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 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 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!
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:
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.
I haven’t mentioned the Photography Interest Group in a long time. There hasn’t been much activity, and to be honest the expeditions have always been few and a little haphazard. But anyway Kevin K. organized an early morning photo excursion last Friday and we managed to gather five of us in one place.
We met in downtown Sanford, Florida at the Monroe Harbour Marina for a socially distanced photo walk. Kevin M., Mahesh S. and Lutfi S. joined us too. Here are a few of my photos from that morning.
I arrived a bit early and made this image while waiting for the others. Once I got home, I was curious about the very bright star above the moon and discovered it was the planet Mars.
Moon, Mars, and stars: before dawn at the marina
When everyone was there, we wandered around the area. Calm water and colorful skies made for a nice dawn image looking eastward through the moorings.
Zooming in searching for details, I discovered a Halloween themed sailboat:
Masks, no handshakes (or even elbow bumps), and 6 foot distances made it seem a little strange. But ignoring that, it was almost like old times – seeing friends, catching up on each other’s lives, and making a few photos too. Definitely good for the soul.
On the way home, I drove by Marl Bed Flats again and the standing water there still looks pretty widespread. So no changes in this year’s sunflower forecast – sorry.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Stay safe, take care of yourselves, your friends, and your families. And if you can, make some photos – with your socially distanced friends!
Monday is the 11th day of the 11th month, when here in the US we pause to honor the service and sacrifice of all our current and former military personnel. To our veterans and those serving today – you have our deepest gratitude.
This year, in a special tribute to the men and women who gave their lives during the Vietnam War (and all veterans), the City of Sanford and Seminole County Florida have arranged for a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall to visit Fort Mellon Park by the waterfront in Sanford.
Travelling Vietnam Memorial Wall
I’ve been to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC and posted about it before here and here. The wall includes over 58,000 names of people who died in that conflict. It’s a powerful, emotional experience and the traveling wall replicates that power.
Travelling Vietnam Memorial Wall
It’ll be open 24 hours a day through Veterans Day, 11 November. A visit is one way to honor and remember veterans.
“There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.”
Thanks for stopping by my blog. Now – go thank a veteran!
I’ve seen interesting photos recently that some of my local Flickr friends made in the Black Bear Wilderness Area. So last Wednesday, I drove over to Sanford, Florida and took a hike to explore part of it. Here are a few photos I made.
A fern near the start of the trail – these were everywhere and very green.
BBWA is a 7.1 mile nature trail through a 1,650 acre preserve along historic levees through the St. Johns River floodplain. I thought the entire route would be a bit much for me, so I only hiked about 4 miles total, out and then back – starting counter-clockwise to reach the river. I used my IR camera on the way out, and my ‘normal’ camera coming back.
Along the St. Johns River, near boardwalk 3. IR monochrome
There are signs posted warning you to be prepared. The route runs through remote areas with some challenging terrain (slopes, tree roots, fallen trees, etc). I didn’t think the part I explored was that rough, but be careful if you go – carry water, bug spray, etc. And check the weather – a rain storm while you’re out there could make the trail very slippery.
From a bridge overlooking a canal around mile mark 1
Bald Cypress trees and swamps around them are some of my favorite subjects. You’ll find them in large numbers at BBWA.
Among the knees – near mile marker 1.5. IR monochrome
Inside the cypress Swamp – Near mile marker 0.5
In addition to these landscapes, I also saw a gator or two, and quite a few birds including herons, egrets, limpkins, osprey, and some unidentified smaller birds back in the bushes. And no, I didn’t spot any black bears. Shucks.
There were about 15 other people on the trail that morning, which seems like a lot to me for the middle of the week. I guess the word is getting out about beautiful views along this amazing trail through wild Florida. I wish I’d heard about it sooner!
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
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 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 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.
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!
Some mornings, sunrise isn’t very special. Maybe nature’s tired and saves up energy for one of those truly spectacular dawns we get occasionally. What do I do when that happens? Just go ahead and make photos anyway – rehearsing is a good thing too.
Sunrise at the old bridge
This park is on the river side of 17-92, just past I-4, heading toward Debary. They’ve left part of the old bridge there and I thought there might be interesting compositions to work with at sunrise. I was hoping for clouds and color too, but it wasn’t meant to be. This is one frame I like, but I don’t love the sky.
Oh well – next time. Photography Philosophy: Practice and persistence will prevail!
The flowers are just about in peak bloom. If you want to hike out there, you’d better make plans quickly. The blooms only last a couple of weeks, so by next weekend, they’ll be fading.
The flowers are beautiful, but the bugs are swarming. I didn’t make any photos of the insects, but I did bring home souvenir mosquito bites. Wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt and use insect spray too. It’s also wet. I didn’t get far from the forest edge – but the water was already several inches deep. Waterproof boots are a great idea.
Lake Jesup Sunflowers at Marl Bed Flats
There are other things to see out there too. It’s a good local birding spot with at least two Bald Eagle nests reported.
When you go, please be careful. Don’t stop on the side of 417 – it’s dangerous! It’s a bit of a hike from the parking area out to the flowers. And it’s still hot – wear a hat and bring water with you.
The Lake Jesup Wilderness area really is wild – I’ve seen bobcats and worried about wild hogs. I haven’t seen any snakes, but I’ll bet they’re around. And Lake Jesup has one of the densest populations of alligators in Florida. So enjoy, but be careful!
You can browse some of my photos of the area in this set on Flickr. I also have more info on the area collected in these older articles:
Some photographers plan their photo ops in detail. In many cases that’s a good approach. Portrait and wedding photography are genres that need advanced planning. And if you’re going on a once in a lifetime trip, planning is prudent. Other genres are more reactive (e.g. photo journalism).
I try to do research and planning if I’m going somewhere I haven’t been, but I don’t plan most of my photography. Especially if I’ve been to a place before, my approach is to explore and discover, and then react to what I find. Often, I end up with photos that I never imagine when I start out. Which is loads of fun!
A few weeks ago, I went over to the Sanford Marina to make sunrise photos. I arrived early and discovered very calm conditions in the harbor. I reacted with this photo. It’s nothing like the sunrise I originally went looking for.
Still water, sailboats, and stars – Very early and very calm at the Sanford marina
Last week, I took a ride here in Central Florida along Maytown Road between Osteen and Oak Hill. It goes through some very undeveloped areas and ends at Seminole Rest, a small park in the Canaveral National Seashore. In this case, I hadn’t really planned for any photos. I was just driving to see what’s there. I was glad to discover this gnarled old tree, although I wish I’d found a little better light to go with it.
Weathered Tree – Seminole Rest, Canaveral National Seashore in Oak Hill, Florida
This last photo is from back in 2013. It sat in my archives until this week when I discovered it again and processed it. It took a while for me to complete my reaction to the scene.
Sun and shadows – Long exposure under the pier at Cocoa Beach
The photo and video in last week’s post also resulted from the “explore, discover, react” approach.
So what’s the moral of this story? I suppose it’s this: If you approach photography like I do, you’d better be ready to react to a scene when you see it. Know your equipment so you can capture what you need when you discover something. Even in the dark or in rapidly changing situations. Know your software capabilities too, so you understand what you need to capture. Be ready for the opportunities that you find, and the ones that find you.
On a different subject, I realized after I published last week’s blog that embedded video isn’t included in the email. The Jetpack plugin software that I use doesn’t even put in a link to it. So if you read the blog only via email and wondered what the video was about, you can click here to view it on YouTube. And you can always click on the title of the post inside the email to view it on the web. Sorry for any confusion.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go exploring – and make some photos!
I hadn’t been to the Central Florida Zoo in Sanford, Florida since early 2007 and Tom M. had some new gear he wanted to try – so we decided to visit this week. Here’s a few photos I made along with some photo hints.
The River Otter exhibit was fun. If you’re patient and the otter’s in the mood, you can make a nice image of it swimming. Up your ISO to get a fast shutter speed and get close to the glass to block reflections. Then press the button right before “the moment”.
Macaw – Many zoos have these very photogenic birds around. They’re good posers!
Photography at this zoo can be challenging. Many of the animals are behind glass or wire mesh fences, and far away or in bad light. You’ll need to look for situations where you have a clear view of the animals and if you’re patient they’ll often come closer. You can also try the standard techniques i.e. Use wide open apertures to blur the fencing; Hold your lens close to the glass or use your hands to block reflections; etc.
Snake eyes – Albino Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. The “herpetarium” is dark. I didn’t bring a flash, but If I had, I might have tried using it (held out to the side to avoid reflections). The snakes don’t normally move fast – in this case I braced my camera so I could use a slow shutter speed (I also didn’t bring a tripod).
Busy Bee – There are a lot of pretty plantings and flowers at the zoo. I made this photo in the Butterfly Garden area.
And one last photo – we went by the marina in Sanford before going to breakfast and then the zoo. It’s a nice place for sunrise.