Monthly Archives: January 2012

Theraputic Photography

Why do we photograph?  For many reasons:  To capture a moment and save it.  To document something, so others can see what we see.  To amuse or delight viewers with our images.  To create art as a form of self-expression.  To report facts as in a newspaper, or slant facts as in an advertisement.

Most of the time I’m trying to make something interesting or beautiful.  To show viewers what I’ve seen and how I’ve seen it.  I also like to record where I’ve been.  And making family photos  at gatherings / events is also important to me.

Great gloomy plains
Great Gloomy Plains – Photographs often reflect the photographer’s mood.  I made this photo during a break in a light snowstorm near the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Hudson, Colorado.

For the last couple of weeks, my photography has served another purpose – one that I hadn’t ever considered.

My Mother was 80 years old and apparently in worse health than any of us knew.  She passed away while in the hospital for back surgery.  Even though she hated to carry around her oxygen tank, she was sharp and active until the end.  Mom was a great woman and much loved by everyone who knew her.  She was a wonderful mother and I miss her terribly.

Lynn and I went to Denver to be with family and help settle Mom’s estate.  Her affairs were in good order, but there was still a lot to do.  As you might imagine, it was an emotional and stressful time.

Bull Elk

Bull Elk, photographed near Buffalo Bill’s Grave outside of Denver, Colorado

Of course this wasn’t a photo trip, but I did decide to bring a small point and shoot camera.  I’m very glad I did.  During the two weeks we were there, we took a couple of short side trips.  I found that when concentrating on photography, I could exclude other things from my mind and feel almost normal for a while.  It really helped me cope and get my emotions back toward a more even keel.  These are three of the photos I made.

Sunrise over Chatfield Lake 2

 Sunrise over Chatfield Lake – I made this photo on the morning we left to return to Orlando.

Photography helps us remember. It can also help us forget. At least for a short time.

You can see more Denver images in this set on Flickr.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos.

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Year of the Dragon

Today is the Chinese New Year, also known as the “Spring Festival”.  2012 is the Year of the Dragon.

The dragon is the most powerful of the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac, and is associated with high energy and prosperity. It’s also the only mythological beast in the Chinese astrological stable that also includes the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

I don’t have a photo of a mythological dragon.  But I do have this image:

22. Komodo dragon
Komodo Dragon

Komodo Dragons are found in Indonesia and can grow to about 10 feet in size.  They’re carnivores and dominate the ecosystem where they’re found.  This particular one lives at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

This year is considered especially auspicious because it is the year of the water dragon, something that only happens once every 60 years.  I don’t have a photo of a mythological water dragon either.  Perhaps this one will do?

Rising gator
Rising Gator at Orlando Wetlands Park: Is this a Water Dragon?

So happy Chinese New Year! Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos.
©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

“The Senator” is destroyed by fire

Note:  This post was updated on 2/29/12 after the arrest of a woman who has confessed to starting the fire.

Today is a sad day.

The Senator“, one of the oldest cypress trees in the world, caught fire, burned and collapsed this morning in Longwood Florida.  It burned from the inside out and local firefighters spent several hours trying to put out the fire and save the tree.  Efforts even included dumping water on the flames from a Sheriff’s helicopter.  The fire was apparently caused by a woman inside the hollow tree who started the fire so she could see the illegal drugs she was using.  These Orlando Sentinel links have more details:

The tree was an estimated 3500 years old.  A 20 – 25 feet section of the base is still standing and it’s all that remains of the 125 foot tall tree that was there only yesterday.  It was even taller before the top section was lost to a hurricane in 1925.  “Lady Liberty”, a nearby companion tree thought to be 2000 years old was not damaged in this fire.  Seminole county is now planning to spend $30,000 for fencing at the site to protect the remains of the Senator as well as Lady Liberty.

It is a big shame that Seminole County did not adequately protect this site.  I’m so very glad I went by Big Tree Park last September to photograph the tree and write it up for Central Florida Photo Ops.  I hope you visited too.

The SenatorThe Senator:  Prior to the January 16, 2012 fire that destroyed it.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos.  Sometimes you don’t get a second chance.
©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Rectaflex Italian 35mm SLR Camera

NOTE: I’ve posted updated info about this at this link: http://edrosack.com/2015/12/20/rectaflex-update/

 

Italian Rectaflex 35mm film camera and lens, front view
Italian Rectaflex 35mm SLR film camera and lens, front view

You don’t see Italian cameras and especially Italian Single Lens Reflex cameras very often.  We inherited this Rectaflex 35mm SLR film camera from Lynn’s Grandfather.  Camerapedia has some information on the brand.  They were introduced in 1949, and the company went out of business by 1955.  It was one of the first SLRs to have a pentaprism.

Italian Rectaflex 35mm film camera and lens, top view
Italian Rectaflex 35mm SLR film camera and lens, top view

Judging by the serial number, this particular one was probably made in 1953 or 4.  It came to us in a leather case with accessories including extra lenses, extension tubes, and a flash unit.

Italian Rectaflex 35mm film camera lenses, extension tubes, cases
Italian Rectaflex 35mm film camera lenses, extension tubes, cases

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to run any film through it.  The shutter’s inoperative and repairing it would probably be an expensive custom rebuild job.  But it looks good sitting on the shelf!

I think it’s fascinating to look at these older cameras to see how things worked WBD (way before digital).

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Merritt Island – January 2012

Four of us from the Photography Interest Group visited the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge yesterday for the first time this year.  It was a beautiful Florida morning and this place is rockin’!!

As usual, we looked for a sunrise photo first.  We found this old house behind the Brevard Community College and the sky cooperated.

Old house and sunrise
Old house and sunrise

It was really hard to decide on the highlight of this trip.  Before I left yesterday morning, I Googled MINWR, and saw a report of “a Great Horned Owl on a nest on the left near 402 and SR 3”.  Sure enough, we drove right up to it and it was there waiting there for us!  The internet is really handy, isn’t it?

Great Horned Owl on nest
Great Horned Owl on nest

The second contender for highlight of the day was a Clapper Rail.  I’d seen reports of these too, but I’d never seen one before and didn’t know what to look for.  We parked at the first parking area on Black Point Wildlife Drive and were exploring when we met a tourist from Brazil.  He pointed out the bird for us, but it was back in the shadows and with the glare from the sun it took me a while to see it even with him pointing right at it!  Fortunately, it moved a bit and I was able to get a photo.  We eventually saw three in this area and one more at the second parking area.

These Clapper Rails are  hard to see...
These Clapper Rails are hard to see…

There were more people / cars on BPWLD yesterday than I’ve ever seen before.  A couple of times there were real traffic jams!  There were also more birds than I’ve seen there in a long time – maybe ever.  We saw Ospreys, Clapper Rails, Pintail Ducks, Coots, Moorhens, White Pelicans, Mottled Ducks, Green Wing Teals, Belted Kingfishers, Anhingas, Cormorants, Green Herons, Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Reddish Egrets, Little Blue Egrets, Cattle Egrets, Savannah Sparrows, Tree Sparrows, Tricolored Herons, Woodstorks, Roseate Spoonbills, a Great Horned Owl, Painted Buntings, various gulls, Red-winged Blackbirds, and others.

After BPWLD, we drove by the owl again and it was still there.  Then we went by the visitor center to check on the Painted Buntings.  There were at least two of them at the feeder.  After that we had to return home – a couple of us had things to do in the normal world. 🙁

If you’ve meant to visit MINWR and haven’t made it yet – get out there now.  I’ve never seen it better!  You can click on the photos above to go to Flickr, where you can see a larger version as well as any comments and discussion about them.  Click here to visit my Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge set, and click here to visit my Black Point Wildlife Drive set on Flickr.

By the way, I started an “Ed’s Life List” page to record the bird species I’ve seen in the wild.  I’ll keep my list there along with a link to a gallery of images for each species. I’ll try to keep this page up to date as I go.  Please visit if you get a chance.

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Jetty Park, Cape Canaveral

Intro / Description

Happy New Year!  Back to basics with my first post of 2012:  A photo-op review.

When I was in the Navy, I was stationed at the Naval Ordinance Test Unit at Cape Canaveral for a while – so I’m familiar with the port and Jetty Park.  But I’d never really investigated it as a photo-op.  I had some time last week, and decided to visit.

Jetty Park is located on the south side of Port Canaveral in Brevard County.  Depending on where you leave from, it’s a little over an hour from Orlando, basically a straight line along the Beachline Expressway (528 toll road).  In addition to the jetty and 1200 foot fishing pier, there’s also a 120+ site campground and beach (with lifeguard) at the park.

Info for Photographers

Photo hints:

The rocks, pier and seaside vegetation can provide some interesting foreground for sunrise landscapes.

The sun rises every morning...The sun rises every morning…But no one know what it will look like. This was the view before dawn from the beach at Jetty Park.

You can also see a variety of shore birds.  I saw Brown Pelicans, Northern Gannets, Ruddy Turnstones, Royal Terns, various Seagulls and others that I haven’t identified yet.

A place like this is also great for practicing your BIF (birds in flight) techniques.  Pelicans make especially good subjects, since they tend to glide in a predictable straight line, but other birds are also flying in and around (see the last photo, below).

Tripod/Monopod:

No restrictions, so bring yours and use it.

Lenses:

This will depend on your subject.  I used my tripod mounted Nikon 16 – 35mm f/4 VR Wide angle for landscapes and sunrise.  When the light got a little better, I switched to hand holding my Sigma 150 – 500mm f/6.3 for birds.  You can get up close to some of the birds, so a shorter telephoto might come in handy too.  For example, this Brown Pelican wouldn’t fit in the field of view at 500mm.  Since the bird was so still, I made a multi-shot panorama.  I like to use this technique when I can since the result can be a  higher resolution image (this one is 18.5 Megapixels, un-cropped).

Posing Pelican Pano

Best time to visit:

Day visitor hours are 7am to dusk.  Take this into account if you’re planning to make some sunrise photos.  I didn’t and the morning I went, sunrise was at 7:15.  I arrived about 6:45 and the gate was still closed, so I drove around a bit to see if there was somewhere else to make a sunrise photo (I didn’t find one).  When I returned at about 6:55 they were unlocking it.  I had less time than I wanted to find a good spot and setup, but I did manage to get some photos I like.

Winter is probably a good time of year to go.  It’ll be less crowded (with people) and more crowded (with birds).  Many of the birds could be winter visitors too.

Northern Gannet in Flight

Northern Gannet in flight:  This Pelagic species is a winter migrant to the waters off of the Florida coast.

Other:

There’s a $10 per day usage / parking fee.

The morning I was there I saw a young man land a large fish from the end of the pier.  This might be a good place to combine your interest in fishing, camping and the beach with a photo side excursion.

There’s a lot of shipping activity at the port.  Cruise ships and fishing boats enter and leave regularly.  I think you can still occasionally see a submarine that’s visiting too.

Jetty park is close to both Viera Wetlands and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.  If you have time for a little longer trip, you could combine a visit here with a second stop at one of those places.  The morning I went, I also stopped by Viera to see what was going on there.

Summary

I added a few birds to my life list and a few photos I really like to my archives.  You can too. Check out the other photos I made there in this set on Flickr.  Let me know how your visit to the park goes.

My Gallery / Flickr photo set:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/sets/72157628638922015/with/6606239041/
Their Website:  http://www.portcanaveral.com/recreation/beaches.php
Address / Phone: 9035 Campground Cir, Cape Canaveral, FLView in Google Maps
Central Florida Photo Ops Rating:  A sunrise and shorebird showplace!

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.