Category Archives: Lake Eola

Long exposure at Lake Eola

Deborah Sandidge and Jason Odell led a sunset photo walk around Lake Eola in downtown Orland on Friday evening.  I’ve followed their work online and wanted to meet them, so I signed up.  Conditions weren’t the best for sunset photography, but I still had a good time.  I used a neutral density filter to make several long exposure photos and I thought I’d walk you through my process.  First of all, here’s the final version:

Lake Eola - Orlando, Florida
Lake Eola – Orlando, Florida.  Long exposure, cloudy, sunset. You can click on this image to see a larger version on Flickr.

And here’s the initial version of this photo:

-_D8C7377- Ed Rosack

f/8, 25 seconds; after initial adjustments in Lightroom.

Here are the steps I went through to get to the final version:  First, I corrected the distortion to make the buildings vertical in Lightroom.  Then I edited it in Photoshop.  I used content aware fill to finish the vertical distortion fix, then added a layer and masked out noise from darker areas.  Finally, I ran the single image through Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 to enhance color, contrast and details.  Back in Light room again, I finalized exposure, contrast and white balance and applied sharpening and a small amount of vignette.  I like how it came out.
For comparison purposes, here’s a 1/20 second exposure of the same scene.

-_D8C7376- Ed Rosack

f/8, 1/20th second; Same initial adjustments as the version above.

Looking at the long exposure version, the main differences I see are:  the smooth sheen on the water surface, the much more prominent tree shadow in the lower right, and the radial motion blurring in the clouds.  The tree shadow surprised me the most.  In the short exposure version, the water ripples break up the shadow.  They don’t in the long exposure version, which makes the shadow much more interesting.

There are lot of upsides to long exposure photography and a few downsides.  For instance, since the wind was blowing so hard on Friday, some of the smaller tree branches are a little blurry.  Also, when you use very dense neutral density filters, your camera probably won’t auto expose or auto focus correctly, so you’ll have to take care of those things on your own.  And some of these filters can also add a color cast to your photos, so you may need to be careful with your color balance.  But all in all, it’s a great technique to have in your bag of tricks.  Have you tried it yet?  Why not?

You can see more photos from Lake Eola in this set on Flickr.

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

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Black Swan

The Black Swan is an interesting bird. Not only from an avian perspective, but also from a philosophy and ideas perspective. Wikipedia introduces the Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) as “a large water bird, a species of swan, which breeds mainly in the southeast and southwest regions of Australia.”

Black Swan
Black Swan at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando

Australia? Then what is a photo of a Black Swan doing on the Central Florida Photo Ops blog?

All known swans were white until Black Swans were discovered in Australia. People would never expect to find a black Swan (even in Orlando). So this bird is often used as a metaphor for an unexpected event.

Nicholas Taleb wrote a book called The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. His theory is that outlier events (which are essentially unpredictable) have an outsized impact, especially due to the human tendency to settle for simple solutions. This is called the Black Swan Theory.

If no one told, you’d never expect to find a Black Swan in Central Florida. But you can – at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando. So seeing a Black Swan there is a black swan event – highly unexpected. Or it was, until I just told you.

There are other Swan species there too. I saw Whooper Swans, Mute Swans, and Black Necked Swans last weekend.

You can see other photo’s I’ve made at Lake Eola in this set on Flickr.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some unexpected photos!
©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

I just don’t get these. Can someone help me?

OK first, here’s a photo.

Lake Eola at Dusk
Lake Eola at Dusk: Downtown Orlando, Florida

The photo has nothing to do with the subject of the post,  but I like it and I thought we should have at least one photo today.  I made this one a while ago and went back yesterday to re-process it with some new SW.  I was able to bring out more highlight detail as well as adjust the brightness / curves and saturation.

Now for the main section of the post.  I promise that this isn’t a rant, although it might sound like it.  Also, it isn’t a normal Central Florida Photo Ops post – but there are a few photo related things I need help with.  I admit, I just don’t get them.  Do you get them?  Can you help me?

  1. I don’t know if you’re a Flickr member or not.  If you take a look at Flickr Explore, you’ll notice that there’s a surprising (at least to me) number of doll or toy photos there each day.  To each his or her own, but I just don’t get this.  I don’t really see why these are interesting to everyone.  What is artistic or appealing about photos of toy dolls?  How do these get on Flickr Explore?  What am I missing? (Note:  Flickr revised their Explore algorithm in 2020 and it’s much better now!)
  2. The Lensbaby:  OK, I’ve never used one, but why would I?  It’s an inexpensive, imprecise tilt lens, with not so good optics.  You can sort of cause an area within the frame to be in focus while blurring the rest. Is it just fun to play around with?  Why would you put this on an expensive DSLR?  Can you really do something artistic and controlled with it?  Can anyone point me to an outstanding photo made with a Lensbaby?  If so, was the Lensbaby critical to the photo or could you make it another way (Gaussian filters anyone)?
  3. Micro 4/3 cameras:  Yes, they have interchangeable lenses and larger sensors (=better image quality) than point and shoot cameras.   And a 4/3 kit is smaller and lighter than a DSLR kit.  But …  Is it your only camera or a secondary / backup / travel camera?  If it’s a secondary camera, you have to buy a whole new kit (body, lenses, flash?).  That’s pretty expensive.  If you want small and light, why not go for smallest and lightest (e.g. a point and shoot) for a lot less money.  If you want quality why not go for quality (e.g. your DSLR).  Will you be happy with a compromise? —– 9/2/11 Update:  I think I do get this now.  These cameras are much smaller and lighter.  The lenses are less expensive than corresponding DSLR lenses.  And they can be used (with reasonably long lenses) in places that don’t allow DSLR photography – like most theaters, some sports arenas, etc.  Since they are less conspicuous, many people prefer to use them instead of DSLRs for street photography.  And finally, although micro 4/3 sensor quality lags a generation or more behind the best APS C size sensors, it is enormously better than compact point and shoot sensors and good enough for most applications.
  4. Not posting EXIF data with images:  Some people go to great lengths to make sure the EXIF data captured by their camera gets filtered out before they post the photo.  Why?  How does it hurt to have someone on-line look at this data and try to understand how the photo was made?
  5. Paying all those $ for a DSLR kit and not using it:  You’ve got to have it with you, know how to use it, and use it.  If you don’t know how to use it, use it anyway, make mistakes, and learn from them.
  6. Paying all those $ for a DSLR kit and using it like a phone camera:   Don’t leave it on “A”.  Learn what all those other modes are and use them. Take charge – don’t let the camera think for you.
  7. Not post processing: Some of my friends have expensive DSLR cameras and they live with the .jpg output of their cameras. I’ve tried to explain the benefits of RAW capture and post processing, but they don’t want to listen. I just don’t get this.
  8. All right, no one gets this:  Flash in the stands at sporting events and concerts:  But why do you still see this?  How can anyone do this without dying of embarrassment?
  9. Film:  Film is fun, but for most serious photographers, digital is so much better.  OK, maybe I do get the 8×10 view camera people, but still It’s a lot of extra work and many compromises for an improvement in a few small areas.
  10. Comment Spam on photo blogs (OK, any blog):  I think the intent of comment spam is to get links back to their oh so relevant pages.  Really? How are children’s shoes related to Central Florida Photo Ops?  And that’s a G-rated one.  There are many that are R-rated or worse.  Why would I allow these comments through on my site?  Does anyone?  I really don’t get this.

If you “get” any of these things, or would just like to leave a comment to tell me how crazy I am, feel free (although I do moderate comments because of #10).

In the mean time, thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2011, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Dusk at Lake Eola

Intro / Description

Dusk, Lake Eola, 8:14pm
Dusk, Lake Eola, 8:14pm, 17mm, 6.0 seconds @ f/8

This large lake in downtown Orlando formed from a sinkhole and has been a city park since 1892.  It’s famous for its fountain – which unfortunately isn’t working now although it’s supposed to be repaired in 2010.  There are swan shaped paddle boats that you can rent and live swans you can feed along with occasional other birds that you can watch and photograph.  There’s also a playground, a small outdoor café and an amphitheater for special events.  The night we were there the First Annual Orlando Chillounge Night at Lake Eola was taking place on the east side of the lake, which made for quite a crowd.

We saw a boat leave the dock as we arrived with what looked like fireworks aboard.  We kept an eye on it and tried to be ready when they launched.  After a while, we gave up and of course, they launched right after that.  There was only one quick set.  Lynn really enjoyed watching us  scramble to reset our cameras and by the time we were ready there was nothing left but a few smoke trails.  Oh well, a reason to go back.

If you’re looking for a place in Orlando to take a photo walk, practice some street photography, and / or make some cityscape images at sunset – Lake Eola is a good place to start.

Info for Photographers

Photo hints: Get there well before sunset and stay for a while after.  You never know what the sky colors will do.  You’ll want to set up on the south-east side for sunset.  After sunset, try a few small aperture / long exposure photos to blur the water in the fountains and make the lights into nice star shapes.

Tripod/Monopod: No problem – there’s plenty of room to set up.  You’ll definitely need one for long exposures.  Bring your cable release or remote too.

Lenses: This is a wide-angle photo-op.  My 16 – 35mm lens worked nicely to take in the whole lake and cityscape.  To practice your street photography a 35mm will probably work, although you might want to bring another lens (24 – 70?) too.

Best time to visit: You’ve heard me say before that spring is a wonderful time in Central Florida. The weather is just fantastic.  We had temperatures in the 70s and the humidity wasn’t too high.  There were some insects out, but they weren’t the biting kind.

Other: Parking could be a problem depending on what else is going on when you visit.  We were there on a Saturday evening, and even with an event happening at the east end of the lake, we found a parking spot in a lot about a block south for $5.  The park hours are Mon-Sun 6 a.m. – 12 a.m


My Lake Eola photo set on Flickr: The set:’s a slide show of the images (click to start, and when running click to go to the photo on Flickr):
Address / Phone: 195 N Rosalind Avenue, Orlando, Florida(407) 246-2827
Central Florida Photo Ops Rating: Nice evening for a stroll.  Bring your photo gear!

©2010, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.