Tag Archives: buildings

Winter Park at Night

Greetings, wonderful readers!  Things are a bit busy here at the Central Florida Photo Ops HQ this weekend, so I’ll leave you with a quick post and some photos from a stroll down Park Avenue through Winter Park last Wednesday evening.

A quiet night "on the avenue"A quiet night “on the avenue”

A path into darknessA path into darkness

Blue Hour MotionBlue Hour Motion – A train passing behind one of the fountains in Winter Park, Florida

I made these a little after sunset during “blue hour” – I like the look of the light.  You can see a few other photos I’ve made in Winter Park in this album on Flickr.


Sunflower update:  The flowers are in bloom and are peaking.  If you want to see them this year, you should probably do so in the next week.  Here’s a report from Jeff Stamer’s blog on his trip out there last week.

I haven’t made it yet this year, but plan to do so next week.


Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now, go 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.

Orlando – Downtown in the Dark

People probably don’t think of Orlando as a metropolis or street photography mecca like New York or Chicago, but it does have a photogenic downtown.  I wrote about a daytime stroll there in this post back in October of last year.  I suspected that it might be even more photogenic at night.  Last Wednesday evening I went back with Keith H. and Tom M.

The new Dr. P. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts was finished after our last trip and I was looking forward to seeing it at night.  It’s an impressive building and the architecture and lighting make it an attractive photo subject.  Here are two views of the main entrance:

Dr. Phillips Center 1 Dr. Phillips Center 1 – The new performing arts center in downtown Orlando

Dr. Phillips Center 2 Dr. Phillips Center 2

City hall is just west of the Performing Arts Center.  This view is looking up at the front doors from the base of the steps:

Orlando City Hall Orlando City Hall

Church Street Station is even further west and a bit north.  This sidewalk next to the SunRail tracks passing through caught my eye:

Down by the tracks Down by the tracks – Near Church Street Station

You can see other photos from this trip and many more from downtown Orlando in this set on Flickr.  I’m sure you can find many images of your own when you wander around downtown.

If you go:

  • Street parking is hard to find.  There are convenient parking garages – we used the one on South Orange Avenue at the Plaza Cinema Cafe.  I’d like to find a garage with access to the roof and a good panoramic view.  If you find one, please let me know!
  • The area by the Dr. Phillips Center / City Hall is well-lit and photogenic.  Lake Eola is also very popular with photographers.
  • There are a lot of people around early in the evening so the areas seem relatively safe, but be careful.
  • A wide-angle lens and tripod will help your architectural photos.  A high ISO capability and bright lens would be good if you want to try hand-held street photos.

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

©2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Downtown Orlando

I seem to have a preference for wide views.  Hence my attraction to stitched multi-frame panorama images.  They’re a great way to extend the field of view of lenses you have with you.

Keith H. and I walked around downtown Orlando for a few hours one day last week.  I made a lot of photos, and after getting home and reviewing them, my favorites all turned out to be stitched panoramas.  I guess I just enjoy being able to see the whole scene.  Here are three examples:

Back alley break
Back alley break – A woman takes a work break on the back stairs. 4 frame panorama

Also, I hardly ever make selfies, but on this walk I ended up with two that I like – although they aren’t typical of the genre.

A selfie
A window selfie – Looking south across Church Street from the 4th floor of the Plaza parking garage. That’s my reflection in the glass towards the middle bottom. Infra Red, Black & White, 4 frame panorama.  (Click for a larger view on Flickr)

And this next one isn’t a Black & White photo – the sidewalk and wall were that color.

Cracks me up
Cracks me up – A shadow selfie. 3 frame panorama.

You might find you like stitching panoramas too.  I’ve written about them before.  This article has a detailed workflow example and there are some more ideas in this post.  Composition can be difficult since you can’t see the final image through your viewfinder as you capture it.  Try to cover a larger area than you think you’ll need so you can crop into the assembled image to fine tune the composition.  And watch out for long lines and patterns of lines.   Look for any errors / mismatched lines between frames after you stitch them together and clean them up with the clone tool.

Besides downtown itself, there are several areas in Orlando with interesting photo ops: the Plaza Theatre, Leu Gardens, Lake Eola, Meade Gardens, and Greenwood Cemetery.  I’ve collected photos from all of them in this set on Flickr.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Riding the Rails – Orlando’s New SunRail Commuter Train

There are a lot of posts on here about nature / wildlife / landscape photography in our area.  But the blog isn’t only about those subjects – it’s about Central Florida Photo Ops in general.  So this week we have something a little different…

Central Florida’s new commuter rail system opened on May 1.  The first phase of SunRail is 32 miles long and connects DeBary to Sand Lake Road, with 12 intermediate stations.   The fares have been free for the first two weeks while they work the kinks out of the system.  And I had some free time – so it was a perfect chance to check it out.

Trains run every 1/2 hour during the morning and evening rush hours and every two hours in the middle of the day.  Getting there early gave me more opportunities to get on and off the train and explore nearby locations.  And sometimes the light is really pretty in the morning too!

A beautiful morning to catch the train
A beautiful morning to catch the train – at the Maitland SunRail platform

The trains are new, clean, modern, air-conditioned, and the morning I rode they were all on time.  They’ve been crowded with many folks riding for free to scope out the system.  But by the time I boarded last Wednesday the crush had thinned out – I had no problem getting seats all morning.

Northbound Sunrail
Northbound

There are plenty of scenic locations within walking distance of the SunRail stations.   Exploring them all would take longer than a morning so I only stopped at three: Orlando Health, Winter Park, and Maitland.  Finding subjects to point my camera at was easy. Here are two examples:

Seaboard Coast Line - Amtrak
Seaboard Coast Line – Amtrak Station

Lucy Bleuz and the Jazzy Dog
Lucy Bleuz and the Jazzy Dog –  they look like good places to eat

I didn’t try photographing from inside the train – motion and glare would make it tough.  But there are some interesting sights between stops.  If you want to try this, the east side of the car in the afternoon might have the best shots and light.

Initially, SunRail isn’t operating on weekends – so you’ll need to get around another way on Saturday / Sunday.  But if you have time during the week, it’s an enjoyable experience.  And did I mention there are photo ops?

You can see these and a few more photos from this trip in this set on Flickr.

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

©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Maitland, Florida

Intro / Description

Maitland is a particularly photogenic city in the greater Orlando metro area.  I’ve found several locations there with good photo ops – my most recent visit was to the Maitland Art Center with Keith H.

Way out
Way out: A gate in the wall at the Maitland Art Center (Infrared, Black and White)

The Maitland Art Center used to be known as The Research Studio and is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.  It’s one of the few examples in our area of Mayan Revival architecture, which can make for some intriguing  details to photograph.  The grounds are a popular place for weddings.  You may run into one on weekends that will keep you out of one or more of the venues.

Mayan Revival carved door
Mayan Revival carved door – I wonder if this is where Indiana Jones keeps his stuff?

Other museums in this location in addition to the Art Center are: the Telephone Museum; the William H. Waterhouse House Museum; and the Carpentry Shop Museum.  If you’re visiting, check the websites linked here – the hours and fees vary.

Info for Photographers

Photo hints:

My approach was to wander and photograph whatever caught my eye.  I found the Art and History Museum  productive for IR / B&W photography.

Tripod/Monopod:  Allowed and helpful.

Lenses:  You’ll probably use wide and normal lenses the most.  I didn’t feel any need for a telephoto lens.  A polarizing filter might be helpful to block reflections in glass.

They're all in the garden at the party
They’re all in the garden at the party

Best time to visit:  Year round, early or late in the day for the best light.  Avoid weekends if possible so you don’t run into any weddings.

Other:

There are some other photo ops close by.  I’ve written before about the Audubon Birds of Prey center – a great place to get close portraits of some very impressive birds.

Recovering eagle, Audubon Birds of Prey center, Maitland, Fl
Recovering eagle, Audubon Birds of Prey center

And the park at Lake Lilly is also photogenic.  Try some sunrise or sunset photos there, or walk through the farmers market on Saturdays for some local interest / people photos.  Be careful the ducks don’t peck on your lens!

Wide angle, backlit, ducklings
Wide angle, backlit, ducklings at Lake Lilly – looking for a handout

And the Fort Maitland boat ramp at 900 South Orlando Ave. would be a great place to launch your kayak!

Summary

My Gallery /  Flickr photo set:  Maitland on Flickr
Website:  http://artandhistory.org
Address / Phone: 231 West Packwood Avenue, Maitland, Florida
Central Florida Photo Ops Rating:  A great place to explore; Lots of photo ops

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

©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Ponce Inlet and Bulow Creek – changing light

Tom M. suggested we meet at Ponce Inlet for sunrise a week ago.  I readily agreed, since the last time I was there was August 2010.  We met at the park entrance just after it opened and were set up well before sunrise.  Here’s one of my first photos.  It was very nice of them to put up red and green buoy lights for Christmas.  🙂

Sunrise at the inlet
Sunrise at the inlet – I thought the Christmas colored buoy lights added a nice holiday touch

I’m always amazed by how much light can change over a short time.  Here’s an example.

Daybreak departure
Daybreak departure – A fishing boat heads out to sea at sunrise

The physical distance between these first two photos was only a few paces, but the time change made a huge difference.  The first was at 6:32am, f/8, 30 seconds, and ISO 125.  The second was at 7:22am, f/16, 1/60 seconds, and ISO 100.  The amount and quality of light shifted dramatically over 50 minutes (and the sun rays came in for a short time too).

Moral of the story:  If you’re going to get up for a sunrise photo, you may as well get going a bit early – so you can see and photograph the entire show.  I try to arrive at least 30 minutes before sunrise.

I’d been watching large numbers of mostly resting Pelicans, Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers down on the beach.  After sunrise, I moved off the jetty and photographed them for a few minutes.  I was able to get close to this one without disturbing it, and I thought the low, warm light and the shadow behind the bird made an interesting scene.

Caspian Tern and shadow
Caspian Tern and shadow – The bird wasn’t really alone, there were many others close by

When we visited Bulow Plantation several weeks ago, Tom and I were a little disappointed in the light.  Rain and clouds that day made photography a challenge.  Since it was early when we finished at Ponce Inlet, and the weather was so much better – we decided to go back to Bulow.  The light had changed a lot here too.  But over a few weeks instead of 50 minutes.

Bulow Plantation Ruins
Bulow Plantation Ruins – I merged three images with  focus stack in Photoshop to increase depth of field.  The light this time was much better than our last visit.  And our cameras didn’t get wet!

So that was a very fine, final photo op for 2013.  Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Now – go make some photos!

And since this is my last post of the year, Happy New Year!  See you again in 2014!

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved