Monthly Archives: March 2010

Flower baskets & street lights

You know – photo ops are everywhere. I’m convinced that we often don’t see them just because we’ve grown so used to what’s in front of our eyes.

Here’s an exercise for you: Next time you’re out and about in your home town, take a camera. Pretend you’re a tourist in another city or country  you’ve never been to. Really look at things like you’re seeing them for the first time.  Examine everything with fresh eyes. I’m sure if you try this, a photo op or two will present itself.

This little cafe was around the corner from where I waited for Lynn this morning. I liked the scene enough to share it.

Flower baskets and street lightsAn outdoor cafe in Lake Mary.

You can click the photo to see a larger version on Flickr.  Thanks for looking.

©2010, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Sunrise, swamp, birds, gators

We’re really blessed in Central Florida with many places that photography and nature enthusiasts can visit.  The Photography Interest Group took another trip to Blackpoint Wildlife Drive yesterday.  There was a lot to see.

750mm (eq.) sunrise
I used a 750mm effective focal length lens to shoot this sunrise photo. I like the transparent look of the trees in front of the sun.

Blackpoint panorama

A 4 shot panorama.

Kevin McKinney (who has the knack for spotting things) let us know there were kingfishers in the area.  I saw this one (my first ever) and made a very quick photo hand-held out the window at 750mm (eq).  Thank goodness for optical stabilization!  It was terribly back-lit, but the best I could do. It flew off as soon as we opened the door, living up to their reputation for being very skittish.

Belted Kingfisher (female)
Belted Kingfisher

Like the previous time I was there, we saw many spoonbills.  This one posed for us for a while.  It wasn’t until I got home that I noticed the fishing line wrapped around its bill.  Please, please think twice before you throw anything in the water.

3/22/10 update:  Good news!  Kevin Krause reports that the fishing line was gone a little later.

Spoonbill
A beautiful bird. I hope it can get the fishing line untangled from its upper bill.

And finally, here’s another gator eye photo. In this one you can see both Keith and Ed in the upper right.

Another Gator eye reflection
2 photographers, 4 meters away, 8 foot wild alligator.

These and other photos are also posted in my Blackpoint set on Flickr, where you can view a larger version of them.  For more information on Blackpoint, you can visit the official site, or search my blog for earlier posts I’ve done.  Thanks for visiting!

©2010, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

The Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (Disney’s EPCOT)

Intro / Description

Disney opened the EPCOT theme park in 1982.  It is a different sort of park with two main areas:  Future world, and the World Showcase.  They also occasionally have special events, which can greatly add to the photo op quotient.

Future world has a mix of rides, and the ones we enjoyed the most were Mission Space, Test Track and Spaceship Earth.  The Seas with Nemo & Friends is aimed at small children, but there is a nice, large aquarium there as well.

World Showcase is where you can enjoy shopping, food and a sample of culture from many places around the world.  Pavilions include: Norway (don’t miss the Maelstrom ride!), Mexico, China, Germany, Italy, The American Adventure Japan, Morocco (check out the shops and architecture), France, United Kingdom, and Canada.  There are many fine restaurants, and although a little pricey – you don’t have to settle for standard theme park food.  Be sure to make a reservation early.

Moroccan gifts
Gifts of Morocco

The EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival runs from March 3 – May 16, 2010 so this is an especially nice time for a photographer to visit.  The entire park is planted with flowers with many Disney themed topiaries throughout.  There was also a collection of bonsai trees near the Japanese pavilion when we were there.

Bonsai tree
Bonsai boca

The Flower and Garden Festival also has some special activities such as The Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden, Fawn’s Butterfly House, The Community Garden and Flower Power Concert Series and more.  I was impressed by all of this, but the Butterfly Garden was still getting started when we were there.

Intense flower 1
Intense Flower

Info for Photographers

Photo hints:  Make sure you keep your eyes open – there are photo ops everywhere.

Tripod/Monopod: Definitely allowed – I saw several people with tripods and quite a bit of high end camera gear.

Lenses: For the Flower Exhibition, a macro lens was nice.  You’ll want a general purpose zoom for most of the park.  I didn’t see a lot of need for a longer lens.  I used a 105mm macro on my D700 for the flowers and other things and my Canon S90 for some shots.

Best time to visit: Spring time is a wonderful time in Central Florida.  The weather is great and the The Flower and Garden show runs through May 16th.

Other:  Like many of the Orlando parks, it’s pricey.  General admission is now $79 for adults and $68 for children.  You’ll have to budget an additional $14 for parking and additional money for any food and gifts you buy.  There are sometimes discounts for Florida residents.

Summary

The EPCOT theme park is a place where the entire family can have fun, while at the same time providing a large and varied number of photo ops for the photography enthusiast.  The photos in this post are just a few of the ones I made, and there was much more to see.  See below for links to the rest.

My EPCOT photo set on Flickr: The set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/sets/72157623621620712/

Here’s a slide show of the images (click to start, and when running click  to go to the photo on Flickr):

Website: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/
Address / Phone: 1510 Avenue of the Stars

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

(407) 824-4321?

Central Florida Photo Ops Rating: Fun family day – will keep the photographer interested!

©2010, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

It takes teamwork – Florida Sandhill Crane nest

We’re very fortunate to have Sandhill Cranes in Central Florida.  You can see these large wading birds all around the area and you often see them in groups of two to four.  Usually the group is a family with two larger birds (the parents) and one or two smaller juveniles.

For a few weeks last year, I regularly saw one family on my way home from work – they were often in a field next to the entrance ramp where I get on the toll road .  It was interesting to watch the young bird grow and eventually leave the parents.  I’ve also seen them in parking lots and even crossing major roads (on foot!).

According to Wikipedia, The Florida Sandhill Crane subspecies is estimated to have some 5,000 individuals remaining and is protected in our state.  Sad fact:  Sandhill Cranes are hunted in several western states and Canada.  Fun fact:  Ten million year old fossils of the Sandhill crane have been found which makes it the oldest known bird species still surviving.

Sandhill Cranes on nest

Sandhill Cranes and nest – Nikon D90, ISO 200, f/8, 1/640 sec, Sigma 150-500mm @ 500mm, 60 meters distance

I didn’t realize that Sandhill Cranes nest on the ground.  I saw a nest for the first time yesterday at Vierra Wetlands and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.  How has this species survived for ten million years using this strategy?  Can you imagine how difficult it is to protect a nest from all the predators in the middle of a marsh?  I saw large alligators not far from this nest and I’m certain that there are raccoons, snakes and other things that would love to eat eggs or small birds close by.


Alligator on bank at Vierra Wetlands Nikon D90, ISO 200, f/8, 1/640 sec, Sigma 150-500mm @ 500mm

iBird says that both parents incubate the eggs during the day, but only the female does so at night.  It doesn’t say what the male bird does at night, but it must have to help defend the female.  I can only conclude that these birds are very fierce defenders.  Alligators and other predatory animals must learn to leave them alone – after all,  modern alligators have been around for about six to 12 million years!

©2010, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.