Monthly Archives: December 2009

My favorite photos of 2009

First, I want to wish all readers of this humble photo blog a very


Second, this year your devoted author has decided to join the growing tradition where photo blogs post a collection of their favorite photos from the year.

To accomplish this, I’ve gone through the photos I made in 2009 and used Lightroom to rate them from 0 through 5 stars. The rating system I’ve adopted is as follows:

  • 1 star – The photo is interesting
  • 2 stars – The photo is worth showing to others
  • 3 stars – The photo is the best of (or one of the best of ) a given shoot
  • 4 stars – My favorite photo of a year
  • 5 stars – My favorite photo (ever)

Photos without stars are seconds or not so good versions of other photos. I’ll keep them, but they probably won’t get any more attention.  Since adopting this rating system, I’ve tried to use it consistently.  Before this I would rate images, but the meaning of the ratings would vary.  As far as what they mean now, it’s all subjective and my opinion only.  Feel free to disagree, but I hope you’ll enjoy looking at the ones I’ve chosen.

I was really blessed in 2009 with a huge number of photo opportunities.  On my hard drive in my 2009 folder, I have about 16,000 images, taking up 164GB of space (I shoot mostly in RAW).  Of these:

  • 3804 of the images have been cataloged in Lightroom.  Many of the remainder are source images for multi-shot panoramas or HDRs, or high rate bursts that I selected from.
  • 1084 are rated 1 star or higher
  • 692 are 2 star or higher
  • 75 are 3 star or higher
  • 1 is 4 star, and
  • None are 5 star (I’m not done taking photos yet!)

Of the 692 that are 2 star or higher, I’ve selected 44 (mostly 3 star) images to include in a gallery of my favorite 2009 photos.  You’ve seen many of these photos in this blog, already.  But where it made sense, I re-processed them to try and improve them.  Here are the top ten. You can click on each of these to go to Flickr, where you can see a larger version.

My #10 favorite photo is:  Great Blue Heron in flight.  This heron didn’t like me aiming my camera at it.  It’s making a lot of noise as it leaves the area.  I was able to pan with its motion to get a sharp shot.
Great Blue Heron in flight

My #9 favorite photo is: Ketchikan harbor.  The trawler Isis, a house in the background, and the parked float plane are very representative of Alaska.

My #8 favorite photo is: Black Point Sunrise. This reminds me of a boundary of a set of points in a complex plane (i.e.
Black Point Sunrise

My #7 favorite photo is: Glacier Bay Sunrise, A dawn panorama heading in to Glacier Bay National Park.
Glacier bay sunrise panorama

My #6 favorite photo is: Black-bellied Whistling-Duck in flight.  We saw this unusual and photogenic duck at Orlando Wetlands Park.
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck in flight

My #5 favorite photo is: Lake Lily Park tree and bird at dawn.  Sometimes you go out specifically to photograph.  Other times you go out just  carrying your camera.  It’s exciting to me when I find a photo like this one while I’m just out carrying my camera.  The light on this Cyprus tree caught my eye as we walked around the Lily Lake  one Saturday morning looking at their flea market.  The bird in the middle distance was a bonus.
Lake Lily Park tree and bird at dawn

My #4 favorite photo is: Blackpoint Wildlife Drive: Wide angle, winter dawn. On this particular morning, it was hard coming up with any good photo inspiration for the sunrise.  There were no clouds, not much color in the sky, not a lot of interesting landscape detail, no cooperating wildlife, the wind was blowing pretty hard, etc.  This palm tree had an interesting vine growing in it that was pointing back toward the road, so I  made it the subject of the picture and violated all the composition rules by putting it way off too one side.  To me, the road leading past the tree could represent the last part of the long journey of exploration and learning that led to being able to make this photo in this place at this time. The road is empty because each person’s journey is unique. Oh, and BPWD just happens to be a one way road – toward the photographer. The somewhat surreal colors come from a program called “Photomatix” that will “tone map” multiple, bracketed exposures.  Anyway, I liked it too.
Blackpoint Wildlife Drive: Wide angle, winter dawn

My #3 favorite photo is: Gorilla watching people, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, Disney’s Wild Kingdom.
Gorilla watching people

My #2 favorite photo is: Breaching humpback, off shore from Juneau, Alaska.  In the full res version, the two white dots in tree to the upper left behind the whale are bald eagles.
Breaching humpback whale near Juneau

And … my #1 favorite photo of the year is: Ship, water, glacier, rock.  A multiple shot panorama showing Johns Hopkins Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park from the cruise ship MS Westerdam.  The full res version of this photo is 7747 x 4716 pixels = 36.5 megapixels.
Panorama view of Johns Hopkins Glacier from Cruise ship deck

I’ve posted a gallery of all 44 images on my website at  I’ve also uploaded them to this Flickr set, and you can click this link to watch a slide show at Flickr.  When you watch the show, you might want to click the “show info” link.

Thanks for looking.

All content ©2009, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!


I hope that this season finds all of you healthy and happy and able to spend time with your families.  I wish you well and only the best for now and throughout the coming new year.

The following Christmas greeting translations are provided by wikipedia.  (Please see the original site for more entries and proper characters.)

* Gëzuar Krishtlindjen dhe Vitin e Ri – Albanian, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year”
* Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand Eastern Armenian
* “Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Soorp Dzuhnoont” Western Armenian
* Zorionak eta Urte Berri On! Basque for Merry Christmas
* Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh mat in Breton
* Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo in Bulgarian
* Bon Nadal i un Bon Any Nou! in Catalan
* Bon Nadal – Catalan for Happy Christmas
* Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth Happy Christmas and Happy New Year in Cornish
* Sretan Boži? – Croatian for Happy Christmas
* Veselé Vánoce a š?astný nový rok – Czech language, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year”
* Glædelig jul – Danish
* God jul – Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, lit. “Good Yule”
* Gleðilig Jól og gott Nýggjár – Faroese – Merry Christmas and happy New Year
* Vrolijk Kerstfeest or Zalig Kerstfeest with en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar – Dutch, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year”
* Gajan Kristnaskon “Merry Christmas” in Esperanto
* Häid jõule – Estonian
* Maligayang Pasko – Filipino word, a Common Christmas Greeting in the Philippines which was Merry Christmas in English Translation.
* Hyvää joulua – Finnish
* Joyeux Noël – French for “Happy Christmas” used in France, French Canada, Belgium, Luxembourg, Louisiana, Switzerland, the Lebanon and Francophone Africa
* Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier! in Frisian
* Frohe Weihnachten/Fröhliche Weihnachten und ein glückliches/gutes Neues Jahr – German for Merry Christmas/Merry Christmas and a Happy/Good New Year
* (Kala Christougenna) – Greek for Merry Christmas, also used in non-Greek many Eastern Orthodox nations, as the first Christian masses were celebrated in Greek.
* Mele Kalikimaka – Hawaiian
* Boldog karácsonyt/Kellemes karácsonyi ünnepeket : Merry Christmas/Pleasant Christmas Holidays in Hungarian
* Selamat Natal: “Christmas best wishes” Indonesian
* Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah in Iraq
* Nollaig Shona Duit – Ireland, (Irish Language), Gaeilge, lit. “You have a happy Christmas”.
* Buon Natale – Italian for Happy Christmas
* Natale hilare et Annum Faustum! in Latin
* Linksm? Šv. Kal?d? ir Laiming? Nauj?j? Met? – Lithuanian “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year”
* Schèine Chreschtdaag an e gudde Rutsch in Luxembourg dialect
* (Sre?en Boži?) – Macedonian for Happy Christmas
* Il-Milied u s-Sena t-Tajba – Malta – “Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year”
* Nollick ghennal as blein vie noa in Manx Gallic
* Meri Kirihimete in Maori
* Weso?ych ?wi?t Bo?ego Narodzenia in Polish
* Feliz Natal in Portuguese
* Cr?ciun Fericit! Romanian for Merry Christmas
* S’Rozhdestvóm Khristóvym! or, more commonly, simply (S Rozhdestvóm!) for the informal Christmas greeting, while the traditional religious greeting is Khristós rozhdáyetsya!, meaning “Christ is born!” and the traditional response is Slávite!, meaning “Let us glorify him!”;  (S Nóvym gódom!) – Happy New Year! in Russian.
* Heughliche Winachten un ‘n moi Nijaar in Low Saxon
* Nollaig chridheil huibh in Scottish Gaelic
* “Sre?an Boži?” (Serbian) “Merry Christmas” also Hristos se rodi.
* Veselé Vianoce a Š?astný Nový rok – Slovak language, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year”
* Vesele Boži?ne Pražnike Sre?no Novo Leto or Vesel Boži? in sre?no Novo leto in Slovene
* Feliz Navidad y próspero Año Nuevo – Spanish lit. “Happy Nativity and prosperous New Year”
* God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt År in Sweden
* Sawadee Pee Mai or Souksan wan Christmas in Thai
* Mutlu Noeller – Turkish – “Happy Christmas”
* (Z Rizdvom Khrystovym) or, when meeting in person, (“Khrystos narodyvsya! – Slavimo yoho!”, lit. “Christ was born! – Praise be with Him!”) in Ukrainian.
* Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda – Wales (by Welsh speakers), “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”
* Boldog karácsonyt! in Hungary
* (Shèngdànjié kuàilè) – Merry Christmas!,  (X?nnián kuàilè) – Happy New Year! in Chinese
* (Meri Kurisumasu) – Merry Christmas!,  (Yoi o-toshi-o) (before),  (after) – Happy New Year! in Japanese

All original content ©2002 and 2009, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

A quick visit to Fort Christmas

Lynn wanted to take Christmas cards to the Christmas, Florida post office to be postmarked.  So we drove over there this morning and dropped them off.

On the way back, we stopped for a few minutes at the Fort Christmas Historical Park.  Here’s a few of the photos I made while we were there.  We’ll have to re-visit this place when we have more time.  There’s definitely some interesting photo opportunities lurking about, and I’ll report on them once I have a chance to explore.

Fort-Christmas_DSC3964_The washroom on the porch - B&W

The laundry area on the porch

Fort-Christmas__DSC3956_Old hides on the side of a cabin

A shed out behind an old cabin.  Animal hides hanging on the walls.

Fort-Christmas_IMG_0190_Sleeping quarters

A bedroom in one of the cabins.

I also took this photo of Crepe Myrtle berries and leaves this morning before we left. There’s so little fall color in Florida, that this caught our eyes.
Fort-Christmas_DSC3951_Crepe Myrtle berries and leaves - autum in Florida

All content ©2009, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Around Denver over Thanksgiving

We had a family reunion of sorts in Denver last week for Thanksgiving.  Mary, Mike and Sara met Lynn and I at my mother’s place and we were able to see most of the Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and in-laws.  We had a great time and the Thanksgiving dinner was especially good, with 25 relatives at my sister’s house to consume two turkeys along with various gourmet attractions including sweet potato stuffed oranges.

We also had a chance to visit some Denver area photo attractions:  Buffalo Bill’s grave and museum at Lookout Mountain in Golden, The city of Denver’s bison herd, Garden of the Gods, and Pikes Peak.  We also got in a few minutes of browsing at the antique store along I-70.

Here are some of the photos from our visit – I’ve only posted a few of them here on my blog.  Click on any of them to go to Flickr, where you can look at a higher res version. You can also see the rest of this set on Flickr at this link.

We drove up to Lookout Mountain last Monday to visit the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave site, which is only about an hour from my Mom’s place.  The museum is nice, with a lot of information about Buffalo Bill and the wild west.  We especially liked the dress up area, where you can don chaps and a cowboy hat, climb up on the legless horse and rope a plastic calf. There’s also some very scenic overlooks from the parking area.
091124__DSC6536_Coors beer factory from the overlook at Buffalo Bill's Grave

A little further up the road (I-70, exit 254), the city and county of Denver has a herd of bison that you can stop and see.
091124__DSC6660_Bison in the city of Denver bison herd along I-70.

On Thanksgiving morning, Lynn and I got up very early and drove down to the Garden of the Gods before sunrise.  You might remember my earlier post about this place.  Let me just say that it’s even more beautiful at sunrise and well worth the early trip.
091126_IMG_1095_Dawn in the Garden of the Gods, Thanksgiving day, 2009

Saturday, we drove down to Pikes Peak and rode the cog railway to the top and back.  The visibility was much better this time than it was the only previous time we did this.  That time we had heavy fog and weren’t able to see much of the landscape.  This time, in spite of clouds – it looked like we could see forever.
091128__DSC7140-7145_photomatix_pano_On top of Pikes Peak, 14110 feet above sea level

It was a wonderful trip, we really enjoyed ourselves, and we’ll cherish the time we spent visiting these places with our family forever.