Monthly Archives: June 2014

Photographic Friction

Friction synonyms: Hostility, frustration, conflict, discord, strife, opposition, contention, dispute, fighting, antipathy, resentment, …

Friction antonyms: Harmony.

For the past week or so, my photographic pursuits seem to be in slow motion.  Creating  photos is difficult.  Friction and frustration are up and harmony and flow are down.

What’s going on?  Glad you asked.  1.  I’m having problems finding things to photograph.  2. I’m also having problems with the software I use to process photos.  3. And I’m having problems with my blog.  Hmm.

1. The Images

I was a little busy this week (with #2 and #3) so it left me less time to photograph.  But I did go out on Saturday with Kevin M.  He needed  a park pass and suggested we drive over to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge to pick one up at the Visitor’s Center.  Of course, I talked him into leaving early for sunrise and we went by Gator Creek just before dawn.  This is a nice enough image, but leaves me wanting better.  The sky’s a little bland and I couldn’t find a nicer foreground.  And the no-see-ums were fierce!

Another Gator Creek morning
Another Gator Creek morning – a 4 frame panorama, ISO 100, f/11 at 2 seconds

We also drove around Blackpoint Wildlife Drive, but honestly, there aren’t many birds or animals there now.  We saw very few of the regular birds and a wild pig, but most of the wildlife seems to be somewhere else.  Summer slow down indeed.  When we swung by the Visitors center there wasn’t much bird activity there either.  I carried my infrared camera and experimented with IR insects.  I like this one – but it also leaves me wanting.

An infrared butterfly
An infrared butterfly

I guess the moral of this part of the story is that making good photos isn’t easy and some photo ops aren’t as good as others.  Don’t let all the good ones you see on the web convince you otherwise.  Keep looking and shooting.  And don’t go just looking for photos –  you should also go for the experience.  Enjoy being out and don’t make it all about the image.  And in Florida, in the summer, before dawn – bring insect repellent to cut your hostile friction with the bugs.

2. The Software

I’ve had issues for some time using the “Edit in Photoshop” command in Lightroom.  Photoshop would open, but sometimes the file itself would never show up.  If I tried to open the file directly from inside Photoshop, it worked every time.  With the latest updates to both programs the problem got much worse.  Every time I tried to open a RAW file in Photoshop from Lightroom, it wouldn’t work.

After several searches on Google, I found others are having this problem too.  But there wasn’t any clear-cut solution, so I  called Adobe.   They told me to uninstall both programs and reinstall, but make sure to reinstall Photoshop first.  This is a pain since I have to also reinstall all the plug-ins and presets I use too.  I did get through it and it’s now working better, although it’s still happened a few times since.  Frustrating friction.

3. The Blog

If you follow this blog via email or Twitter, you probably didn’t see last week’s post – a shame – I thought it was pretty good!

For some reason, the server isn’t sending email or Twitter notifications when a new post goes up.  I’ve tweaked some settings and hope it’s corrected now.  If not, I’ll have to keep troubleshooting.  Curious, conflicting friction.

By the way, if you didn’t see last week’s post, here’s a link:  http://edrosack.com/2014/06/18/wild-orchids-and-more-at-fort-christmas/


Photography is a great hobby that’s sometimes frustrating.  But I’ve done it long enough to know that harmony will eventually return.  When it does, the frictionless flow will be truly enjoyable.

If it doesn’t I’ll have to get a giant can of WD-40 to spray all over everything.  That should lower the friction.

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

©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Wild Orchids and more at Fort Christmas

I follow Florida Hikes and they tweeted about wild orchids blooming at Fort Christmas,

Fort Christmas Historical Park is east of Orlando close to Orlando Wetlands Park.  I’ve written about it before:

I hadn’t ever seen Orchids in the wild and I hadn’t been out there since 2012, so this was a big enough motivation to make me want to visit again.  I ended up exploring with Tom M. on a morning last week.

Once we knew what to look for, the orchids weren’t hard to find.  There were a lot of them higher up in the large live oak trees.  The strong back light, wind, and distance made them hard to photograph well, but with a longer lens, a flash, and some careful camera positioning I managed to isolate these blooms against a dark background.  I like the colors and background, which remind me of an oriental flower painting.

Wild Orchids
Wild Orchids – Up in the live oak trees. Two frames, with flash, different focus points, hand merged in Photoshop.  I believe these are Florida Butterfly Orchids (Encyclia tampensis).

Sunflowers were also blooming in one of the small gardens on the site.

Sunflower bloom
Sunflower bloom – In the garden. Single frame, ambient light.

We also spent some time looking around inside the buildings.  You’re free to enter most of them as long as you’re careful.  And since we were there on a mid-week morning, there weren’t many other folks around.  Until two busses of summer camp kids showed up around 10:30.

In the bedroom
In the bedroom – Single 1/2 second exposure at f/8 for depth of field. I didn’t have a tripod, so I rested the camera on the window sill

Antique fixtures and appliances fill the rooms.  These and the wood and fabric textures make for some very photogenic settings – perfect material for a bit of nostalgic, B&W processing.

In the kitchen 1
In the kitchen – I was able to hand hold this one when I opened the aperture to f/2.8. The depth of field is acceptable since there’s nothing too close to the viewpoint.

Here are some photo hints for you:

  • For the orchids, you’ll probably want a longer zoom lens, a flash, a tripod and remote release.
  • Some of the flowers and other items would make good macro subjects.
  • For photos of the building and room interiors, I found a wide-angle lens very useful.  A tripod might be handy for this too, but I was able to brace my camera and / or use the pop up flash to eliminate camera shake / blur.

I’ve posted other photos from Fort Christmas in this set on Flickr.  It’s a wonderful year round photo-op.  And the blooming orchids in the summertime are a nice bonus.

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

©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Gatorland, 7 June 2014

If you’ve meant to go to Gatorland in Orlando, Florida to see the wild birds that nest in the rookery there, you’ve just about missed your chance for this year.

I went by last Saturday with Mahesh S. and Greg N. to see what was going on (and to renew my annual photographer’s pass). There were still one or two Great Egret nests with chicks, but the other young birds have hatched, grown, fledged, and moved out. Nesting activity will start-up again in mid to late February next year.  After this weekend, you’ll also have to visit during regular hours since the early entry program ends on June 15th.  In the mean time, Gatorland’s still a great place to get close access to a number of Florida bird species.

Great Egret ABOAS*
Great Egret ABOAS*

And of course, it’s always a great place to see Alligators.

Like an iceberg
Like an iceberg – There’s more under the surface than you can normally see from above.

And there are occasionally some nice avian visitors too.

Soaring Swallow-tailed Kite
Soaring Swallow-tailed Kite

I’ve posted a great many photos from Gatorland in this set on Flickr and you can read Central Florida Photo Ops posts about Gatorland at this link.  The St. Augustine Alligator Farm posted a very handy bird nesting season reference guide here and you can read Central Florida Photo Ops posts about the St. Augustine Alligator Farm at this link 

I’ve also uploaded a short bonus video of bellowing alligators at the park.  They were feeling feisty and declaring their gator dominance.  It’s at this link on Youtube. Turn up the volume and make sure you have your sub-woofer on too!

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

©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

*ABOAS = Another bird on a stick 🙂

Merritt Island – May 31, 2014

I made a quick trip to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge last weekend with Kevin M. and Lutfi S.   We stopped first at the Titusville marina for a sunrise photo.  The sky was so-so, but the calm wind gave us very nice reflections in the water

Morning at the marina
Morning at the marina

Next, along Gator Creek Road we found a group of preening Roseate Spoonbills.  I liked the contrast between their pink and the blue sky reflected in the water.

Preening Spoonbills
Preening Spoonbills

Later at the Visitor Center, we found a great many butterflies.  They seem to like these Buttonbrush plants.

Gulf Fritillary
Gulf Fritillary

And Green Herons were common too, especially at the rest area on Blackpoint Wildlife Drive where we saw several nests and juveniles.  This one (also at the Visitors Center) drew my eye as it posed against the silver-like water while it waited to strike an unwary fish.

Green Heron in a silver pond
Green Heron in a silver pond

With the hot weather starting to arrive, there’s not as much activity at Merritt Island as there sometimes is. But there’s still a lot to see and photograph.

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

©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.