurred there.  Over a brutal three-day battle, the two sides suffered more than 46,000 casualties and it’s said Gettysburg marked the turning point of the Civil War.

Field of battleThis field of battle is quiet now.  Near the site of Lincoln’s address, Gettysburg National Military Park

Shortly after the battle, Abraham Lincoln delivered the  Gettysburg Address.  His closing words are especially appropriate on Veterans Day and every day:

"... that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Every year in the United States, we pause on the 11th of November to honor the service and sacrifice of all men and women who answer the call. To our veterans and to those serving today – you have our deepest gratitude. We honor you for your service and sacrifices.

Gettysburg“Army of the Potomac, Second Corps, Artillery Brigade, Battery I First U.S. Artillery”

Especially in today’s world, those who choose to volunteer for the military endure long periods far from home and loved ones.  They live in conditions without the comforts that we take for granted.  They face danger and conquer fear to protect our freedom and way of life.  In far too many cases, they give their all – sacrificing life and limb.  We owe them.

Some previous Veterans Day related posts:

Thanks to all of you for stopping by and reading my blog.  Now – go out and thank a veteran!

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

St. Petersburg, Florida

Lynn and I recently spent a pleasant couple of days over in St. Petersburg.  Here are a few photos and some background info.

Dali Museum:

I’m a long time fan of  Clyde Butcher and wanted to visit his “Visions of Dali’s Spain” exhibit at the Salvador Dali Museum.  I enjoyed viewing his very large black and white prints up close and the juxtaposition with Dali’s work was fascinating.  If you can’t make it over there, you can view the photos, watch a video about it, and learn more at this link:  https://clydebutcher.com/pc/photographs/dalis-spain/.

Dali Museum InteriorSalvidor Dali Museum Interior

He used a digital camera for this project instead of his normal large format film approach, and I thought it was interesting that the results are so similar.  If he hadn’t explained this in the video, I wouldn’t have suspected he didn’t use film.

Chihuly Collection:

Lynn mentioned wanting to visit the Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center.  I’d heard of Dale Chihuly and his blown glass art work before, but I’d only ever seen a piece or two in isolation.  This is a different and much better experience.

Float Boat, 2007Float Boat, 2007

The artwork itself is exquisite with amazing form and color.  Seeing it in this setting, where it’s been professionally arranged and lighted was amazing!

Ivory Basket with Oxblood Spots, 1977Ivory Basket with Oxblood Spots, 1977

Glasswork can be very difficult to photograph.  The illumination has to show the form without reflecting hotspots and obscuring details with shadows.  In all cases, this lighting was perfect and the shadows enhanced the view and revealed even more details.  I think photographers can learn quite a bit studying these displays.

Morean White Seaform Set, 2010Morean White Seaform Set, 2010

I really enjoyed seeing this. If you get a chance, go.

Waterfront:

I managed to get up for sunrise one morning while we were there.  I debated driving down to Fort Desoto, but ended up taking the easy way out and explored the nearby waterfront instead.

St. Petersburg North Yacht BasinSt. Petersburg North Yacht Basin

There’s construction in the area, so I picked viewpoints to hide that.  I liked the view above of the north basin at dawn.  And the mid-day reflections and clouds  in this next one caught my eye too.

St. Petersburg Central Yacht BasinSt. Petersburg Central Yacht Basin

It was a short, but lovely visit.  You can view more photos from our trip in this album on Flickr.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Cocoa and Merritt Island – 20 Oct 2018

I went over to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge last weekend with Kevin K. and Kevin M.  On the way, we stopped by the Cocoa Beach Pier for sunrise.

Anticipation Anticipation – two surfers waiting for waves at dawn

This year, Florida red tide’s been found in many spots along both the gulf and Atlantic coasts.   Normally, it’s a Gulf coast phenomenon and I don’t remember a year when it spread so far up our east coast.  We’d heard reports of red tide and fish kills reaching Brevard County and Cocoa, so we were concerned about conditions at the pier.  But when we were there the red tide wasn’t noticeable.

Neath the pierNeath the pier

Next, we grabbed some breakfast and then headed up to MINWR for a quick pass through Black Point Wildlife Drive.  Conditions in the refuge have been pretty quiet this summer and we wanted to see how the bird population is doing.  There still aren’t a lot of birds around, but the variety is improving.  We saw the usual wading birds, Redish Egrets, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, a few Blue Wing Teals, Osprey, Belted Kingfishers, a Sora, and a Merlin.

Merlin in flightMerlin in flight

While I was getting out of the car so I could get (it turns out) a not so good image of the Sora, a water snake swam right in front of it.  I didn’t even get to see the snake, much less photograph it by the bird.  Luckily, Kevin K. did – you can view his photo here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/34024553@N08/45404193252/in/dateposted/

Jim Boland is also seeing quite a bit of bird activity in MINWR.  He’s photographed a Peregrine Falcon, Merlins, Ospreys, Northern Harriers, Bald Eagles, and even Snail Kites along Playalinda Beach Road in recent weeks.

The cooler weather that’s finally arrived in Central Florida makes being outside and photographing more pleasant.  And it should bring even more bird species to our area to enjoy.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

What’s that in the back yard?

I was sitting in the family room on Friday afternoon when Lynn came in, saw these  birds behind our house, and asked me what they were.  If she hadn’t asked, I never would have noticed them.  Maybe my chair should face the window instead of the TV?

I quickly grabbed my camera and took a few shots through the window and screen and then went out on the other side of the house to get this unobstructed view.  I’m glad my birding lens was still mounted!

What're those birds in the back yard?Black-bellied whistling duck family.  There’s another adult and one more juvenile out of the frame to the right.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are common here in Central Florida year round, although I’ve never seen them in our neighborhood before.  They were previously known as the “Black-bellied Tree Duck”  since they’re often found roosting and nesting in trees.  They’re monogamous, which is unusual in ducks.  Also unusual is their high-pitched whistling call which you’ll remember the first time you hear it.

After adding a few minutes of excitement to our afternoon, this family strolled on down the street and disappeared.  I was glad they stopped by – maybe we’ll spot them again.

Thanks Lynn for asking about them and thanks to all of you for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

It’s about time

How much time did it take to make the image you see here?  That’s an interesting  question – I’m glad you asked!

Short answer: 1.3 seconds.  Medium answer:  5 months.  Long answer:  13.8 billion years.

Rocks, water, light - and time - in black and whiteRocks, water, light and time – in black and white

To begin with:

  • Preparing for a photo trip and gathering what you need before you leave takes time.
  • Traveling to a location and back can be minutes or days – you have to decide whether the potential photos at a location are worth the time to go.  Or just go anyway and explore!
  • Once there, you sometimes see a spot off the path or a little further on and you have to decide if that image is worth the time and effort to get to.
  • Then for each photo, it takes time to set up for an image (tripod, lens selection, etc.) and you often have to wait for conditions or subjects to cooperate.

Only after all that do you get to decide on a shutter speed to control how long your exposure is  – in this example, 1.3 seconds.

Then, when you get home:

  • It takes time to go through all your photos, decide which ones are worthy of attention and process them.
  • You also have to spend time posting images and writing about them.

I made this image 5 months ago at Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia and you’re just now seeing it.  And even before all that could happen:

And even before all that can happen:

  • The universe (starting ~13.8 billion years ago) and solar system (~4.6 billion years ago) had to form.
  • Life (3.5 billion years?) and humans (~2.5 million years) had to evolve.
  • Geology had to happen: Mountains had to rise up and erosion had to form rivers, and forests had to grow.
  • And civilization and culture had to progress to the point where leisure time is available to make photos for the fun of it and people have time to read blogs about them.

“Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future.”  – Wikipedia

Each of us only has so much time and we have to decide how to spend it.  Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Viera Wetlands – 10/3/2018

It’s been a while since I’ve been to Viera Wetlands.  I had time last Wednesday, so I packed my camera gear and set out at “o-dark-thirty” to give my shutter finger some exercise.

My first stop was Rotary Park, on the Indian River in Melbourne.  It’s small, but I like it because it’s open before dawn and the cochina rock formations near the shore by the pavilion can add interest in the foreground.  Nature cooperated and painted in a superb sky.

Good morningGood morning

Next, I headed over to Viera Wetlands.  There were quite a few things to see and photograph.

Green Heron still lifeGreen Heron still life

Sora and snail snackSora with a snail snack

GrackleGrackle in good light

Dragonfly in flightDragonfly in flight

The roads through the wetlands have been closed for a while because of all the rain we’ve had here in Central Florida.  They’re open now, but in rough shape – lots of potholes to dodge as you drive through.

Speaking of all the rain we’ve had, I checked on the Lake Jesop Wilderness Area sunflowers again yesterday, and they’re very, very sparse this year.  There are a few clumps of flowers on higher ground, but the grand fields of blooms are missing.  The water’s still high and large areas are  still flooded.   Maybe next year.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Lessons from a photogenic place (repost)

Good morning!  We were traveling last weekend and I started coming down with a cold on the flight back.  So I haven’t been out much since and I don’t have any new material for you.  Instead, I’ll repost this write-up from back in April, 2014 – it’s one of my favorites.  And it reminds me I need to go back over there and see what’s changed!  You can also look at this post for more info on the location:  https://edrosack.com/2014/01/04/marineland-beach/


There were a few lights in the parking lot way back behind the sand dunes and the clouds were thick and low, making it so very dark on Marineland Beach south of St. Augustine, Florida that my first few exposures didn’t even register on the sensor. I kept raising exposure times and ISO until I was able to capture this:

99 seconds in the dark
99 seconds in the dark – ISO 400, 99 seconds @ f/8; Marineland Beach, about 45 minutes before sunrise.

It sure didn’t look this way to my eyes.  I couldn’t see much at all and had to use my head lamp to compose and focus.

When I got home and processed the photos, they reminded me of some things that might be useful to others.

Pre-visualize before, during, and after you press the shutter

You should always try to pre-visualize the photo you’re making before you compose and shoot – and it’s a delightful feeling when the image turns out just like you imagined.  But this is often harder than it sounds.  Especially if you can’t see what you’re photographing.  There’s nothing wrong with adjusting your vision as you go.  This is a wonderful advantage of digital cameras that we’d be foolish to ignore.  Check your results on the LCD during the shoot and adapt as necessary.  In this case, I knew exactly what I needed to change when I first looked at my (black) LCD.  I needed more exposure!

Pre visualization is great, but there’s also nothing wrong with post visualization.  What I mean is to try as many things as you can think of while you’re there and sort it out later when you get home.  Try HDR, panoramas, high tripod, low tripod, and focus stacking.  Use different  focal lengths, shutter / aperture combinations, and positions / directions.  Exploit changing weather / light as time goes on.  Capture them all and give yourself a better chance to come out with something you like.

Shutter speed

Shutter speed is a critical variable when photographing moving water.  The 99 second exposure above gave me very smooth and milky looking water, nicely outlining the rocks.  A 1/1000th second (or faster) exposure can freeze drops of water.  In between, you can find other speeds that look very different from the extremes.  Capture the scene with different shutter speeds when possible.  In this 1 second exposure, I like the added interest from the flow patterns in the water.

Marineland Beach and cochina rocks
Marineland Beach and coquina rocks – ISO 100, 1 second @ f/4 with 8 2/3 stop neutral density filter, ~30 minutes after sunrise.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) processing and ghost removal

There are so many controls and sliders in HDR software that it’s hard to know which ones to change.  Most HDR software has an option for removing “ghosts” (differences between multiple frames for anything moving in the image) and I think it’s a critical setting.  HDR Efex allows me to select the baseline frame I want to use as well as the amount of ghost removal to apply.  I like to experiment with these and select the combination that looks best.  In the image below, there was only one  setting that showed the breaking wave. And I think the wave definitely adds to the image.

Golden rocks and sand
Golden rocks and sand – 5 image bracket (-4 to +4 stops), almost an hour after sunrise.

Don’t leave too soon

I made these three images (and more!) over a period of 90 minutes.  The changing light provided different looks and opportunities to photograph this place.  It’s worth getting there early and staying for a while.

Don’t get overwhelmed

When you visit a beautiful place, especially for the first time – it’s easy to be overwhelmed and forget about everything except pressing the shutter button.  It helps to visit multiple times. The first time, it’s hard to see all the possible compositions until you get over the novelty and excitement. When you can relax and enjoy the experience you can open your mind and get in the zone.  Then you’ll make images you’ll be happy to share with others.

You can see more of my photos from Marineland in this set on Flickr.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Now – go make some photos!

©2014 and 2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Killer (Whale) Trip to Alaska!

Editors note: Today we have another awesome report from our roving correspondent MaryKate. She’s back in Alaska, this time in Seward. Just looking at this gives me some relief from our still hot Central Florida weather – enjoy!

Thanks for having me for my 10th blog post at CFPO, and for a recap of my 6th visit to the majestic state of Alaska!  Over Labor Day weekend, I visited Monette for Emergency Birthday Seven (our annual tradition of a last-minute birthday adventure, almost always involving a road trip, wildlife, eating and shopping).  We met in Anchorage, and road tripped down to Seward and Homer.

In Seward, we went on a 6-hour wildlife watching boat tour.  This time we opted for a smaller boat instead of going with one of the larger companies like we had in the past, and we were really luck that we found Bix from Seward Ocean Excursions to take us out on Missing Lynx!

Orca and Glacier

Orca in front of Bear Glacier

We headed out on the tour, but about an hour out, Captain Bix received word that a pod of Orcas was nearby, so we turned around to hopefully sneak a glimpse of these magical creatures.  That’s the great thing about being on a boat with only six passengers – the Captain is flexible and takes you where you want to go to see what you want to see.  Sure enough, we found the Orcas!

Orca

Orca Coming to Check Us Out

Captain Bix was careful to follow the Whale Sense responsible whale watching guidelines, so we approached the pod slowly and stopped 100 yards away.  We observed a pod of 2-3 adults and a baby.  The Orcas were very curious, and every time they noticed a new boat, they would swim over to check it out – including ours!  It was surreal watching these giant mammals swim towards us, underneath, and around the boat, getting so close that they made eye contact!

Orca

Up-close Orca Encounter

The baby in the pod was a bit of a show off, and not quite coordinated yet.  It was in a playful mood, practicing fluke slaps and exploring.  I did manage to get a fluke photo, but unfortunately missed a shot of one of his elders breaching!

Orca Fluke Slap

Baby Fluke Slap

The Orca Whale pod we observed were residents, meaning they eat mostly fish (likely salmon here) vs. transient Orca Whales that feast on mammals like seals, sea lions, and even baby whales (i.e. Humpbacks and Greys).  Resident and transient Orcas look the same though, so it wasn’t surprising that while the Orcas were out, we didn’t see any seals or sea lions in their normal resting spots.  But these seagulls were very interested in piggybacking on the Orca fishing party!

Orcas Fishing

Resident Orca Fishing with Seagulls

Interested in learning more about whales?  I recommend a book I got for my birthday: Spying on Whales.  It’s a very quick read for a science book, and talks about the past, present and future of these captivating cetaceans in a digestible way.

After observing the Orca pod, we moved on and enjoyed Alaska’s beauty for the rest of the tour, seeing plenty of Puffins, some Harbor Seals, and a Sea Lion.  More photos can be found in the album here.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Now – go be amazed by wild whales and make some photos!

©2018, MK Rosack and Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Lake Apopka Postcard

Hello faithful readers!  This is my first post in a new category I’ve created on the blog that I’m calling “Postcards”.  I’m going to occasionally post photos here that are typical Central Florida scenes – like a postcard.

You’re welcome to download them at full resolution for your personal use.  I’m going to use the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license for these instead of “All rights reserved”.  Please visit this page to see details and restrictions that apply:  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/.

In the future, they should be easy to find using the “Places / Categories” pulldown menu over on the right side of the blog and selecting “Postcards”.  If you’re viewing the site on a phone, you might not see that menu – if so, just type “postcards” into the search box.

Anyway, the first photo in the new series is this one:

Bird on a bush – Great Blue Heron at Lake Apopka

To download, just click on the image to go to the source and then right-click to download it.  I hope you like it!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2018, Ed Rosack. Creative Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license