Monthly Archives: May 2007

the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Bird Rookery

For my birthday this year, Lynn gave me a photographer’s pass to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. While you can take photos of alligators, the special thing about this park is that they’ve expanded the Alligator Swamp exhibit. The extra area includes a boardwalk where you can stay safely above the monsters in the water and get within feet of nesting birds. These wild birds have learned that the gators keep predators out of the trees, and as a result the park has become one of the largest natural bird rookeries in the state of Florida.

From March 2 – July 18, the annual pass allows you to enter the park early (~8 am) before it opens to general admission. May is the prime time for nesting and breeding. Lynn and I have been back several times.

Since they’re accustomed to people, you can get quite close to a variety of birds, although you’ll still get the best results with a long telephoto lens and a sturdy tripod. I get by with my 70 – 300 zoom, but there are people there with monster glass! Many use flash with a “Better Beamer” magnifier for greater range.

There’s an annual photo contest, with the winners used for a calendar sold at the gift shop.

For more information, visit the St. Augustine Alligator farm website .

My bird rookery photographs are here.

©2007, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Way too short a visit: Yosemite National Park

On May 5th, I was able to go to Yosemite for a day during my visit to San Francisco. The drive from where we were in Dublin, California (east of San Francisco) is about 120 miles. We were on the road at 6 am, and it took us about 3 hours to get to the park.

Two waterfalls: El Capitan, Cathedral Rocks and Merced River

May is a good time to go – The snow is melting and the waterfalls are in full force. There are some wild flowers blooming, but not as many as later in the year. We did see some nice Pacific Dogwoods in bloom. In early May, school’s not yet out, so the traffic is not as bad as it gets in the summer. We were there on a Saturday and I was very surprised by how little traffic there was.

Bridalveil Falls through dogwood tree

Recommended reading – I bought a book on the way into the park called The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite, by Michael Frye . I highly recommend it, and I wish I’d had time to read it before I got there.

They’re hiring at the park! While we were checking out in the gift shop, I talked to the sales clerk. He lives in the park and explores every chance he gets. He told me they need 200 people. They pay minimum wage, but room and board is incredibly inexpensive (~$70 / week!). It was very tempting, but Lynn would’ve probably been upset with me if I didn’t come home all summer.

I wish we could have spent more time in the park. We were only there for a few hours before we had to head back. There’s so much more to see.

The National Park Service web site for Yosemite is here .

Please take a look at the rest of my Yosemite photographs, posted here.

Mary also took some very good photographs of Yosemite and Muir Woods which are posted here.

©2007, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

A wonderful trip!!! San Francisco and Muir Woods

So what if you could take a long weekend, fly free to San Francisco, take pictures of scenic locations there, then also go to Muir Woods and Yosemite to explore the photographic opportunities? What if someone bought you your plane ticket? Would you think that life is being too good to you and sooner or later the odds would have to even out? Me too. Here’s hoping that it takes a while for my luck to catch up with me.

I met Mary in Cincinnati on Thursday night and we flew out to SF together. Friday, we ran some errands and then went to Muir Woods National Monument . Saturday was Yosemite. Sunday was more errands and then tourist locations around SF, including Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39. And on Monday, I flew home.

There is a really good overlook in SF called Twin Peaks . On a clear day like we had, you can see quite a bit. I played around with my point and shoot and took several panorama sequences.

Here are my photo galleries of the trip:
San Francisco
Muir Woods

Mary also took a few pictures, posted here

©2007, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.