Category Archives: OUTSIDE FLORIDA

Reprocessing a Mt. Evans Elk Herd panorama

Back in July of 2007, I wrote a post about Mt. Evans, Colorado and included this image of an Elk herd we saw there:

Elk herd near mile marker 8 on Mount Evans  (2007 version)

At that time, I was using a Nikon D80 camera and made this photo with an entry level 70-300 telephoto lens.  I remember wanting to capture as much detail as possible, so instead of making one exposure of the whole herd, I zoomed in as far as I could and made four different frames at 300mm (450mm eq.), f/5.6, 1/100 sec, and iso 100. I ran across these images in my photo archive recently and wanted to see if I could reprocess the RAW files for a better result.  I thought you might be interested in my work flow – not so you can reproduce my results, but to give you some ideas on how to process your own images.

Here is one of the original RAW files SOOC (straight out of camera).  The white balance and exposure aren’t optimum and sharpness isn’t very good either – maybe due to poor lens stabilization and optical performance (and maybe due to my poor technique).

Here are the steps I went through to reprocess this:

  • Used DxO Photo Lab software to convert from RAW to .tiff and take advantage of the built in Prime Noise reduction algorithm.  I like that this software applies camera and lens specific corrections to all images.  It also returns the results to Lightroom still in RAW / DNG format.
  • Made basic adjustments (exposure, white balance) in Lightroom, and copied to all four frames.
  • Opened as layers in PhotoShop.
  • Stitched the frames into a panorama: Edit -> Auto-align Layers; Edit -> Auto-blend Layers.  At this point, it looked like this:

When I made the original frames, I didn’t cover enough ground for a rectangular composition.  To fix this, I used PhotoShop’s excellent Content Aware Fill on the missing corners.

  • Select the blank areas with the Magic Wand tool.  Expand the selection (~3 pixels).  Edit -> Content Aware Fill
  • use the clone tool to eliminate any obvious fill anomalies.

And then I worked on sharpness.  Here is a 300% look at the area near the Bull Elk:

Not very sharp.  So I:

  • Duplicated the layer and applied the Topaz Sharpen AI filter.  I used the Stabilize method with a Remove Blur value of 0.70.  Here’s the much improved result:

Topaz Sharpen AI can work wonders on this kind of problem, but it does take a lot of CPU power.  Depending on your hardware, you might have to be (very) patient.

  • The final step in Photoshop was to use Topaz Clarity for some added midrange contrast.  I applied the Nature -> Fur and Feathers II preset.
  • Back in LightRoom: I cropped to a 2:3 format; tweaked White Balance and exposure again; boosted texture and shadows on the Elk with a circular adjustment and range mask; Reduced green and yellow saturation; Used a -12 highlight priority vignette and added grain at 15.

And this is the new version I just posted to Flickr.

Mt. Evans Elk herdMt. Evans Elk herd (2019 version) – Near mile marker 8. Quite a harem! There are about 60 elk in this image: A single bull, ~10 young ones, and the rest female.

It took me about 30 minutes to do this.  Was it worth the effort? I can’t answer for you.  I think it looks much better and I’m glad I saved those RAW files! As long as i can re-start from the original sensor data, I can leverage newer software and get better results.  I know a lot of folks don’t enjoy computer work, but I do – so to me it’s worth it.

Click on any of these to see larger versions.  I have other Mt. Evans (and Colorado) photos in this album on Flickr.  And if you have any questions on this, I’ll be happy to try and answer them.  Just ask in a comment below.

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

©2007 and 2019, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Memorial Day 2019

In the United States, we celebrate Memorial Day on the last Monday in May to honor and thank men and women who’ve died serving in the U.S. military.

"Uncommon Valor was a common Virtue"“Uncommon Valor was a common Virtue”- Sunset at the US Marine Corps War Memorial, Arlington, VA

Please take a moment tomorrow and remember everyone that’s served. They deserve your unending gratitude.

Flags mark the headstones of US Veterans for Memorial Day 2019Flags mark the headstones of US Veterans for Memorial Day 2019. Greenwood Cemetery, Orlando, Florida

There are other posts tagged “Memorial Day” at this link.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go thank a veteran!

©2014-2019, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Different Perspectives: Through the Humpback’s Eyes

Editors note: Here’s another wonderful post from our roving correspondent MaryKate. This one features photos from her trip to Hawaii in February – enjoy!


Being on Maui in February during peak whale watching season is like nothing else!  Each year between November and May, humpback whales migrate from their summer feeding grounds in Alaska down to Maui to mate and give birth, with January to March being the best months for abundant whale watching.

While there are so many whales you can see them from shore (sometimes causing traffic jams as people watch a whale breach!), I highly recommend going out with Pacific Whale Foundation for a more intimate experience.  My favorite cruise is their Sunday Whale Photo Safari out of Lahaina on Ocean Spirit, a luxury sailing catamaran**.

Humpback Whale Fluke
 Fluke of a Shot

I’ve been ‘whaley’ obsessed with working on my whale photography skills between trips to Alaska and Hawaii.  As I make more photos, I’ve tried to find different perspectives and refine my skills.  This trip, I was happy to catch some behaviors and situations I haven’t seen before – so I’ll focus on those photos in the rest of today’s blog.

Humpback Whale and Kayak

Keeping My Eye On You

This image above is the first time where I  can see the humpback whale’s eye (the round bump at the right)!  This humpback was slapping its pectoral fin on the water, perhaps to communicate with other whales nearby.  While we watched this whale, (s)he was watching nearby kayakers the entire time to make sure that they didn’t get too close.

Another new situation for me was this next photo of Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins.  I’ve seen one or two at a time before.  This pod started out as three or four dolphins surfacing by our boat and then erupted into a large pod of 30-40!  This many dolphins together is a breathtaking experience!

Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins

Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin Pod

We also had some very active humpback calves, and they treated us to a few baby breaches (also known as “flying pickles” because of the way they look when flying through the air).  This calf below was just coming out of the water to breach – look how tiny he is compared to his mother nearby.

Humpback Whale Calf Breaching

Humpback Whale Calf Breaching

I’m also working to improve my compositions (although the captain of the boat sure controls a lot of that!).  I really like this image of a mother and calf double blow.  Including  the Maui shoreline in Lahaina adds interest and context to the photo.

Humpback Whale Mother & Calf Blow Maui

Humpback Whale Mother & Calf Double Blow

I had great luck on this trip with weather and whales – too much to fit into one post!  Check out the rest of my photos in the album here.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Now – go see things through a different set of eyes and make some photos!

**DISCLAIMER: I’m biased – I love PWF and their mission to protect the ocean through science and advocacy and to inspire environmental stewardship so much, that I recently joined their board of directors.

©2019, MK Rosack and Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

You Otter Visit Homer, AK

Editors note: Today we have an update from our roving correspondent MaryKate. This post features some new friends she made on her Alaska visit back in September – enjoy!


I wrote a post awhile back about my Labor Day trip to Alaska and the majestic Orcas we observed in Seward with Seward Ocean Excursions.  But there was so much amazing wildlife on the other stops of our trip that it deserves another post.

After Seward, we drove three hours down to Homer.  I was excited to visit Homer since I’ve only been there once, and it was so foggy that I didn’t really get to “see” Homer.  This time though, our weather was simply beautiful!

Homer, AK Panoramic View

iPhone Panoramic View from our Rental (Homer Spit is in the distance to the left) 

While in Homer, we ferried from Homer down to Seldovia on a 7 hour Seldovia Wildlife Tour aboard Rainbow Tours.  While it was towards the end of the tourist season in Seldovia, it was worth the trip just for the wildlife and views from the ferry, and there were plenty of photography opportunities.

Sea Otter in Kelp

Sea Otter in Kelp

My favorite photo from the trip was this Sea Otter in Kelp.  Sea otters sometimes wrap themselves in kelp like this to anchor themselves and relax a little.  While sea otters are very common in Alaska, and friendly enough that they make great photography subjects, I thought that the composition of this shot made for an especially interesting photo.  If you click-through to the Flickr album, you can see the progression of the sea otter unwinding himself from the kelp to swim away.

Sea Otter Floating AwaySea Otter Floating Away

When we were almost back to Homer, we saw a raft of otters.  I’d seen several of these on our trip, but all were too far away to photograph, so I was glad to catch these guys.

Raft of Otters

Raft of Otters

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog post.  Now – go be amazed by wildlife and you otter make some photos!

©2018, MK Rosack and Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

News Flash!

The Pacific Whale Foundation is holding a charity auction ending very soon on Monday, November 11, 2018.  They have over 100 donated items up for bid (at this link).

As readers of the Central Florida Photo Ops blog, you might recognize two of the items. MK and I have each contributed one of our whale photos as an 11×14 inch modern metal print with float mount from mpix.

MK’s photo was featured on the blog in February 2018 ( https://edrosack.com/2018/02/24/majestic-maui-migration/).

Humpback Whale Spy Hopping

Humpback Whale “Spy Hopping”

You can see the auction listing at this link:  https://www.biddingowl.com/Auction/item-detail.cfm?auctionID=3324&ItemID=606667&viewType=1&style=46&font=1&catName=Art

My photo is from way back in September of 2009 (https://edrosack.com/2009/09/20/north-to-alaska-ch-1-intro-and-wildlife/).

Breaching humpback whale near JuneauBreaching humpback whale near Juneau

And you can see this auction here:  https://www.biddingowl.com/Auction/item-detail.cfm?auctionID=3324&ItemID=606672&viewType=1&style=46&font=1&catName=Art

Pacific Whale Foundation is a 501(c)(3) IRS tax-exempt charitable organization dedicated to protecting our oceans through science and advocacy.  MK and I both strongly believe it deserves our support.  If you get a chance, please check out the auctions and consider bidding on these two prints to help out this worthy cause!

Thank you!!!

©2018, MK Rosack and Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Veterans Day 2018

Lynn and I were able to visit Gettysburg for a short time on our way home from  Pennsylvania last July.  It was a bright and sunny day, but you can’t help but feel somber  thinking about what occurred there.  Over a brutal three-day battle, the two sides suffered more than 46,000 casualties and it’s said Gettysburg marked the turning point of the Civil War.

Field of battleThis field of battle is quiet now.  Near the site of Lincoln’s address, Gettysburg National Military Park

Shortly after the battle, Abraham Lincoln delivered the  Gettysburg Address.  His closing words are especially appropriate on Veterans Day and every day:

"... that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Every year in the United States, we pause on the 11th of November to honor the service and sacrifice of all men and women who answer the call. To our veterans and to those serving today – you have our deepest gratitude. We honor you for your service and sacrifices.

Gettysburg“Army of the Potomac, Second Corps, Artillery Brigade, Battery I First U.S. Artillery”

Especially in today’s world, those who choose to volunteer for the military endure long periods far from home and loved ones.  They live in conditions without the comforts that we take for granted.  They face danger and conquer fear to protect our freedom and way of life.  In far too many cases, they give their all – sacrificing life and limb.  We owe them.

Some previous Veterans Day related posts:

Thanks to all of you for stopping by and reading my blog.  Now – go out and thank a veteran!

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

It’s about time

How much time did it take to make the image you see here?  That’s an interesting  question – I’m glad you asked!

Short answer: 1.3 seconds.  Medium answer:  5 months.  Long answer:  13.8 billion years.

Rocks, water, light - and time - in black and whiteRocks, water, light and time – in black and white

To begin with:

  • Preparing for a photo trip and gathering what you need before you leave takes time.
  • Traveling to a location and back can be minutes or days – you have to decide whether the potential photos at a location are worth the time to go.  Or just go anyway and explore!
  • Once there, you sometimes see a spot off the path or a little further on and you have to decide if that image is worth the time and effort to get to.
  • Then for each photo, it takes time to set up for an image (tripod, lens selection, etc.) and you often have to wait for conditions or subjects to cooperate.

Only after all that do you get to decide on a shutter speed to control how long your exposure is  – in this example, 1.3 seconds.

Then, when you get home:

  • It takes time to go through all your photos, decide which ones are worthy of attention and process them.
  • You also have to spend time posting images and writing about them.

I made this image 5 months ago at Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia and you’re just now seeing it.  And even before all that could happen:

And even before all that can happen:

  • The universe (starting ~13.8 billion years ago) and solar system (~4.6 billion years ago) had to form.
  • Life (3.5 billion years?) and humans (~2.5 million years) had to evolve.
  • Geology had to happen: Mountains had to rise up and erosion had to form rivers, and forests had to grow.
  • And civilization and culture had to progress to the point where leisure time is available to make photos for the fun of it and people have time to read blogs about them.

“Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future.”  – Wikipedia

Each of us only has so much time and we have to decide how to spend it.  Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Killer (Whale) Trip to Alaska!

Editors note: Today we have another awesome report from our roving correspondent MaryKate. She’s back in Alaska, this time in Seward. Just looking at this gives me some relief from our still hot Central Florida weather – enjoy!

Thanks for having me for my 10th blog post at CFPO, and for a recap of my 6th visit to the majestic state of Alaska!  Over Labor Day weekend, I visited Monette for Emergency Birthday Seven (our annual tradition of a last-minute birthday adventure, almost always involving a road trip, wildlife, eating and shopping).  We met in Anchorage, and road tripped down to Seward and Homer.

In Seward, we went on a 6-hour wildlife watching boat tour.  This time we opted for a smaller boat instead of going with one of the larger companies like we had in the past, and we were really luck that we found Bix from Seward Ocean Excursions to take us out on Missing Lynx!

Orca and Glacier

Orca in front of Bear Glacier

We headed out on the tour, but about an hour out, Captain Bix received word that a pod of Orcas was nearby, so we turned around to hopefully sneak a glimpse of these magical creatures.  That’s the great thing about being on a boat with only six passengers – the Captain is flexible and takes you where you want to go to see what you want to see.  Sure enough, we found the Orcas!

Orca

Orca Coming to Check Us Out

Captain Bix was careful to follow the Whale Sense responsible whale watching guidelines, so we approached the pod slowly and stopped 100 yards away.  We observed a pod of 2-3 adults and a baby.  The Orcas were very curious, and every time they noticed a new boat, they would swim over to check it out – including ours!  It was surreal watching these giant mammals swim towards us, underneath, and around the boat, getting so close that they made eye contact!

Orca

Up-close Orca Encounter

The baby in the pod was a bit of a show off, and not quite coordinated yet.  It was in a playful mood, practicing fluke slaps and exploring.  I did manage to get a fluke photo, but unfortunately missed a shot of one of his elders breaching!

Orca Fluke Slap

Baby Fluke Slap

The Orca Whale pod we observed were residents, meaning they eat mostly fish (likely salmon here) vs. transient Orca Whales that feast on mammals like seals, sea lions, and even baby whales (i.e. Humpbacks and Greys).  Resident and transient Orcas look the same though, so it wasn’t surprising that while the Orcas were out, we didn’t see any seals or sea lions in their normal resting spots.  But these seagulls were very interested in piggybacking on the Orca fishing party!

Orcas Fishing

Resident Orca Fishing with Seagulls

Interested in learning more about whales?  I recommend a book I got for my birthday: Spying on Whales.  It’s a very quick read for a science book, and talks about the past, present and future of these captivating cetaceans in a digestible way.

After observing the Orca pod, we moved on and enjoyed Alaska’s beauty for the rest of the tour, seeing plenty of Puffins, some Harbor Seals, and a Sea Lion.  More photos can be found in the album here.

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

©2018, MK Rosack and Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Flight 93 National Memorial

Some stories and emotions are too large to capture in photos.  Words too, can fail – so we’re left with thoughts. The Flight 93 National Memorial in Stoystown, Pennsylvania is such a place.

This Tuesday marks the seventeenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack. On that day, United Flight 93 had left Newark, New Jersey en route to San Francisco.  Hijackers seized control and were likely going to crash into the U.S. Capitol.  The memorial  commemorates the extraordinary courage and heroism of the 40 passengers and crew, who fought with the terrorists and saved many other lives.

“A common field one day, a field of honor forever. We honor the passengers and crew of Flight 93 who perished in a Pennsylvania field on September 11, 2001. Their courageous action will be remembered forever.” —Congressional Gold Medal

A Field of HonorA Field of Honor

Final restFinal rest – The Wall of Names, flight path, and large boulder that marks the impact.

The Memorial opened in September 2015, and today (9/9/18) they’re holding a dedication ceremony for the Tower of Voices – the final phase of the park.  It’s a 93-foot tower with wind chimes for each of the 40 heroes.

We went there to pay our respects back in July on our way from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia.  Thinking about the courage and actions of those 40 souls is somber, moving and inspiring.  It’s an experience every US citizen should have.

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

 

Covered Bridges

The last time I wrote about covered bridges was way back in August of 2007 when we visited Indiana (The Covered Bridge Capital of the World).  I find them interesting, so maybe it’s time for another article!

When we were in Bethlehem, PA, we had some extra time and Lynn found a web page describing a tour of covered bridges in the area (Lehigh Valley Covered Bridge Tour). We printed out their PDF brochure (from this link) and set off one morning to explore.

Bogert"s BridgeBogert”s Bridge – Allentown, PA. Length: 145 ft; Built: 1841

We ran into trouble right away trying to navigate to Bogert’s Bridge using a street address.   We ended up pulling over while Lynn figured out the lat/long location for each one.  Using those proved much easier and we didn’t have any further nav issues.  If you go, here are the numbers we used.

Covered Bridges of Lehigh Valley Pensylvania

BridgeLocation
Bogert's40.56916667N, 75.49861111W
Manasses Guth40.62833333N, 75.55361111W
Wehr's40.62867N, 75.56972W
Rex's40.6348N, 75.6127W
Geiger's40.64645N, 75.62351W
Schlicker's40.66166667N, 75.62722222W
Kreidersville40.72361111N, 75.49305556W

The early morning weather was nice with blue skies and some puffy clouds.  But the sky got grayer the farther we went.

Wehr's Covered BridgeWehr’s Covered Bridge – Allentown, PA. Length: 128 ft; Built: 1841.

Geiger's Covered BridgeGeiger’s Covered Bridge – Allentown, PA. Length: 112 ft; Built: 1860.

By the end of our tour at the Kreidersville Covered Bridge, it was raining.  In the larger version of this (click on the photo to see) there are streaks of rain visible in front of the bridge opening.

Kreidersville Covered BridgeKreidersville Covered Bridge – Northamption, PA. Length: 100 ft; Built: 1839

Covered Bridges in Florida?  I got curious about covered bridges in our state and did some web research.  www.dalejtravis.com  has a huge amount of info on covered bridges (and round barns too) including state by state listings.  His page for Florida lists many covered bridges.  Unfortunately, the structures here in Florida are decorative and / or modern – there aren’t any  “authentic” / historical covered bridges listed in our state.  You’ll just have to travel elsewhere if you want to see some. Pennsylvania and Indiana would be good places to start!

For more information on covered bridges, you can explore the links on this National society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges page.

I have more photos from Pennsylvania in this album on Flickr.  And you can look at my Indiana covered bridge photos here.

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

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved