Tag Archives: sunrise

Sunrise

A bad day for fish…

Photography Interest Group members haven’t been doing much photography together lately.  I was happy that Kevin M. arranged a trip to Viera Wetlands last Friday.  Kevin K. also went along.

Early morning calmEarly morning calm – Along the St. Johns River where it crosses HW 50

On the way, we stopped at a favorite sunrise spot and even though it’s been well photographed, managed to get images we liked.

At Viera, we drove around the main cells a couple of times and saw some interesting things.  This Tricolored Heron had speared a large fish and was trying to swallow it.   It couldn’t hold on and dropped it just after I made this photo.

Tri-colored HeronTri-Colored Heron, this one with breakfast.

We saw a few of the regular birds there, but the ducks and other winter migrants don’t seem to have arrived yet.  On the way out, Kevin M. talked us into taking a quick spin around the Click Ponds and I’m glad he did.  The water’s been low there for a while and the birds are having a feast.  The shallow water concentrates the fish and makes them easy prey.  Birds lined up and grabbed fish out of this small stream that flowed toward the low point in the pond.

Chow lineChow line – The water level in the Click Ponds at Viera Wetlands was very low yesterday. 

Over in the corner was a very large mixed flock also enjoying the banquet.  I spotted Wood Storks, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Tricolored Herons, Glossy and White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbills, Black Vultures, and a White Pelican in this one photo.

A large flock of birdsA large flock of feeding birds

So, it wasn’t a good day for fish, but the birds enjoyed it.

I have many posts about Viera Wetlands here on the blog  that you can scroll through at this link, and many photos you can look through in this album on Flick.

You might also be interested in this quite literal “behind the scenes” look at a very handsome gentleman photographing the sunrise on Friday morning:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/34024553@N08/29844690526/in/dateposted/

Oh, and I might be joking about the handsome gentleman part    😉

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

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Two Merritt Island Photos

Both of these images are from a short trip to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge  yesterday morning.  I thought I’d tell you a bit about how I made them.

It was a good thing that I got there well before dawn, because the place I had in mind for a sunrise photo didn’t turn out (construction and street lights).  On the way over I noticed a massive thunderhead that looked like it would add some interest to my photos.  Unfortunately, it also added a lot of rain to the area, so I spent some time wandering around looking for a new place and making a few uninspired photos during gaps in the downpour.

Almost made it...Almost made it… A sunken sailboat near the Titusville Municipal MarinaI

I ended up at the Titusville Municipal Marina. There always seems to be a sunken boat or two there.  I think this one is recent, but it’s hard to be sure.   By this time, the rain was slacking off, so I parked and hurried over to where I could get a good angle on the colors in what was left of the rain clouds.   The light was pretty and I used the boat and the rocks on shore to add foreground layers to my composition.

I made many exposures, framing the boat in different ways.  The color built and I like the last set of frames best.  For this image I made seven exposures from the tripod.  Four were for the sky / clouds, pointed up slightly and bracketing exposure to make sure I captured the entire dynamic range.  I pointed three down slightly for the boat and water, to make sure I had everything in focus.  One of these three was through a neutral density filter so I could get a long shutter speed and smooth the water surface.  At home, I ended up using six of the frames, combining some in Lightroom’s merge function, and blending the rest manually in Photoshop.  Finally, I used Nik Color Effects Pro to tune the colors and Topaz Clarity to increase mid-range contrast to get what you see above.

After sunrise, I headed over to Black Point Wildlife Drive for a look around.  It’s been closed while they worked on the road.  It’s open again, in great shape, and ready for all the fall visitors.  There’s not much bird activity yet, but I did find this nicely posing Tri-colored Heron.

ReflectionsReflections – Tri-colored Heron, Black Point Wildlife Drive

This image is less complicated.  It’s just two frames, hand-held.  One’s focused on the bird’s eye and the other on its reflection in the water.  I merged them in Lightroom via the Photo Merge – Panorama function, and finished this one too with tweaks to color, contrast, and cropping in Photoshop.

Should you try these techniques?  I can’t decide for you.   For me, it’s more work, but it gives me much more control over the final result.  If you do decide to try them and have any questions about how to do this kind of thing, please leave a comment and  I’ll do my best to answer.


Thanks again to Mary Kate for writing last week’s post.  I apologize for the lack of images in that email.  I need to figure out how to get the server to send the photos when they’re not referenced from Flickr.  If you didn’t get a chance to see her photos, please click through and visit the blog.


Reminder: The flowers are coming!  The annual Florida Sunflower bloom should start by the end of September, and only lasts for a couple of weeks – be ready!.  In Central Florida, you can see them at Marl Bed Flats in the Lake Jesup Conservation area. See here for more info.


You can see many more of my photos from MINWR in this album on Flickr.

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

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

iPhone vs. “big” cameras?

When I’m traveling, I try to take an iPhone photo when I get to a new place.  Sometimes I forget but when I can remember, the iPhone’s GPS capability records the location for me.  Then when I’m back home, it makes it easier to map out exactly where I’ve been.

This is one of the first photo’s I made on our trip out to Utah a few weeks ago:

Cedar Breaks National Monument amphitheaterCedar Breaks National Monument amphitheater iPhone panorama

 When I posted it on Flickr, I commented “Straight out of the iPhone’s panorama mode. I’m not sure why I have all these other cameras.”  And I do like the photo.  Phone cameras do pretty well, especially in good light.  So I wondered …

When I got home and processed the rest of my photos, I took a look at some of the other iPhone images compared with similar images from my “big” cameras (interchangeable lens cameras with larger sensors).  Here’s another example:

Sunrise at Point Supreme, iPhone PanoramaSunrise at Point Supreme, iPhone version – Panorama mode

Although the light was very pretty that morning, it was also very challenging for the iPhone sensor and lens.    I’ve tried to adjust the photo to be as similar as possible to the one below.  But I can still see major differences.  I made the next photo a minute or so later and very near the same spot with an Olympus E-M5 II micro four-thirds camera and the 12 – 40 mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens.

Sunrise at Point Supreme
Sunrise at Point Supreme – Olympus version – multi image panorama

After looking at several cases where I had similar photos, I think this example shows why we need to keep our big cameras.

  • The exposure latitude and dynamic range capability of sensors that are larger than the one in the iPhone means that the dark areas have more detail and less noise, and the bright areas are less likely to blow out.  For high contrast light (sunrise / sunset) this helps a lot.
  • The lens in the iPhone didn’t handle the flare / glare very well.
  • The resolution capabilities of phone cameras are growing.  But with careful capture, I can create much larger images with the big cameras.  For instance the last photo above is 58 megapixel. The amount of detail in a file that large is enormous compared to a phone photo.
  • Control:  For me, the big cameras beat phone cameras in flexibility / control and ergonomics.  I can easily control everything from lens choice to aperture, ISO, shutter speed, etc.  You can get apps for your phone that add better controls, but I find them inconvenient and don’t often use the ones I have.
  • Color / white balance:  The default color and white balance on the phone are very good.  But when I use the big cameras, I can shoot in RAW format, which makes adjusting white balance and color much easier in post processing.  RAW format also allows more adjustment latitude, since I’m working with a 14 bit file in RAW, instead of an 8 bit jpg file.  RAW is coming to the iPhone soon, which should help.

So there are some reasons why I think big cameras are worth the extra weight / trouble of bringing them along.  I use my phone camera to supplement them.  How about you?

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

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Utah road trip – Chapter 2

As promised, this is the second installment of images from our trip to Utah.  You can revisit chapter one at this link to see photos from Cedar Breaks and Brian Head Peak.  This time, I’ve included images from Bryce Canyon, Zion, Red Canyon, and the road to Capitol Reef.  At the end of the post are two photos MK made.  I don’t often include “behind the scenes” photos, but maybe you’ll like them as much as I do.

Agua Canyon HoodooAgua Canyon Hoodoo, Bryce Canyon National Park

The first four photos in this post are all stitched panoramas.  I found it very hard to fit Utah landscapes into a single frame!  I made the one above with a 200mm equivalent telephoto lens.  I wanted to show a lot of detail in the foreground hoodoo and bring the hazy background closer to make the hoodoo stand out.  I like the result.

Hoodoos watch the sun riseHoodoos watch the sun rise.  Black and white infrared panorama from our drive through Red Canyon on Route 12.

I brought my infrared converted camera on the trip and used it often.  It’s good to have when the visible light gets harsh, since the scene will often look different in IR.  In the composition above, the two almost human looking hoodoos on the top of the cliff drew my eye.  They seemed to be enjoying the sunrise too.  I also liked the way the IR light was hitting the trees and the cliff on the far left.

A switchback near Nepworth WashA switch back near Nepworth Wash, Zion National Park.  

The locals kept warning us about congestion in the parks and there were a lot of people at Zion.  But compared to Orlando we thought the traffic and crowds were pretty light – especially for a holiday weekend.  I composed the frame above to leave two buses and their people mostly out of view on the right.

Desert stormsDesert storms. This is a false color infrared panorama made along Route 12 between Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and Capitol Reef National Park.  

The clouds and rain storms were awesome on the day we drove over to Escalante and Capitol Reef.  IR does well with clouds.  I like the way the ones above look almost three-dimensional.

And here are the two “behind the scenes” images:

Brian Head Peak
Ed and his Nikon (not too close to the edge!) at 11,307 feet on Brian Head Peak.  Photo by MK Rosack, used with permission
MK and Ed at Rainbow Point, Bryce Canyon
MK and Ed at Rainbow Point, Bryce Canyon – we weren’t very tired at this point in the morning – that came later.  Photo by MK Rosack, used with permission.

If you’re interested, you can see more photos from this trip in my Utah album on Flickr.  And you can click on the ones in the post to see larger versions.  I really enjoyed the tour and definitely want to go back and spend more time in this extremely scenic area.

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

©2016, Ed Rosack and MK Rosack. All rights reserved.

Epic Utah road trip – Chapter 1

I have many “out of Florida” photos to share with you today from Utah.  MK wanted to take a short sightseeing trip out there over the 4th of July weekend and asked me to be her travel buddy.  Of course, I couldn’t turn that down!  Last year on my trip out west , I passed up seeing Zion and Bryce Canyon because I wanted more time in Death Valley National Park.  I’m glad I got to go back.

Flowers at daybreakFlowers at daybreak – Cedar Breaks National Monument.  We visited this beautiful place twice.  The second time before dawn, when we were the only ones there.

Because this was my first time there and our visit was so short, I’m going to write more of a “travel log” instead of a “what and where they are and how to photograph them”.  I wouldn’t try to write that until I was way more familiar with the area.  I will say that it is spectacularly scenic and if you get a chance, just go.  You’ll find all sorts of things to point your camera at.

The first place we visited was Cedar Breaks National Monument.  It was a surprise to me – I hadn’t really heard of it before.  It’s very scenic and has a lot of wildlife too.  We saw many deer on the trip.  Unfortunately, there were several on the side of the road – we watched carefully to make sure we didn’t hit any.

Morning deerMorning deer

We actually went by Cedar Breaks twice.  The second day, we left early to find a sunrise spot and ended up there.  By ourselves – magnificent!

Sunrise at Point SupremeSunrise at Point Supreme – Cedar Breaks

We were walking through the visitors area and I was looking around in the trees trying to find the bird making a very strange call I didn’t recognize. A nice German gentleman came up to me and pointed out the Marmot that was making the racket. A bit embarrassing – but I did get a photo.

Yellow Bellied MarmotYellow Bellied Marmot

Our bird watching was casual, but I did record one new life bird.

Mountain BluebirdMountain Bluebird – These were quite common at Cedar Breaks National Monument

One other place we wandered to was Brian Head Peak – a very scenic ski town.  You can tell from the first photo and this one that there were lots of wildflowers blooming – a beautiful bonus!

Flowers by the road to the topFlowers by the road to the top – On the way up to 11,000 feet at Brian Head Peak, Utah

Here’s a summary of our trip:

  • 53 hours duration (Saturday morning – Monday evening)
  • 1,091 miles driven
  • 3 National Parks (Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef)
  • 3 National Monuments (Cedar Breaks, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Timpanagos)
  • 1 All-American Scenic Byway (Route 12)
  • 1 life bird (Mountain Bluebird)
  • 1 Yellow-Bellied Singing Marmot
  • 1 Elk
  • Lots of deer
  • 14 stamps for MK’s National Park Service passport
  • 700+ photos
  • 1 epic father-daughter Utah road trip! We were so very tired when we got home!

What a terrific trip – thank you MK! I’m still going through the photos and adding favorites to my Utah album on Flickr.  You can take a look there if you want to see more.  And click on any of the photos in this post  to see a larger version on Flickr.

I’ll work on a post with photos from the other spots next week.  Until then, thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now, go make some photos!

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

July’s for the birds…

Kevin M. and I knowingly and by chance violated many photography thumb rules yesterday morning.  My first example:

Sunrise over the pastureSunrise over the pasture

As landscape photos go, it breaks rules:   It’s not all in focus;  I didn’t use a low ISO to minimize noise;  I used a long lens (so I could keep power lines out of the frame), not a wide-angle ; And I didn’t use a tripod.  But I like how it turned out.  I’m pleased by the composition and colors.  It also has a bit of mystery with the fog, and the cows that are a bit hidden.  Florida does look like this.

Next up are some bird photos.  In Florida, July is one of the hottest months.  Most photographers know this and many choose to stay inside – because the birds know this too and many of them also seem to disappear when it’s this hot.  So what did we do?  We went  out looking for birds.

When we were photographing sunrise, we heard Bobwhites calling and spotted this one on the fence by the pasture.  It was very patient and waited with us for better light.  But I still had to violate one of my thumb rules and shoot at ISO 3200 to get a decent photo.  By the way, let me just say again that technology today is wonderful.  This image was at a focal length of 600mm, with a shutter speed of 1/50 second, hand-held!

Northern BobwhiteNorthern Bobwhite

The Burrowing Owl was a little way down on the same fence line.  By this time the light was somewhat better and I could shoot at ISO 1600 and 1/100 sec.  Still pretty impressive stabilization and sensor performance.

Burrowing OwlBurrowing Owl

Those three photos were at our first stop!  Kevin wanted to show me some  Red-cockaded Woodpeckers he’d spotted at the Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area.  I’ve been there before looking for them and this time we think we heard some, but didn’t manage to see or photograph any.

We did spot some other not so common birds including Brown-headed Nuthatches, Common Ground Doves, and Eastern Meadowlarks.

On the way back, we went by a farm where one of Florida’s Whooping Cranes hangs out.  I’ve been there several times looking for it without success.  Until this time:

Whooping Crane and two Sandhill CranesWhooping Crane and two Sandhill Cranes

This is more of a record shot than a great photo.   The light is harsh and the birds are beyond the range limit for this lens so it’s cropped in.  And the July heat was making waves too, harming the image quality.   But I still like it.  Thumb rules?  Who needs stinking’ thumb rules!

Until the 1930s, Whooping Cranes occurred naturally in Florida (see this article on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation site).  There have been efforts to re-introduce them by leading them with ultra-light planes on migration routes  (see this site).  In January 2016, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced they’d “stop supporting the use of ultralight aircraft to help young whooping cranes migrate from Wisconsin to Florida each fall“.  Studies show that interacting with humans has a negative effect on the birds.  I’m pretty sure this particular Whooping Crane is a survivor of the program.  It’s banded yellow over green on its left leg, but a short google search didn’t turn up any info.

So rules of thumb are good – especially if you understand them and know when to break them.  Breaking the rules led me to a sunrise photo I like and four life-birds yesterday (thanks Kevin!).  By the way, you can click on any of these for larger versions on Flickr.

And thanks to all of you for stopping by and reading my blog. Now, go make some photos!

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

P.S.  Stay tuned for some photo stories from Utah.  MK and I had an epic weekend out there and I’ll share it when I finish processing the images.

On the water’s edge, waiting for sunrise

East Gator Creek Road at sunriseEast Gator Creek Road at sunrise, November 2012

On the water’s edge, watching the sun rise.
Distant clouds add color and rays to a magnificent moment.
Reflected sunlight reaching around a rock close to shore, creates golden ripples.

I stand – tripod steady; camera set;  release in hand.
Deciding which instant to save and relive later.

Did it matter?  Musing now, they are all marvelous moments.


I got up one morning almost four years ago at 4:30am to go out with my camera and make this photo.  I enjoyed making the photo.  I don’t really remember not enjoying the early wake up.  Lately, I’ve slept in.  I need to either go back to getting up early or turn into a sunset photographer.

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

©2016 and ©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.