Category Archives: Florida

Looking for Landscapes at Loughman Lake

The sky wasn’t very promising on our way over to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge last week.  There were no clouds and we didn’t think the morning color would be any good.  Since it didn’t seem like we had a lot to lose, we decided to try a new sunrise spot:  Loughman Lake, on the south side of SR 46 just west of Mims.

Misty PalmsMisty Palms.  Olympus High Res mode, converted to B&W. ISO 200, 3.2 sec. @ f/6.3, 200 mm eq. (cropped to ~250mm eq.).  6:16 am.

We were right – at first.  There was hardly any color and I ended up converting this first image to black and white.  But there was some photogenic fog and around 15 minutes later, the color arrived along with a few clouds on the horizon.

Misty DawnMisty Dawn.  Olympus High Res mode, two frame stitched panorama.  ISO 200, 1/6 sec. @ f/6.3, 150 mm eq. 6:28 am

The images in this post are in time order and I’ve added exposure, focal length, and timing  info for you.  It turns out that I made all of these with a relatively long lens – unusual for my landscape photography.  I’m sure that there are some great wide-angle compositions there, but the shorter focal length photos I made that day aren’t as interesting to me as these.   I’m glad I brought the very versatile Olympus 12-100 f/4 zoom.

Morning Glory.  Olympus High Res mode, two frame stitched panorama. ISO 200, 1/80 sec. @ f/8, 200mm eq. 6:37 am

Here’s one more image.  I like the Great Blue Heron “statue” out in the water.

Misty morning marshMisty morning marsh. Olympus High Res mode.  ISO 200, 3.2 sec. @ f/6.3, 200mm eq. 6:45 am

 Loughman Lake turns out to be a good place to stop on the way over to MINWR.  But make sure you bring a longer lens!

As always, you can click on these photos to see larger versions.  And I have many sunrise and sunset landscape photos collected in this album on Flickr:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157624939669770.

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

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Black Point Wildlife Drive – May 8, 2018

Kevin K. and I went over to Black Point Wildlife Drive last Tuesday.  The water levels were low and although we saw quite a few birds, many of them were far from the road and hard to photograph.  Here are some images from the trip that I like.

Hunter's DanceHunter’s Dance – A Reddish Egret stalks fish in the marsh

These Egrets have a distinctive dance they use to scare up fish.  It seems to work for them!

Morning minnow mealMorning minnow meal

Green Herons use a different technique.  This one was wading carefully through the mangrove roots on the side of a canal looking for a snack.

Stalking in the MangrovesStalking in the Mangroves

And finally, here’s a photo of a Great Egret taking off from a tree beside the trail.

Great Egret LaunchGreat Egret Launch

This one was a little slow – normally birds are gone by the time I get my camera ready!

You can click on these photos to see larger versions on Flickr.  My Black Point photos are collected in this album on Flickr:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157622920465437.  And you can read more blog posts about Black Point at this link:  https://edrosack.com/tag/bpwd/.

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

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Empty Nest Syndrome

No, not this one:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empty_nest_syndrome

Kevin K., Tom M. and I met at the Sanford Marina on Friday  before dawn.  The plan was to make a few sunrise photos and then go photograph a nearby eagle’s nest.

I like this long exposure:

Blue hour at the marinaBlue hour at the marina.  Olympus Hi-res mode, 13s, f/5.6, ISO 250, @ 24mm eq. focal length (no tripod).

Confession time again.  Since I didn’t need a tripod at Mead Gardens last week, I’d removed the L-plate on my E-M1 MII camera before that trip.  Unfortunately, I forgot to re-attach it.  So I had to improvise and try some different techniques on this trip.  The image above was made with my camera resting on the dock.

This next image was made handheld.  By opening my aperture and upping the ISO, I got my shutter speed up to 1.3 seconds.  And the image stabilization in the camera was good enough for a tack sharp photo with those settings.  Going by the old 1/focal length rule, I should have shot this at 1/24th second.  The IS gave me about 5 stops of stabilization!

Half Staff at dawnHalf Staff at dawn.  The flags at Sanford’s Veterans Memorial Park were at Half staff in honor of former First Lady Barbara Bush.  Two frame vertical panorama, 1.3s, f/4.0, ISO 400, @ 24mm eq. focal length (hand held).

I made this last image with my IR camera – this time from a tripod since I did have the L-bracket on this body.

Marina morningMarina morning.  Infrared, monochrome conversion, Olympus hi-res mode, 6.0s, f/5.0, ISO 200, @ 28mm eq. focal length (tripod).

So what’s the title of this post all about? Well, we wanted to photograph a pair of eagles nesting on the railroad bridge that crosses the St. Johns river by Sanford. It looked like we could get an eye level view from the road nearby. But when we got over there we found the nest, but there were no eagles in sight. I’m not sure if they were just away for a bit or if they’ve abandoned the nest.  Anyway, we couldn’t spot them.  I might try driving by again next week and if I do, I’ll let you know.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!  But check your gear before you leave, improvise if you have to, and when you’re photographically frustrated, try again another day!

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Some Recent Photos

I haven’t been on a photo expedition recently, so this week I’ll cheat a bit and show some images that haven’t been on the blog before.

Orlando WetlandsOrlando Wetlands Park, October 2017. Olympus hi-res, two frame panorama converted to B&W.  I don’t convert sunrise photos to B&W very often, but the light in this one is pretty.

Space View ParkSpace View Park, February 2018. An alternate view to the one posted back then.  Looking east at dawn. You can see the hurricane damage to the dock that hasn’t been repaired. Olympus hi-res, two frame panorama.

Red-winged BlackbirdRed-winged Blackbird, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, December 2017.  Common around here, but those epaulettes are attractive!

A gull and the ocean, 1A gull and the ocean, Cocoa Beach, January 2018. This is also an alternate view to the one posted back then.  I bracketed exposure due to extreme contrast and to get some detail on the bird.  Blended in Photoshop

Please click on any of these to see a larger version on Flickr.  And thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!  I will too!

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Rotary Park and Viera Wetlands

Greetings from Central Florida – the place of plentiful photo ops!  I think this morning I’ll just post a few photos and comments.  Hopefully you’ll find something of interest.

Cochina dawnCoquina dawn

I found a new sunrise spot: Rotary Park At Suntree. It’s on the way to Viera Wetlands in Rockledge, Florida next to the Indian River.  I like the look of coquina (very “Florida-ish”) and I wanted to see how the rocks would look at dawn.  The shore line is positioned a bit awkwardly, but I think I’ll go back!  An interesting point:  Flickr will display a map of photos around a location.  It can be a good tool for research before you go somewhere.  But when I looked a Rotary Park, the coquina rocks didn’t show up in other folks photos.  Hmm – maybe I’m alone in my admiration of coquina.

Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) WarblerYellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warblers are common in Central Florida in the winter. I happened to search for them on the web yesterday and discovered that they’ll probably be split into four different species.  The variety we see on the East Coast of the US are Myrtle Warblers.  I guess I should pay more attention to bird taxonomy.

 Eastern PhoebeEastern Phoebe

Taxonomy is hard though. Even though I’d seen this bird before, I couldn’t remember what it was. I use iBird on my phone and the search function sometimes isn’t very helpful. It didn’t list Phoebe as a possibility even though I entered location, size, etc.  Fortunately, I have a friend that can help (thanks Kevin M!!!)

"Stay off my berry bush!"“Stay off my berry bush!”

Sometimes you take the photo anyway.  Grackles are very common around here and I don’t often bother to photograph them.  But this one was in good light and was squawking at me as I went by.  I enjoyed imagining what he was saying!

Last time we went to Viera Wetlands we saw a Sandhill Crane couple that looked like they were building a nest.  I checked that area again yesterday and didn’t see any sign of them.  Since I didn’t see a nest there, I’m not sure now what they were doing – courtship behavior?

That’s all for this week.  Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Pretty Pelicans and Playful Porpoise

MK has been trying to get us to go on the Dolphin Discovery Tour Eco boat ride out of New Smyrna Beach.  We finally made time and Lynn and I went with her last Sunday.  Howard and Nancy T. joined us for a wonderful two-hour  tour and a nice dinner afterward.

Brown Pelican in Breeding ColorsBrown Pelican in Breeding Colors

Brown Pelicans were very numerous.  They look pretty now in their breeding colors.  There’s a small island they use for a rookery and roost near the tour start and you get good views of them.

Pelican landing at RookeryLanding at the Pelican Rookery

This tour is offered once a day at 1:30pm.  We arrived about 1pm at the Marine Discovery Center, picked up our tickets and headed over to the dock.

The 40 passenger boat is covered so you can stay out of the sun if you want. We had nice weather although it was a bit windy and a little chilly too.  We were glad to have the sun and our jackets (I know, Florida people, right?).  There’s ample room on board, especially since it was only about half full.  The bench seats are comfortable and we had a lot of room to move around for the best views.

I was expecting to see porpoise (dolphin) – they’re quite common in the Indian River.  This is a typical view:

Four Dolphins, four vultures, a gull, a buoy, and two wrecks

But we were in for quite a treat.  On the way back to the dock, this group of four or five put on an exciting show for us right next to the boat.  I wasn’t expecting to see them breech like this up close.

Four Close Dolphins

Of course, I wasn’t well prepared and it was over very quickly.  I ended up just watching them and trying to shoot blindly without bringing the camera up to aim.  This isn’t a really great photo, but I’m lucky I got it.

Our guide pointed out a wide variety of other wildlife:  Ospreys, Great Blue, Little Blue, and Green herons;  Great Egrets, Cormorants, Anhingas, Black Vultures, gulls, terns, and more.

Osprey with fishOsprey with fish

The mid afternoon light was harsh – not the best for landscape photos.  But an infrared camera can tame contrast, so I used mine for an image or two.  Here’s one from the trip – I like the look of the weathered tree along the shore.

Weathered woodWeathered wood – A gnarly old tree along the Indian River

The Marine Discovery Center offers several boat, kayak. and walking tours.  They also have an indoor exploration area with exhibits, aquariums, and more.  Plan to go next time you’re in New Smyrna Beach.  Call before you visit, since they sometimes cancel due to weather.  I hope the dolphins will be as playful for you as they were for us!

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

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

A Marvelous Morning

We organized a photo expedition to Viera Wetlands yesterday.  I went with Kevin K., Kevin M., and Tom M.  We tried a new sunrise location, Alan Shepard Park, right on the beach in Cocoa where SR 520 ends.  Even though we got blocked by a train stuck on the tracks and a closed parking lot, we made it in time for the show.  I was also worried that there wouldn’t be much color, but Mother Nature rewarded our efforts.

On the beachOn the beach

There were a lot of shore birds on the beach with us. I have several more images to process with them in the foreground.

Our next stop was the wetlands, and this trip demonstrated the advantages of having extra eyeballs to help search for things.  We went right by this Bittern until Tom saw it and got us to stop. They’re pretty reliable in the winter at Viera, but they’re hard to see sometimes.  Their standard behavior is to freeze in the grass / reeds and try to blend in.  They don’t spook very easy, so you can get fairly close without bothering them.

American Bittern in the grassAmerican Bittern in the grass

A little further on, Kevin M. called out a Snipe he spotted.  It was on the opposite side of the car, so I got out quietly and snuck around.  It took me a bit to see it even though it was only a few feet away.  This one was pretty calm and let us photograph for several minutes.  They’re small and usually skittish.  And they fly erratically, so they’re usually hard to photograph.  Again, though they seem to like to stop by Viera in the winter.

Wilson's Snipe in the grassWilson’s Snipe in the grass

Belted Kingfishers are also common around Florida in the winter.  If you’ve ever seen one of these, you know how hard it can be to photograph them.  You’ll see them perched on a branch and as soon as you try to get closer or even point your lens toward them, they take off and move further away.  This one was more tolerant than usual and I was able to get set for it to leave.  But I was over conservative with my zoom  and left too much  room in the frame.  I did catch it, and even though it’s a little small, it’s one of my best flight shots of one.  But I’ll have to keep trying.

Belted Kingfisher in flightBelted Kingfisher in flight

We spotted Red-winged Blackbirds, Black Crowned Night Herons, Little Blue Herons, Tri-colored Herons, Green Herons, Egrets, a hawk, Grebes, Morehens, a juvenile Purple Galinule, and Ring Necked Ducks.  And Kevin M. also called out a Ruddy Duck – which was a life bird for me but in very poor light, so I won’t post it here.  Kevin K. was the first to spot a herd of deer (well four of them at least) – which I don’t see very often there.  Great Blue Herons, Anhingas, Sand Hill Cranes, and Cormorants are all nesting now too.

So it was a marvelous morning.  Great weather, scenery, bird watching, photography, and friends.  Much better than sleeping in!

Please click on the images above to see a larger version on Flickr.  And you can see many more of my photos from Viera Wetlands in this Flickr album.

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

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Football

Last Sunday (12/31) marked the end of the Buccaneers football season.  They went 5 and 11 but finished with a bang by scoring a touchdown in the last 15 seconds to defeat the New Orleans Saints 31-24!  I was lucky enough to attend courtesy of my son, Mike.  

Thanks Mike!!!

Stadium PanoPre-game Stadium Panorama (iPhone

The start of the game was really nice. There were fireworks and an Air Force flyover, and the  group that sang the National Anthem was extremely good.

Pre-game F-15 formation flyoverPre-game F-15 formation flyover

They introduced the pilots from the four planes later in the game.

Air Force F-15 Pilots from the pre-game flyoverAir Force F-15 Pilots from the pre-game flyover

We had a wonderful view of the action from Mike’s seats on the second level towards the North end zone.

HurdlesHurdles

Winston handing off to BarberWinston handing off to Barber

Bucs TDBucs score (just barely)!

Pirate Ship Broadside!The Buccaneers pirate ship lets loose with a broadside!

National Football League rules allows cameras if the longest dimension is 12 inched or less, but they’re very strict about bags.  So I brought my Olympus EM-1 Mark II with a 75-300mm lens on a sling strap, with a spare battery in my pocket. Since Micro 4/3 has a 2x crop factor, this gave me an effective focal length of 600mm – pretty good in such a small package!

I used the camera in Olympus Pro Capture mode which let me select frames with peak action – ideal for this kind of photo-op.  Although the camera can shoot at 60 frames per second (!) I limited it to 10.  This cut down on the number I had to review and I think it was more than enough.

The game started at 4:30, and light quickly became a problem.  I shot wide open and had to balance ISO and shutter speed.  The 75-300mm is a fine lens, but it’s a dim f/6.7 at the long end.  I was getting about 1/500th second at ISO 1600.  I got some usable frames with this though I really wanted an even faster shutter speed.  As the sun set I kept raising the ISO and eventually ran out of light at ISO 6400 when my shutter speed dropped below 1/400.  I usually don’t use such a high ISO setting, but I think the camera did well with it this time.

The city looked pretty at sunset from the second deck.

Stadium SunsetStadium Sunset (iPhone, 3 frame panorama)

It was great going to the game with Mike and we enjoyed seeing the Bucs win.

Many thanks to all of you for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Christmas Eve Pancakes

The Old Spanish Sugar Mill restaurant inside De Leon Springs State Park has become one of our favorite breakfast spots.  Something about their batter recipe cooked on a griddle right at your table, and served hot and fresh makes the pancakes taste so much better.

Our family met there on Christmas Eve and really enjoyed the food and each other’s company!  After, we strolled around a bit and I made this photo – looking toward the lake from the spring outflow.  The morning was a bit gloomy, but I still like how this infrared image  turned out.

Christmas Eve Morning at Spring Garden LakeChristmas Eve Morning at Spring Garden Lake

If you’ve never been there, go!  It gets pretty crowded, so check the hours and arrive early so you don’t have to wait.  You might find a few photo ops too!

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

P.S. Happy New Year!

©2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Look, all around you!

When you’re out, don’t get too locked in on your subject.  Make sure you’re always aware of other things around you.  They might be photogenic too!

The dawn was dressed in pale pastelsThe dawn was dressed in pale pastels along the Indian River

I already had my sunrise images on my memory card and thought I was good to go –  just waiting for a friend to finish up.  But then I looked across the calm water and noticed a boat anchored near the far shore.  The sky colors were unusual and lovely.  I set my tripod up again and made this photo.  It’s a good reminder:  We have to keep looking in all directions and not put the camera away until we’re leaving a place.  Beauty is all around us.  Let’s pay attention!

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

©2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved