Monthly Archives: December 2013

Ponce Inlet and Bulow Creek – changing light

Tom M. suggested we meet at Ponce Inlet for sunrise a week ago.  I readily agreed, since the last time I was there was August 2010.  We met at the park entrance just after it opened and were set up well before sunrise.  Here’s one of my first photos.  It was very nice of them to put up red and green buoy lights for Christmas.  🙂

Sunrise at the inlet
Sunrise at the inlet – I thought the Christmas colored buoy lights added a nice holiday touch

I’m always amazed by how much light can change over a short time.  Here’s an example.

Daybreak departure
Daybreak departure – A fishing boat heads out to sea at sunrise

The physical distance between these first two photos was only a few paces, but the time change made a huge difference.  The first was at 6:32am, f/8, 30 seconds, and ISO 125.  The second was at 7:22am, f/16, 1/60 seconds, and ISO 100.  The amount and quality of light shifted dramatically over 50 minutes (and the sun rays came in for a short time too).

Moral of the story:  If you’re going to get up for a sunrise photo, you may as well get going a bit early – so you can see and photograph the entire show.  I try to arrive at least 30 minutes before sunrise.

I’d been watching large numbers of mostly resting Pelicans, Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers down on the beach.  After sunrise, I moved off the jetty and photographed them for a few minutes.  I was able to get close to this one without disturbing it, and I thought the low, warm light and the shadow behind the bird made an interesting scene.

Caspian Tern and shadow
Caspian Tern and shadow – The bird wasn’t really alone, there were many others close by

When we visited Bulow Plantation several weeks ago, Tom and I were a little disappointed in the light.  Rain and clouds that day made photography a challenge.  Since it was early when we finished at Ponce Inlet, and the weather was so much better – we decided to go back to Bulow.  The light had changed a lot here too.  But over a few weeks instead of 50 minutes.

Bulow Plantation Ruins
Bulow Plantation Ruins – I merged three images with  focus stack in Photoshop to increase depth of field.  The light this time was much better than our last visit.  And our cameras didn’t get wet!

So that was a very fine, final photo op for 2013.  Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Now – go make some photos!

And since this is my last post of the year, Happy New Year!  See you again in 2014!

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Ho, ho, ho – Merry Christmas!

I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas holiday and a joyful and prosperous New Year!

Merry Christmas to all My Flickr friends!

Santa inbound through the inlet

Thank you so much for reading my blog this year. Now – get back to your family and enjoy the holidays!

©2013, Ed Rosack. Some rights reserved (Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike).  Santa’s image courtesy of Tsar Kasim:  www.flickr.com/photos/tsarkasim/4192121818/

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge – December 19, 2013

I spent last Thursday morning at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.  It’d been a while since I tried for a sunrise photo, so I went over early.  There wasn’t a lot of color in the sky, but the scene was still pretty.

A calm morning on Gator CreekA calm morning on Gator Creek

After sunrise, I stopped by this decaying dock – there won’t be anything left of it soon.  The strong side light from the early morning sun helped capture detail and texture in this black and white, infrared photo.

Weathered woodWeathered Wood

When I left this spot, I drove back around East Gator Creek Road.  There was a huge flock of ducks in a V-wedge heading for the full moon that was setting in the west.  I couldn’t get my camera ready in time to capture the sight, so I just watched.  It would have made a wonderful photo.

There were many birds on East Gator Creek and on Blackpoint Wildlife Drive although the numbers weren’t as great as some other times I’ve been there.   Most of the regular birds were around including various Herons and Egrets, Belted Kingfishers, Wood Storks, Ospreys, Cormorants, Anhingas, Gulls, Terns, Brown Pelicans, White Ibis, Vultures, a Bald Eagle, Sandpipers, Roseate Spoonbills, Grebes, and a few others.  I also saw some winter migrants including White Pelicans, Northern Pintails, Savannah Sparrows, and what I think was a Northern Flickr.  For some reason, most of the birds were in the distance – too far away for good photos.  This sparrow though was very close.

Savanah SparrowSavannah Sparrow

I also came across several wild boars, including this one.

Making a pig of itselfMaking a pig of itself — A wild boar stops foraging for a moment to give me the evil eye this morning on Blackpoint Wildlife Drive.

I’m even more distrustful of these animals than alligators.  Wild boars can be aggressive and threatening.  I was returning to my car once and found a mother with several piglets scouring the ground for food near my path.  I went out of my way to go around them and tried to keep as much distance between us as I could.  Even so, the mother watched me closely and grunted at me as I got to my car.  The one in the photo above was on the other side of a ditch full of water and I was close enough to my car this time to jump in if it came toward me.  But I still didn’t like the way it watched me.

Another interesting day with lots to see.  You can click on the photos above to view a larger version and you can look at this set on Flickr to see these and many other photos from Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

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

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

My Favorite Photos from 2013

Happy Holidays!  I hope that all of you, your families, and your friends have a joyful and happy holiday season!

The end of the year is a good time to review results and contemplate how to improve any endeavor, and photography is no exception.  I’ve put together these “Favorite photos of the year” posts since 2009.  This is a hard process for any photographer.  For me, it’s difficult to separate my opinion about a photograph from emotional connections that I might have with the subject, scene, or situation.  But making this effort is important and part of the learning process.  I don’t claim to be objective –  these are simply the photos that I like best.  Feel free to disagree, but I hope you’ll enjoy looking at the ones I’ve picked.

You can click on each of these to go to Flickr and see a larger version.  Or you can click on this link to view the complete set on Flickr.

My number 1 favorite photo of 2013:
A dream, gone

 A dream is gone, in the harbor, at dawn; Cocoa, Florida; October.  

I have a thing for sunken boats and when I briefly glimpsed this one while out with a group, I had to go back later and make a photo.  See this post for more info.

My number 2 favorite photo of 2013:

Cloud Gate (AKA "the bean")

 Cloud Gate (AKA “the bean”); Chicago’s Millennium Park; Chicago, Illinois; September.  

I made many photos that I like during my first visit to Chicago last September.  This one is my favorite from that trip.  See this post for more info.

My number 3 favorite photo of 2013:
Partial eclipse of the sun

 Partial eclipse of the sun; Cocoa Beach Pier, Florida; November.

I almost didn’t get to make this photo since I was late finding out about the eclipse.  It’s a bit different from most sunrise photos I make because I used a long telephoto lens to emphasize the sun instead of a wide-angle lens.  The three people watching with me from the end of the pier were a bonus.  See this post for more info.

My number 4 favorite photo of 2013:
You otter not interupt me

You otter not interrupt me; Viera Wetlands, Florida; November.  

This river otter was having a morning dust bath on the dirt road through Viera Wetlands.  It stopped and watched me for a bit when I got out of my car to make this photo, but then ignored me and finished before sliding back into the water.

My number 5 favorite photo of 2013:

Brewing storm

 Storm clouds over the Everglades; Everglades National Park, Florida; April.

We had a wonderful expedition to the Keys, Everglades, and Dry Tortugas in April.  This photo of a pine tree and grass reflecting from the inches deep water in the Everglades “river of grass” is my favorite landscape from that trip. See this post for more info.

My number 6 favorite photo of 2013:
Reading

Reading; St. Augustine, Florida; August.

St. Augustine is full of photo ops.  I really liked the symmetry of the columns in this scene and how they led my eye towards the man reading on the bench.  See this post for more info.

My number 7 favorite photo of 2013:
Sea oats

Sea oats; Howard Park, Tarpon Springs, Florida; August

I noticed this scene while wandering around not expecting to find anything to photograph.  Another lesson in “keep your eyes open”.

My number 8 favorite photo of 2013:
Resting behind mom

 Resting behind mom; Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa, Florida; March.

We spent time in “Primate World” watching the family of Orangutans.  The young one (I think this is RanDee, born in August 2008) was full of energy, swinging all around on the platforms and ropes.  The adults watched her with very human-like  ”where does she get the energy” looks.  Finally, RanDee rested for a bit behind her mom (DeeDee) and I was able to make this photo.  See this post for more info.

My number 9 favorite photo of 2013:
The Chapel on the Rock (Saint Catherine of Siena Chapel)

The Chapel on the Rock (Saint Catherine of Siena Chapel); Allenspark, Colorado; July.

This is south along Route 7 out of Estes Park on the grounds of the Saint Malo Retreat.  We had no idea it was there, but when we drove by and saw the scene, I had to stop and photograph it.  It’s a multi-photo, hand-held panorama processed in Photoshop and Lightroom.  See this post for more info.

My number 10 favorite photo of 2013:
Not sleeping

Not sleeping; Big Cat Rescue Sanctuary, Tampa, Florida; August.

To me, this photo symbolizes what we learned about the plight of captive large cats and primates while visiting two rescue organizations near Tampa.  See this post for more info.

If you’d like to see my favorite photos from earlier years, click on these links: 200920102011, and 2012.

I hope you’ve had a great photo 2013 too. If you send me a link or leave one in the comments, I’ll be sure to take a look at your favorites.  Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Now – go make some more favorites of your own!
©2011 – 2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Kayaking at Haulover Canal

If you search the web for “Haulover Canal” you’ll get many hits on fishing and kayaking there.  I haven’t tried the fishing, so I can’t really comment on that, but I see people (and dolphins!) fishing there all the time so it’s probably pretty good.  I have kayaked there many times and it’s a wonderful place to paddle and to photograph too.

Haulover Canal is in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and it’s part of the Intracoastal Waterway.  It connects Mosquito Lagoon with the Indian River.  You can launch your Kayak at the Bairs Cove boat ramp on the south side of the canal, but we use a better spot on the north-west end of the canal.  Heading north along the Courtenay Parkway, take the first left after the bridge and follow the dirt road to the end where there’s a sandy bottom put in.  There’s a fee to launch from Bairs Cove, but not from the north side.

From the put in, you can paddle west and circle around Mullet Head Island where there are usually quite a few birds. We’ve seen Redish Egrets, Great Egrets, Tri-colored and Great Blue Herons, Pelicans, Cormorants, etc. there. It is a protected nesting area, though – so you’re not allowed to get too close.

Handsome Pelican
Handsome Pelican:  From my kayak, near Mullet Head Island (Olympus EM5)

We usually paddle east along the canal and stop back in Bairs Cove, where we’ve seen manatees every time we’ve been.  They’re very docile and sometimes friendly.  You’re not allowed to harass / approach them, but if you sit quietly in your kayak, sometimes they’ll harass you!

Manatee checking out Mary's kayak
Manatee checks out Mary’s kayak (Olympus EM5)

You can paddle further east and go under the bridge to a manatee observation deck along the north shore.  However, I’ve never once seen manatees there.  Do you think the manatees enjoy the joke?

We frequently see Bottlenose Dolphins too and they’re often feeding.  This one was near the launch point and made a fuss chasing fish before swimming off.

Mike & Sara watch a dolphin from their kayak
Mike & Sara watch a dolphin from their kayak (Olympus TG-2)

There are even a few landscape opportunities, although I haven’t made it over for sunrise or sunset yet.  This group of struggling trees caught my eye.

Survivors
Survivors : On the west side of Haulover Canal. (Olympus TG-2)

You’ll need to watch for boat traffic, but since it’s a no wake zone, it’s fairly safe for kayaks.  If you haven’t kayaked before and want to have a little support when you make this trip,  A Day Away Kayak Tours is close by and very helpful.  They’ll take you on a guided tour or rent you a kayak so you can go on your own, too.

All the photos in this post were made on kayak trips using a variety of cameras.  I now have enough experience with our boats that I’m confident in the water and not afraid of tipping, but splashes from paddles and waves are still a worry where camera gear is concerned.  A dose of saltwater is not too healthy for most normal cameras.  So I’ve been using an Olympus TG-2 and a GoPro Hero3 (both waterproof) on these trips.

G0030066Photographing birds near Mullet Head Island (GoPro and EM5)

It’s great not having to worry about water damage, but I do miss some of the higher end photo capabilities (e.g. RAW format, interchangeable and long lenses, etc.). So I’ve taken the higher end gear out once or twice.  In the photo above I really photo-geeked and used the GoPro to make a photo of myself making a photo with the Olympus EM5.

Here’s some additional info on Kayaking at Haulover Canal from a couple other sites:

And you can find out more about Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in these posts.

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

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved