Atlanta at night

Focus on Atlanta

I enjoy listening to the Mirrorless Minutes podcast (audio on iTunes, video on YouTube).  It’s an interesting show on photography and since  Mike Boening and Jamie MacDonald  (the hosts) are both Olympus Visionaries, they often have good information and tips on Olympus camera gear.

So when I heard their announcement about a photo workshop in Atlanta I was eager to go – and It wasn’t too hard to talk Lynn into getting this for my birthday!  They coordinate using the Mirrorless Adventures page on Meetup.com so sign up was an easy process. If my post gets you interested, you can find out about their future workshops there.

Atlanta Marriott Marquis Interior 2Atlanta Marriott Marquis Interior 2

Our HQ was the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta and it’s an awesome photo-op itself – lots of interesting architecture, angles, and patterns to fill your memory card.  And if you get tired of the photo ops there, you can take a break at one of their restaurants or bars!

We met on Friday evening and then left for the Jackson Street bridge for some sunset and light trail photography.  It’s a popular spot.  There were lots of folks making photos and it’s easy to see why – the skyline view is awesome!  Here’s one of mine:

A little laterA little after sunset.

I made this image with the Olympus “Live Composite” mode.  I’ve used this once before, but it was great to get in some guided practice and I’ll be using it more in the future.

Other stops on the workshop were at Old Car City (http://oldcarcityusa.com/), Amicalola Falls (http://www.amicalolafallslodge.com), and Oakland Cemetery (https://www.oaklandcemetery.com).  The workshop was last weekend and I came home with hundreds of photos.  I’ve been going through them every day since then – but I’m not finished processing yet.  So today I’ll just include a few from Atlanta and maybe do another post later about the other locations.

Watching sunriseWatching sunrise.  We stopped near this park while we waited for the cemetery gates to open

Oakland cemetery was founded in 1850 and many of Atlanta’s prominent citizens are buried there.  It has a great deal of sculpture, architecture, and gardens to draw your eye.  And an interesting sign across the street!

Six Feet Under BarSix Feet Under BarAtlanta Skyline from Oakland CemeteryAtlanta Skyline from Oakland Cemetery

I’ve always liked Atlanta.  My mother’s family lived in the area (in Cedartown) so we visited often when I was growing up.  I also went to college there (Go Tech!) and that’s where I met Lynn.  It was great to visit for a long weekend, and the drive from Central Florida isn’t too bad.

A photo workshop can be a big boost to your image making.  You might;

  • Learn or improve your skills:  I refreshed and practiced “Live Composite” mode and will likely use it more often now.
  • Go places you wouldn’t normally see.  I’ve been to Atlanta many times, but the only place from this workshop that I’d seen before was Amicalola Falls (mentioned in this post).  Trying new things is good for your soul!
  • Meet new people.  Hanging around with other folks passionate about photography is fun!  They don’t even get bored when you talk about lenses, cameras, technique, processing, etc.!
  • See different approaches / techniques.  On the last day, we spent a few hours processing images and each of us picked out several images to show the group and talk about.  I was floored by the variety and ideas that everyone shared.  It’s amazing how people can go to the same place and come back with such different photographs.

I really enjoyed this workshop – it was a pleasure to meet so many new photo friends! I thought the locations we went to were terrific and Mike and Jamie were extremely knowledgable, friendly, and always willing to help anyone with questions. They created a wonderful atmosphere for us to learn and make beautiful photographs.  And I liked the van they used for transport – it was a real pleasure to just climb in and have someone else drive us around to all these spots.  Well done Mike and Jamie!!!

I’ll be adding my photos from the workshop to this album on Flickr as I finish them.  Check back later for even more.  And if you want to see some of the photos the other attendees made, watch episode 95 of the Mirrorless Minutes podcast on YouTube.

And to all my new (and old) photo friends, If you’re in the Central Florida area, look me up.  Maybe we can meet at one of my favorite spots.

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

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Looking for Landscapes at Loughman Lake

The sky wasn’t very promising on our way over to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge last week.  There were no clouds and we didn’t think the morning color would be any good.  Since it didn’t seem like we had a lot to lose, we decided to try a new sunrise spot:  Loughman Lake, on the south side of SR 46 just west of Mims.

Misty PalmsMisty Palms.  Olympus High Res mode, converted to B&W. ISO 200, 3.2 sec. @ f/6.3, 200 mm eq. (cropped to ~250mm eq.).  6:16 am.

We were right – at first.  There was hardly any color and I ended up converting this first image to black and white.  But there was some photogenic fog and around 15 minutes later, the color arrived along with a few clouds on the horizon.

Misty DawnMisty Dawn.  Olympus High Res mode, two frame stitched panorama.  ISO 200, 1/6 sec. @ f/6.3, 150 mm eq. 6:28 am

The images in this post are in time order and I’ve added exposure, focal length, and timing  info for you.  It turns out that I made all of these with a relatively long lens – unusual for my landscape photography.  I’m sure that there are some great wide-angle compositions there, but the shorter focal length photos I made that day aren’t as interesting to me as these.   I’m glad I brought the very versatile Olympus 12-100 f/4 zoom.

Morning Glory.  Olympus High Res mode, two frame stitched panorama. ISO 200, 1/80 sec. @ f/8, 200mm eq. 6:37 am

Here’s one more image.  I like the Great Blue Heron “statue” out in the water.

Misty morning marshMisty morning marsh. Olympus High Res mode.  ISO 200, 3.2 sec. @ f/6.3, 200mm eq. 6:45 am

 Loughman Lake turns out to be a good place to stop on the way over to MINWR.  But make sure you bring a longer lens!

As always, you can click on these photos to see larger versions.  And I have many sunrise and sunset landscape photos collected in this album on Flickr:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157624939669770.

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

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Black Point Wildlife Drive – May 8, 2018

Kevin K. and I went over to Black Point Wildlife Drive last Tuesday.  The water levels were low and although we saw quite a few birds, many of them were far from the road and hard to photograph.  Here are some images from the trip that I like.

Hunter's DanceHunter’s Dance – A Reddish Egret stalks fish in the marsh

These Egrets have a distinctive dance they use to scare up fish.  It seems to work for them!

Morning minnow mealMorning minnow meal

Green Herons use a different technique.  This one was wading carefully through the mangrove roots on the side of a canal looking for a snack.

Stalking in the MangrovesStalking in the Mangroves

And finally, here’s a photo of a Great Egret taking off from a tree beside the trail.

Great Egret LaunchGreat Egret Launch

This one was a little slow – normally birds are gone by the time I get my camera ready!

You can click on these photos to see larger versions on Flickr.  My Black Point photos are collected in this album on Flickr:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157622920465437.  And you can read more blog posts about Black Point at this link:  https://edrosack.com/tag/bpwd/.

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

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Urban Ospreys

Sometimes you can get amazing photos of wild birds inside Florida cities.  Winter Park (and other places too)  put up  nest boxes around town to attract birds.  Ospreys typically  use them in the spring to raise their young.

Urban Ospreys 3Urban Ospreys 3

I met Kathy B. (www.flickr.com/photos/kbargar/) through the Orlando Camera Club and we’ve run across each other on photo shoots.  I saw her photos of this nest on Flickr and when I commented on how nice they were she was kind enough to share the location with me.

Urban Ospreys 1Urban Ospreys 1 – The young one’s stretching it’s wings. Mom looks a little wary – like she’s making sure she doesn’t get knocked out of the nest!

If you’re close enough to zoom in and fill the frame, and you can pick a vantage point that has foliage in the background – you can get some swell, natural looking photos of wild birds.  There’s no way to tell from these first two that the nest is located downtown.  Here’s a wider shot: The nest is on top of a utility pole and 40 – 50 feet away from the upper floor of a very convenient parking garage.

Osprey nest box in downtown Winter Park

I wrote about this once before back in 2011 (https://edrosack.com/2011/06/12/ballpark-ospreys/) but I think it’s worth pointing out again.  Be on the lookout!

When I first arrived, the chick was asleep and hidden, so I went to the other side of the garage and made this photo while I waited for it to wake up.

The track through Winter ParkThe track through Winter Park

And this crow was checking me out while I waited too.  I think it was expecting a handout.

Close CrowClose Crow

Anyway, I’m glad this didn’t turn into another “empty nest syndrome” like our expedition a couple of weeks ago.  And by the way, Tom M. checked and the eagles were back in that nest the week after we went, so they must have just been away while we were there.

I really like my close up photos.  I think they’re the best ones I’ve gotten of nesting Ospreys.

Thanks for stopping by the blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Walking the Wetlands

Orlando Wetlands Park is beautiful and a wonderful place to amble through nature.   Here are a few things I noticed there last week.

DawnDawn in a calm, peaceful, and pretty place

I used the Olympus Hi-Res mode for this next photo.  I’m glad since it let me crop in on the knees, tangled roots, and reflections at the base of this stand of Cypress.

Far shore CypressFar shore Cypress

I end up photographing thistle plants a lot.  In this case I liked the way the morning light was just highlighting it from the left.

Early light on a ThistleEarly light on a Thistle

Do you remember “planking”?  If not, see: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/planking.  This turtle was illustrating the concept.

Turtle "planking"Turtle “planking”?

I spotted this large fish (~2 1/2 feet long) resting near the shore.  My long lens was stowed in my backpack and I knew it wouldn’t stay there long, so I quickly made a photo with my IR camera.  If you click through to the larger version on Flickr, you can better see the small minnows swimming nearby.

FishLarge Fish

Dragonflies are out and about.  This is the first time I’ve noticed them this year.

Four-spotted Pennant(?)Four-spotted Pennant(?)

And finally, here’s a photo of my walking companion.  This bird joined me for a bit on my stroll around the park.

Strolling LimpkinStrolling Limpkin

The park offers free Tram Tours on weekends – check their site for details.  I much prefer to walk so  I can pause and photograph any time I want and get a little exercise too.

Thanks for stopping by the blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Empty Nest Syndrome

No, not this one:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empty_nest_syndrome

Kevin K., Tom M. and I met at the Sanford Marina on Friday  before dawn.  The plan was to make a few sunrise photos and then go photograph a nearby eagle’s nest.

I like this long exposure:

Blue hour at the marinaBlue hour at the marina.  Olympus Hi-res mode, 13s, f/5.6, ISO 250, @ 24mm eq. focal length (no tripod).

Confession time again.  Since I didn’t need a tripod at Mead Gardens last week, I’d removed the L-plate on my E-M1 MII camera before that trip.  Unfortunately, I forgot to re-attach it.  So I had to improvise and try some different techniques on this trip.  The image above was made with my camera resting on the dock.

This next image was made handheld.  By opening my aperture and upping the ISO, I got my shutter speed up to 1.3 seconds.  And the image stabilization in the camera was good enough for a tack sharp photo with those settings.  Going by the old 1/focal length rule, I should have shot this at 1/24th second.  The IS gave me about 5 stops of stabilization!

Half Staff at dawnHalf Staff at dawn.  The flags at Sanford’s Veterans Memorial Park were at Half staff in honor of former First Lady Barbara Bush.  Two frame vertical panorama, 1.3s, f/4.0, ISO 400, @ 24mm eq. focal length (hand held).

I made this last image with my IR camera – this time from a tripod since I did have the L-bracket on this body.

Marina morningMarina morning.  Infrared, monochrome conversion, Olympus hi-res mode, 6.0s, f/5.0, ISO 200, @ 28mm eq. focal length (tripod).

So what’s the title of this post all about? Well, we wanted to photograph a pair of eagles nesting on the railroad bridge that crosses the St. Johns river by Sanford. It looked like we could get an eye level view from the road nearby. But when we got over there we found the nest, but there were no eagles in sight. I’m not sure if they were just away for a bit or if they’ve abandoned the nest.  Anyway, we couldn’t spot them.  I might try driving by again next week and if I do, I’ll let you know.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!  But check your gear before you leave, improvise if you have to, and when you’re photographically frustrated, try again another day!

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Mead Gardens, 14 April 2018

Kevin M.  and I had a nice stroll ’round Mead Botanical Gardens in Winter Park this morning.  Here are a few of the things we saw.

Are you looking at me??Are you looking at me?? Marsh Rabbit
Are you looking at me??Are you looking at me too??  Black and White Warbler

Wood DuckWood Duck – These are usually at Mead Gardens, but we didn’t find them this morning. This photo is from a 2012 trip.

Across the pondAcross the pond – 3 frame, monochrome IR panorama

The Spring bird migration is underway here, and although there weren’t as many warblers at Mead as we expected it was still a very nice walk.

Thanks for stopping by the blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Infrared evolutions

This is a long article about Infrared (IR) image processing.  If you don’t process IR photos, feel free to just look at the photos!  And please take a look at the new Infrared Gallery I added under the Galleries / Portfolio menu at the top.

You probably know I like IR photography. I’ve written about it before (click here to review my posts) and I often include IR photos in this blog. Here’s a recent example:

Circle B Bar Infrared 1Circle B Bar Infrared 1 (four frame vertical panorama)

Infrared’s an interesting medium.

  • IR captures invisible light:  a portion of the spectrum that’s different from what your eyes can see.
  • The spectral response makes blue sky look dark and foliage bright.  This reverses a normal daylight scene’s brightness values.  It helps tame contrast and allows you to shoot even when the sun is high in the sky.
  • Since your eyes can’t see infrared, your interpretation of the alternate reality is up to you.   You can process IR in Monochrome or as a false color image.
  • IR can sometimes capture details that aren’t seen with visible light.
  • If you use a modified digital camera, you may see improved detail in your photos. The conversion process removes the IR blocking / anti-aliasing filter.  In many digital cameras this slightly blurs the image during capture to lessen Moire and other aliasing artifacts.
  • I’m not really qualified to discuss shooting IR film – I’ve only done it a few times.  But I will say that modifying a mirrorless digital camera is a great way to approach infrared.  The mirrorless design eliminates any issues with IR focus.  The camera’s built-in exposure meter works well and values are close to the normal visible light ones, so you can hand hold in daylight conditions.

Another example:

Circle B Bar Infrared 3Circle B Bar Infrared 3 (three frame vertical panorama)

By the way, all of the images in this post are from from an early March trip to the Circle B Bar Reserve.  I’m really glad I carried my IR camera on our hike!  Here’s another:

Eight Cedar Waxwings

Eight Cedar Waxwings – I forgot to bring the spare battery for my main camera and ran out of charge. So I switched my long lens to my IR modified body and kept shooting.

So what’s the point of this post?  I’ve been struggling lately with how I process my IR images.  The work flow I’ve been using seems to result in too much contrast / clarity.  I just felt that the results looked a bit “digital”.  So I’ve been searching for new methods and I’ve found one that I like.  I’ve used it on all these photos and I feel that they look much more “organic” and much less “digital”.  What do you think?

Five nest CypressFive nest Cypress (five frame vertical panorama)

Here is my updated workflow:

  • Capture the RAW images with a modified micro 4/3 mirrorless camera.  Aperture priority, mostly handheld (although I do occasionally use a tripod).
  • Import into Lightroom to save the master files.  Then decide which ones are worth processing and discard the seconds / rejects.
  • Batch process the “selects” through DxO Optics Pro to take advantage of its noise and camera / lens module processing.  This step returns copies back to Lightroom in Adobe DNG RAW format.
  • In Lightroom, apply a custom camera profile to optimize the white balance (see this article for how to create one).  And if it’s a multi-frame image, stitch it together with Lightroom’s merge to panorama function.
  • Sometimes, you can use Lightroom’s B&W conversion and finish an image.  But I’ll open ones I really like in Photoshop.
  • There, straighten and crop, use the content aware fill, and clone if needed.
  • And here’s the new step in my workflow:  I’ve been using Skylum Software’s Luminar for IR B&W conversions. I found a very nice starting point for IR processing here: Laurie Klein’s Infrared Mastery presets.
  • Finally, it’s back to Lightroom for any final adjustments (tone curve, sharpening, vignette, grain, etc.).

Circle B Bar Infrared 6Circle B Bar Infrared 6 (five frame horizontal panorama)

Could I achieve this look some other way?  Maybe even with a lot fewer steps?  Yes, I’m sure it could be done.

Circle B Bar Infrared 2Circle B Bar Infrared 2 (three frame horizontal panorama)

Just a few years ago, we only had Adobe Photoshop and then Lightroom to process RAW images.  One of the great things about photography and image processing today is that there are so many ways to do things.  That’s also bad, because it takes a lot of effort to study all the options and find out which ones work best.   It seems like each program has strengths and weaknesses.

Software is changing every day, but I don’t know if there will ever be a single image processing program that does every thing I want.  For now, I’m happy with the results I’m getting using this somewhat complex workflow.  That doesn’t mean I’ll stop looking for new or simpler ways to do things.

If you have time, please take a minute to look through the new IR gallery.  I think it represents some of my best IR images.  I also have a Flickr album with many more IR photos at this link:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157628062119778.

If you’ve read this far, thank you!  That probably means you’re very interested in IR.  If you have any questions about this, let me know in the comments and I’ll try to answer.

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

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

 

Orlando Wetlands Park – the rest of the story

Well, Happy Easter, happy April Fools Day, and happy Chinese Space Station Crashing to Earth Day!  Instead of writing about any of that, I have some photos from an early March visit to Orlando Wetlands Park that I want to share.

I had the place to myself when I arrived that morning.  It was fun to wander around and look for compositions even though the sunrise colors weren’t that good. I made this dawn landscape looking North over Lake Searcy.  It was dead calm and the water was a perfect mirror.

Very calmVery calm

Spoonbill numbers seem to be increasing around Central Florida.  I’ve spotted them recently at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Circle B Bar Reserve, and they’ve been very plentiful at Orlando Wetlands too.  They’re a bit rare in ordinary life so I always enjoy seeing them.

Low passLow pass

This back-lit flock landing in the early light was lovely.

Landing SpoonbillsLanding Spoonbills

I don’t feature Coots in the blog very often, but I enjoyed watching this group.  They often race across the surface of the water and squabble over who gets the best spots.  These two seemed to be competing.

Front row seats at the coot raceFront row seats at the Coot race

Spring is a great time of year to get out and explore nature in Central Florida. There’s a lot going on and the variety of birds is especially good.  You can see all my posts about Orlando Wetlands at this link:  https://edrosack.com/category/orlando-wetlands/

And you can view more images from there in this album on Flickr:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157639616792296

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

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

You don’t see that every day!

Kevin K. and I were over at Viera Wetlands on Friday.  Here’s how one of our conversations went that morning…

“There’s something on the side of that dead Palm tree.”

(Raising telephoto lens for a better look through the windshield.)

_EM125453_DxO.jpg

“It’s a Raccoon.”

(Checking camera settings, slightly panicked.)

“I’m getting out of the car!”

(Fumbles with seat belt and door handle)

Raccoon

“That’s a picture!”

(Making quite a few…)

“Oh look, it’s crawling inside!”

Hiding Raccoon

“Aww – you don’t see that every day!”

(Hoping the image is in focus and exposed correctly.)

Shy Raccoon disappears.  Elapsed time:  about 45 seconds.

No, you don’t see something like that every day.  Even when you’re out looking and paying attention to what nature shows you, things like this are rare – and a treat!  Coming across them is a strong motivator for me to go out as often as I can.  How about you?

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

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved