All posts by Ed Rosack

Get there early (or stay late)

I’ve been an early riser for a long time. I used to be at work before others and got a lot done before they showed up. I thought that would change when I retired, but the habit stuck with me.

I’m still up way before sunrise almost every morning. It’s an asset for landscape photography. I get to places when it’s still dark and things (and photos) look different.

Too early at the boat rampToo early at the boat ramp

When I start early, I can go to more places. I’ll continue making landscape photos in different spots as I look for wildlife and the light changes. So I usually come home with a number of landscape images. These two very different photos are from the same trip.

Catfish Creek Trail Catfish Creek Trail

Getting there early gives me extra opportunities. It doesn’t work all the time or for everyone. It’s not the best approach for sunset and late night photography – but staying up late is. If you like to sleep in, you’ll need to apply my “too early” strategy in reverse and stay a little later after sunset. And if If you’re lucky enough to be at one of your “bucket list” locations, you’ll probably want to get set up and wait for the best light before you start moving around like I do.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Please be kind, take care of yourselves and each other – and if you can, get out early (or stay late) and make some photos!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Just for me?

I enjoy mornings like this one. Out in nature, seeing the sun rise in a pretty spot, or handsome birds posing in lovely light – with my camera along to hopefully capture an impression of a gorgeous moment in front of me.

A new sun kisses the  morning marsh A new sun kisses the morning marsh

Before the pandemic, most of my photography excursions were with other people along to share the sights and experience. Now, it’s rare to go out with anyone else. Sometimes there are other folks around, but I’m mostly by myself seeing beautiful things that no one else sees (even if there’s someone else there!).

Little Blue Heron Family(?) Little Blue Heron Family(?)

Going out alone is good for concentration and getting into a “photography flow“. But going out with others is also good.

Redish and reflection Reddish and reflection

When I made all of the images in this post (and many of the photos in recent posts), I was the only one there to witness what I photographed. I’m grateful that the universe arranges these scenes for me, but it seems like a lot of trouble for an audience of one.

Basking heron Basking heron

I suppose that’s not the right way to think about it. It’s not about me / us. The universe goes about its business regardless of whether any one or thing is there to observe (let’s set aside metaphysics and quantum mechanics for now).

It’s not creating things just for us. Although it seems like it if we’re the only one there.

Fly by Fly by

Isn’t it incredible that even in an urban area like Central Florida we can still at times enjoy nature in uncrowded or even empty places.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Please be kind, take care of yourselves and each other – and if you can, get out and make some photos! Maybe I’ll see you out there!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

A Wonderful Time of Year

It’s begun: We’re finally leaving the hot weather behind here in Central Florida. Cooler temperatures and lower humidity (and fewer biting insects!) make outside activities even more pleasant. Birds / wildlife enjoy this weather too: There’s more for us to see as migrant species pass through or stop by for the winter

Here are some photos I made last Wednesday in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. I went first to Black Point Wildlife Drive. I got there a little too early so there wasn’t much activity yet. The calm reflections in one of the still ponds along the way was attractive, though:

A peaceful, easy morning A peaceful, easy morning

I decided to make another pass around Black Point. I’m glad I did. There was more going on the second time through. I spotted these some I haven’t seen in a while:

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler (migrant)

Savannah Sparrow Savannah Sparrow (migrant)

Black-crowned Night-Heron Black-crowned Night-Heron (year round)

Belted Kingfishers reappeared starting a month or so ago, but this is the first halfway decent photo I’ve managed to get. As usual, this one flew off as soon as I raised my camera. I just sat still waiting and it returned a few minutes later.

Belted Kingfisher Belted Kingfisher (migrant)

I’ve been seeing Grebes for a while too. This one was showing off its fresh catch while keeping a wary eye on me so I didn’t swipe breakfast.

Grebe and grub Grebe and grub (migrant / less common in Summer)

These Roseate Spoonbills were a good distance off the road near the entrance to Black Point Wildlife drive. They’re spotted in the refuge year round, but I hadn’t photographed any since last February. I’m looking forward to closer encounters and maybe better photos over the winter.

Far away Far away

And lastly, these gorgeous Goldenrod flowers were blooming in several areas around the refuge.

Goldenrod in bloom Goldenrod in bloom

The header image is a sunrise along Gator Creek Road. You can view a higher resolution version here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/51663779991/in/dateposted-public/

Also, you can use this page on ebird.org to see a list of 300+ species and when they are usually seen at MINWR: https://ebird.org/barchart?byr=1900&eyr=2021&bmo=1&emo=12&r=L123565.

I had a great visit. Lots of nature’s beauty to see and photograph. A wonderful time of year indeed.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Please be kind, take care of yourselves and each other – and if you can, get out and make some photos!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Try Something Different

This isn’t typical of bird photos I usually make. But when I saw a backlit Great Blue Heron standing statue-like on an old post in the river – I had to try a few photos.

I was lucky I’d mounted my long zoom lens on the full frame body I usually use for landscapes. That gave me more resolution and dynamic range to play with in post-processing than I would have had if I’d used my typical crop frame birding set up.

Heron in a river of gold Heron in a river of gold

I don’t do many silhouettes and strictly speaking, this isn’t one since I kept some detail in the dark bird. But I like the way it turned out.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Please take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, try something different when you make your photos. You might like how they turn out!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Happy Halloween!

Wow! Isn’t that a great Double-crested Cormorant costume the third Brown Pelican on the right is wearing in this photo?

One of these is not like the others One of these is not like the others

Or maybe, two Cormorants on the left are wearing Pelican costumes? Very hard to tell.

Happy Halloween!

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Please take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, make some photos!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

MINWR: Oct. 18,2021

Our weather here in Central Florida is finally starting to cool off a bit. I could definitely feel a difference when I set out for Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge early last Monday. And the high temperature reached just 81ºF later that day. Our forecast for next weekend predicts highs in the mid 70s – the beginning of a very nice time of year!

Anyway, I came home with a number of photos I really like. This week I’m going to go way over my usual photo quota and share many of them. First, a couple of landscapes

Beneath the bridge at daybreak Beneath the bridge at daybreak: This is along side the A. Max Brewer Causeway, looking east into the refuge, about a half hour before sunrise.

Around the shore Around the shore: Pretty light and calm water along Gator Creek Road, about 15 minutes before sunrise

Next, some visitors. As pleasant as the cooler temperatures are, they also mean it’s time to start looking for some of our winter bird friends and I spotted several on my trip.

Palm Warbler Palm Warbler. They can be a little jumpy and hard to photograph. But this one sat still for a moment on an interesting and close perch, in nice light, with a good background. Doesn’t happen very often for me – I’m glad it was briefly cooperative.

Adopt an Area Adopt an Area: This Eastern Phoebe has adopted the refuge for a while.

Blue Wing Teal Blue Wing Teal: A few ducks have started to show up too.

Of course we also have many of our normal residents around.

Bottlenose Dolphin Bottlenose Dolphin: The Dolphins and the Brown Pelicans were chasing plentiful fish in Haulover Canal

The header image is a of a Brown Pelican that just caught a fish in the canal. It’s not that good of a photo, but I kept it because it shows an interesting moment in nature’s circle of life.

Posing Anhiga Posing Anhiga: Anhigas are very common here but still well worth photographing when they pose against such a nice background in morning light.

Dragonfly Dragonfly: These can be skittish too, but if you see one in pretty light, be patient and still. Often they’ll return to the same perch and you can squeeze your shutter button.

I saw other birds on this trip, including Great Blue and Tri-colored Herons, Great and Snowy Egrets, White and Glossy Ibis, Ospreys, Belted Kingfishers (sorry couldn’t get a photo), Pied-billed Grebes, Mourning and Common Ground Doves, and others I’m forgetting. I also used the Merlin bird app a couple of times to listen to bird calls. It ID’d a Black Scoter. Those have been spotted before at MINWR, but I wasn’t able to find it to confirm.

I haven’t mentioned this in a while, so I’ll bring it up again: You can find out what birds are in an area on the ebird website: https://ebird.org. Their page for MINWR is here: https://ebird.org/barchart?byr=1900&eyr=2021&bmo=1&emo=12&r=L123565 and it shows what species are seen there during each month of the year – a fabulous resource!

You can click on each of these photos to see larger versions on Flickr. And I have a huge collection of MINWR images in this album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157627776386723


Changing the subject #1 : This week, Go take a look at Diane’s Swamp Sunflower post: https://lavenderdreamstoo.blogspot.com/2021/10/in-search-of-swamp-sunflower.html. She spotted them near the Pruitt Trailhead at Halpata Tastanaki Preserve and along the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway trail. Wonderful photos Diane!


Changing the subject #2 : Halloween is next weekend so here’s one more photo from last Monday that fits with the holiday:

Web and Mangrove Web and Mangrove

Okay – I think that’s a long enough post for today! Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Please take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, get out and see some nature. And make some photos!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Sunrise lost?

I might see one or two people fishing whenever I pull into Gator Creek Road in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge before dawn. It’s rare to see another photographer there for sunrise, although later in the day on Black Point Wildlife Drive there are often plenty of folks taking photos. On this morning someone else was already out there when I pulled into this spot. They had their camera / tripod set up over on the right (out of the frame in this image). I parked a bit away to give them some space and not interfere with their photography.

Mangroves at dawn Mangroves at dawn

As I set up and starting making images, they headed over with their tripod and camera. I didn’t pay a lot of attention, since I was busy trying to decide on compositions and wanted to capture the light on the clouds before it changed. I figured they just wanted to try a different viewpoint.

They stopped when they got to where I was and started talking about all sorts of things: music, musicians, photographing concerts, what camera I was using, where they lived, where they photographed, etc., etc. I was busy and concentrating on my photography, so a lot of my replies were monosyllabic. As time went on, I continued photographing and they continued talking. I hope I didn’t seem too rude. At one point I even mentioned how much I liked the cloud formations, but they never did make a photo.

There are all sorts of people, and we all have different priorities, but I still don’t understand. This person was motivated to get up very early, pack all their gear and head out for a morning of photography. But then didn’t make photos of a wonderful scene taking place all around us. Maybe they’d already got a lot of great photos before I arrived. But if it was me, I’d have kept shooting.

Anyway, here are some other photos I’ve made on Gator Creek Road: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157720027085338


Changing the subject: Go take a look at Wally Jones’s blog post about this year’s sunflowers at Marl Bed Flats. He was out there on October 12th and got some really nice photos!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Please take care of yourselves and each other. And if you’re already out there, please go ahead and make some photos!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Lighthouse Before and After

Lynn and I wanted another print for our walls and we both liked a photo of the Bass Harbor Head Light Station that I made on a trip to Acadia National Park back in August of 2014. Looking at the file in Lightroom, I wasn’t happy with the colors, and the resolution wasn’t quite enough for the size print that we wanted. I dug out the original RAW image file and reprocessed it with my current software and techniques. Here’s a comparison slider showing the full image (before is on the left):

Bass Harbor Head Light Station, Acadia National Park, August 2014

In Lightroom, I used their recently added “enhance” capability to improve RAW details and upsize. I also did basic adjustments including a slightly larger crop, white balance, and exposure. Then I opened it in Photoshop for final edits – which included texture / clarity tweaks and a pass through the Topaz Sharpen AI filter.

Here’s a small crop showing detail down by the water:

Software has improved a lot since 2014. I’m glad I saved the RAW file in my archives. We’ve already made the print and it looks good up on the wall.

A higher resolution version of the finished photo is here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/51514669988/in/dateposted-public/.

If you’re interested, this link will take you to other blog posts I’ve written about reprocessing: https://edrosack.com/?s=reprocessing.

And I’ve collected some reprocessed examples in this album on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157622798164562

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Please take care of yourselves and each other. And if you need to – reprocess some photos!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Sunflower Status – Oct 2, 2021

Lynn drove me over the Lake Jesup bridge yesterday so I could scout the Swamp Sunflower fields to the east of HW 417 in the Marl Bed Flats area north of the lake. It’s not very safe to park on the side of 417 – this was the best photo I got with my iPhone from the passenger seat of our moving car:

Lake Jesup Swamp Sunflower Field. iPhone photo, made on 10/3/2021

You can see that the annual Swamp Sunflower bloom has started here in Central Florida and it looks like it’ll be a good year for the flowers. These are about 2-3 feet tall – they’ll reach up to 6 feet or more later, so I’m guessing they might peak in the next week or two.

Here’s a better photo of one from 2013:

Water drops and insects on a Swamp Sunflower Water drops and insects on a Swamp Sunflower. October 2, 2013

It’s been a little wet this summer, and they’ve closed this area in the past due to high water. So I searched on-line for any info on whether it’s open. Marl Bed Flats is part of the Lake Jesup Conservation area and I couldn’t find any mention of closures on their web page. I did see this on the Lake Jesup Wilderness area page (which is a short distance away from Marl Bed Flats on the west side of 417):

“The Lake Jesup Wilderness Area is currently closed due to wet season conditions.”

https://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/locations/Lake-Jesup-Wilderness-Area.stml

I’ve enjoyed photographing these flowers since 2006, but I probably can’t visit this year. Since I can’t give you a better report, you’ll have to venture out there on your own. If you do go or find a better status, please leave a comment here so others will see the info.

I’ll leave you with one more close up. I like the water drop in this image from 2010:

Water drop on a Swamp Sunflower Water drop on a Swamp Sunflower. October 10,2010

If you’re interested, I have more photos from this lovely field of wildflowers in this album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157622430520287

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Please take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can – and make some photos!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Planning or Luck?

Ansel Adams is known for his pre-visualization approach to photography.

“The term [pre]visualization refers to the entire emotional-mental process of creating a photograph”

“It’s not what you see, it’s what you want me to see”

Ansel Adams

Having deliberate control of all parts of the photo capture and printing processes allowed him to create wonderful images. We can’t be Ansel Adams, but we can continue learning so that we gain as much control as possible in our own photography.

Embrace your craft.  Study it.  Understand it.  Practice it.  Select a subject. Compose and expose. Process and print. Use all your skills to control the light you capture. It’s a life long activity that you’ll never completely master.

But sometimes the subject and light find you. When this happens, be ready. If you are, you can use all of your acquired skills to make a photo showing what you want people to see. Ansel also said:

“Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have someone click the shutter”

Ansel Adams

A while back over in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, I saw this scene developing and really liked the way the sun was shining through the backlit clouds. I quickly searched for some foreground and found a pool of water reflecting the sky. I made a set of four frames that I could stitch into a vertical panorama.

Wetland Weather Wetland Weather

Later on the computer, I had to solve issues with stitching, exposure, and focus but luckily I knew what to try and had the tools to do so. Of course, it’s not Ansel Adams level photography – but I’m very pleased with the result.

What kind of photographer are you? Do you pre-plan / visualize all of your photos? Or do you wander around and photograph what nature presents? Which approach gives you the best results? Which gives you the most pleasure:  A carefully controlled composition that comes out exactly like your vision?  Or a serendipitous image that came out well when you tried something new?

Luck is good.  Preparation is good.  Being prepared when you get lucky is better.

“Chance favors the prepared mind.”

Louis Pasteur

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Please take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, be ready – and make some photos!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved