Utah road trip – Chapter 2

As promised, this is the second installment of images from our trip to Utah.  You can revisit chapter one at this link to see photos from Cedar Breaks and Brian Head Peak.  This time, I’ve included images from Bryce Canyon, Zion, Red Canyon, and the road to Capitol Reef.  At the end of the post are two photos MK made.  I don’t often include “behind the scenes” photos, but maybe you’ll like them as much as I do.

Agua Canyon HoodooAgua Canyon Hoodoo, Bryce Canyon National Park

The first four photos in this post are all stitched panoramas.  I found it very hard to fit Utah landscapes into a single frame!  I made the one above with a 200mm equivalent telephoto lens.  I wanted to show a lot of detail in the foreground hoodoo and bring the hazy background closer to make the hoodoo stand out.  I like the result.

Hoodoos watch the sun riseHoodoos watch the sun rise.  Black and white infrared panorama from our drive through Red Canyon on Route 12.

I brought my infrared converted camera on the trip and used it often.  It’s good to have when the visible light gets harsh, since the scene will often look different in IR.  In the composition above, the two almost human looking hoodoos on the top of the cliff drew my eye.  They seemed to be enjoying the sunrise too.  I also liked the way the IR light was hitting the trees and the cliff on the far left.

A switchback near Nepworth WashA switch back near Nepworth Wash, Zion National Park.  

The locals kept warning us about congestion in the parks and there were a lot of people at Zion.  But compared to Orlando we thought the traffic and crowds were pretty light – especially for a holiday weekend.  I composed the frame above to leave two buses and their people mostly out of view on the right.

Desert stormsDesert storms. This is a false color infrared panorama made along Route 12 between Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and Capitol Reef National Park.  

The clouds and rain storms were awesome on the day we drove over to Escalante and Capitol Reef.  IR does well with clouds.  I like the way the ones above look almost three-dimensional.

And here are the two “behind the scenes” images:

Brian Head Peak
Ed and his Nikon (not too close to the edge!) at 11,307 feet on Brian Head Peak.  Photo by MK Rosack, used with permission
MK and Ed at Rainbow Point, Bryce Canyon
MK and Ed at Rainbow Point, Bryce Canyon – we weren’t very tired at this point in the morning – that came later.  Photo by MK Rosack, used with permission.

If you’re interested, you can see more photos from this trip in my Utah album on Flickr.  And you can click on the ones in the post to see larger versions.  I really enjoyed the tour and definitely want to go back and spend more time in this extremely scenic area.

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

©2016, Ed Rosack and MK Rosack. All rights reserved.

Epic Utah road trip – Chapter 1

I have many “out of Florida” photos to share with you today from Utah.  MK wanted to take a short sightseeing trip out there over the 4th of July weekend and asked me to be her travel buddy.  Of course, I couldn’t turn that down!  Last year on my trip out west , I passed up seeing Zion and Bryce Canyon because I wanted more time in Death Valley National Park.  I’m glad I got to go back.

Flowers at daybreakFlowers at daybreak – Cedar Breaks National Monument.  We visited this beautiful place twice.  The second time before dawn, when we were the only ones there.

Because this was my first time there and our visit was so short, I’m going to write more of a “travel log” instead of a “what and where they are and how to photograph them”.  I wouldn’t try to write that until I was way more familiar with the area.  I will say that it is spectacularly scenic and if you get a chance, just go.  You’ll find all sorts of things to point your camera at.

The first place we visited was Cedar Breaks National Monument.  It was a surprise to me – I hadn’t really heard of it before.  It’s very scenic and has a lot of wildlife too.  We saw many deer on the trip.  Unfortunately, there were several on the side of the road – we watched carefully to make sure we didn’t hit any.

Morning deerMorning deer

We actually went by Cedar Breaks twice.  The second day, we left early to find a sunrise spot and ended up there.  By ourselves – magnificent!

Sunrise at Point SupremeSunrise at Point Supreme – Cedar Breaks

We were walking through the visitors area and I was looking around in the trees trying to find the bird making a very strange call I didn’t recognize. A nice German gentleman came up to me and pointed out the Marmot that was making the racket. A bit embarrassing – but I did get a photo.

Yellow Bellied MarmotYellow Bellied Marmot

Our bird watching was casual, but I did record one new life bird.

Mountain BluebirdMountain Bluebird – These were quite common at Cedar Breaks National Monument

One other place we wandered to was Brian Head Peak – a very scenic ski town.  You can tell from the first photo and this one that there were lots of wildflowers blooming – a beautiful bonus!

Flowers by the road to the topFlowers by the road to the top – On the way up to 11,000 feet at Brian Head Peak, Utah

Here’s a summary of our trip:

  • 53 hours duration (Saturday morning – Monday evening)
  • 1,091 miles driven
  • 3 National Parks (Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef)
  • 3 National Monuments (Cedar Breaks, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Timpanagos)
  • 1 All-American Scenic Byway (Route 12)
  • 1 life bird (Mountain Bluebird)
  • 1 Yellow-Bellied Singing Marmot
  • 1 Elk
  • Lots of deer
  • 14 stamps for MK’s National Park Service passport
  • 700+ photos
  • 1 epic father-daughter Utah road trip! We were so very tired when we got home!

What a terrific trip – thank you MK! I’m still going through the photos and adding favorites to my Utah album on Flickr.  You can take a look there if you want to see more.  And click on any of the photos in this post  to see a larger version on Flickr.

I’ll work on a post with photos from the other spots next week.  Until then, thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now, go make some photos!

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

July’s for the birds…

Kevin M. and I knowingly and by chance violated many photography thumb rules yesterday morning.  My first example:

Sunrise over the pastureSunrise over the pasture

As landscape photos go, it breaks rules:   It’s not all in focus;  I didn’t use a low ISO to minimize noise;  I used a long lens (so I could keep power lines out of the frame), not a wide-angle ; And I didn’t use a tripod.  But I like how it turned out.  I’m pleased by the composition and colors.  It also has a bit of mystery with the fog, and the cows that are a bit hidden.  Florida does look like this.

Next up are some bird photos.  In Florida, July is one of the hottest months.  Most photographers know this and many choose to stay inside – because the birds know this too and many of them also seem to disappear when it’s this hot.  So what did we do?  We went  out looking for birds.

When we were photographing sunrise, we heard Bobwhites calling and spotted this one on the fence by the pasture.  It was very patient and waited with us for better light.  But I still had to violate one of my thumb rules and shoot at ISO 3200 to get a decent photo.  By the way, let me just say again that technology today is wonderful.  This image was at a focal length of 600mm, with a shutter speed of 1/50 second, hand-held!

Northern BobwhiteNorthern Bobwhite

The Burrowing Owl was a little way down on the same fence line.  By this time the light was somewhat better and I could shoot at ISO 1600 and 1/100 sec.  Still pretty impressive stabilization and sensor performance.

Burrowing OwlBurrowing Owl

Those three photos were at our first stop!  Kevin wanted to show me some  Red-cockaded Woodpeckers he’d spotted at the Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area.  I’ve been there before looking for them and this time we think we heard some, but didn’t manage to see or photograph any.

We did spot some other not so common birds including Brown-headed Nuthatches, Common Ground Doves, and Eastern Meadowlarks.

On the way back, we went by a farm where one of Florida’s Whooping Cranes hangs out.  I’ve been there several times looking for it without success.  Until this time:

Whooping Crane and two Sandhill CranesWhooping Crane and two Sandhill Cranes

This is more of a record shot than a great photo.   The light is harsh and the birds are beyond the range limit for this lens so it’s cropped in.  And the July heat was making waves too, harming the image quality.   But I still like it.  Thumb rules?  Who needs stinking’ thumb rules!

Until the 1930s, Whooping Cranes occurred naturally in Florida (see this article on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation site).  There have been efforts to re-introduce them by leading them with ultra-light planes on migration routes  (see this site).  In January 2016, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced they’d “stop supporting the use of ultralight aircraft to help young whooping cranes migrate from Wisconsin to Florida each fall“.  Studies show that interacting with humans has a negative effect on the birds.  I’m pretty sure this particular Whooping Crane is a survivor of the program.  It’s banded yellow over green on its left leg, but a short google search didn’t turn up any info.

So rules of thumb are good – especially if you understand them and know when to break them.  Breaking the rules led me to a sunrise photo I like and four life-birds yesterday (thanks Kevin!).  By the way, you can click on any of these for larger versions on Flickr.

And thanks to all of you for stopping by and reading my blog. Now, go make some photos!

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

P.S.  Stay tuned for some photo stories from Utah.  MK and I had an epic weekend out there and I’ll share it when I finish processing the images.

On the water’s edge, waiting for sunrise

East Gator Creek Road at sunriseEast Gator Creek Road at sunrise, November 2012

On the water’s edge, watching the sun rise.
Distant clouds add color and rays to a magnificent moment.
Reflected sunlight reaching around a rock close to shore, creates golden ripples.

I stand – tripod steady; camera set;  release in hand.
Deciding which instant to save and relive later.

Did it matter?  Musing now, they are all marvelous moments.


I got up one morning almost four years ago at 4:30am to go out with my camera and make this photo.  I enjoyed making the photo.  I don’t really remember not enjoying the early wake up.  Lately, I’ve slept in.  I need to either go back to getting up early or turn into a sunset photographer.

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

©2016 and ©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

In the yard

Good morning, good readers!

I’ve been busy recently learning all about the Raspberry Pi computer and using it on a project for our home.  It’s incredible how much capability you can buy today for $35.  Anyway, the project (especially learning to code in Python!) has left me with little time for photo excursions.  So this week I’ll have to show you some photos I managed to make from our yard.

I made this first photo standing on our front walk, just before last month’s full moon.  I like the way the sun was hitting the clouds.  It’s a single frame, handheld, and slightly underexposed to keep detail showing on the moon.

Pretty moon tonightPretty moon tonight

Lynn put a small statue of St. Francis in our front flower garden.  This brown anole likes to bask there in the morning sun.

St. Francis and the lizard 2St. Francis and the lizard

And last, an update on our backyard visitors.  The cardinal pair built a nest on our neighbor’s patio and raised one chick that’s now fledged and fully grown.

But for the last couple of weeks, we haven’t seen too many smaller birds in the yard.  Perhaps it’s due to this:

The hawk on the lamp postThe hawk on the lamp-post

I’ve seen this Red-shouldered Hawk sitting on the lamp-post on several mornings recently.  It doesn’t seem to scare the lizards, but small birds don’t like having it around.

By the way, the basics of my Raspberry Pi project are working, so I should  have more time now for photography.

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

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Happy Father’s Day

Yes, it’s been a horrific week here in Central Florida.  So bad that some might question celebrating a holiday so soon after these terrible events.

We should keep in mind that there is danger and evil in the world.  We should keep the victims and everyone touched by these events in our hearts and minds.  But  we should celebrate, I think    Because there is also peace and goodness in the world, and there are vastly more good people than evil ones.

So, to all Dads out there:  I hope  you have a wonderful day on Sunday and I hope you get to share it with your families.  Celebrate the good in the world and help overcome the evil.

I wonder where Dad is? Mom said he would feed us this time.I wonder where Dad is? Mom said he would feed us this time. Two young Great Egrets, waiting for their next meal at Gatorland in Orlando.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

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