Monthly Archives: September 2012

Wow – it was really crowded over there!

Crowded with both flowers and people…

I’ve photographed the wildflowers (swamp sunflowers) that bloom near Lake Jessup at this time of year since about 2006.  I’ve never seen as many people out there as I did tonight.  When I drove by on 417, there were 8 or 10 cars along the shoulder and people with cameras and tripods were clambering down into the flowers to get photos.  When I arrived at the Lake Jessup Conservation Area just before sunset, the gate was closed and the two parking spaces outside the gate were already taken – so I had to park on the road.  On my walk in, I met up with two people with cameras and on my way out another person stopped me to ask what I’d seen.  On most previous trips, I haven’t seen anyone.  I guess the word has gotten around.

Lake Jessup Conservation Area - Swamp Sunflowers
Lake Jessup Conservation Area – Fisheye fun with the Swamp Sunflowers.

The flowers are at their peak.  If you want to see or photograph them, you should go in the next few days.

Lake Jessup Conservation Area - Swamp Sunflowers

Lake Jessup Conservation Area Wildflowers

Check out these links for info and please  be careful.  Stopping along 417 could be dangerous.

You can see more photos of the area in this set on Flickr.

 Add a comment to the blog or drop me an email if you go.  I’d love to see your photos.

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Get ready for the Lake Jesup flowers

If you live in the Central Florida area and want to photograph an endless field of flowers, get ready to head over to the Marl Bed Flats in the Lake Jesup Conservation Area where Swamp Sunflowers (Helianthus angustifolius, also called Narrow Leaf Sunflowers) bloom from horizon to horizon during the last week in September and the first week of October.

Mr. McKinney in the flowers
Kevin M. in the flowers at the Lake Jessup Wilderness Area

I drove by on highway 417 this afternoon to see what’s going on, and there are already a few flowers out.  My guess is that they’ll start peaking next weekend.  Check out these links for info and maybe I’ll see you out there!

You can see more photos of the area in this set on Flickr.

If you do go out there and make some images, please add a comment to this post or drop me an email.  I’d love to see how your photos come out.

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge – 9/15/12

One thing that’s really wonderful about the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is that it’s such a large and varied area.  Even if the main attractions (like Blackpoint Wildlife Drive) are slow, you can still find plenty to see and photograph in other areas.  And the surroundings offer some very scenic Florida landscapes.

I visited once again Saturday morning with fellow Photography Interest Group member Kevin M.  We stopped as we normally do at a likely spot on the way for a sunrise photo.  This was the scene at Rotary Riverfront Park, just north of highway 50 on US 1.  There’s a pier leading to a set of docks that offer many different compositions.  It’s a beautiful place and although several people showed up to watch the sun rise, I was the first out on the pier – and felt a little bad when I disturbed a couple that had slept on one of the benches at the end.

Dawn in Titusville, Florida
Dawn in Titusville, Florida: There were several people enjoying the view from Rotary Riverfront Park, across from the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC).  I tried my new Hoya ND400 neutral density filter and I like the way it works.  If you haven’t used something similar, you should.  It’s one way to make your photos stand out.

When we left and headed to Blackpoint, the clouds you see in the distance turned into rain, which fell off and on in spots for an hour or so.  This made for “ISO 2000 light”, which means it was dim for good bird photography.  It turns out that didn’t matter too much, since the birds were few and far between.  We did see a few of the normal species:  Anhingas, Belted Kingfishers, Cormorants, Great Blue and Little Blue Herons, Redish, Great and Snowy Egrets, Grebes, Moorhens, some unidentified ducks in the distance, and a few shore birds.  The water there was very high – maybe the highest I’ve seen it.  I wonder if this is related to the bird count or not?

After Blackpoint, we decided to try a new area and stopped by Hammock Trails.  These take off in two directions from the parking area and wander through some hardwood trees as well as typical Florida pines and palms.  We were hoping to see a few migrant Warblers, but had no luck.  I’m not a very good birder – although I  heard a few, I didn’t see a single one along these trails.  I did come across this railroad track, which I thought made a good subject:

Leading to separation
Leading to separation – Train tracks crossing Hammock Trail in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. This is a Black & White conversion of a bracketed, Infra Red, Panorama

Our last stop of the day was the Visitor Center.  Since our annual pass is expiring, we wanted to renew.  We arrived at about 9:30.  They don’t open until 10, so we wandered around for a bit.

Carolina Wren
Carolina Wren – Sighted along the boardwalk at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.

There wasn’t any activity at the bird feeder, but we could hear several birds on the boardwalk.  We ended up seeing a Carolina Wren, a pair of Cardinals, a Black and White Warbler, and a Red Eyed Vireo, and I’m guessing there were others we didn’t see.  The ranger mentioned White Eyed Vireos and we’ve seen them there in the past.

So we watched a nice sunrise, and even though the birds were scarce at a couple of areas, we ended up with some interesting avian sightings, and enjoyed being out.  All in all, a very good morning.

If you click on the photos above, you’ll go to Flickr where you can view larger versions.  You can see more MINWR photos in this set on Flickr,  more sunrise photos in this set, and more Florida landscapes in this set.

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Three more from the beach

We’re busy this weekend with computer and roof problems, so not much time for photography. Here’s a few more photos from our beach trip last week.

Venice Pier at Sunset
Venice Pier at Sunset

The mermaid in the garden by the sea
The mermaid in the garden by the sea – From the patio behind the hotel.

Morning shell-scape
Morning shell-scape – Casey Key is a prime spot for shell and shark’s teeth collectors.  Hurricane Issac passed off shore and stirred things up, resulting in lots of shells on the beach.

You can see some other photos from Casey Key in this set on Flickr.

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Happy Labor Day!

Like many people in the US, Lynn and I headed to the beach for Labor Day.  We really like Casey Key on the Gulf Coast of Florida just north of Venice.  Like always, it was very relaxing.  We swam, shelled, ate, walked the beach, and got plenty of sun.  I also had a little time for some photography.

Jetty Sunset
The north jetty at the inlet in Casey Key Florida is full of people fishing and watching the sunset. I watched from the south jetty in Venice. The sail boat was a nice bonus.

Willet on the beach
Willet on the beach – This bird was very cooperative.  When not fishing in the surf, it would occasionally come close.

On the beach
On the beach – We were wandering around exploring the area near the Venice Pier. Since it was close to mid-day, I didn’t expect any good light but I took my IR camera in case something came up. I think the IR characteristics add a lot of interest to the photo.

You can see some other photos from Casey Key in this set on Flickr.

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved