Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Veterans Day 2017

The Armistice ending World War 1 was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.  In the United States, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919 to commemorate.  President Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation in 1953 renaming it Veterans Day and extending the holiday to honor all veterans.  It’s a day to thank veterans for their dedication – a day to honor all those that place their country above themselves.

The World War II Memorial and Washington MonumentThe World War II Memorial and Washington Monument

“It’s about how we treat our veterans every single day of the year. It’s about making sure they have the care they need and the benefits that they’ve earned when they come home. It’s about serving all of you as well as you’ve served the United States of America. Freedom is never free.”  President Barack Obama

Vietnam War DisplayVietnam War Display, Smithsonian American History Museum

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” President John F. Kennedy

Marine Corps MemorialMarine Corps Memorial, Arlington VA

“I don’t have to tell you how fragile this precious gift of freedom is. Every time we hear, watch or read the news, we are reminded that liberty is a rare commodity in this world.” … “We owe this freedom of choice and action to those men and women in uniform who have served this nation and its interests in time of need. In particular, we are forever indebted to those who have given their lives that we might be free.” President Ronald Regan

Thanks to all active duty service members and veterans.  And thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Now – you go out and thank a veteran too!

©2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Photography’s not important. Yes it is!

Sorry about the glitch last Thursday – I didn’t mean for this post to go out then.  Hitting the wrong button in WordPress is embarrassing, but at least my email subscribers got to see an example of how my posts usually begin – as just a few words jotted down to expand on later.  Here’s the rest of it.

BloomingBlooming

In the grand scheme of life, photography  isn’t required.  We managed for most of our history without photos.  And even today, with cameras in every cell phone, many people never make a photo.  So is photography important?

Barred Owl PairBarred Owl Pair

The world is awash in geo-political problems.  World leaders with nuclear weapons call each other names and threaten annihilation.  Scientists say global warming is going to drown our coast lines.  Storms and earthquakes cause massive destruction and loss of life.  Watching the evening news is overwhelming and sometimes even depressing.  In this world, how important is an activity like photography?

Bald EagleBald Eagle

Images and video play an increasing role in documenting problems and news in our society.  Ubiquitous cell phone cameras give us a look into life as it happens, views that were less likely to be seen in the past.  Is that a good thing?  In general I think so, even though what we now see all the time is often uncomfortable.

Barn OwlBarn Owl

Photography is also a tool. It lets us explore and comprehend things we can’t view with our own eyes.  Just look at the incredible images that the Cassini probe has sent back from Saturn.  This is extremely important data leading to a better understanding of our universe.  Vital?  Maybe not, but it is important.

What about photos like the ones in this post?  Are they important?  Maybe not to you, but to me they are.  When I’m out photographing I can forget all about many worrisome things and concentrate on an activity I enjoy.  If I’m lucky I become completely absorbed in the process – “in the zone”.  Worries drop away – at least for a time.  And sharing the results may not be crucial, but I do think it’s worthwhile.  Allowing others to see what I can and they can’t is an activity worth doing.  The photos don’t have to worthy of the Louvre. But’s it’s nice to get one every once in a while that goes up on my wall.

These photos were all made at the Audubon Birds of Prey Center in Maitland Florida.  They take in injured raptors, treat them, and (if they’re well enough) return them back to the wild.  They’re able to release just over 40% of their raptor patients.  Some birds (like the ones pictured here are too severely injured, so they become permanent residents that we can photograph when we visit.

The images don’t have a lot to do with the ideas in the post.  But they’re good examples.  The act of making them got me out of the house to meet a friend.  We enjoyed seeing the birds, and our donations will help the Audubon society to continue to help injured raptors.

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

©2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Counting our Blessings

Hurricane news has dominated this week, and it’s been hard to think much about photo ops.  Irma’s path through the Caribbean and Florida left huge swaths of devastation –  destroying lives, homes, livelihoods, and infrastructure.  The Keys are especially hard hit.  I’m sure you’ve seen reports so I won’t repeat them here.

I will let you know that our family is counting our blessings.  We have some roof damage, and we’re dealing with a few other repairs (and damage from the Equifax leaks too!) but all of our utilities are working.  There are many places close-by that are still without power.  It seems like most businesses in Central Florida are gradually re-stocking and re-opening – so unlike some, we’re able to get groceries and gas.

Bright Double Rainbow after Hurricane IrmaBright Double Rainbow after Hurricane Irma – Our daughter MK (and her cat Milo) stayed with us during the storm and when the Orange County Florida curfew ended on Monday night, we drove her back to her place. On the way home, we saw this incredibly bright double rainbow and stopped in the empty McDonald’s parking lot to make a photo with my iPhone. The skies were clearing and hopefully it’s a sign that everyone affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are on the way back to recovery.

There’s still a lot of flooding in Florida and more is forecast.  In our area, Lake Jesup is over its banks and may go higher.  I’m guessing that  the flood waters will drown the late September / early October sunflower fields along the north side of the lake this year, similar to what happened in 2008 after Tropical Storm Fay.  Even if they do bloom, getting out to them will be a soggy mess at best.  We’ll probably have to wait for next year.  Hopefully then we’ll be wondering about photo ops again instead of storms.

To everyone suffering from the effects of the recent hurricanes, our hearts go out to you.  For the rest of us that haven’t suffered as much – take time to remember how lucky we are and what’s really important.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  I’ll try to get back to the normal blog articles  soon.
©2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Moon Shadows – August 21, 2017

Did any of you notice the solar eclipse in the US last week?  Here at Central Florida Photo Ops HQ we certainly did!  And even though the full moon covered “only” ~85% of the sun, it was still an awe-inspiring show.

Our experience in Winter Springs started with heavy rain and thick cloud cover, but the sky quickly cleared and from then on we had an amazing view.  I put together this time-lapse movie with ten photos I made at about ten minutes intervals :

To set up my camera, I first focused manually on a very distant tree and taped down the focus ring.  Then I spent some time figuring out exposure so detail on the sun’s surface would show.  The sun is really bright!  I put two stacked neutral density filters in front of my lens to cut the light by about 11 stops.  I ended up shooting in manual exposure mode at ISO 64, f/16, and 1/1000 sec at 800mm equivalent focal length.   For insurance, I also bracketed around that base exposure.  Luckily there were a few sunspots to see:

Sunspots on the surface

We had two other roving photographers on assignment to help document the eclipse.  Kevin McKinney was in Orlando south of us.  He noticed the sun shining through a tree and made the photo below.  Small openings between the leaves were acting as pinhole lenses and focusing multiple images of the crescent sun on the ground.  I’m glad he noticed this, I didn’t think to look:

Eclipse 2017 - thanks to the trees for my only photo opEclipse 2017 – thanks to the trees.  ©Kevin McKinney, 2017, all rights reserved.  Used with permission.

Howard Thomas (our other roving photographer) braved scarce hotels and huge traffic jams to report from Santee, South Carolina along the path of totality.  He made these next three photos:

The Sun’s atmosphere is 300 times hotter than the surface.  A total eclipse is one of the best ways to study the corona.  ©Howard Thomas, 2017, all rights reserved.  Used with permission.

Total eclipse and the star Regulus (upper left corner – click to see larger).  ©Howard Thomas, 2017, all rights reserved.  Used with permission.

Baily’s beads, or the Diamond ring effect, is visible during a total solar eclipse. The rough terrain on the edge of the moon allow beads of sunlight to shine through in some places. ©Howard Thomas, 2017, all rights reserved.  Used with permission.

Eclipses are fun to think about.  They’re such a huge coincidence!  The Moon is 400 times smaller than the Sun, and the Sun is 400 times farther way.  So they’re the same apparent size in the sky – that can’t be very common in the universe.  We don’t see one very often because the Moon’s orbit tilts with respect to Earth’s orbit around the sun.  And since the moon is slowly moving away from the earth, the geometry will be ruined after another billion years.

You can click on any of these photos to look at larger versions.  I hope you were able to see this stunning event and get some photos of your own.  If not, the next one in the US is in 2024.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Now – go be amazed by rare natural phenomenon.  And make some photos!

©2017, Kevin McKinney, Howard Thomas, and Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Any Micro 4/3 Camera Regrets?

The short answer is “Nope, not really”.  For the longer answer, read on…

Sometimes I’ll take a camera by Bear Creek Nature Trail in our neighborhood (the middle of Tuscawilla, along the north side of Winter Springs Boulevard).  On this particular day back in January of 2017, sunlight was filtering down through the trees and hitting the water at a bend in the creek.  The light refracting  through ripples in the surface created interesting patterns and colors I thought were worth a shutter click.

Bear Creek ripples 1aBear Creek Ripples 1a  (28mm eq. focal length, f/8, 0.5 seconds, ISO 64)

This was a month or so after I started using the Olympus E-M1 Mark II camera.  I’d sold my Nikon D-800 and lenses so I could afford to upgrade my Olympus kit and I was still getting used to the new gear.  I’d had the D-800 for over four years and it’d worked extremely well for me.  It was the very best camera I’d ever used so getting rid of it was a big step and I was still second guessing my decision.

Why did I sell the Nikon gear and move exclusively to Olympus?  And how is it working out?  Glad you asked!

It seems that discovering micro four thirds cameras is a big thing on the web, lately.  Here are a few links with a lot of information you can investigate:

I won’t repeat these discussions.  Everyone will have their own opinion and reasoning for the camera equipment they use. I’ll just summarize by saying that for me, no regrets.  The smaller and more modern design has many advantages with few real issues.  For what I shoot, I haven’t seen much downside.

I can carry much more camera capability with far less weight.  And the new gear does things the older Nikon equipment doesn’t.  Really, the only thing that concerns me even a bit is star / astro photography with the smaller sensor.  I haven’t had much of a chance to test this yet and hopefully ease my concerns, but even if the Olympus isn’t as good at this type of photography, I’m not very worried.  I don’t do it all that often and if I need to, I can always rent / borrow a different camera with a larger sensor or use something like the iOptron SkyTrackerTM  to make really long exposures. Your mileage may vary of course, and you should investigate thoroughly before you make such a significant change.

If you have questions, feel free to ask in the comments.  I’ll be more than glad to try to answer.  And you can click on the image below to go to Flickr and browse through an album of the images I’ve  made with the new camera:

Great Egret head shotGreat Egret head shot

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – no matter the camera you have, go make some photos!

©2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

In the Back Garden…

Lynn’s been busy in our back garden and suddenly it’s even more photogenic.  Lots of new plantings / flowers and they’ve attracted some interesting visitors. I’ve been keeping a camera at the ready so I can go out quickly and see what’s happening.

The Bird of Paradise plants are a new treat.  They’re blooming and I couldn’t resist making some photos.

Bird of Paradise (partial)Bird of Paradise (partial)

This blue bit is the stamen – I like this composition more than one I made of the entire flower.  I left a small piece of the rest of the bloom in the bottom left of the frame for context.

Bees and Butterflies seem as happy with the new garden as I am.

Bumblebee in flight (BIF)Bumblebee in flight (BIF)  (Olympus E-M1 II Pro Capture mode)

Gulf Fritillary butterflyGulf Fritillary butterfly

I briefly spotted some Ruby-throated Hummingbirds too.  But in my excitement to let Lynn know, I let go of the screen door too quickly and the noise was enough to drive them off.  I’ll be more careful next time and hopefully get some photos of them as well.

I’m very lucky that Lynn has set up such nice photo ops for me!  I can’t wait to see what else she arranges in front of my lens.

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

©2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Three things

Three more or less unrelated things to discuss today…

1. Image Stabilization

I’ve used Olympus micro four thirds cameras for a while and I’ve watched their capabilities get better and better.  Their latest image stabilization is truly amazing – Olympus claims five to six stops.  This means that if you can normally shoot at 1/100 second handheld without inducing camera shake blur, then with IS, you may be able to shoot at 1/3 to 1/2 second.  Truly a huge difference, as long as subject motion blur is not a problem.

Rapidan RiverRapidan River – This is the view just behind President Herbert Hoover’s cabin at the Rapidan camp retreat in the Shenandoah Mountains.

The settings on this photo are: focal length equivalent of 28mm, ISO 64, f/8, at 0.5 seconds, handheld.  Using the (1/focal length) rule of thumb, I should have exposed this at 1/30 sec to prevent camera shake.  But I wanted to use a slower shutter speed to blur the moving water.  With IS turned on in camera, I could hand hold at a half second and still keep all the non-moving rocks, etc. completely sharp in the frame.  And I like the way the water looks.

It’s a nice option to have if you don’t bring your tripod.

2. Workflow Experiments

I recently bought an SSD (solid state device) disk.  The main advantage of these is that they’re faster than spinning hard drives.  I wanted to speed up my photo processing workflow.  So I moved my 2017 image file directory and my Lightroom catalog to this drive and sure enough, Lightroom does seem faster.

But then it occurred to me that when I travel, I can  take the SSD with me on the road and use it with my laptop.  All I have to do is add a folder for the images from the trip.  When I get home I can just move it back to my desktop computer and any work that I’ve done on the road will come across with the SSD.  I won’t have to export / import, etc.  This should definitely save time when I get back.

There are some things to be careful of.  I’m backing up the SSD drive using Apple’s Time Machine in case there are any glitches with the SSD.  And I’ve had to re-arrange the image folders across the different disks and tell Lightroom where everything is.  I also need to make sure that preferences and presets are all accounted for.

After a week or so, it all seems to work ok.  I’ll let you know if I discover any other gotchas.  If you have questions about this setup, leave a comment and I’ll try to answer.

3.  Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge update

You may remember this blog post from March:  http://edrosack.com/2017/03/19/morning-glory/.  I posted a photo then of cracked mud on the bottom of a dried out pool.

I haven’t been back recently, and when my friend Howard T. wanted to try out a new camera, we decided to see what’s going on over there.  I’m happy to report that the water is back to normal (or even a bit high).  I can’t really recommend it for wildlife photography yet – the birds and animals still seem to mostly be elsewhere.  Maybe they’ll read this blog and return when they find out conditions have improved.

Black Point Wildlife Drive – The drought has eased – there was a lot of water there last week.

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

©2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Memorial Day, 2017

Decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers is an ancient custom.  We’ve done this in the United States since before the Civil War.

Decoration Day was officially established soon after the Civil War ended and observed on May 30 because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.  Memorial Day became a national holiday in 1971 and  moved to the last Monday in May.

It's hard see the end of these graves, and more difficult to imagine the suffering.A gray, cold day – It’s hard see the end of these graves, and more difficult to imagine the suffering.   Arlington National Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 400,000 active duty service members, veterans and their families.

The USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii – The resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and Marines killed on USS Arizona (BB-39) during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  It commemorates the events of that day.  This photo ©MK Rosack, 2017, used with permission.
USS Bowfin (SS-287) Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  The Bowfin made WW II patrols and supported the Korean War. It’s open to the public as a museum and park and became a National Historic Landmark in 1986.  This photo ©MK Rosack, 2017, used with permission.

More information:

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Please, take a few moments tomorrow to remember those who perished, and those they left behind.  Heroes all.

©2017, MK and Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

 

Ten years? How'd that happen?

On May 4th 2007, I wrote this blog’s first post:

A wonderful trip!!! San Francisco and Muir Woods

I don’t remember why I decided to start.  I think I was just playing around – excited about the trip and wanting to share.  There was no plan to continue, much less for 482 more posts!

The blog’s evolved over time – and I developed a purpose that I try to fulfill (described in the introduction on the Contents / Index page).  I hope people do find some  photographically useful info in each entry.  Although today might be an exception 🙂

You may not realize that this isn’t the most popular site on the internet.  There are 218 email subscribers, 21 more via WordPress.com, and an unknown number of regular readers via RSS.  About 30 – 60 more views per day come in outside of the subscriptions.  If I were selling adds or something else, I’d worry about increasing views, but I’m not.  So it’s a tiny corner of the web – and I’m very grateful for my regular readers and visitors and their interest.

Here’s a list of the posts / pages people viewed the most over the last year:

And here’s a list of the most common search terms leading to the blog over the past year:

  • photo opportunities in orlando fl
  • port orange camera club
  • sunflower field central florida
  • images of great blue heron in flight
  • animal kingdom florida
  • infrared post processing e-pl1
  • places to take pictures in st augustine fl
  • nikon d7000 vs d90 image samples
  • rectaflex
  • sunflower field near ocala florida
  • marl bed flats florida
  • oviedo camera club
  • central florida photo ops
  • photo oportunities in florida
  • lake jesup wildflowers
  • viera wetlands park update november 2016
  • wildlife photo opportuniites in floroda
  • blue cypress lake swallowtailed kites
  • infrared photography post processing
  • photographic areas in florida

Both of these seem to show that I’m coming close to meeting the blog’s purpose.

I enjoy the photography and writing.  And the weekly posts motivate me to keep going out and exploring. I also enjoy occasionally reading old posts.  I have no plans to retire Central Florida Photo Ops, although I don’t have any idea how much longer I’ll continue – I never imagined it would last this long!   I think it does probably need some refreshing.  If you have any ideas on that, let me know.

And just so we don’t have a post without a photo, here’s one from the archives.  Is it a metaphor?  A subtle message?  Only the blog knows.

Road Narrows?Road Narrows – On the way up to Mt. Evans, Colorado. July 2007.

As a reminder, you can use the “Archives” pulldown on the right (or in the menu on the mobile version) to browse older posts.  You can use the “Categories” pulldown to filter on specific locations.  And you can use the search box to find posts on any given subject.

Thank you so, so much for stopping by and reading my blog.  Now – go make some photos!

©2007 – 2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Photography related advice for April

Now that it’s the first day of April, I thought I’d pass on some information I’ve collected on photography related subjects.

But first, every post must have a photo.

Wood Stork in Flight?

Feel free to use all of this advice  and pass it on.  Or not.

Cameras and Settings:

  • Don’t make photographs in a sandstorm.  They’ll turn out grainy.
  • What’s wrong with most cameras that won’t take good pictures?  The nut behind the viewfinder!
  • Military photography:  Why is flying an F-16 better than flying an F-22?  It’s one stop faster!
  • Street photography;  Two photographers are walking down a street and pass a beggar. One keeps walking. The other stops. Later when they catch up with each other the first says to the second. “I saw you stop for that beggar. What did you give him?”.  ”Oh” says the first, “1/125th at f5.6”.
  • How to tell if someone is a real photographer: Ask them this question. Suppose you’re walking through the woods and come to a clearing.  In that clearing is a lake and in the lake is a man is obviously drowning. Now you only have time to do one of the following – save his life or take a photo.  Here’s the question: Which lens should you use?
  • How to make a photo at the North Pole?  Use a North Polaroid.
  • During the holidays: Shoot the kids, hang the family, and frame the wife.
  • What should Mozart do when his Olympus camera breaks?  Borrow Pachelbel’s Canon.
  • Photographic spirits:  A photojournalist was caught out in a rain shower when he saw a dark gloomy house. He was drying off in the house, heard scary sounds and saw a ghost coming towards him. He grabbed his camera to take pictures. The ghost asked him what he was doing, he said “I just want to take your picture for the newspaper.” The ghost was glad for the exposure and posed for the photographer. When his film was all done he thanked the ghost and rushed to his office to get the film developed. When he saw the results he was terribly disappointed: they all came out black – underexposed.  The moral of the story is: The spirit was willing but the flash was weak.
  • How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb?  50. One to change it, and 49 to say “I could have done that”.

Photography Safety

  • A photographer made a selfie in the park.  Since it was dark, he used the built-in flash on his camera.  He got arrested for flashing and exposing himself.
  • Two photographers are in the restroom. One uses Canon cameras  and the other uses Nikon.  Nikon finishes first and simply heads for the door.   Canon says “Excuse me, Canon photographers wash our hands when we’re finished”.
    Nikon replies: ” I understand, but Nikon photographers don’t pee on our hands”
  • Any photo of a chicken nibbling my butt has an unusual ass-pecked ratio.

Photography, business, and money:

  • The quickest way to make money at photography is to sell your camera.
  • How do you get a professional photographer off your front porch?
    Pay for the pizza.
  • What’s the difference between a frog hopping down the street and a photographer walking down the street?  The frog might be on the way to a job.
  • How do you make a small fortune in photography? Start with a large one.

Working with models:

  • If your model didn’t show up to the photo shoot because of acne…that’s a pore excuse.
  • Most photographers will pick a model with photographic mammaries.
  • Don’t pick these kind of models:  Two new models are waiting as the photographer sets up equipment.  One says to the other, ”What’s taking so long?”
    The other replies: “The photographer’s getting ready to focus”.
    To which the first model exclaims, ”FOCUS, we haven’t even been paid yet!”

April Fools!  I’m sorry for the poor humor.  I hope no one was too offended or groaned too much.

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

©2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved