All posts by Ed Rosack

Tennessee – May 2021

Here’s one more post to finish up with photos from our road trip. These are all from time we spent at and near the new Central Florida Photo Ops field office in Nashville, Tennessee.

I’d never heard of the Parthenon in Nashville’s Centennial Park before MK took us there. It was originally built for Tennessee’s Centennial Exposition in 1897 to celebrate Nashville’s nickname: “Athens of the South”.

Nashville Parthenon 1 Nashville Parthenon (iPhone)

The original structure was meant to be temporary. Nashvillians liked it so much that they didn’t want to tear it down – so they kept patching and repairing it until 1920 when the city decided to rebuild it with permanent materials. In 1982, work started on the statue of Athena which was completed in 1990, making this an exact size and detail replica of the original temple in Athens, Greece – both inside and out.

The surrounding Centennial Park grounds are beautiful too with many things in bloom while we were there.

Nashville Parthenon 2 Centennial Park flowers, by the Nashville Parthenon (Thanks for this idea MK!)

The next photo is a multi-frame, stitched panorama I made of Nickajack Reservoir on the Tennesee River. It was another one of the very pleasant scenic surprises we encountered at highway rest stops on our journey. This one was along I-24 near Jasper Tennessee.

A peaceful pause A peaceful pause

Natchez Trace is a historic forest trail extending about 440 miles from Nashville to Natchez, Mississippi. It was created and used by Native Americans for centuries. European and American explorers, traders, and emigrants also used it in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Natchez Trace Parkway is a scenic highway running along the route of the original trail. It was built starting in the 1930s and the final sections were completed in 2005.

Natchez Trace Bridge 1 Natchez Trace Parkway bridge, as seen from a nearby overlook on the north side.

There are many historic sites along the parkway and sections of the original foot trail are still visible. I’m hoping to explore some of these next time.

The header image is also of the Natchez Trace Parkway, from the base of the bridge by the National Park Service sign.

The Stones River photos in my Memorial Day post from a few weeks ago are from Tennessee too.

I’m collecting all my photos from Tennessee in this album on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157719274946967

We enjoyed our first visit to the area and are looking forward visiting again. Next week though, I’ll try to get back to some Central Florida Photo Ops! Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other. And when you can, make some photos!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Wisconsin – May 2021

We had such a wonderful visit with Sara, Mike, and Calvin last month. It’d been way too long since we’d been together and absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder! Anyway, here are three places we visited while we were up there.

Door County

Door County is a scenic peninsula north-east of Green Bay. We’ve been there several times and always enjoy it. This time we were hoping to see some cherry blossoms so we stopped by Lautenbach’s Orchard in Fish Creek.

In the barnyard In the Lautenbach barnyard

There were some lovely flowers on the trees:

Cherry Blossoms Cherry Blossoms

But we were there a week or two too early to see the orchard at it best.

Cherry orchard Cherry orchard

If you go, check out this site for info on the cherries and when / where the trees bloom: https://www.doorcounty.com/experience/everything-cherry/

The area also has many delicious places to eat. We sampled beignets, Ice Cream, smoked fish and other treats. None of us were the least bit hungry when we got home!

Door County Ice Cream Factory

Fonferek Glen

Sara mentioned Fonferek Glen so Lynn and I decided to drive up and look around. It’s a 74 acre county park along Bower Creek near Green Bay. There’s a 30 foot waterfall and cliffs along the creek with a natural stone archway.

Bower Creek Bower Creek

If you visit, be a bit cautious. Lynn and I weren’t prepared for the bitting bugs we ran into, and crossing the water and hiking down / up to the base of the falls (with no marked trails) was a little more exciting than hikes I’m used to in Florida.

The water flow does slow down during the summer. The day we were there it wasn’t a torrent, but the falls are still very pretty:

Fonferek Glen Fonferek Glen

He’s a little hard to see at this resolution, but if you click this photo to view it on Flickr, you can spot one of the two landscape artists that were there that day painting the scene. I wonder if I ended up in his painting like he ended up in my photo?

New Zoo

Calvin has a family membership to the New Zoo near Green Bay and he took us all there one morning. The peacock photo I posted a couple of weeks ago is from that visit. Here are three more from that day.

This owl was inside behind glass in mixed, very poor light. But I like the focus on his eye and was able to rescue the image with a conversion to B&W.

At the zoo 1 An owl at the zoo

This waterfall at the zoo has a pretty good flow – the pump driving it works well!

At the zoo 2 A waterfall at the zoo

And it wasn’t just cherries in bloom up there. Many other trees were in full flower and gorgeous.

At the zoo 3 Flowers at the zoo

You can see more of my photos from Wisconsin in this album on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157628253961205/with/51196465392/

We’re so thankful that the pandemic is finally starting to fade so that we can travel again. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other. And get vaccinated and enjoy visiting family again!

Header image: Birds in flight in Gills Rock, WI – with an iPhone!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Memorial Day 2021

Memorial Day is observed In the US on the last Monday of May. It’s a time set aside to honor and mourn military personnel that have died in the line of duty.

Fence line Stones River Fence line

Lynn, MK, and I visited the Stones River National Battlefield (https://www.nps.gov/stri/index.htm) and Cemetery (https://www.nps.gov/stri/learn/historyculture/nationalcemetery.htm) on our recent trip. Photos from there seem fitting for a Memorial Day post.

Stones River National Cemetery Stones River National Cemetery

The Civil War Battle of Stones River was fought from December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863. There were 24,645 casualties in the battle (12,906 Union and 11,739 Confederate). That’s 31.4% of all troops and the highest percentage of casualties of any major battle in the Civil War.

Fields of fire Fields of fire

Tactically it was inconclusive, but strategically it was very important to the Union. The Confederate threat to Kentucky and Middle Tennessee was neutralized, and the Cumberland River wharfs and Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad were secured as major Union supply routes for the rest of the war. After the battle, Abraham Lincoln wrote to General Rosecrans saying: “You gave us a hard-earned victory, which had there been a defeat instead, the nation could scarcely have lived over.”

Cart Cart

There’s a lot of talk nowadays about how divided we are in the US – and I suppose we are. But we all must search for common ground and strive to overcome our differences so that as Lincoln also said: the “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Artillery Artillery

This last photo (and the header image) are also appropriate for Memorial Day. Lynn and I made a habit of pulling off at rest stops along the Interstate. We almost didn’t visit this one in Kentucky, but I was really glad when we pulled into the parking lot and saw a beautiful field of poppies overlooking the road. I crouched down low to hide the traffic and emphasize the flowers and made this image:

Plentiful poppies II Plentiful poppies II

“In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row, 

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.”

From the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Flanders_Fields)

Ever since Lt. Col. McCrae’s poem was published in 1915, poppies have been a symbol of soldiers lost in war.

You can see other Memorial Day related posts at this link: https://edrosack.com/?s=memorial+day

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other. And remember the fallen.

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

On the road again

Lynn and I are back home from visiting family. I have many photos to go through, but for now, I’ll just share one I made along the way.

Showing off at the zoo Showing off at the zoo

There were several peacocks at the zoo and all were calling to each other. This one was showing off for a close by peahen. I think his size and feathers are very impressive.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other. And when the peacock yells, make a photo!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Banded Ruddy Turnstone update

You may remember this post from a couple of months ago where I wrote about sighting a banded Ruddy Turnstone by the boat ramp at Parish Park in Titusville: https://edrosack.com/2021/03/28/three-birds/.

I don’t have a new photo of our banded bird to share with you, but I will include this one from 2012.

A flying flock of Ruddy Turnstones and their reflections Ruddy Turnstones and reflections

Last week, the North American Bird Banding Program run by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Canadian Wildlife Service sent me an email. They included a very nice certificate of appreciation with information about the bird we reported:

Ruddy Turnstone sighting certificate

Some other interesting facts from their email:

  • Birds have been banded in North America since 1904
  • About 60 million birds in hundreds of species have been banded
  • About 4 million bands have been recovered / reported
  • Data from the bands is used to monitor populations, set hunting regulations, restore endangered species, study effects of environmental contaminants, and address issues such as Avian Influenza, bird hazards at airports, and crop depredations.
  • Members of the public reporting band sighting and recovery is critical for all of these uses.

Some photographers might be disappointed with an image that includes an “unnatural” band. But I was excited to sight and photograph a band (twice!), report it, and get back some information on that specific bird. The people running these programs are doing important work. We should all help them out.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other. And please report bird bands you see at www.reportband.gov!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Seeing in the dark

I made this image a couple weeks ago during our stay at Lake Louisa State park. I woke up early and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got my camera and went outside. It was a long time before dawn and “flashlight so you don’t trip” dark. Of course, normally you should use your base ISO for landscape photos. And you should stop your lens down to increase depth of field and get everything in focus (and for image quality). But there was so little light I had to use ISO 1600 and expose with my lens wide open for 25 seconds to get anything to show up.

73 seconds, before dawn 73 seconds, before dawn

Anyway, once I had a workable exposure, I lined up my composition as best I could, manually focussed on the dim things I could see, and made four frames – hoping I’d have what I needed to stitch a panorama.

I used my normal workflow, careful to control noise in the RAW file processing. And there were some stitching anomalies in the water that I had to remove, but I really like the finished image. I hope you do too. You can see a larger version on Flickr if you click on it.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other. And if you wake up too early – make some landscape photos in the dark!

And Happy Mothers Day to every Mom out there! The world owes you so much!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Reverse Image Search

Reverse Image Search is a tool that tries to find images that match a sample you provide. It searches based on image content, not based on a description in words. It has a lot of applications, but I mostly use it to help identify things in photos.

Busy Wildflower Busy Wildflower: Bee, fly, and ant on Lantana Camara

Lynn and I spent a few days at Lake Louisa State Park recently. There were many wildflowers in bloom and I wanted to share some with you. I’m not at all knowledgable about plants and flowers so I used Google’s image search capability to help me ID them (https://images.google.com).

Wildflower Wand Mullein

You can find a huge number of phone apps, guide books and websites about wildflowers. But there are so many different wildflower species that it’s just about impossible for any one reference to be complete. The ones I’ve tried have been frustrating, which is why I use reverse image search when I want to ID a plant or flower.

Passion Flower Passion Flower

I upload a small version of the photo, and browse the returned images and captions for clues to a preliminary ID. When I think I have a match, I try to confirm it with something like the University of South Florida plant atlas: https://florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Default.aspx

Eastern Prickly Pear Prickly Pear

Sometimes I’m pretty confident I’ve got it right, sometimes I’m completely lost (like the header image – no clue), and most times (like the last photo) I’m at least a little uncertain. But it’s fun to try!

Edit: The header image is a Rosary Pea (Abrus precatorius L.). Thank you Wally Jones!

Purple Prairie Clover(?) Purple Prairie Clover(?)Sensitive Briar

I enjoy photographing wildflowers and I’d like to identify them when I do. But it’s not easy and I’m definitely not an expert. If you are, please forgive my beginner level advice. Do you have any better tips?

You can view my blog posts about Lake Louisa at this link: https://edrosack.com/category/photo-ops-in-florida/lake-louisa-state-park/ and I’ve collected photos from there in this album on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157644335735632

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other. And when you can – photograph a flower and try a reverse image search!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

SpaceX Crew Dragon Launch – 22 April 2021

Launches from the Kennedy Space Center have ramped up in the last few years, and here in the Central Florida area, we’re blessed with a good view of them. Lynn and I often go out and watch from our driveway. At times, we’ll be disappointed when clouds block our view, or if a low trajectory keeps the the vehicle down behind our neighbor’s trees. But last Friday’s launch didn’t disappoint!

SpaceX Crew Dragon Launch SpaceX Crew Dragon Launch, from Winter Springs, Florida. About 2 1/2 minutes after lift off.

Photographing one like this is an interesting challenge. There are several approaches to try. I usually concentrate on the rocket itself. In the daytime, you might be able to use aperture priority and automatic focus. In the dark, shooting in full manual mode will likely give you better results. I preset my aperture to wide open and my shutter speed as slow as I think I can hand hold with image stabilization turned on. If your camera doesn’t have IS, use a tripod to stabilize it. I also pre-focus to infinity, since the small size of the rocket in the frame might make auto focus unreliable. While shooting, I adjust my ISO setting to get a good exposure. With mirrorless cameras I can see the effect of ISO changes in the viewfinder. If you’re using a DSLR, you’ll have to chimp to make sure your ISO is correct.

The photos above were made with a focal length equivalent of 525mm and exposure of f/6.3, 1/80 sec, ISO 2000. The one below was at 164mm eq., f/6.3, 1/80 sec, ISO 6400.

Crew Dragon and launch plume. About 3 minutes after lift off

I won’t talk about other techniques to try, but here are a couple of impressive examples from Friday’s launch: Chuck P. has a long exposure image at this link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chuckpalmer/51133507223/in/pool-lm-pigs/. And Matthew P. has a composite from all the way over in Tampa at this link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/matthewpaulson/51132476677/in/dateposted/

I have my rocket launch blog posts collected here: https://edrosack.com/category/photo-ops-in-florida/rocket-launch/, and launch images are in this album on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157719054007165

I enjoy this type of photography, especially at night with such a pretty launch. Have you tried it?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other. And when you can – photograph a launch!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Panos and Otters on Bear Creek

Bear Creek Nature Trail is a small park in Winter Springs, Florida. There’s a path that winds along next to the water and it has some very pleasant scenery for such an urban location. Lynn and I have been visiting for many years – I think I first mentioned it on the blog in 2008. I decided to go by last week and try to improve my panorama techniques.

In the quiet forest 3 In the quiet forest 3: Nine frame panorama, 14011×7881

I’ve written about stitched panoramas many times so you might know that I like to make them. They’re a great way to get a wider field of view and to capture more detail too. See this post for an example of my workflow up to this point.

I knew I’d been taking a few shortcuts and ignoring some things. I’ve had wonderful results, but at times the post processing was more difficult than it needed to be. Two specific problem areas were sloppy leveling and parallax.

If your camera isn’t level you’ll have to level the image in post, which can require cropping in and wasting pixels. It can also introduce stitching errors at the seams between frames. A panoramic head is one solution for this. It’s mounted on top of your ball head and lets you level your camera using its built in level indicator and the ball head controls instead of using the tripod legs. This works well, and it can be left on your main tripod all the time.

Parallax results when close and distant objects in your scene don’t align the same across multiple frames. A nodal slide can remove / reduce parallax errors.

In the quiet forest 2 In the quiet forest 2: Six frame panorama, 12502×6251

I think my first attempt with these worked out well. It’s a bit more effort to set up before your capture, but it can eliminate fixing some problems later in software. I realize this may be more than you wanted to know about panoramas, but if you’ve tried them and have issues stitching, then here are a couple of links that go into more detail. I think they’ll help – they helped me.

In the quiet forest 1 In the quiet forest 1: Six frame panorama, 7743×6104

Oh, about the otters: Lynn and I saw a couple of them at this park way back in 2009. Since then I’ve looked for them every time I go, but haven’t seen them again. I managed to get a photo of one of them swimming away from us as soon as we saw it. I’ll post it now even though it’s not the best image.

Otter in Bear Creek, May 2009

As I was leaving the park this time, I said hi to a Winter Springs Park Ranger. They said they’re there often and I asked if they ever see any river otters. They haven’t but have seen tracks. I guess I’ll have to keep watching for them.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other. And when you can – make some panoramas and watch out for otters!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Nature

Here are several photos I made recently. To me they don’t strictly fit into the Landscape or wildlife categories, although they do include those as elements in the compositions. I like them though, so I’ll post them here and call them “Nature photos“.

When I first saw the dolphin, it was a little too far away for a good wildlife photo, so I waited for it to swim even farther into the colors reflecting in the water. I’m pretty sure it was only thinking about catching fish for breakfast, but the scene made me wonder if it thinks about other things sometimes.

Do Dolphins watch the sun rise?Do Dolphins watch the sun rise?

This still water made a perfect mirror on that morning. But I probably wouldn’t have made a photo if I hadn’t seen the bird off to the right. It was moving left, so again I waited and clicked the shutter as it crossed the line of clouds.

Ibis in the cloudsIbis in the clouds

I’d think that as much rain as we have sometimes here in Florida, I’d see scenes like this more often – but I don’t. I like how well defined the footprints are in the dried mud. I wish I was knowledgable enough to read the story these tracks are telling us.

Making tracks Making tracks

And in this last one, I was photographing the clouds and water with a neutral density filter and small aperture to get a 10 second exposure. When I finally noticed the birds in the surf, I quickly removed the ND filter and opened the aperture to get to a 1/10 sec. shutter speed and capture the birds reasonably sharp. When I got home I blended the two frames together to get what you see here. I guess this one is a landscape photo, but I think the birds add to the scene.

Below the angry cloudsBelow the angry clouds

The header image is the wake left behind by a running Coot. I cropped most of the bird out, to fit the theme of the post. If you’re interested, you can view the whole image at this link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/51097712962/in/photostream/lightbox/

So, are these wildlife photos, landscape photos, or nature photos? What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other. And when you can – make some nature photos!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved