Category Archives: INSIDE FLORIDA

Merritt Island NWR – 11/4/22

Jim Boland sent out his latest email newsletter last Thursday and it made me want to visit the refuge again. The last time I’d been was a while ago and before Hurricane Ian. I charged up my batteries and left early on Friday morning to explore.

There are still some road closures over there (see this link for the latest official status: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/merritt-island), but the good news is that Black Point Wildlife Drive and West Gator Creek Road – spots I usually visit – are open.

I arrived well before sunrise and stopped by the Titusville Municipal marina. The weather forecast had me expecting very few clouds and I had a longer lens mounted to try and frame some details on the boats. When I saw this low cloud drifting in, I didn’t think I’d have time to swap lenses, so I pulled out my phone. Current phone cameras are just amazing! (Click on this one to see a higher res version on Flickr.)

A cloud drifts by above the marina before dawnA cloud drifts by above the marina before dawn. iPhone wide camera, handheld, 24mm eq., f/1.8, 1/5 sec, ISO 8000. RAW capture, processed in Photoshop and Lightroom.

I saw the same things that Jim reported including Spoonbills, a Reddish Egret, Blue-winged Teal, and Black-crowned Night-herons. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out this Redish Egret is the exact same bird he saw. It was especially entertaining: busy showing off its fishing prowess and ignoring photographers interested in making photos.

Hunting EgretHunting Egret.

I enjoyed seeing all the Goldenrod in bloom. This one was in nice light:

Goldenrod in golden lightGoldenrod in golden light.

And I couldn’t resist making a photo of this people watching gator. The header image is a crop from the center of the photo.

Craggy face critterCraggy face critter.

Our other common birds were out and about. I spotted a few warblers too, although the only one I was able to ID was a Yellow-rumped Warbler. It was a great trip – thanks for motivating me Jim!

I hope all of you are doing well. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Stay positive, be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, make some photos!

©2022, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Ian update

Hurricane Ian was a slow moving, high wind storm when it came ashore last Wednesday. The news and photos from the Fort Meyers area are horrific. By the time it passed through Winter Springs Wednesday and Thursday it had weakened, but we still had ~40 MPH sustained winds and gusts much stronger than that.

There are tree limbs and some whole trees down in our neighborhood, and we have what looks like minor damage to one place on our roof. We lost power, water, and internet on Thursday but power and internet came back after a little over 24 hours. Water pressure is back too, but we’re under a boil water notice due to water main breaks.

Winter Springs recorded more than 15 inched of rain and there’s widespread flooding in the Orlando area. Fortunately, our home is up on a slight ridge, so the flooding is not too close. We do have a couple of the major roads through our neighborhood blocked due to flood damage. The city has said some areas will need to be rebuilt so it may take a while to reopen them.

Flooding along Winter Springs Blvd.Flooding along Winter Springs Blvd.

Lynn and I have ben very lucky. I hope all of you are doing well. And if you’ve been impacted by this storm I hope your recovery efforts are well underway. Stay positive, be kind, and take care of yourselves and each other.

©2022, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved


Header image: Flooding along Mitchell Hammock Road in Oviedo, Florida has completely covered this sod field. Photo by Lynn Rosack, used with permission.

Hello Again

It’s been a little over a month since my last post. I enjoyed writing this one after such a long break.

I went over to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge toward the end of August. I wasn’t expecting to see much, but I wanted to get out and photograph something. I’m glad I did, because the sunrise was one of the best I’ve ever watched.

Nature's GiftNature’s Gift

That photo’s from Veterans Memorial Park on the west side of the Indian River looking east toward MINWR and Kennedy Space Center. I was concentrating on the sunrise when I noticed several other folks had shown up. One was Pat H., who I’ve known for a while. I’m glad I ran into her since she was there to photograph the Artemis 1 SLS rocket on the pad at launch complex 39B. At the time, the planned launch was a couple days later. After we talked, I went and got my long lens to make a close up photo of it (the header image). You can see a higher res version on Flickr at this link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/52311586034/in/dateposted-public/. I’d hoped to include a photo of the launch in today’s post too, but it’s been postponed. Hydrogen is tricky stuff!

After that I went through Gator Creek Road, Black Point Wildlife Drive, and also stopped by the Bairs Cove boat ramp. This kayaker had gotten up very early to go fishing. I didn’t see him catch anything while I was there though.

A fine morning for fishingA fine morning for fishing

I was happy to find this pretty, young Roseate Spoonbill and its reflection at one of the first corners on Gator Creek.

Spoonie!Spoonie!

Other birds were a bit scarce, but this Loggerhead Shrike flew right in front of my car and landed in a mangrove. I quickly rolled down the passenger window and pointed my lens at it. Auto focus is amazing now days. My camera locked on the bird in the middle of all those branches at the first shutter press (no – that doesn’t happen all the time!)

A Bird in the BushA Bird in the Bush (is worth two in the hand?)

I also saw some gators and a raccoon on Black Point, and 5 or more manatees at Bairs Cove – but didn’t get good photos of any of them.

Changing the subject, I was browsing my archives one day and found this image I’d never processed. It’s from one of my previous cameras (an IR converted Olympus E-PL5). I ran it through Lightroom’s enhance detail and the Topaz Sharpen AI plug in and it came out with an amazing amount of detail. I like the subject rendering and the background separation too.

IR SunflowerIR Sunflower

A few days later, I ran across this blog post http://infraedd.blogspot.com/2014/03/cameras-fuji-x100-hoya-r72-filter.html. He talks about using an R72 filter on a Fuji X100 to make infrared photos. I’ve tried R72 filters before (a long time ago) but maybe I should take another look at them. It would be an inexpensive way to occasionally do a bit of IR photography.

In other news, we’d planned some travel but that got postponed while we dealt with a broken central air conditioner here in hot, humid Florida. Supply chain issues mean it takes a very long time to get a replacement compressor (and other parts). Hopefully that’s behind us now (I hope Murphy doesn’t read this). As a side note, I didn’t realize Portable ACs work as well as they do!

Sorry to ramble on for so long. I suspect that my posts will be longer since they’re less frequent now. I hope all of you are doing well. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Stay positive, be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, make some photos!

©2022, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Blog Update

I’ve been thinking about this blog and what it should be like going forward. I haven’t reached any conclusions about revising the purpose or content, but I am going to revise the schedule.

What's around the bend?What’s around the bend?

Over 15+ years, I’ve written 758 posts: an average of over fifty a year. In recent years, I’ve been publishing every Sunday and I’m finding that pace harder to sustain. Coming up with something worthwhile each week is a challenge, especially since I’ve been photographing less than I used to. I guess I’m suffering a bit from writer’s / photographer’s block.

So I’m going to shift to an irregular schedule and publish when inspired. Instead of searching for something every week that I hope will interest all of you and me too, I’m going to update the blog when I have something to share. My goal will be once per month, but I’m not going to force it.

I’m very grateful for all of you that subscribe and for everyone’s visits, views, comments, and likes – thanks! Remember to stay positive, be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if / when you can, make some photos!

©2022, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

A Motionless Marina Morning

The wind’s often calm before dawn (maybe this is why: https://www.chicagotribune.com/weather/ct-wea-1220-asktom-20151218-column.html). When you’re photographing around boats, even calm winds can move the mast tips (or the hulls) enough to blur them in a long exposure. But that wasn’t happening that morning at the Sanford Marina.

Glassy HarborGlassy Harbor (24mm, f/5.6 @ 25s, ISO 100).

My weather app said the wind was 2 mph – about as calm as it gets. Very good for low light photography. Not so good for keeping biting insects away, but artists have to suffer, right?

Paddle wheel and yachtsPaddle wheel and yachts. I Like the juxtaposition of the aft end of the St. Johns Rivership Company’s Barbara Lee with the modern yachts. (34mm, f/11 at 15s, ISO 100)

If the wind’s smearing your subjects, you can try making an extra frame at a higher ISO value to increase your shutter speed. Then you can blend the water and sky from your long exposure frame with the faster shutter speed frame to reduce bluring. But it’s not ideal: the higher ISO may reduce image quality and blending can be tricky with moving subjects. I’m glad I didn’t have to do that for these – things were stock-still!

Peaceful HarborPeaceful Harbor (24mm, f/5.6 @ 25s, ISO 100).

By the way, I was going to call this “Minimal Motion Marina Morning” but that seemed like too much alliteration, even for me.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Stay positive, be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, make a motionless photo!

©2022, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

More from Wayside Park

Since I hadn’t gone through my photos from that morning in Sanford, Florida, I used an iPhone image I like from under the bridge at Wayside Park for last week’s blog post. I’ve processed the others now and have several more that I’m partial to.

This is on the old bridge that you could see on the right hand side in the previous blog (https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/52187355071/in/dateposted-public/). I like the low viewpoint, composition, and tones.

Old BridgeOld Bridge (July 2022)

For comparison purposes, here’s another photo I made in almost the exact same spot back in 2013. There have been a few changes in the vegetation and the bridge structure. (And the photographer too!)

The old bridge over the St. John's RiverThe old bridge over the St. John’s River (October 2013)

And finally, when I thought I was finished at this place, I walked to the end of the bridge to look around. For some reason I didn’t do that in 2013. I’m glad I did this time, because the scene was pretty pleasant!

A quiet morning on the St. Johns riverA quiet morning on the St. Johns river. Looking South East toward Lake Monroe

For those of you viewing this on the web, the header image is a small portion enlarged so you can see the person fishing on the dock. They didn’t catch anything while I watched, but I’m guessing they still enjoyed the morning as much as I did!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Stay positive, be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if you think you’re done, walk a little farther – you might be pleasantly surprised and make a nice photo!

©2022, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Below the Bridge

The entrance to Lake Monroe Wayside Park is on the right hand side of Highway 17-92 as you leave Sanford heading east. It’s just before the bridge over the St. Johns River and there’s a boat ramp and some interesting views there. I hadn’t been in a while and decided to go last Friday.

The river was like a mirror and the early morning sky was pretty too. This was what it looked like under the highway:

Below the RoadwayBelow the Bridge (iPhone, panorama mode)

I published a black and white photo from the same spot back in 2013. You can see it in this post: https://edrosack.com/2013/11/17/panoramic-alternatives-iphones-and-more/.

I suppose the point of this story is that we should occasionally revisit places. They might be worth photographing again.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Stay positive, be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, revisit a spot and make some photos – you might like them even even better than the last time.

©2022, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Neighborhood Kites

Swallow-tailed Kites

I was getting a little exercise on a morning walk last Wednesday when I noticed some birds in the distance soaring on a thermal. As I got closer I could tell they were Swallow-tailed Kites.

I always enjoy seeing these birds. They’re very distinctive and watching them use their tails as a rudder to swoop, glide, roll, and zoom through the sky is fascinating. They migrate about 5000 miles from South America and arrive in Florida in the spring, spending several months here to breed and then returning south in the late summer.

It’s not uncommon to see them in my neighborhood, and even over my house. But they always appear when I’m not ready to photograph them. This time was no different. The only camera I had with me was my phone and I was sure they’d be gone by the time I could get home and get my big lens out. As I got closer, the birds circled lower in the sky and I decided to try making some photos anyway.

Swallow-tailed Kites circling overhead in our neighborhoodSwallow-tailed Kites circling overhead in our neighborhood (click on the photo to see a larger version on Flickr)

I used the built in camera app with the 3x lens (50mm equivalent) and the output set to RAW mode. I made about 30 frames, hoping some would turn out.

I went through them when I got home and picked the best ones to process. Most of the rejects were due to framing, exposure, or chromatic aberrations / fringing. Their colors make them hard to expose correctly and the white feathers were blown out in many of the frames. There was very distracting blue / purple fringing along wing edges in the ones that were made at f/1.8. The f/2.8 ones didn’t have that issue. This left me with just a handful of images to process.

I ran them through Adobe’s “Enhance / Super Resolution” and used masks and subject and sky selections to make local adjustments. I also set the sharpening to zero in Lightroom and used Topaz Sharpen AI as a last step.

A couple turned out OK, but I really wish I’d had my big lens with me!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Stay positive, be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can – make some photos, even if all you have is your phone camera!

©2022, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Perseverance

This is the best photo I’ve been able to make of a Northern Flicker.

Flickr FlickerNorthern Flicker (Click to see a larger version where you can zoom in a couple of levels.)

This one is yellow shafted and based on the black “mustache” a male. There’s also a western / red shafted variety but I haven’t seen one of those.

I don’t spot them very often although they have been in the blog before (https://edrosack.com/tag/northern-flicker/). The first photo I made of one was back in May of 2013. It’s a blurry image of the bird in flight, fleeing my camera. They seem to be very wary and for me nearly always leave as soon as I see one – which explains why it’s hard to get a good photo.

This bird acted like that too, but only flew short distances and I was able to watch him for a while. Finally he landed on top of a mangrove tree and I made this photo. The pose could be better but I like the warm early morning glow, the catch light in his eye, and the feather detail. Lest you think I was crowding him, that’s not the case. I’m not sure of the exact distance but the focal length I used was equivalent to 1260mm so he was pretty far away.

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

John Quincy Adams

So persevere – it may take years and several tries on a lucky day to get a good photo.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Stay positive, be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can — keep making some photos!

©2022, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Venus and the Moon Over the Marsh

I stopped by the St. Johns river at the SR 50 boat ramp before sunrise recently. The sky was a bit plain, but there were a few clouds low on the horizon with some pre-sunrise color showing. And Venus was visible below and to the left of a waning crescent moon, which added some interest. I made a few photos hoping to capture what I was seeing.

Venus and the Moon over the MarshVenus and the Moon over the Marsh

This image is a four frame panorama that I stitched together in Photoshop. Separate exposures of the sky and foreground helped me record a wider field of view and control the enormous dynamic range of the light. I like the way it turned out. If you click on it, you’ll go to Flickr.com where you can see a larger version as well as zoom in.

The St. Johns is the longest river in Florida and there are a huge number of scenic photo ops along its 310 mile length. I’ve collected a few of my photos of it in various spots. You can view them in this album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157624991879878. And you can see some associated blog posts at this link: https://edrosack.com/category/photo-ops-in-florida/st-johns-river/.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Your visits, comments, and likes are always welcome and a big motivator for me. Stay positive, be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can — make some photos!

©2022, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved