Just a short entry to let you know that I’m working behind the scenes to re-organize Categories and Tags used on the blog. Since I started writing “Central Florida Photo Ops” in May of 2007 they’ve grown a bit too haphazardly, and now it’s time for me to get organized and efficient.
So I’m restructuring the Categories to serve as a Table of Contents. The main ones are location-based so that a visitor can quickly see all the entries about a given place. You can reach the Categories from the pull down widget on the right.
The tags will function like the index in a book. For instance, when I’m done, you’ll be able to click on “Bird” in the tag cloud on the right and see a listing of all posts that mention various kinds of birds.
I’ve already started working on this, although it’ll take me a while to go through all 236 published posts and update / correct each one. But as I work on it, it’ll gradually improve and when I’m finished it’ll be better than it was. As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.
And just so we don’t have a blog entry without a photo, here’s a couple of images of another camera acquisition. It’s a somewhat well used, Leica IIIc 35mm camera made in the late 1940s. I need to clean it up a bit, but I’ve already run some film through it and it works pretty well.
The sky was pretty cloudy when I first went out, but by the time we arrived it was starting to clear up. There was still enough color left to get a few good photos. In this one, I like the way the light on the walk draws my eye to the bottom left and then the rail and the jetty lead to the sun rays coming up from below the horizon.
A little later, I noticed this boat speeding around the inlet, sometimes with flashing lights and a siren and wondered what was going on.
The Coast Guard patrols: This small Coast Guard patrol boat was very active.
I should have realized what was happening before I saw this next boat coming out of the inlet:
On the way out: Close up of a ballistic missile submarine leaving Port Canaveral, Florida. The presence of bow planes instead of sail planes show that this is a British boat, the HMS Vigilant.
This was pretty exciting for me. Many years ago, after college, I was in the Navy and served aboard a sub like this one. Just before I got out, I was stationed at the Naval Ordinance Test Unit at Cape Canaveral. After submarines go through refit, the Navy sends them down to NOTU for a missile test. They load a special dummy warhead missile and then test fire it down range from the Atlantic off the Cape. The tall mast behind the sail is added to transmit instrumentation data during launch while the sub is submerged.
We watched the boat turn south after leaving the inlet, and rushed to set up our cameras for a photo as it sailed under the sun.
Submarine sunrise: This is a unique Florida sunrise scene: The British Trident ballistic missile submarine HMS Vigilant leaves Port Canaveral, Florida just after dawn.
We hung around for a while after this to photograph shorebirds including Brown Pelicans, Gulls, Black Skimmers, Terns, and others. But the highlight of the trip for me was the sub. As a former submariner, it brought back a lot of memories and I really enjoyed the show. Quite a bonus for getting up early!
10/31/12 update: The HMS Vigilant successfully launched a Trident II D5 missile on 23 October. Read more here.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
Kevin M. saw some internet chatter about a Rufous Hummingbird sighting at Bok Tower. The bird had been hanging out in some flowering bushes near the “Window by the pond”. Although the Rufous does sometimes migrate through Florida, Ruby Throated Hummingbirds are normally the only kind we see, so this is a bit unusual.
Kevin organized a Photography Interest Group expedition and he, Lutfi, and I headed over on Saturday morning to try to find this bird. It was right where it was reported and in fact there were several of them. We saw multiple Ruby Throated Hummingbirds too. The Rufous seem more aggressive – they chased the Rubies away from the plants where they were feeding.
Rufous Hummingbird resting on a twig, Bok Tower Gardens. Tiny birds: this one was about 3 inches long.
Info for Photographers
Bok Tower is open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m and admission is $12 for adults and $3 for children, although if you arrive on Saturday mornings between 8 and 9 like we did, you can get in for half price.
Personal photography is permitted in all areas. Commercial photographers should contact management to receive authorization before visiting.
This is a 250-acre botanical garden and bird sanctuary, located near Lake Wales and is one of the highest places in the state at an elevation of almost 300′. It’s named for the 205′ pink marble and coquina tower which includes a carillon that you’ll hear every half-hour and at twice daily concerts (1 & 3 p.m). Bok Tower is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Bok Tower door and reflection – the base of the tower from the reflecting pool side.
There’s quite a variety of subjects to photograph here. You can shoot landscapes, architecture, many kinds of flowers, and several varieties of butterflies.
Path and trees – a false color IRFE (infra-red, fish-eye) photo. I made this photo right before they started to set up for a wedding.
Bok Tower Gardens is also a bird refuge where you can find a number of species. The day we visited, we saw the Rufous and Ruby Throated Humming birds, Blue Jays, Mockingbirds, Doves, a Gray Catbird, a Brown Thrasher, a Tufted Titmouse, Cardinals, Red Wing Blackbirds, a few wading birds, and others. We heard that wild turkeys and Sand Hill Cranes are often on the grounds too.
Tripod/Monopod: Allowed and very useful for the normal reasons.
Lenses: To cover all the subjects here, you should bring a variety of lenses from wide (for landscapes), macros (for butterflies and flowers), and telephoto (for birds).
Best time to visit: Fall is good for migrating birds and springtime is great for flowers.
The gardens are about a 90 minute drive from the Winter Springs and are close to Legoland. It’s also close to the can’t miss Spook Hill.
Bok Tower is one of the best botanical gardens in Florida, plus it has the tower, scenic landscapes, and at times an interesting bird population. Well worth your time.
It was getting foggy as we approached the parking area, but I wasn’t too worried – sometimes fog can add to a scene. We arrived in plenty of time, and walked out to Wading Bird Way (see this link for a .pdf map of the Circle B Bar trails). The closer we got, the foggier it became – and it looked like this right at dawn.
Frank, Lutfi, and Kevin M. in the fog at the Circle B Bar Reserve
To make a long story short – the fog was dense and dawn brought no color at all to the sky. There was no sunrise. We didn’t even see the sun until about an hour and a half later. Regular readers will know that I really like landscape photography and around dawn and dusk are the best times to photograph. With yesterday’s conditions, it just wasn’t meant to be. So what should you do in a situation like this?
First, enjoy the walk. Being out in nature is a wonderful experience and doesn’t have to include photography.
From a photographic perspective, what else can you do? For landscapes, try infrared – it can help cut though the fog, especially if you can include some foreground elements.
If you can get close, fog and mist can be a great background to isolate your subject.
And focus on details. Find some smaller things that you can zoom in on. Look for subjects enhanced by the mist.
Spider and misty web
Yes, not every photo expedition goes as planned. Yesterday’s sunrise was disappointing (non-existent?). But we saw and photographed many things: birds (Sand Hill Cranes, Egrets, Herons, Ibis, Osprey, Whistling Ducks, Hawks, Coots, Moorhens, a Purple Gallinule, Woodpeckers, and others), alligators, dragonflies, spiders, butterflies, and flowers while we were there. All in all, a great day. You can see more photos from the Circle B Bar in this set on Flickr, and check out Frank‘s, Kevin M.‘s, and Lutfi‘s too.
What do you do in situations like this? I’d love to hear your suggestions. Send me an email or add a comment to the blog.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!