I make a lot of photographs – you may not have been able to tell ;-). And I have many that I like that never get into the blog. So this week I’m going to post a handful of B&W images from around Central Florida that I think are worth seeing. I hope you like them too. Not many words this morning. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
Pump house, Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive
Cathedral Interior, St. Augustine
Cypress stand, Orlando Wetlands
Quiet morning, Merritt Island NWR
Sunrise Along Bobcat Trail, Orlando Wetlands
Tranquil morn, Orlando Wetlands
As always, click to view larger on Flickr, and you can see many more of my monochrome photos in this folder.
Thanks for stopping by and looking at my blog. Now – go make some photos!
There’s a lot going on at this city run park out in Christmas, Florida. I needed steps last Friday, so I got up early and took a walk. Hours are “Sunrise to Sunset”, but generally the gate is open about a half hour before sunrise. Plenty of time to catch some good light.
Marsh, moon, and sun rays
The quantity and variety of wildlife is remarkable. I’ve seen occasional deer, bobcat, raccoons, and otters in the past – and alligators and our common wading birds are plentiful. Winter migrants are also arriving.
Eastern Phoebe (winter visitor)
Savannah Sparrow (winter visitor)
Other migrants I came across included Belted Kingfishers, Black-necked Stilts, and Palm Warblers.
Spoonbills have been numerous there in recent years, but I only saw one this time. Maybe more will show as we get closer to springtime.
There were other unusual things too:
Pie Billed Grebe and crayfish
I noticed this Grebe surface with what I thought was a fish. But when I got a better look I could tell it was a large crayfish. It had a precarious hold at first. As I watched for about a minute, it adjusted its grip and eventually swallowed the whole thing. The crayfish looked bigger than the bird’s head!
Other birds I spotted: Black Bellied Whistling ducks, Mottled Ducks, Coots, Common Gallinules, Red-shouldered Hawks, Sand Hill Cranes, Limpkins, Wood Storks, juvenile and adult Little Blue Herons, Great Blue Herons, Snowy and Great Egrets, Common Yellowthroats, Red-winged Blackbirds, Glossy and White Ibis, Anhingas, Black Vultures, and I’m sure others I missed.
There are on-going or planned projects that’ll make this park even better. They’re currently “demucking” cell 13 (far corner from the entrance). And they’ve prepared a site for a new visitor center at the first corner as you hike north from the entrance. I’m also looking forward to new vantage points a future boardwalk over lake Searcy should provide.
I spotted this large fish (~2 1/2 feet long) resting near the shore. My long lens was stowed in my backpack and I knew it wouldn’t stay there long, so I quickly made a photo with my IR camera. If you click through to the larger version on Flickr, you can better see the small minnows swimming nearby.
Dragonflies are out and about. This is the first time I’ve noticed them this year.
And finally, here’s a photo of my walking companion. This bird joined me for a bit on my stroll around the park.
The park offers free Tram Tours on weekends – check their site for details. I much prefer to walk so I can pause and photograph any time I want and get a little exercise too.
Thanks for stopping by the blog. Now – go make some photos!
I had the place to myself when I arrived that morning. It was fun to wander around and look for compositions even though the sunrise colors weren’t that good. I made this dawn landscape looking North over Lake Searcy. It was dead calm and the water was a perfect mirror.
Spoonbill numbers seem to be increasing around Central Florida. I’ve spotted them recently at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Circle B Bar Reserve, and they’ve been very plentiful at Orlando Wetlands too. They’re a bit rare in ordinary life so I always enjoy seeing them.
This back-lit flock landing in the early light was lovely.
I don’t feature Coots in the blog very often, but I enjoyed watching this group. They often race across the surface of the water and squabble over who gets the best spots. These two seemed to be competing.
Front row seats at the Coot race
Spring is a great time of year to get out and explore nature in Central Florida. There’s a lot going on and the variety of birds is especially good. You can see all my posts about Orlando Wetlands at this link: https://edrosack.com/category/orlando-wetlands/
Lynn and I were away, visiting our first grandchild – what a wonderful experience that is!!!
Anyway, this blog is about nature photography and I haven’t been able to do much of that recently. So when we got home, I was eager to go back out and ended up at Orlando Wetlands Park last Thursday. I made several photos I like. This one is my favorite from the trip:
At first, the bird was sitting on top of a dead tree facing into the sun – very harsh light:
I have many better images of these hawks on my computer. I’m not even sure what made me raise my camera. Maybe my subconscious was getting ahead of me.
Luckily I did and when the hawk decided to turn around I was ready. I made a continuous series as it used its wings to balance and I really like the one at the top. The wings are nicely spread and one foot is raised as if it’s dancing.
I’m glad I was shooting in RAW mode – it allowed me to compensate for the harsh light in post processing. For reference, here is an unprocessed jpg version:
Processing included using DxO Photo Lab for basic exposure tuning and noise reduction and then tweaking tones, colors, and cropping in Lightroom.
A little luck, a few seconds, and some post-processing can make a huge difference, don’t you think? It helps to practice and know what’s possible in a situation like this. Try it – you might be surprised at the end result. And maybe your subconscious will start helping you too!
This is a very good time of year to visit Orlando Wetlands. I saw lots of Spoonbills, a couple of hawks, herons, egrets, ducks, Osprey, Belted Kingfishers, Ibis, a deer, etc. And it’s cool and pleasant – great for a lovely walk. You can look at more images from there in this album on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157639616792296
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
We had a hard time deciding where to go – storm damage and other circumstances are limiting our choices. Many places that we like in Central Florida are closed (Viera Wetlands, Lake Apopka, Mead Gardens, many parts of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Jetty Park, etc.). We ended up deciding between Circle B Bar in Lakeland and Orlando Wetlands (both are open). I hadn’t been to either for a while and Orlando Wetlands is closer, so…
With the sun up and the clouds gone, we walked for a while before it got too hot. This colorful bird caught my eye. I didn’t realize it was a new life bird until I got home.
Some other things we saw: a Raccoon, a Peregrine Falcon, Red Shoulder Hawks, Black Belllied Whistling Ducks, a Juvenile Blue Heron and other wading birds, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a Painted Bunting, Red Eyed and White Eyed Vireos, House and Carolina wrens, Palm Warblers, and a Chicken (the Ranger said its name is Chuck).
I went for another walk last week at Orlando Wetlands Park with Tom M. It was a pretty morning and in addition to the normal bird suspects, we also saw Soras, Purple Gallinules, and heard reports of Bald Eagles and many Black Crowned Night Herons.
“Compositing is the combining of visual elements from separate sources into single images, often to create the illusion that all those elements are parts of the same scene.”
Multiple exposures are a subset of compositing, and are much easier to produce in today’s world of digital photography. In addition to creating an illusion, they can be used to show things that are difficult for a camera to capture in a single frame and better show reality. Examples are panoramas, focus stacking, HDR, etc.
There’s a lovely Pink Trumpet tree on the west side of the main path into the park. It’s in bloom and that morning the moon was setting behind the tree. This snap from my iPhone shows how the tree looked against the sky and moon.
I wanted to isolate one bloom with the moon and clouds behind it, but the depth of field with my telephoto lens was too shallow to show both in the same frame. So I made two, with one focused on the flower and the second on the clouds / moon. Then in Photoshop it was relatively easy to combine the two frames to show what I wanted.
Moon, clouds, and flower
Here’s a second example:
Ibis flight sequence
This one is from a sequence of a single White Ibis flying by in a little under 2 seconds. I brought all 25 frames into Photoshop on separate layers and aligned them. Then I used the focus select function to mask the birds from each layer into a single composite. I ended up having to omit every other frame to avoid overlapping birds.
If you’re willing to dive into Photoshop or any other image editing software that offers layers and masking, you can do the same sort of work. Think about techniques like these when you’re out photographing. If you capture the source frames you need when you’re out, then when you get back to your computer you can use them to solve problems and enhance your creativity.
Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. Now, go make some multiple exposure photos!
I usually walk in my neighborhood several times a week. It’s a good way to get some exercise and say hello to folks. I did something different last Friday and drove over to Orlando Wetlands Park for my morning hike.
It was still dark when I arrived and I could hear owls and whistling ducks calling on the way out to Lake Searcy – one of my favorite landscape places. I didn’t like the view this time since the water was low and the appealing mirror like reflections were missing. I ended up moving to a new location for this:
Middle marsh mystery island
Morning color was disappointing, but I do like the image. After sunrise, I wandered around and made some bird photos. There were many Little Blue Herons:
Pretty little blue
And the Palm Warblers are here in force, bobbing their tails as they pose in the reeds:
And here’s one of the whistling ducks. I caught it mid-preen:
Just a quick and early post this week to make sure everyone knows about the Orlando Wetlands festival this Saturday (2/20/2016).
Smoke on the water – Morning mist on Lake Searcy at Orlando Wetlands Park
It starts at 9am and since attendance has grown so much, you’ll have to park this year at Fort Christmas and ride the free shuttles out to the Wetlands. Please look at their main page for info on the latest festival:
Here are three photos from last week that I made in and around Central Florida. First up is the Cocoa Waterfront. I liked the early morning look of the clouds and water at River Front Park.
Calm morning on the riverfront. (Two frame vertical panorama, Infrared, B&W, 34mm eq. fl, 1/40 sec @f/5.6, ISO 200)
The morning light was also nice at Viera Wetlands, and this American Bittern posed for us in the reeds. I’ve been lucky enough to see them there several times over the years. I’m sure they’re in spots like Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge too, but I’ve never spotted one there.
American Bittern. (600mm, f/8, 1/640 sec, ISO 320)
Orlando Wetlands Park opened again February 1st. It’s one of my favorite places for sunrise. Our walk on Friday morning was brisk and breezy, but I like the wind’s effect on the water in this photo.
Wee hour winds whisk water and reeds in the wetlands. (Two frame vertical panorama; 120mm; I shot the bottom frame at f/22 and ISO 50 to extend the shutter speed to 8 seconds and maximize depth of field. I made the upper frame at f/8, .5 sec, ISO 100 to maximize sharpness)
So that’s some of what I photographed last week. What did you shoot? Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!