Category Archives: Ocala

Fireflies at Fanning Springs

Lynn and I drove over to the Suwannee River west of Gainesville, Florida last week and stayed for a couple of nights at Fanning Springs State Park in one of their cabins.

Into the Suwannee RiverInto the Suwannee River – The Manatee Springs run into the Suwannee.

It turns out that April is peak season for Fireflies, at least around here.  It’s been many years since we’ve seen any and it was a treat to watch them.  On the second night, I set up my camera on a tripod and used the remote control app on my phone to make this photo from the mosquito free comfort of  the screened porch at the cabin.

Fireflies 2Fireflies 2 – I used my Olympus E-M5 Mark II in Live Composite mode. This is an ~11 minutes total exposure, with ~330 frames at 2 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600 each. Composited in camera.

We saw other wildlife too, including lots of birds and a few Gulf Sturgeons jumping in Fanning Springs.  I managed to catch this snake swimming through the high water at Manatee Springs with my iPhone.

Florida Brown Water SnakeFlorida Brown Water Snake – Manatee Springs, Florida

It’s a great time of year for a drive in Central Florida too.  We enjoyed the beautiful wildflowers blooming along most of the roads.

Train Track WildflowersTrain Track Wildflowers – Next to the Williston, Florida Train Depot

And the farms in the Ocala area along our route are both scenic and idyllic.

Greener PasturesGreener Pastures – A cattle ranch near Ocala, Florida

Fanning Springs and Manatee Springs are about 7 miles apart along the Suwannee.  Both offer kayaking, and swimming (usually), and many other activities.  High water at Fanning closed the swimming when we were there, but Manatee was open.

You can rent kayaks and canoes, and if you put in at Fanning, you can coast with the current down to Manatee.  There’s a service that will return you back to your starting point.  This sounds like a relaxing paddle to Lynn and I and we plan to try it next time.  We’ll have to watch out for the jumping Sturgeons, though.  There’s also a pontoon boat tour you can take from the concession at Manatee.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go enjoy some Florida State Parks and make some photos too!

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Another Central Florida Wildflower post

Wildflower photography is a little different in Central Florida than some other areas of the country (for example, see: Some might say it’s more challenging here, and I doubt anyone comes to Central Florida specifically to photograph wildflowers. None the less, wildflower photo ops are around here too if you keep your eyes open.

Roadside flowers (IMG_0713)
Roadside Flowers alongside the Florida Turnpike. I saw these while driving home from Gainesville, Florida yesterday afternoon. I had to stop and photograph them.

I’ve posted previously about wildflower and roadside flower photography in Central Florida. If you haven’t read these before, check them out:

My drive yesterday reminded me that the Turnpike and Interstates in Florida break out in bloom this time of year too. I’ve seen this before – here’s a photo I made way back in 2001 on the side of I-75 near Ocala, Florida:

New Flowers, Old Barn
New Flowers, Old Barn

So if you’re in Yosemite or some other photogenic place during wildflower season that’s great. If not, don’t worry about it. Stop and smell the flowers wherever you are and make some interesting photos too.

Note: You can click the photos above to go to Flickr where you can see a larger version.

©2010, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Before and After

I listen to the Digital Story podcast . The June 2007 photo assignment is “Before and After”. The idea is to submit two images showing how you “developed” the final photo.

I also just bought the book Examples, The Making of 40 Photographs , by Ansel Adams. He writes about how he re-visited his negatives over the years and was able to make better prints with additional effort / technique.

So these two things inspired me to go back to a photo I took in March, reprocess it and submit it to the Digital Story. Here are the steps I went through:

This view looked interesting from the road, and I talked Lynn into stopping (_DSC1423: 3872 x 2592 Pixels)

The first photo is the scene as I saw it from the road. Lynn and I were driving to an auction up in Ocala Florida and this looked like it could make a good image. It was a bit cluttered, and the composition wasn’t good, so …

I took this shot after stepping inside the gate. A little under exposed, no detail in the clouds and the road into the trees goes dark. (_DSC1425: 3872 x 2592 Pixels)

The second photo was taken after I stepped inside the gate. Better composition, I think. This is how it appears with no adjustments after importing it into Lightroom . I had underexposed it a bit so that the clouds would show up well. As a result, the road into the trees was pretty dark (and there still wasn’t enough detail in the clouds). I played around with it in the Develop module, but still couldn’t get the exposure quite right. So …

I exported two images from Lightroom. One at +2 exposure and the other at 0. This is the result after processing in Photmatix. (_DSC1425d-_+: 3872 x 2592 Pixels)

Photo 3 shows the result after I exported two 16 bit TIFF versions of the image from Lightroom and combined them. One with an exposure bias of +2 and a second with it set at 0. Then I used Photomatix to create a High Dynamic Range / tone mapped version. Much better exposure and detail both in the clouds and trees. This was pretty good, but I still wasn’t happy …

I loaded #3 into Photoshop Elements, cloned out the distractions (lights, signs, houses, rags, fire hydrant, wires) and then re-imported it into Lightroom …

I loaded the previous image into Photoshop and cloned out distracting features (powerlines, etc) then imported the result back into Lightroom. This is the final version after converting to B&W. (_DSC1425-_+cloned8bit: 3872 x 2592 Pixels)

Photo 4 shows the final result after using Lightroom’s wonderful B&W conversion tool. You can play around with different color channels to emphasize different things in the picture. It’s like being able to use color filters over your lens after you’ve taken the picture! I think the final result is much better than the original.

Here’s a link to my gallery with all of the images in sequence.

You can see all of the entries in the Digital Story June photo assignment here .

©2007, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.