Monthly Archives: June 2015

Contemplating Vivian Maier

Vivian Maier was an enigmatic nanny and an extremely prolific street photographer who passed away in 2009.  She’s the subject of the film Finding Vivian Maier.  Lynn, Mary and I saw it when it played recently in Orlando.  I enjoyed the movie and  recommend it to anyone, especially if you’re interested in photography.

If you haven’t followed her story, you can easily catch up by googling her name or clicking on her website (first link above).  It’s worth your time.

What I find fascinating is that while she made over 100,000 photographs, she was completely unknown before they were discovered in an abandoned storage locker in 2007.  And her photos are very good.  She captured street scenes in Chicago and other places that show us what life was like.  She was obviously passionate about photography.  But –  she apparently had no interest in sharing her work.  There were even 2000 rolls of film that she never developed.

Brooks Jenson (publisher of Lenswork Magazine) has a podcast that I listen to.  His latest one is a little over 7 minutes long, and in it he talks about why we photographers are so passionate about what we do.  For him, photography is a way to explore life.  I like that idea.  It seems Vivian Maier was exploring life around her with her photography too.  He goes on to say that there are two sides to photography:  The observation / capture side, and the publication / sharing side.  Brooks says you can’t have one without the other.  I think that’s right for most people.  They want to share something they’ve seen with others.  Something that they see differently or that others may pass by.

Street photography isn’t my forte, but I suppose we need at least one photo for this post. Vivian Maier would sometimes include herself in her photos.  So here’s my attempt.

Waiting at the corner of Venice and NokomisWaiting at the corner of Venice and Nokomis – I was playing with my camera while the ladies shopped.  Vivian Meir’s version of this would be in Black and White, and probably use a vertical 4×5 format.  It also might include a reflection of her, not me.

I find Vivian Maier’s story compelling.  She did the observation / capture side of photography without the publication / sharing side.  Until recently her photography was incomplete since no one had seen it.  After she’s gone, her work is finally being shared and we’re seeing some of what she observed.

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

©2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Casey Key Clouds

I’ve written about Casey Key before.  Lynn and I have been visiting this little island on the Gulf coast of Florida for many years.  If you’d like to read other articles about it, click on the “Casey Key” link under the “Places / Categories” menu over on the right.

When we got home this week and I reviewed the photos I made there on this trip, I was struck by how much the clouds enhance the images.

Stormy ShoreStormy Shore

This strong storm moved through one afternoon and dropped considerable hail and rain on the area.  But we also got to see the awesome cloud front pass over the beach.

This next photo includes some lovely clouds too.

Sunset BeachSunset Beach

And finally, here’s one last photo combining the sky and wispy sunset clouds with a sun or beach totem – not something I see everyday.

Sun totemSun totem

I have more photos from Casey Key as well as larger versions of the ones above in this set on Flickr.

Clear skies are often boring.  Clouds and storms add interest and drama, and enhance almost any photo.  Add some clouds to your compositions.

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

©2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park

On the way home from our trip to the Florida Panhandle last month, Lynn and I decided to break up the drive and spend one night at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park.

Wakulla RiverWakulla River, just down stream from the spring

This gorgeous park is about 14 miles south of Tallahassee and surrounds a first magnitude spring.  Water from the Floridan Aquifer flows into the Wakulla and through the St. Marks Rivers to the Gulf of Mexico.  The flow comes out of an  extensive cave system and divers have explored about 12 miles of the network.  It’s been a popular place with film crews and several movies were filmed here, including Creature from the Black Lagoon.

You can see how clear the water is in the photo above.  It was even clearer:  When Lynn and I were last there (~ 15 years ago) we could see the mouth of the spring from the surface.  But now:

“Sadly, Glass-Bottom Boat Tours over the spring basin have become the exception rather than the rule in recent years. Tea-stained or green water impedes the penetration of light needed to view the impressive features of the deep chasm of Wakulla Spring. Heavy rains combined with other factors still to be fully understood are thought to be the cause of decreased visibility.”  https://www.floridastateparks.org/park-activities/wakulla-springs#Boat-Tours

Even though the glass bottom boat tours are rare, they run guided riverboat tours every day – make sure you take one.  The Wakulla River is protected in the park and they’re the only boats allowed.  It’s an isolated and very pretty ride, and in addition to the scenery we saw lots of wildlife including Manatees, Turtles, and birds.  The ranger even pointed out a Yellow-crowned Night Heron on the nest with chicks – a life bird for me.  Unfortunately, it was far back in the leaves and my photo isn’t good at all.  🙁

Alligators were up on the banks and swimming in the river although we didn’t see any close to the roped off swimming area.  When I asked the ranger about that he said “We have an agreement with the gators.”  I hope it’s a binding contract!

Built in the 1930s, the Lodge is on the National Register of Historic Places.  If you want to get away from it all, this is a fine place to do it.  There’s no television, and cell reception is spotty at best.  But they have telephone land lines and even wi-fi now!  There’s also a nice dinning room so you don’t have to leave the park for meals.

Edward Ball Lodge, Exterior viewEdward Ball Lodge exterior

We also enjoyed the live entertainment and beverages while reading in the lobby.

Edward Ball Lodge, Live entertainmentEdward Ball Lodge lobby

If you get a chance, Wakulla Springs is obviously worth a visit.   Reservations at the lodge are much easier to get than at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park.  Lynn and I need to go back more often than every 15 years.

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

©2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Gatorland – June 4, 2015

Once again, it’s that time of year:  The Gatorland photography pass season ends soon – so if you want to get in early at 7:30am, you’ll have to hurry.  After June 17th, they’re only open during regular hours.

I like to watch the progression of wild birds nesting in the rookery and usually visit several times. Check out this very handy bird nesting season reference guide on the St. Augustine Alligator Farm web page for hints on what you can see here in Florida and when.

A juvenile Tri-colored Heron, (with a typical "hair-do")A juvenile Tri-colored Heron, (with a typical “hair-do”).  This one was waiting for Mom or Dad to return with some food.

Great Egrets start the year off, but this late, most of their eggs have hatched and the chicks have grown and fledged into nice looking juveniles.  When I was there this week with Tom M., Wood Storks, Anhingas, Snowy Egrets, and Tri-colored Herons were still raising chicks and tending to nests.

Wood StorkWood Stork – Bringing a branch back to Momma.

Several of the Wood Storks had found an abandoned Cormorant nest and were stealing branches from it.  This one made several trips!

Cattle Egrets are taking over the starring roles and are busy attracting mates, building nests, and breeding.

Cattle Egret - posing in breeding colorsCattle Egret – posing in breeding colors

This was probably my last visit to Gatorland for a while but I’m looking forward to returning next year.  It’s a wonderful place to get close access to a number of Florida bird species.  I’ve posted a great many photos from there in this set on Flickr.  You can read Central Florida Photo Ops posts about Gatorland at this link and posts about the St. Augustine Alligator Farm at this link.

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

©2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.