Monthly Archives: September 2011

Neighborhood Sunset

Beauty is all around us. You don’t have to journey thousands of miles to an exotic location with many pounds of  gear to make a good photograph. Often, you can find one in or very close to your back yard. And since you know your area better than any other, you know where the beauty is. Make a photo of it.

Neighborhood Sunset
Reeds, pond, sky

I went for a walk after dinner last night and photographed the sky reflected in this pond not very far from my home. We have an obligation to notice, capture and share the beauty all around us with others.

Technical notes:  I made this photo (with a small camera and no tripod) using the technique I described in this post.  Here though, I used four images instead of two.  Because I had four source images, I didn’t try to blend them by hand.  Once I auto-aligned the layers, I used Photoshop’s “auto-blend” layers capability.  I also used one extra technique: white balance blending.  When I imported the four original photos into Photoshop, I set the white balance to “daylight”.  When I finished blending them and had them back into Lightroom, the clouds looked good, but the rest of the image was too warm.  So I made a virtual copy, did an auto white balance adjustment on it and then blended these two versions in Photoshop using a layer mask.  The resulting master file is 4668 x 6352 pixels (~30 megapixels).

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2011, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Big Tree Park – Home of the Senator

January 16, 2012 update:  A fire has destroyed The Senator.  See this post for more details.  –Edro

Intro / Description

What if you could visit one of the oldest living things in the world, something that’s been alive since 1500 BC, when the Hittites were storming Babylon, and the Mayans were just getting started?  What if you didn’t have to travel across the country or the world to do so?

Well, you can do this in Central Florida.  The Senator is the largest bald cypress tree in the United States, and is thought to be the oldest of its species (~3500 years old). It’s also the fifth oldest living tree and most likely the largest tree east of the Mississippi River.  The tree’s size is particularly impressive because it’s survived many hurricanes, including one in 1925 which destroyed the top 40 feet.

The Senator
The Senator: 3500 year old Bald Cyprus tree in Big Tree Park, Longwood, Florida

Info for Photographers

The Senator is located in Big Tree Park in Longwood, Florida.  A wooden boardwalk leads from the small parking area through the swamp to the two large trees.  The second tree is “Lady Liberty” and is about 2000 years old.

The Lady
Lady Liberty: 2000 year old Bald Cyprus tree

Photo hints:

The two large cyprus trees aren’t the only things in the park.  Keep your eyes open for other vegetation and occasional wildlife such as Owls, and Turtles.  The tree canopy can also be quite interesting, so look up too.

Tree canopy
Tree canopy: That’s a very tall palm tree!


Bring your tripod so you can bracket your images.  You’ll be shooting up and the contrast between the sky and the dark foliage is a perfect application for HDR techniques.


To me, this place cries out for a wide-angle lens and the wider the better.  I made the photos in this post with a Sigma 8 – 16mm zoom on a crop body camera.

Best time to visit:

If you haven’t seen this yet, then by all means go whenever you get a chance.  It’s a quick trip and you can visit just about any time of the day or year.  Cyprus trees do change color in the fall, so an autumn view might be interesting.  You’ll want to avoid bugs and heat, so plan accordingly.


There’s a small playground for the kids, and it’s right on the cross Seminole bicycle trail.


My Gallery / Flickr photo set:
Address / Phone:
761 General Hutchinson Pkwy
Longwood, FL 32750

(407) 321-1693

Central Florida Photo Ops Rating: Another CFL Photo Op must do!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2011, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

September 11 Sunrise – Orlando, Florida – 2011

Orlando skyline sunrise, 9/11/11
Orlando skyline sunrise, 9/11/11

The human capacity for evil, ugly, cruelty is overwhelming if contemplated in isolation.  To stay sane and somewhat unafraid, we must consider it in concert with our greater capacity for good, kindness, and beauty.  Of all the events from this day 10 years ago, we should remember the uncounted acts of heroism, bravery, and kindness.  On the other hand, our enemies should remember how we overcame that evil and that no matter how long it takes, we will bring them to justice.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos.  Create more beauty in our world.
©2011, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Late Afternoon at Viera Wetlands

Sunset at Viera Wetlands
Sunset at Viera Wetlands

I’d never been to Viera Wetlands in the late afternoon or for sunset and wanted to see if the activity at that time of day is any different from the mornings when we usually go.  Also, I read yesterday on the Friends of Viera Wetlands blog that several of the winter migrant species (e.g. Belted Kinfishers and Phalaropes) are starting to arrive.   I talked Lynn into going with me by promising her a dinner at the Dixie Crossroads restaurant in Titusville. We headed over in time to get into the restaurant before the huge crowd showed up (about 4:30pm) and then made our way down to Viera.

We went round the Click ponds first, but didn’t see much activity.  The water levels are still low and the road on the east side is pretty grown up.  Next we went into the wetlands.  The new paved entry is nice and you no longer have to drive through the water treatment plant.  There were some of the usual birds around, although I didn’t see any of the migrants.  There was one very tame acting young deer and I was able to get a good close up photo of it.  It must be used to having people around.  I hope it’s more leery of other large animals.

Young deer at Viera Wetlands
Young deer at Viera Wetlands: Check out the eyelashes and whiskers!

An enjoyable photo-op, but it would have been nice to see a Phalarope.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2011, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved