Monthly Archives: August 2012

Moody dawn at Orlando Wetlands

I got up early and went to Orlando Wetlands Park last Friday.  This time I walked west from the parking area along the berm parallel to Wheeler road.

Even when the sunrise isn’t very colorful, it’s still nice to get out and see it.  It’s also more of a challenge to photograph.

Swampy sunrise
Swampy sunrise

This stand of dead trees in cell 2 drew my attention.  They looked spooky, and I used the infrared camera to help bring this out.

Swampy dawn
Haunted Marsh at dawn

You can see more photos of Orlando Wetlands in this set on Flickr.

Note to email subscribers:  I’ve had trouble with the widget that emails blog entries as they’re posted.  I’m debugging it, but in the mean time you may have missed a post or two.  Please visit the blog to catch up.

Note to all readers:  My main computer is suffering and I’m taking it in for service.  So my photo processing and blog entries will impaired for a bit.  Thanks for your patience.

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Cocoa Sunrise

Keith H. wanted to try out his 10 stop neutral density filter, so we rode over to Cocoa Beach to make some sunrise photos. It was very clear when we left around 5:30 am, but by the time we parked next to the pier, a few clouds had appeared to make the sunrise more interesting.

Atlantic sunrise
Atlantic sunrise.

A neutral density (ND) filter reduces the amount of light entering your camera.  This gives you greater flexibility to adjust aperture and exposure.  They’re often used to show motion blur with a slow shutter speed, or reduce the depth of field with a wide aperture.  Ideally, ND filters are color neutral – although both Keith and I noticed some color shifts with ours.  I was using two stacked 3 stop NDs and this set up worked pretty well to slow the shutter speed and blur the water, especially before sunrise.  Keith’s 10 stop was a bit too much before dawn, but would be great after sun rise.  Overall, we spent an hour or so working the scene and both came away with photos we like.

That's pretty, lets make a photo
A bird flies above a couple making a photograph by a woman walking through the sun.

You can see more photos of Cocoa Beach in this set on Flickr.

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Weekend with Wilson

I stopped by C. S. Lee Park on SR 46 in Geneva yesterday morning with Kevin, Kevin and Lutfi to photograph the sunrise.  There weren’t a lot of clouds but it was still pretty – and some obliging fishermen were kind enough to point their wake into the scene for us.

Hurry, the fish are biting!
Hurry, the fish are biting! C. S. Lee Park, Geneva, Florida

We were on our way over to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.  Kevin M. uses the Audubon Birds of North America app, which has links to bird sightings on eBird.  With this, you can search for nearby birds, activity at birding hotspots, and even see reports of recent notable and rare bird sightings.  Using the app, he discovered that Wilson’s Pharalopes were on Bio-lab road last week, so we decided to try to spot them.

The Wilson’s Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) is a small wading bird and the largest of the phalaropes.   Normally it breeds on the North American prairies and in the western US. It is migratory, but according to iBird, isn’t often found in Florida, so this was a rare chance to see it.

Wilson's Phalarope pair
Wilson’s Phalarope pair. Bio-lab Road, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

It was fun to see another Wilson bird yesterday:  the Wilson’s Plover .  These are also waders and breed on both US coasts from the equator northwards. Its common range does include Florida.

Wilson's Plover
Wilson’s Plover. Bio-lab Road, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

I’d seen a Wilson’s Snipe before and now with these sightings I started wondering who this Wilson fellow was.  Alexander Wilson was a Scottish-American poet, ornithologist, naturalist, and illustrator.  He’s regarded as the greatest American ornithologist prior to Audubon.  Several birds are named after him, including the three I already mentioned and the Wilson’s Storm-petrel,  and Wilson’s Warbler. The warbler genus Wilsonia was also named for him.  In 1802 Wilson decided to publish a book illustrating all the North American birds.  The result was the nine-volume American Ornithology, with 268 species of birds, 26 of which hadn’t been described.

On our trip, we also saw Alligators, Belted Kingfishers, Green Herons, Roseate Spoonbills, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, White Ibis, and many kinds of gulls and shore birds on Bio-lab Road.  We drove through Blackpoint Wildlife Drive too, but there wasn’t as much going on there.

So this trip provided an incentive to clear out some of my birding ignorance and now I know a bit about another great American ornithologist.  You can see more MINWR photos here and here, and birds photos here and here.  And I have a some more Florida landscape / sunrise photos here.

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Cocoa and Viera Wetlands – August 4, 2012

I realized I hadn’t been to Viera Wetlands since last year, so I went over yesterday morning with Kevin K.

We spent a few minutes with The Photographer’s Ephemeris and found a promising sunrise stop along the way.  It’s just north of the first bridge into Cocoa on SR 520.  If you don’t have a copy of this software, you should get it.  It’s available (for free!) for the Mac, PC, and Linux as well as (paid versions) for Android and iOS.  The iPad version is especially helpful.  If you have a cell phone signal, you can use it wherever you are to visualize the natural lighting.  It shows the sun and moon overlaid on a Google Map for the place and time you enter.  Highly recommended.

The sunrise was pretty and there was even a nice bird posing at the end of an old dock for us.

Old pier at sunrise
Old pier at sunrise: North of the Hubert Humphrey Causeway in Cocoa, Florida.

When we got to Viera Wetlands, there was more going on  than I thought there would be.  We saw Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, both White and Glossy Ibis, Moorhens, Coots, Limpkins, and Black Bellied Whistling Ducks, among others.  There were even some Roseate Spoonbills there – the first time I’ve ever seen them at Viera Wetlands.  A few Moorhen chicks, surprised me too – I didn’t realize they hatched this time of year.

Moorhen and chick near Ibis
Moorhen and chick near Ibis: “Kid – I told you not to hang out with those Ibis birds. They’re nothing but trouble”.

You can click on the images above to get to larger versions on Flickr. You can also see more of my Viera Wetlands photos here on Flickr.  For a slightly different perspective, you can also look at Kevin’s photos in his set on Flickr.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved