Monthly Archives: November 2011

Landscapes and Bobcat at the Circle B Bar Reserve

Last weekend, I went over to the Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, Florida with Kevin M., Lutfi E., and Frank B. I almost didn’t go – we checked Flickr for new photos from the area and didn’t see much being posted. But I remembered seeing yellow flowers blooming there at this time last year and wanted to see them again.

Early morning at the Circle B Bar Reserve
Early morning at the Circle B Bar Reserve – The yellow flowers are Burr Marigolds. These are all over the Circle B Bar in mid to late November.

Sunrise sure does happen early since the time changed. We met at 5:15am to drive over and arrived just as it started to get light. I find it very hard to predict how sunrise will look. Weather and clouds can shift over the time / distance of the drive. But this morning turned out nice and I managed to make a good image or two.

Sunrise at the Circle B Bar Reserve
Sunrise at the Circle B Bar Reserve

The bird population was a bit disappointing. We saw the usual suspects, including Anhingas, Cormorants, Woodstorks, Ospreys, Herons, Egrets, Coots, Moorhens, and Whistling Ducks. I attempted a few bird photos, but none came out blog worthy. Here’s a landscape that includes a few birds:

Tree and Woodstorks
Tree and Woodstorks

So – I didn’t see any new birds or make any great bird photos, but I did make some landscapes I like. Enough to count the trip as a success. And then…

A jogger came by us and told us about “a Bobcat up in tree about 300 yards away on the right past a palm tree”. That got my photo adrenalin going! I’ve seen Bobcats in the wild three times or so. In one case at dusk I was able to get a single underexposed, blurry photo before it moved off a trail at Orlando Wetlands. In my experience they take a look at you and then they’re gone. You only have a few seconds to make the photo. So this situation sounded exciting.

We took off down the trail – and Frank and I walked right by it! Lucky for us, Kevin was trailing us, saw it and called us back. It was very well camouflaged and it sure helped to have multiple sets of eyes searching. There was no one around at first. The Bobcat looked healthy, and appeared to be resting and watching from about 35 – 40 feet up. I was really happy that I had my long lens and flash with me. It was backlit against the sky and a real tough exposure without flash. We made some photos and moved on down the trail. When we returned, there was a crowd gathered and it was pretty famous on Flickr the next day! Judging from the photos in the Circle B Bar Flickr pool, it’s a good place to see Bobcats.

Bobcat in Tree, Circle B Bar Reserve

Bobcat in Tree, Circle B Bar – I’ve seen Bobcats in the wild before, but I’ve never been able to take a good photo of one. We saw this one resting up on a branch and it posed for a while. In this image, I think it was trying to figure out how to get through the crowd of humans at the base of the tree.

So the moral of this story is: You won’t make any good photos if you don’t get up and get out there. You’ll never know what you could have seen if you don’t make the effort to go out and see it. You may be surprised and if you are, I hope you’re ready!

You can view other photos I’ve made at the Circle B Bar in this set on Flickr.

Oh, and have a Happy Thanksgiving. Even with all the problems we have in the economy, country, world, and our personal lives – we can each find many things to be grateful for.

I’m thankful that you stop by and read my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2011, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

The National Mall in Washington D.C.

I had another opportunity to fly up to Reagan Airport early last Sunday for a business trip, and spend a few hours in downtown Washington D.C. on the National Mall.

Washington MonumentThe Washington Monument in infrared

I brought my Olympus cameras, including my IR modified E-PL1.  I’m really enjoying the way it lets me see things differently.  So much so that I have to be careful not to over use it.

I also brought an app I discovered for my iPhone:  The NPS National Mall and Memorial Parks app is very useful – I highly recommend it if you travel to Washington D.C.  And it’s free!

Using the app, I followed the “4 hour tour” and saw several memorials that I haven’t been to, including the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.  I also went by the Jefferson, Lincoln, and Vietnam War Memorials and of course – the Washington Monument.

Breadline and fall color, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial - Washington, DC
Breadline and fall color, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial – Washington, DC.  The inscription reads: 

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

I was talking about my visit with my friend Patrick and he said something that really resonated with me:  These memorials are named in honor of our famous founding fathers, or events from our history.  But when you visit them, one thing you notice is that at each there are words / thoughts written in the stones that make up each monument.  And it’s really these ideas that we should remember.  Maybe a periodic tour of the monuments along with a test on every inscription should be required for members of congress.

I was also surprised by how much color remained in the foliage – quite pretty.  And I was grateful that the weather was so different from my last visit.  This time it was partly cloudy and cool – very good walking weather.

And just because I can’t resist, here’s one more IR photo.  This one’s a false color image of a small Japanese Pagoda located near the Roosevelt Memorial.

Japanese pagoda on the west side of the Tidal Basin, Washington, DC
Japanese pagoda on the west side of the Tidal Basin, Washington, DC. Given to Washington DC city commissioner Renah Camalier by Yokohama Mayor Ryozo Hiranuma in 1957 and subsequently donated to the city. This pagoda may be from the Kamakura period (1192–1333).

You can see other photos I’ve made in Washington D.C. in this set on Flickr.

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

Email Subscriptions Now Available

I’ve had some requests for an email option to Central Florida Photo Ops.  Starting today, I’ve enabled a subscription service.  You can sign up by entering your address over in the right sidebar, and I’ll send you an email whenever the site is updated.

Rest assured that your address will never be shared with anyone or used for any purpose other than this blog subscription.  As always, Central Florida Photo Ops remains a non-commercial service for my readers.

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

Veterans Day 2011

The Armistice ending World War 1 was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919 to commemorate.  President Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation in 1953 renaming it Veterans Day and extending the holiday to honor all veterans and their service to our country.

Especially in today’s world, those who choose to volunteer for the military endure long periods far from home and loved ones.  They live under conditions without comforts that all of us take for granted.  They face danger and overcome fear to protect our freedom and way of life.  And they give their all – in far too many cases sacrificing life and limb.

To all veterans and active duty service members:  Thank you.  You honor us with your service.

Fallen Soldier Battle Cross Sculpture in the Winter Springs, Florida Veterans Memorial Park

Fallen Soldier Battle Cross Sculpture in the Winter Springs, Florida Veterans Memorial Park – The Fallen Soldier Battle Cross is a symbolic replacement of a cross on the battlefield or at the base camp for a soldier who has been killed.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

From “For the Fallen” by Laurence Binyon

Previous Veterans related posts:

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

Two life birds today at MINWR!

Well, the weather report for this morning was clear, cool and windy – but whoever arranges the weather didn’t pay attention. They got the cool and windy part right, but it was very cloudy on the east coast with occasional light rain. We persevered and ended up having a great time at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

We arrived a bit before sunrise and had time to scout new locations along Peacock’s Pocket Road. I brought an Olympus E-PL1 camera that I had converted to Infra Red by LifePixel. I’ve dabbled in IR before – both film and digital, but this is my first experience with a modified digital camera and I think I’m going to like it. Here’s a sample:

Somewhere along Peacock's Pocket Road
Somewhere along Peacock’s Pocket Road – In the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Infra Red capture, converted to B&W

Our next stop was the MINWR Visitor’s Center. Painted Buntings migrate to the Refuge in the winter and are often seen there. Sure enough, there was one – and I was able to get a photo, although the light was very poor. These are amazingly colorful little birds!

Painted Bunting
Painted Bunting – At the MINWR Visitor’s Center. My first sighting and photo of one.

While there we also saw another bird that I didn’t recognize. It turns out this is a White Crowned Sparrow and they’re supposedly quite rare in Florida. My second life bird of the day!

White Crested Sparrow
White Crowned Sparrow – Sighted at the MINWR Visitor’s Center even though both iBird and Peterson’s guides say this bird isn’t found in Florida. My first sighting and photo of one.

Before heading home via Cracker Barrel, we also took a turn round Blackpoint Wildlife Drive. All together, we saw a large variety of birds: Ospreys, a Bald Eagle, Great Blue Herons, Tri-Color Herons, Snowy Egrets, Great Egrets, Reddish Egrets, Belted Kingfishers, Coots, Grebes, Grackles, Vultures, Anhingas, Cormorants, Moorhens, Painted Buntings, White Crowned Sparrows, Wood Storks, a Raccoon, and more. Another wonderful visit to MINWR!

You can see more of my photos in this MINWR set on Flickr.

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