Regarding image selection

Sometimes it’s obvious that an image is good the first time you look at it.  With others, it can be difficult to visualize what they’ll look like after processing.

If you use raw format in your photography, they look different from jpg photos.  Raw format is just the data read directly off of the sensor with no processing by the camera.  Depending on how you configure your camera and software, raw image contrast and sharpening can be very low, white balance may not be optimized, and exposure is often set for capture / low noise instead of display / print.. This can make it tough to judge raw photos and decide which ones merit further processing.

When I returned from Maine and reviewed my photos, I bypassed some.  When I finished working on the ones I’d identified as “selects”, I went back and re-looked at those I’d set aside.  Some of them deserved attention.

A calm morning on Bubble Pond
A calm morning on Bubble Pond

It’s not just raw images that can be difficult to evaluate.  Infrared photos usually need processing to optimize too.

Bass Harbor Light
Bass Harbor Light

And multi image panoramas make seeing composition and field of view a challenge before the individual frames are stitched together.

Behind Sand Beach
Behind Sand Beach

I can’t tell you how to rate your images and select your best.  But what I can tell you is to be very careful not to discard something before you’re very sure that it’s not worth pursuing.  Give your photos a second chance.  Learn your software so you know how far you can go with adjustments.  And as with any thing worth pursuing, practice will make you better.

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

The Florida Aquarium in Tampa

Intro / Description

I first noticed the Florida Aquarium in downtown Tampa, Florida in April of 2012.  We left from there on a cruise and the aquarium is right across from the terminal where we boarded.  We didn’t have time to visit then, but I finally went back to see it last week.

Flying Starfish
Flying Starfish (not really – it was climbing on the aquarium glass); 27mm, f/2.8 @ 1/40s, ISO 3200

The Florida Aquarium has more than 20,000 plant and animal species on display and you’ll find many of the typical photo ops there.  Major exhibits are “Journey to Madagascar”, “Wetlands Trail”, “Penguin Point”, “Bays and Beaches”, “Coral Reef”, and “Ocean Commotion”.  The Coral Reef tank is big (~500,000 gallons), and has plenty of larger fish living there (sharks, rays and turtles, etc.).  You’ll also find land animals such as birds, snakes, lizards and lemurs in the different exhibits.

Info for Photographers

Photo hints:

As with any similar indoor attraction, the light is dim.  You’ll need a camera with good high ISO capabilities, and the larger your lens aperture, the better.  Image stabilization will help a little, but maybe not as much as you’d think, because your subjects will often be moving.  You might also want to  bring a polarizer to cut down on reflections in the glass although that’ll make the scenes even darker.  I didn’t use a polarizer – I just tried to keep my camera lens as close to the glass as I could to block reflections.  I’ve added exposure info to the captions in these photos so you can see what my settings were.

Toadfish
Toadfish; 38mm, f/3.2 @ 1/17s, ISO 1600

Tripod/Monopod: I carried a small one with me, but didn’t use it.  Subject motion and other people in the venue made a tripod less useful.

Lenses:  My 27 – 85mm equivalent lens covered most of the opportunities.  I shot wide open (f/2.8 – f/4), with image stabilization turned on, and ISO sensitivities between 800 – 3200.

Best time to visit:  We got there just after it opened (~9:30) on a weekday.  The crowds were pretty light.  This is a good place to visit in the summer, since it’s air-conditioned!

Other:
The aquarium offers many kid oriented activities.  And they’ll also take you on a Wild Dolphin Cruise on Tampa Bay where you can see these animals and others in a non-captive environment.  Certified SCUBA divers can Dive With the Sharks in the aquarium, and behind the scene tours are also offered.

Chameleon
Chameleon; 54mm, f/3.6 @ 1/45s, ISO 1000

Summary

The Florida Aquarium is a good family outing and offers many photo opportunities too.

My Gallery /  Flickr photo set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/sets/72157647126904160
Website: http://www.flaquarium.org
Address / Phone: The Florida Aquarium
701 Channelside Drive
Tampa, FL 33602
Phone: 813-273-4000
Central Florida Photo Ops Rating: Worth a visit!

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

Avoid the Familiarity Trap

We’re blessed in Florida with wildlife we can easily photograph. Alligators are common, and many kinds of birds too.  But how many photos do you need of a Great Blue Heron, or an Alligator basking in the sun? If you live here for a while you may get jaded with our common animals.  So much so that you don’t even bother taking a photo of one when you see it.  “Familiarity breeds contempt” and it’s a real risk in photography – one you must not fall into!

I have plenty of Anhinga photos but I was still excited to make this recent one.

Wet wings and itchy back
Wet wings and itchy back – An Anhinga dries its wings and preens its back at Viera Wetlands

 This isn’t close enough for a “record” shot of the bird.  The Anhinga’s just one element of the composition.  But I like the light, the reflections, and how the bird’s pose echoes the tree’s shape.  If I had glanced at this and only seen the bird, I’d have missed the photo-op.  To be a better photographer, you have to really observe things you glance at all the time.  Watch for good light and backgrounds.  Keep an eye out for unusual behavior, poses, or patterns.  And of course pay attention to new life birds or rare animals to help keep things interesting.  Avoid the familiarity trap.

I’ve put a few other examples in this set on Flickr.

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