Monthly Archives: October 2013

Oviedo and Port Orange Camera Clubs

Just a quick post this week (a schedule update and one recent photo).

I’ve been invited to speak at both the Oviedo and Port Orange Camera Clubs next month.  I’ll talk about “Winter Photo Ops in Central Florida” and recommend things / places to photograph in our area this winter along with sample images.  Depending on interest and time, we may go a bit further and talk about other times of year too, or we may also discuss tools and techniques for any of the photos I show.   Questions on anything else presented are also welcome.

The Oviedo Photo Club meeting is on November 4th at 7PM in the Memorial Building in Oviedo (38 South Central Avenue, Oviedo FL 32765).

The Port Orange Camera Club meeting is on November 13th at 7PM in the Port Orange Adult Center (4790 South Ridgewood Ave. Port Orange FL 32127)

If any of you are at one of these meetings, please say hello – I love to meet readers!

And since we can’t have a blog post without a photo, here’s one I made at the beginning of October in Winter Park, Florida.

Stationary water
Stationary water

I liked this fountain, but wanted to make the photo look a bit different.  My normal approach might have been to use a very slow shutter speed to make the water silky smooth.  This time, I decided to use as fast a shutter speed as possible to “freeze” the water.  So I opened my aperture and ended up with a 1/8000 sec shutter speed.  The wide aperture also helped to blur the background and isolate the subject.  I don’t think you can make a photo like this with your cell phone!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos – and go to a camera club meeting!

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Is photography a group or solo activity?

Four of us from the Photography Interest Group went to Viera Wetlands last Saturday.  On the way, we stopped by Riverfront Park on the Indian River at SR 520 in Cocoa for sunrise.

Old boat by a bridge
Old boat by a bridge

There weren’t many clouds, but with a longer lens than I normally use (120mm equivalent instead of an ultra wide-angle), I managed to place this boat in the frame against a background of clouds and the causeway bridge.  The colors on the water are nice and I was happy with the result.

As we left, I saw what looked like a sunken boat out of the corner of my eye to the south of where we’d been photographing. Since the good light was fading, and everyone else was ready to leave for Viera, I didn’t get a chance to check it out at the time.

For some reason, sunken / abandoned boats really appeal to me as photographic subjects. Maybe it’s because I spent time in the Navy. They seem sad and make me wonder what happened and why. This one nagged at me, and I really wanted to explore it so I decided to drive back over on Wednesday to see what I’d missed.  Many times the boat gets salvaged – so if you don’t photograph it when you find it, you may not get a second chance.

A dream, gone
A dream, gone – in the harbor at dawn.

Luckily the boat was still right where I’d seen it.  I found a spot where I could use the sailboat mast reflections to outline the sunken hull and place it between the blue and orange colors mirrored on the water.  I like the first photo, but I think this second one is stronger.

If we’d taken the time to explore this on our first visit, would I have gotten as strong a photo?  Did I get a better photo on my second trip because I was by myself?  Is photography essentially a solo activity?

Cue the standard photography answer:  “It depends.”   I believe you need to be “in the zone” to make great photos.  Distractions and / or fellow photographers can hinder concentration – or they can point you in the right direction.  When you’re with a group you also have to compromise and go along – you can’t do everything you want and force everyone else to do it too.  If you’re mainly a landscape photographer, going photographing with someone really into bird photography may not help your landscape images.  Or it might – birds hang out in some beautiful places.

If you go with people more experienced / knowledgable than you are,  you may learn a bit and make better images as a result.  Or you may find out about new places that they know but you don’t.  Or you might even open your eyes to a different way of seeing something.  If you’ve ever been out photographing with a group, you know there will be many similar images.  But there will also be some that look completely different even though two photographers stand right next to each other.

I looked through my 20 most interesting images (according to Flickr, anyway).  10 were when I was by myself and 10 when I was with other photographers.  Conclusive numerical evidence, eh?

So to answer the question in the title of this post:  Is photography a solo or a group activity?  Yes.  You’ll be a better photographer if you go photographing both by yourself and in groups.  Mix it up and take advantage of both ways to enjoy and improve your photography.

By the way, we did make it to Viera Wetlands.  We saw many of the usual animals in the main area including Hawks, Ospreys, Great Blue Herons, Little Blue Herons, Green Herons, Snowy and Great Egrets, Grebes, Black Bellied Whistling Ducks, Alligators, Turtles, etc.  We saw a few more species in the Click Ponds:  White Pelicans, Sandpipers, Roseate Spoonbills, and Woodstorks.  A nice visit.

Sandpiper flock and reflections
Sandpiper flock and reflections

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

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Circle B Bar Reserve – October 5th, 2013

Three of us from the Photography Interest Group visited the Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, Florida last weekend.  The Circle B is about 1 hour and 20 minutes from where I live, but it’s well worth the drive.  I haven’t been over since last October – so I was eager to see what’s going on.  We managed to get there before sunrise and were greeted with this scene:

Before Sunrise
Before Sunrise

We saw a lot of the regular resident wildlife including:  Little Blue Herons, Great Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets, Ospreys, Red Shouldered Hawks, Black Bellied Whistling Ducks, Blue-Grey Gnatcatchers, Red Winged Blackbirds, Ibis, a few Alligators, lots of Apple Snails and eggs, lots of Dragon Flies, lots of Spiders, and a horde of hungry mosquitos!  OK, I didn’t actually see the mosquitos – but I sure knew they were there!  There were also a great many Limpkins, probably due to the abundance of Apple Snails.

Strolling Limpkin
Strolling Limpkin – I loved the light on this bird and the background.  If she’d only turned her head just a bit more toward the camera. I guess some models are still learning “the moves”.

I was surprised to see baby Limpkins too.  I didn’t realize that they breed year round.  It was a treat to watch Mom feeding her chicks and see the chicks moving around trying to find snails for themselves.

Limpkin Chick
Limpkin Chick – This little one climbed up on the reed and then had a hard time getting back down. The other three chicks stuck close to Mom. I think this one will be trouble.

In the not so usual category of wildlife, we saw a pair of Bald Eagles, a Fox (darn, too dark for a photo!), White Pelicans (they apparently stayed through the  summer), and many small hard to ID Warblers (passing through on migration?).

It was a good visit.  Much better than the foggy one last year when I hurt my foot.  Now that cooler weather is starting to come through Florida we’ll have to go back more often.

You can read other posts I’ve written about the Circle B here.  And you can see more photos from the Circle B Bar in this set on Flickr,

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

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Lake Jesup Flowers – 2013

An update on the Lake Jesup Flowers – they are indeed back in full force.

Tom M. and I went over last Wednesday morning to check on them.  They seemed to me to still be a little before the peak.  I think they’ll get a bit higher and fuller before they start fading away in the next several days.  If you want to see them this year, you don’t have much time left.

The Marl Bed Flats are a little soggy.  There were places that were dry, but a large part of the area away from the woods had an inch or two of standing water.  The sky was incredibly clear and there was a soft wind blowing too – not ideal conditions for flower photography, but we looked for interesting compositions anyway.

Swamp Sunflower fields pano

With the sun so low, it was hard to keep myself out of this shot – hence the photographer shaped shadow in the middle bottom

Swamp Sunflowers

Finding flowers that reach above their neighbors is one way to isolate subjects

Swamp Sunflower

The light was very pretty in spots. This blossom was sheltered in a pocket of calm along the path out to the fields.  With a nice dark background, it called out for a close up.

For a different perspective and an example of how diverse the view here can be, look at this blog post from Jeff Stamer.  Jeff timed his visit better than we did and hiked out before sunrise on Thursday when the sky was beautiful.

Here are links to previous articles with more info:

And you can browse some of my photos of the area in this set on Flickr.  There’s also an article about the flowers in this month’s Orlando Magazine.

When you go, please be careful.  Stopping on the side of 417 is dangerous.  And the Lake Jessup Wilderness area is wild.  It’s also a bit of a hike from the parking area out to the flowers.  Bring water and use sun screen and bug spray.  Long pants and waterproof hiking boots are a good idea too.

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

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved