Monthly Archives: March 2016

TICO Warbird Airshow 2016

For 39 years, the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum in Titusville has hosted the TICO Warbird Airshow.  I’ve heard a lot about it over the years, but hadn’t ever been until my friend Van asked me if I wanted to go with him to this year’s version on March 13 at the Space Coast Regional Airport.

North American B-25 Mitchell bomber flight demoNorth American B-25 Mitchell bomber flight demo

There was a 50% chance of rain, but the downpour held off for us.  I liked the overcast conditions – the clouds made more interesting backgrounds than plain blue sky would have.  The forecast may have helped with the crowds too – we found easy parking and a place up front near the demo area.

The planes were mostly older ones, some dating back to World War I:

Snoopy and the Red Baron - WW I aircraft flight demonstrationSnoopy and the Red Baron – WW I aircraft flight demo

Other aircraft flight demos included B-29, F/A-18s, F-16s, MiG 17, F4U Corsair, A-4C Skyhawk, P-51, T-33, F-104, UH-1, and AH-1.  They also had static displays including the A-6, F-14, A-10, and S-2 that were in the service when I was (way back when!)

S2FGrumman S-2 static display

Parachute demos, helicopter and airplane rides, and even war-games were also big attractions.

Wargames - Sherman tank on the moveWargames – World War II Sherman tank on the move.  The Germans lost again.

So, a lot to see and photograph.  Here are some things to consider if you go:

  • You’ll mostly need a telephoto lens.  Even when flying over the demo area, you’ll want to make the aircraft as large in your viewfinder as possible.  I used a 200 – 600mm equivalent lens.
  • Practice your panning and don’t frame too tight.  If you’re not careful, sudden maneuvers (there’s a lot of them) could cut off portions of the planes.  A zoom lens helps with the framing.
  • When photographing the jets, leave even more room – they move fast!
  • A normal or wide-angle lens will be nice for the static displays.  Or use your telephoto for up close details.
  • Use continuous autofocus
  • Check your histogram often to make sure the sky in the background isn’t fooling your camera’s exposure meter.
  • Vary the shutter speed.  Try for some photos where the props are blurred, but make sure you keep the airframe itself sharp.
  • Wear a hat and use sunscreen.  Even in the cloudy conditions we had, I got too much sun.
  • Bring folding chairs or scout out seating areas.  We sat up front with excellent visibility.

It was a great show – I’m glad Van invited me!  Unfortunately, you’ve missed it for this year – but be ready 2017 or go to another airshow in your area.   And during the rest of the year Central Florida folks can stop by the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum  – check their website for info.

Click on the photos in this post to see larger versions on Flickr, and I’ve posted more photos from this event in this album.

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

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Anhinga portrait

Anhingas are large water birds common here in Florida.  You often see them pose with wings spread as they dry out after a swim.  You can read more about them in this article on Wikipedia.

For most of the year you might say they’re drab, especially around the head with plain black or brown feathers and eyes.  But with springtime love in the air, their appearance changes – especially for males.  They develop highlights in the feathers on the back of their heads, a lot of color around their eyes, and look like they wear red contact lenses.  This fellow has the full style going.

Anhinga - full length portraitAnhinga – full length portrait

Here’s a close up crop from this photo so you can better see the colors and detail (click for a larger version on Flickr).

Anhinga - head shotAnhinga – head shot

They’re very handsome and I enjoy photographing them, especially when they’re as patient and tolerant as this one was.

I made the photo at Gatorland in Orlando on March 10th during my first visit this year.  The breeding season is underway and hundreds of wild birds are participating.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to see colors and behaviors of anhinga, egret, herons  and other species up close.   And Gatorland has an early entry program for photographers so you can photograph in the early morning light while avoiding crowds of tourists later in the day.  Go see for yourself!

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

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Backyard Visitors

My best friend (and longtime photo assistant, and most lovely wife!) has alway supported my photography obsession. But recently Lynn has gone above and beyond with her imaging help.

Cardinal pairCardinal pair.  Lynn helped me catch these two in the tree outside her office window.  I don’t know how she got them to pose so nicely!

She’s set up a feeder and bird bath in our backyard and all sorts of winged visitors are stopping by.  Here’s a closeup of the feeder with two more of our guests.

Tufted Titmouse pairTufted Titmouse pair.  

The feeder is a “Squirrel Buster Plus” and it really does keep squirrels out, although they enjoy cleaning up any seeds the birds drop.

Lynn placed it so she could watch from the back room and she’s been letting me know when she spots something interesting.  I made the photos in this post over a two-day period without working too hard at all.

Downy WoodpeckerDowny Woodpecker

The feeder is suspended from this tree and the birds stop in the branches to scope things out or wait their turn.

Red-bellied WoodpeckerRed-bellied Woodpecker

In addition to the ones shown here we’ve also seen Sparrows, a Carolina Wren, Palm Warblers, and what I think was a Black and White Warbler.  Quite a variety!

This is a wonderful time of year to spot birds in Central Florida.  Many smaller species migrate through and would appreciate a meal along the way.  If you do decide to put up a feeder, please consider the ethics involved.  Here’s a good reference for some things to think about.  And here’s one more reference with tips on backyard bird photography.

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

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

SpaceX Launch

Space X launch - 3/4/16

SpaceX Falcon 9 launch on 3/4/16, just after booster separation

It can be hard for Central Florida visitors to witness a launch.  Schedules often change because of weather, technical, or other issues.  It’s disappointing if you travel to the coast for one, only to have it cancelled at the last moment.  This Falcon 9 launch was postponed six times before it finally lifted off on Friday evening.    This article is a good summary about this particular mission.

But you don’t have to be right next to Kennedy Space Center to see a launch.  Lynn and I are fortunate to live about 35 – 40 miles from the pads, which is well within viewing distance.  We enjoy watching from our driveway.

Even though the space shuttle has been retired, it’s still exciting to see these and think about  new commercial technologies that people like SpaceX CEO Elon Musk are adding to the US space capability.

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

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.