Monthly Archives: May 2012

Memorial Day Weekend, 2012

Florida and Florida beaches are a great photo-op, especially at sunrise or sunset – and Casey Key on the Gulf Coast seems to have a unique color pallet. It doesn’t hurt to have some stormy weather around to add drama to the sky and clouds. I saw the beach chairs sitting empty and pointing toward the setting sun and felt compelled to make a photo.

At the end of the day 2
At the end of the day 2 – On Memorial Day Weekend 2012: The empty chairs in this scene made me think about past and present members of the military that can’t be with family to celebrate the holiday. To all those that serve or have served, thank you for your service.

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Using aperture brackets to overcome blur and diffraction

I finally made it over to Cocoa Beach in time for sunrise yesterday morning:

Sunrise by the Cocoa Beach Pier

Sunrise by the Cocoa Beach Pier

In this photo, I wanted to use a long shutter speed to blur the water and show wave motion.  I set the slowest ISO my camera supports (50), added a 3 stop neutral density filter, and used an aperture of f/22 which gave me a shutter speed of 2 seconds.  I would have liked even longer, but this was as slow as I could get it under these conditions.  I think the water came out pretty well.

As I made the exposure, I worried about two things:  1) Such a tiny aperture would lead to diffraction and blurring of small details and 2) Such a long shutter speed would add motion blur where I didn’t want any (boats and people).  So how could I overcome this?

I was shooting in aperture priority mode and my camera was locked down on a tripod.  So I made a second exposure at f/4 and let the camera set a shutter speed of 1/15 second.  Normally when you bracket, you’re trying to change the exposure (or sometimes white balance or focus).  This time, I was trying to bracket the aperture / shutter speed I was using, but keep the exposure constant. Having a second exposure let me load both images as layers in Photoshop.  Then I used a layer mask to show the first exposure for the water in the lower part, and the second exposure for the upper area including the boat and pier.  This let me have motion blur where I wanted it and still keep sharpness in areas where I wanted that.  I think the technique worked pretty well.  What do you think?  Have you ever tried this?

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Return to Animal Kingdom

We had family in town last weekend and they invited Lynn and I along on their visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  I’ve blogged about this place before (here and here) and this was a chance to return and see if I still liked it as much as last time.

Yes, I did.  I can confirm that Animal Kingdom is still the nicest zoo I’ve ever been too.  It’s enhanced by the rides and shows, and seeing it with our young nieces and nephew makes it an even more wonderful experience.

Here are a few scenes from the trip.  You can see more photos (and larger versions of these) in this set on Flickr.

Male Silverback Gorilla holding grass
Male Silverback Gorilla holding grass. In the gorilla enclosure on Pangani Trail at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

American Crow
An American Crow enjoys a stolen onion ring

Hibiscus
Hibiscus

Thanks for stopping by and visiting my blog.  Now, go make some photos!

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Central Florida Bird update

The spring migration has made the last few weeks an intense time for birding in Central Florida.  There was a fall out in Fort Desoto in late April where my friend Kevin M.  sighted 110 different bird species in one day!  As those migrants moved on, other locations have also seen a few visitors, especially smaller birds.

The activity at Blackpoint Wildlife Drive in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Orlando Wetlands Park, and Viera Wetlands is slowing down now from the peak nesting and breeding season.  Most of the young ones are hatched, grown, and fledged, although you can still find some amazing sights such as a White Eyed Vireo nest next to the boardwalk at the MINWR visitors center.

At BPWD the water is quite low.  We found some concentrations of birds in a few of the areas that did have water including Redish Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills, Great Egrets, Little Blue Herons, etc.  There are also some juvenile Green Herons in the bushes by the rest rooms.  But the ducks seem to be mostly gone – even the moorhens and coots.  And we haven’t seen any Kingfishers lately either. We did see an Eastern Kingbird on BPWD, and a Northern Parula and Grey Catbird at the visitor center.

Wading Roseate Spoonbill
Wading Roseate Spoonbill – feeding at BPWD

Orlando Wetlands is quiet too – both people and birds.  I was the only visitor when I went by last Thursday morning.  I saw a solitary Swallow-tail Kite fly by briefly (too fast to get a photo).  And there were plenty of Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks, some hawks, limpkins, herons and egrets – but again the most of the ducks seem have gone elsewhere.

Mom and kid Limpkin on a sunrise stroll
Mom and kid Limpkin on a sunrise stroll

At Viera Wetlands we saw a few of the usual birds and there are still some GBH juveniles on nests.  Terns and Ospreys were putting on a fishing demonstration.  It’s fun to watch this behavior and it’s a good situation for Birds in Flight practice.

Blue Heron Portrait
Blue Heron Portrait

And even if the birding is slowing down, you can always find some landscape photo ops around the area.

Drippy
Drippy: I was scouting for new sunrise locations and got to the Cocoa Beach pier a bit late. I decided to make a photo anyway… Next time I’ll be there before dawn.

If you click on any of the photos, they’ll open in Flickr, where you can see larger versions.  You can also see some of my previous photos from:

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.