Monthly Archives: December 2015

Cruising Wildlife

Lynn and I returned last week from a wonderful visit with her brother Arthur, and his wife Michele.  We cruised together around the Caribbean on Holland America’s MS Zuiderdam. I’ll post more about the rest of our adventures later, but this time I’d like to write about wildlife photography from cruise ships.  Here’s one earlier post about this (North to Alaska, Ch. 1: Intro and Wildlife) but it’s a subject worth discussing again.

Our route went by the Bahamas, Aruba, Bonaire, Panama, and Costa Rica.  Many of the animals in these places are only inside zoos in the US.  It’s wonderful to see them wild in their natural habitats.

Sleepy SlothSleepy Sloth – A wild, two-toed sloth napping In the rain forest, along the Tortuguero Canal, near Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. They seem to be common there. We saw three on our tour – although they were hidden in trees and hard to find.

If you’re on vacation with your family,  the main reason for going isn’t wildlife photography, so you’ll have to improvise and stay alert for wildlife photo ops.  Since Lynn and I hadn’t ever been to these places, we took advantage of several “highlight” excursions offered by the cruise line.  The one to the Tortuguero Canal in Costa Rica was especially nice and we enjoyed seeing a variety of flora and fauna.

Masked Booby in flightMasked Booby in flight – These birds were feeding on fish (flying fish, and others) that were stirred up by the ship’s wake

The morning before we arrived in Aruba, we noticed “sea gulls” flying near the ship.  After breakfast I spent a while watching what turned out to be scores of Masked Boobies catching fish stirred up by the ship’s wake.  It was fun to watch (and photograph!).

American FlamingoA wild American / Caribbean Flamingo – Bonaire is famous for its flamingo populations and has one of only four nesting grounds for flamingos in the Caribbean.

On excursions, it’s helpful to have a good guide.  Our Costa Rican guide (Porfilio) was exceptional at seeing and pointing out the wildlife in the canal.  You could tell he liked his job, and we enjoyed our time with him immensely.

Howler MonkeyHowler Monkey – A wild monkey In the rain forest, along the Tortuguero Canal, near Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.

Here are a few pointers if you go on a similar adventure:

  • Do your research ahead of time.  Look into the wildlife that lives in each place.
  • Search for reviews and critiques of the excursions offered and pick ones that give the best photography opportunities.
  • If possible, schedule your excursions for early in the day.  Animals are more active then, and it’s cooler.  I found the Masked Boobies at breakfast and we left for the Tortuguero Canal at 6:30am.
  • Question the guides.  They’re very helpful and can let you know the best place to sit, etc.
  • Have your camera out and ready to go, not in your backpack.  Many times the sightings will be brief, so pay attention and be ready to shoot instantly.
  • The animals will likely be far away and you’ll have to hand hold your shots, so you’ll definitely want a long lens with stabilization.  I used an Olympus E-M1 M4/3 camera and a 200 – 600mm equivalent lens for the photos in this post.

Hard core wildlife photographers will want to spend much longer in places like Costa Rica, but if you’re on a cruise don’t overlook the opportunities.  A few hours in a new place can lead to wonderful memories and unique images.

I’m collecting photos from the cruise in this folder on Flickr.  Please check back as I finish processing and add more.

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

©2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Rectaflex update

I first posted about this back in January of 2012.  Surprisingly, it’s become one of my most popular articles and “Rectaflex” is now a common search string leading to my website.  Since then, I’ve learned a bit more about the camera and so I thought I’d add this info to bring anyone interested up to date.

Early 1950s, Italian Rectaflex film SLR kitEarly 1950s, Italian Rectaflex film SLR kit.  This is a multi-frame focus bracket, stacked in Photoshop.

A lot of the new information first originated with Andrew Fildes, a photographer in Australia who also collects cameras.  He too has a Rectaflex and saw my post.  He emailed me, initially to make sure I knew how collectible these cameras are and we had an interesting email exchange.  Here’s how the conversation started:

“Just spotted your post about the Rectaflex. Good grief.  Has anyone told you yet what you’ve got there?  … The most common Rectaflex in working order is worth about $1000, Unusual models or rare ones (‘Specials’) can go up to $20K or more… (The lens cap is a $150 item if clean) … looks like you’ve got the Angenieux 35mm f2.5 there as well but the other one – 10cm f2.8 Meyer? That’s unusual!  Even the rings and cases are worth a lot to collectors.”

I think the collecting market has calmed down a bit since then, and the copy I have isn’t in working order so I don’t think it’s worth all that much.  Still – it was an exciting email!  I wish I could’ve asked Lynn’s Grandfather about it – I’d like to know his story behind the camera.  Andrew said that a lot of his information came from the book Rectaflex The Magic Reflex, by Marco Anonetto.  I bought a copy (included in the photo above) and it’s a wonderful resource if you want to find out more.  It seems to be out of print now, but if you search the web, you can find copies.

I got another email recently from Bosse, who lives in Olso, Norway.  He’s very knowledgable about reflex cameras including the Rectaflex and he’s posted a huge amount of info on his website at http://www.pentax-slr.com/108413508.  Boss confirmed that mine was manufactured for USA sale, probably around 1950.

Although I still can’t find out much about the 10cm f/2.8 Meyer lens, there’s more info on the web now about Rectaflex than there was in early 2012.  If you search, you’ll get many hits  for your reading pleasure.

So that’s my post for this week.  By the way – have a wonderful holiday season!

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

©2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

I'm not a car photographer, but…

With any endeavor, you have to sometimes push yourself and attempt things outside your comfort zone.  And the stated purpose of this blog is to let people know about photo ops in our area.  So, when my friend Vince W. told me he had extra tickets to the 42nd Annual Daytona Turkey Run Hot Rod Show and Swap Meet at the Speedway in Daytona Beach and invited me along, I was more than willing to go see what it was all about.

Intake manifoldIntake manifold

Well, it’s all about cars and car parts.  You can see all kinds of vehicles from fully restored antiques to low riders, dune buggies, and yes – “parts cars”.  And you can buy or trade autos and parts of all descriptions.  So many that I don’t know how they keep track of them all.

As far as photo ops are concerned, there are many of those too.  The place is crowded, with people as well as cars.  Like I said, I’m not usually a car photographer and I found it tough to isolate my subject in the composition.  I’d suggest a wide-angle lens that would let you get in close but still fit the cars in your frame.  Or bring a telephoto or macro lens so you can concentrate on details.

Surfin' CadillacSurfin’ Cadillac

I enjoyed the experience.  If you have any interest in car photography, antique autos, hot rods, or you just need some parts, you should go to the next show.  It’s held on Thanksgiving weekend & the 4th weekend in March each year.  You can click on the link in the first paragraph for more info on their site.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos out of your comfort zone!

©2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Annual "Cracker Christmas" event

Fort Christmas is holding its annual “Cracker Christmas” event this weekend (5 and 6 December).    There’s a lot to do there today and tomorrow with pioneer homes, museums, live music, demonstrations, a civil war camp, crafts for sale, and plenty of food to eat.

There are also a few photo ops.

Skeeter Creek bandSkeeter Creek Band

Civil War Re-enactors Civil War Re-enactor

If you haven’t been, I recommend it.  You should plan to get there early, since the traffic builds up as the day goes on.

You can read more about Fort Christmas on the blog here.  And you can look at more photos from there in this album on Flickr.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.