Tag Archives: beach

Topaz ReStyle Mini Review

Topaz released a new plug-in recently, called ReStyle.  You can download any of their products for a free thirty-day trial, so I thought I’d give it a go.  This isn’t a full review or tutorial (I haven’t used it long enough for either of those).  But I have used it a bit so I’ll try to introduce you to some possibilities with three examples I’ve played with.  If you want to see the “before” versions, I’ve included them towards the end of the post.

I had trouble with the white balance in this photo of Marineland beach at dawn.  I could have separately adjusted the color balance on the sky and ground using layer masks in Photoshop or gradients in Lightroom.  Instead, it was easy to pick out this version from the grid displayed inside ReStyle.  It’s interesting how   remapping changed the color in the beach and rocks differently from the sky.

Down on the beach at dawn

Down on the beach at dawn (after Topaz ReStyle).

ReStyle maps color and tone statistics from a selected style to a target image.  It seems like Photoshop’s “Image/Adjustments/Match Color” command.  When you do this in Photoshop, you have to supply an image with the colors you’re trying to match.  ReSyle comes with over 1000 presets and provides control / adjustment of the results that aren’t easily available in Photoshop.   There are so many presets that they’re overwhelming, but ReStyle breaks them down into collections (e.g. “Landscape”), and you can mark your favorites.   You can show a collection or your favorites as a grid applied to your photo, which makes choosing one very simple.  You can also search for  similar styles by color or by name.  Within each style, you can further adjust the hue, saturation, and luminance of the five colors in each style, as well as the opacity, original image “Texture” strength, and others variables.  It also includes mask / selections controls to apply the effects selectively.  There’s a lot more info available in the manual at this link.

In this photo of some struggling trees on a small rocky island near Haulover Canal, I wanted a more dramatic color palette.  Once again, it was easy to pick out this version from a grid of possibilities.

Survivors
Survivors (after Topaz ReStyle)

For this infra-red photo of sea oats on the beach that I made in Fred Howard Park near Tampa , I wanted a different look from a typical IR false color image.  I like this color mapping I found in ReStyle .
Sea oats

Sea oats – False color infra-red (After Topaz ReStyle)

There are so many presets, options and adjustments that ReStyle can be a little overwhelming.  It’s not hard to use, but it is hard to grasp all the possibilities and decide what to do.  It’ll take a bit more time for me to get comfortable with it, so I’ll have to play with it some more.

For comparison purposes, here are versions of the photos before I applied Topaz ReStyle:

__D8C4109_HDR_Ed-Rosack
Before:  Down on the beach at dawn.

_P8110813_Ed-Rosack

Before: Survivors

Sea oats

Before:  Sea oats – False color infra-red processing.

Summary:  Do you have to use plug-ins?  Of course not, but they’re useful and save time.  And ReStyle seems to offer something I haven’t seen elsewhere.  It’ll definitely make your images look different.  Are they better?  I think ReStyle improved these three images, but only you can decide for your photos.  Will this fix all of your problems and should you use it on every photo?    Definitely not  – I’m new to the tool, but on several photos I tried, I couldn’t get anything that I thought looked good.  But it does look like something that’ll be good to have in your bag of tricks.

Off topic public service announcement:  I’m always telling you to get out and enjoy nature.  I also need to remind you to protect yourself from the sun.  I had two skin cancers removed last week.  I’m fine – but it’s not the most pleasant thing to go through.  And it can be much, much worse than mine were.  So when you’re out in the sun enjoying nature, please protect yourself.  Use sunscreen, wear a hat and long sleeves, stay in the shade as much as possible, etc.  The sun is brutal, especially in Florida.  And no one wants to suffer the consequences of too much exposure ten or twenty years down the road.

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

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

St. Augustine, Florida and vicinity – photo hints

Lynn was out-of-town last week at the Pressing Iron & Trivet Collectors of America Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. I talked her into letting me out of my spousal support services subcontract, so I had a chance to sneak in a few days of photography while she was away. I spent the time in St. Augustine, Florida, which is “the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement and port in the continental United States”. I’ve written about it many times (see this link) and it’s one of my favorite places to photograph. Photo ops abound and include landscapes, architecture, street scenes, beaches, historic landmarks, wildlife, and much more. It’s hard to go anywhere in the area and not come back with a photo! Here are some of mine along with hints on how I made them.
There are some wonderful sunrise and sunset spots. Friends told me about Marineland Beach (thanks Kevin M. and JT) which is just a little south of St. Augustine. It’s now one of my new favorites. The coquina rocks there worked really well as foreground objects in my photos.

Long exposure sunrise

Long exposure sunrise – Marineland Beach, Florida

This is a single exposure, made through a Hoya ND400 filter right after sunrise. The waves were coming in around me, but I stood my tripod on one of the rocks to keep us dry. I used my lowest ISO setting (50) and even with the sun in the frame, the 8 2/3 stop ND filter gave me a 14 second exposure at f/8 . The long shutter speed makes the water surface contrast nicely with the rock texture.

One thing you’ll run into in Florida on summer mornings is condensation. It’s so humid that if you take your camera gear directly from your air-conditioned room or car out into the moist air, you can expect 15 to 30 minutes of fog before they clear. You can decrease this by not running your car’s AC on the way. You can also seal your camera and lens in a plastic bag with as much air removed as possible until it warms up. And it’s a good idea to bring along a micro-fiber cloth to remove condensation if needed. The larger your camera / lens is, the longer it will take to warm up. This is one time that good glass works against you – at least until the temperature equalizes. One more point: try not to change lenses under these conditions. If water condenses on your sensor, it can be hard to remove and may cause dust to adhere to the surface.

The harbor and fort (Castillo de San Marcos) also provide interesting detail for sunrise or sunset and landscapes in general.

A calm morning in the St. Augustine harbor.
A calm morning in the St. Augustine harbor: Clouds to the north over the Castillo de San Marcos and the quarter Moon above the Bridge of Lions add interesting detail to this image.

This photo and the next were both multi-shot panoramas made with the techniques I described last week. Images like the harbor scene can be tough to blend due to smooth gradients in the sky and water. Be sure you check carefully and correct any glitches.

Another thing about summer in Florida: We have awesome afternoon thunderstorms. Clouds add a lot of drama to photos, but the storms were so bad on two of the days I was there that I couldn’t go out for sunset. Plan accordingly.

St. Augustine Sunset
St. Augustine Sunset behind the Castillo de San Marcos

On this evening at the fort, there was a large thunder-storm to the west. The sky wasn’t colorful at all until the sun moved down below the thunder head, resulting in these shadows and rays. One big advantage of sunset photography vs. sunrise is that you can wait to see what develops. At sunrise, you need to be in place extremely early to see all the variations happen.

I had a great time walking around the fort at sunset with my large tripod and big DSLR camera. Most people were oblivious and walked right through my photos (I don’t blame them – I don’t own the place).  I’d wait for a clear spot in the traffic and make another exposure. Other folks stood next to me since they thought wherever someone with a big camera is has to be a good spot. At one point, a tour guide in a pirate costume leading a group of 20 or so people saw me and stopped his group from walking in front of me until I finished my exposure. It turned out he’s a photographer too.

I wanted to try a night photo of the lighthouse. I also wanted to capture the look of the beam coming out of the light. This turned out to be a tough assignment. The contrast range is huge and there’s a lot of glare from the lights in the scene.

St. Augustine Light Station
St. Augustine Light Station

I ended up merging two exposures. The first one was long (f/4 @ 3 seconds) at a low ISO (400) to decrease noise. The slow shutter blurred the light beam, so I made a second exposure (ISO 3200, f/4 @ 0.4 seconds) and this stopped the beam enough to highlight it. The second exposure had some noise, but was fine with a bit of post processing before I blended the two manually in Photoshop.  I made this photo about an hour before sunrise. It was dark and there was no one around. One of my contacts on Flickr commented that spooky things happen in this area. I’m glad I didn’t notice any when I was there.

Tom M. met me up there on one of the days and we spent several hours just walking around. There were many interesting scenes, and I never saw any two doors  alike.

Red door #33
Red door #33

We were walking down one street and saw someone in the distance photographing this house with his iPhone. He was really working it, making multiple photos / compositions and was still there when we arrived several minutes later. We waited for him to finish and when he looked up and noticed us he asked what kind of cameras we had. It turned out he’s a photographer too and was there on vacation, but forgot his Nikon D3S DSLR. He said using the iPhone was “very liberating”. Photo hint 101: If someone’s taking a picture, look at what he’s photographing – it might be interesting. Photo hint 102: Don’t forget your camera.

A little later, out of the corner of my eye, I saw this waiter zipping through traffic on the way to work.  On a skate board.  I managed to make a quick photo.

Morning commute
Morning commute – very eco-friendly

We also noticed this person reading on the bench.  I really liked the symmetry of the columns and how they led my eye towards the subject. Tom posted a different composition that I think is really good too.

Reading
Reading.

By the way, if you have Lightroom 5, try out the “Upright” settings in the Lens Corrections panel on photos like the one above. It does a great job squaring things up.

Like I said, there’s a tremendous amount of photo-ops in the area. I didn’t make it by the St. Augustine Alligator Farm on this visit, but from March to June, it’s one of the best places in Florida to photograph a variety of wild birds nesting in the rookery there.  I also didn’t get to Fort Matanzas.  It’s a little south of the city and makes a nice side excursion. The Nombre de Dios Mission in the northern part of the city has a beautiful chapel and grounds as well as a view into the harbor.  And I’m sure that there are a great many more photo ops that I still have to discover in this beautiful place.

You can see these photos larger if you click on them and I have many others from St. Augustine in this set on Flickr.

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

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Melbourne Beach Turtle Walk

I didn’t put much effort into this photo of last Saturday’s super moon  – so the result isn’t that exciting.

Super moon over Melbourne Beach

Super moon over Melbourne Beach – The full moon and sparse clouds helped get our shutter speeds up just a little during the turtle walk.

What did excite me was what the super moon illuminated.   Kevin M. and I attended a turtle walk led by the Sea Turtle Preservation Society in Melbourne Beach, Florida – what an incredibly awesome experience!

Loggerhead sea turtles are endangered in the US and many other countries.  They seem to be making a comeback recently since “turtle excluder devices” were required on fishing nets starting in the late 1980s.  They’re found over most of the world, although the east coast of Florida is a prime nesting area.  Nesting season peaks here June and July.  Last year, Florida recorded 58,000 nests with many of them in Brevard County.

I’ve spotted sea turtles  off shore on the surface before, but until Saturday I’d never seen one on the beach.  Since they’re endangered, it’s illegal to approach or harass them in any way.  But there is a way to see them up close on shore.  The Sea Turtle Preservation Society has a Florida State permit to conduct Turtle Walks for the public several nights a week during nesting season at three different locations in South Brevard County. They give a presentation with lots of good background on sea turtles.  During the presentation, people from the organization scout the beach looking for a nesting Loggerhead. When they find one, they lead the group out to observe.

Loggerhead sea turtle laying eggs
Loggerhead sea turtle laying eggs – The guides keep everyone behind the turtle where she can’t see them and put a small red light in the nest to illuminate the eggs.

There are some rules for the walk:

  • Stay with and obey the guides.  They’ll lead you to the nest along the water line after she starts laying eggs.
  • No lights at all are allowed, including cell phones and especially flash photography.
  • No noise.
  • Everyone is kept behind the turtle out of her line of sight.
  • When she’s done, the guides will move the group to one side away from her path back to the ocean.
  • Stay off the outgoing turtle tracks.  Researchers use them the next morning to count nests.
  • If you go, check with your group for their rules.  They may be different.

This is very tough photography assignment.  In fact it’s much more of a Central Florida Nature Op than a Central Florida Photo Op.  But if you want to try to make some photos, here are some hints:

  • The group we went with says they see turtles on 90% of their walks.  I’m not sure what it’s like with other groups.  You might want to ask before you go.
  • Check with the leaders of the group you’re going with about photography.  Rules seem to vary and some groups don’t allow any photography at all.
  • Schedule your walk to take advantage of conditions.  The beach is very dark.  Hotels and homes in the area are even required to keep their lights off during nesting season.  You’ll have a bit more light if you go during a full moon and when there’s minimum cloud cover.  Also, The turtles seem to prefer coming ashore at high tide.  Our walk was just after.  We were also fortunate to have a 10 mph east wind that kept us very comfortable and insect free.  I wasn’t even sweating at the end of the walk – and this is Florida – in late June!  But if the wind is too strong, you’ll have to watch out for tripod vibrations.
  • Other than the small flashlight in the photo above, all the other photos in this post were made with just ambient light well after sunset.  You’ll need a tripod and fast lens.
  • Be careful with your tripod.  The group was pretty large the night we went and I worried about hitting or tripping someone in the dark (I didn’t).
  • Bring a fast lens.  Kevin and I both used 50mm f/1.8 lenses and shot with them wide open.  This was a pretty good focal length for the subject distances.
  • The moon was very bright – I shot at ISO 800, f/1.8 and my shutter speed varied around 1 second.  If you go at another time of the month, your shutter speeds may be even slower.
  • Your tripod will help stop camera motion, but you’ll need to time your shots to minimize turtle motion.
  • The crowd was pretty large and I had to maneuver to get a clear view with my camera.  Be courteous.
  • Make sure you can work your camera controls in the dark.  You need to know how to at least change to manual focus and adjust the ISO without a flashlight.
  • Turn off your auto focus assist light and auto photo review – no lights, remember?
  • Auto focus was very difficult.  The only time it worked at all was on the guide’s red flashlight in the nest.  The rest of the time, I used manual focus and guessed since it was so dark.  You’ll need to take your chances and hope for some sharp shots.  Since it was so dim, I found the optical view finder on my Nikon easier to use than the EVF on my Olympus.  Your mileage may vary.
  • Depth of field will be very shallow.  Try to focus on the middle distance of your subject and if possible compose with the long axis of your subject parallel to the camera.
  • Surprisingly, shadows can be an issue.  There were times when people blocked the moon and shadows on the turtle were pretty dark.  Move around to find a better point of view.

Turtle walk crowd

Turtle walk crowd

When she’s done laying her eggs, she buries them and disguises the nest.

Loggerhead sea turtle laying eggs

Loggerhead sea turtle covering nest

And then heads back out to sea.

The Epic Journey Continues

The Epic Journey Continues – Loggerhead Turtle returning to the ocean.  Photo by Kevin McKinney (used with permission).

As you can probably tell from my write-up, I really enjoyed this outing.  It was wonderful to witness a natural event that’s been on going for 165 million years.  A big shout out and thank you to Kevin’s wife Traci.  She’s the one that recommended we go on the turtle walk.  And thanks to Kevin for scheduling it on the perfect night.

If you want to know more, here’s a couple of links to recent sea turtle news:

http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20130624/NEWS01/130624007

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-loggerhead-turtles-thriving-20130623,0,6384714.story

As usual, you can see a few other photos from the trip in my set on Flickr, and in Kevin’s set.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go witness some nature, and (if you can) make some photos!

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Fort De Soto Bird Migration

It’s April and birds are heading north again through our area.  Fort De Soto south of St. Petersburg, Florida is a “migrant trap” because they stop there on the way.  If you’re a photographer or birder and you’d like to see many types of birds – now is the time to visit this wonderful place.

I went over last Saturday with Kevin M. and Lutfi E.  There were a lot of other birders there as well as a few photographers.  It was fun talking with the birders.  They’re all helpful and I learned a lot from them.  If you’re just starting out in birding, go with a knowledgeable friend (thanks, Kevin!), or check with your local Audubon group.  They often organize field trips with an experienced leader.  The Orange County Audubon Society has a trip planned for next weekend.

Migration at Fort DeSoto
Migration at Fort De Soto – As a beginning birder, I was excited to photograph these 11 life birds on Saturday: Chimney Swift, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Merlin, Black-throated Green Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Baltimore Oriole, and Orchard Oriole.

In addition to the 11 life birds I managed to photograph, we saw many others including:  Worm Eating Warbler, Summer Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Prothonotary Warbler, Yellow Throated Vireo, Northern Parula, European Starling, Black and White Warbler, Common Ground Dove, American Crow, Magnificent Frigate bird, Ruby Throated Hummingbird, Laughing Gull, Sandwich Tern, Caspian Tern, Brown Pelicans, Eastern Kingbird, Ospreys, Cormorants, Anhingas, Vultures, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, and Snowy Egrets.

If you go, plan to get there early and stay all day.  Fort De Soto is a big place and we couldn’t get to all of it on Saturday, so I’m sure there were many other species we missed.

You must be patient and quick to photograph these smaller birds.  They move fast and flit in and out of trees and bushes so catching them out in the open is tough.  A  long, fast lens helps too!

This is also a beautiful place for landscape photography because there are both sunrise and sunset views. Here’s a photo I made last year:

The end of the day at Fort De Soto
The end of the day at Fort De Soto – Looking southwest toward Egmont Key from the base of the bay pier. The ferry to the Key is on the left.

You can see larger versions of these images on Flickr by clicking on them. And I have a few more photos from Fort De Soto in this set.  You can also see Kevin’s Fort De Soto photos in this set.

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

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Fort De Soto

Season’s Greetings!  The holidays are here once again and many of you are traveling to visit family and friends.  Please have a safe journey and enjoy the time with your loved ones.

Well, I think I now have another favorite photo-op!  I’d heard many things about Fort De Soto and a couple of my friends had great experiences there, but it’s a ~2.5 hour drive from Winter Springs – so I’d never gone until last week.

Lynn, Mike, Sara, and Mary got me a wonderful birthday present this year – a 1 on 1 photo workshop with Jason Hahn of Outdoor Photo Workshops.  I’d been waiting to use it until the weather cooled off a bit and I finally scheduled it for last week.  Jason lives in the Tampa area and he’s an expert on Fort De Soto, so it seemed like a great opportunity for me to visit with a local guide and learn more about the place.

Since we were meeting at 6:45am for sunrise, I went over the night before to make sure I knew the way and to try to get a sunset shot.  Before I left, I used the Photographer’s Ephemeris app on my phone to do a little virtual scouting and noticed that the setting sun would be in nearly perfect alignment with a section of beach near the Bay pier at De Soto.  If you don’t have this app or another like it, get it.  It’s extremely useful when planning photo-ops.  This setting looked like it would be different from the sunrise and sunset geometry I usually get, so that’s where I ended up on Thursday evening.  I was blessed with some very nice clouds and light, and the geometry led to this composition.  What do you think?

The end of the day at Fort Desoto
The end of the day at Fort Desoto – Looking southwest toward Egmont Key from the base of the bay pier.  The ferry that travels back and forth to the Key is on the left.

Fort De Soto park is south of St. Petersburg, Florida and is run by Pinellas county.  It’s made up of a number of islands (keys) and the location and geography make it very unique, especially from a birding perspective.  It lies along the migration routes and is a landing-place for birds flying across the Gulf of Mexico.  If the conditions are favorable, a knowledgable birder can see over a hundred different species here in a single spring-time day.  I’m definitely going to keep an eye on the birding lists and plan to go back next April.

It’s also quite diverse from a landscape photography perspective.  The Sunshine Skyway bridge can add to a scene, and the tides cover and uncover shoreline features that can vary the foreground interest in your photos.  Storms also come through occasionally and these can cut new channels or shift sand to change the layout of the smaller islands.  So it’s possible to see changes on both a daily and seasonal basis.  When I arrived there Friday morning, the light wasn’t good for a typical sunrise shot, but I set up anyway and made this photo.  I think the reflections from the bridge on the low clouds and water add a lot to the image.

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay Florida, before dawn
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay Florida, before dawn. From the East Beach turnaround at Fort De Soto

Jason showed me around, and was quite knowledgable about the site, the wildlife, and how to photograph all of it.  He was also patient and easily dealt with my many questions.  It was interesting to hear him talk about the behavior of the animals and how they interact with the terrain and tides and then explain how to use the knowledge to make better photos.  It was a greatly enhanced scouting expedition and  I only hope I can remember half the things he told me!

The wind was blowing at 10 miles an hour or more, so many of the normal birds were hunkered down out of sight, but we did see Laughing, and Herring Gulls (including one with its breakfast), an American Oystercatcher, a family of Raccoons, Common Loons, Red-breasted Mergansers, Ospreys, Tri-colored and Great Blue Herons and maybe a few other species.

American Oystercatcher
American Oystercatcher – a very cooperative bird. He strolled right by us, leaving a wake.

There was a pretty interesting scenario with the Herring Gull below.  They catch crabs and then fly them up to 40 or 50 feet above rocks or hard sand before they drop them to crack the shells open. This particular gull was going to crack his crab, but another gull came close, so it flew off somewhere else to dine in private.

Herring Gull flies off with crab
Herring Gull flies off with crab

On this trip, I met a fellow photographer for the first time, scouted a new place (which definitely made the “must do” list), learned lot in the process, and had a great time.  A pretty fine photo-op, in spite of the clouds and wind.

As usual, you can see larger versions of these images on Flickr by clicking on them. And I have a couple more photos from Fort De Soto in this set.

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

The year in review – My favorite photos from 2012

Happy Holidays!  Once again the season has snuck up on us.  I hope that all of you, your families, and your friends have a joyful and happy season!

Photographer Jim Goldstein has an annual tradition of organizing a “best photos of the year” listing.   I’m very glad he started this, since it’s a good reminder for each of us to take time to review results and contemplate how to improve our photography.  And also to put together an annual “Favorite photos of the year” post.

2012 was another good year for me photographically.  The 2012 folder on my hard drive takes up about 284 GB of space – almost double 2011.  There are 80 folders, and each one represents a separate “photo-op”, with a total of  over 6200 photos, so it does look like I’m trying!  I had a lot of opportunity to make good images this year, and I’m pleased with the results I achieved.  But it doesn’t seem like my ability and skills have grown as much this year as in the past.  Perhaps I’ve plateaued.  Maybe I don’t know what I don’t know about getting better.  Maybe I’m just getting more picky and critical.  Regardless, I think I need to make a stronger effort in 2013.

I’m still using the following system to rate my photos.  The numbers in parentheses are the counts for 2012.

  • 1 star   – The photo is interesting (174)
  • 2 stars – The photo is worth showing to others (396)
  • 3 stars – The photo is the best of (or one of the best of ) any given photo shoot (68)
  • 4 stars – My favorite photo of a year (1)
  • 5 stars – My favorite photo ever (still none, I’m not finished making photos yet!)

The rest of the photos don’t have stars and are seconds or not so good versions. I usually keep them, but they probably won’t get any more attention. This system seems to work for me and I’ve reviewed my 2012 photos and selected my favorites.  This is a hard process for any photographer.  It’s difficult to separate my opinion about a photograph from any emotional connections that I might have with the scene or situation.  But making this effort is important and part of the learning process.  Still, at the end of the day, I don’t claim to be objective about my photography.  These photos are the ones that I like best, so feel free to disagree – but I hope you’ll enjoy looking at the ones I’ve picked.

You can click on each of these to go to Flickr and see a larger version.  Or you can click on this link to go to the complete set on Flickr.

I have 1 miscellaneous subject, 1 mammal, 1 bird, 3 people photos, 7 landscapes, 3 sunrises, 0 sunsets, 6 color, 4 Black and White, and 4 Infra-Red photos.  Definitely a trend away from wildlife and toward landscapes and infra-red.  Here we go…

My number 1 favorite photo of 2012:

Many cypress trees
 Many cypress trees, Blue Cypress Lake, near Vero Beach, Florida, June.  

I have a thing for Cypress trees anyway and when I made my first and only visit to Blue Cypress Lake this year, the natural beauty of this place overwhelmed me.  I’m planning to return early next year when I can also see many nesting Ospreys and other birds.  See this post for more info.

My number 2 favorite photo of 2012:

Pre-dawn Jetty
 Pre-dawn Jetty, Jetty Park, Cocoa, Florida, October.  

When I saw this scene, I really liked the way the light on the walk drew my eye to the bottom left and then the rail and the jetty lead to the sun rays coming up from below the horizon.  So I straddled the rail with my tripod and made this photo.  See this post for more info.

My number 3 favorite photo of 2012:

Keb' Mo'
 Keb’ Mo’ in concert, Plaza Theatre, Orlando, Florida, February.

I like The Plaza and they often bring in acts that I like too.  We were lucky to get seats up front and when the spotlights lit up the smoke, I made this photo.  See this post for more info.

My number 4 favorite photo of 2012:

Water Dragon Sunrise
Water Dragon Sunrise, on board the Carnival Paridise in the Gulf of Mexico, April.  

I stalked this sunrise for about 45 minutes before this scene developed.  I’m happy I waited for it – sometimes patience pays off!  See this post for more info.

My number 5 favorite photo of 2012:

Submarine sunrise
 Submarine sunrise: The British Trident ballistic missile submarine HMS Vigilant leaving Port Canaveral, Florida just after dawn, October.

This was a bonus photo when the sub turned south after leaving the inlet and posed for us under the rising sun.  See this post for more info.

My number 6 favorite photo of 2012:

Cocoa Sunrise
 Cocoa Sunrise, North of the Hubert Humphrey Causeway in Cocoa, Florida, August.

This is an infra-red, fish-eye photo (an “IRFE”).  It’s a really good combination to shake up your photography and inspire some creativity.

My number 7 favorite photo of 2012:

Play time at Union Station
Play time at Union Station, Cincinnati, Ohio, December 2011

This photo missed the deadline for last year’s favorites – so I included it here.  I usually wait for people to clear out when I’m trying to make a photo. This time I went ahead and made it while these two girls played around the fountain. Since this is a stitched panorama, they show up multiple times, which I think adds to the image.  See this post for more info.

My number 8 favorite photo of 2012:

Cruising White Pelican
 Cruising White Pelican, Black Point Wildlife Drive, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville, Florida, December.

White Pelicans are winter migrants to our area, so we don’t get to see them very often.  This one cruised right in and posed in the middle of my viewfinder.  I couldn’t have arranged it better!  See this post for more info.

My number 9 favorite photo of 2012:

On the beach
 On the beach, Venice Beach, Florida, September.

We were wandering around exploring the area near the Venice Pier. Since it was close to mid-day, I didn’t expect the light to be good, but I took my IR camera in case something came up. I think the IR characteristics add a lot of interest to the photo. And it makes a great example of how “playing around” can lead to good things.  See this post for more info.

My number 10 favorite photo of 2012:

Late night?
Late night?, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Orlando, Florida, May.

This photo was difficult to make since the lighting was challenging and I had to photograph the Gorilla through glass.  But it’s a great pose and expression and I was able to clean the image up considerably in post processing.  He looks like I’ve felt a few times.  See this post for more info.

And here is one last photo that I care a lot about:

The Senator
The “Senator” – a 3500 year old Bald Cypress tree, Big Tree Park, Longwood, Florida.

I made this image in September of 2011, so it doesn’t officially qualify for a 2012 favorite.  The reason I put it in this post is because in January of 2012, the tree caught fire, burned and collapsed. The fire was at first thought to have been caused by lightning, but later was determined to have been started by a woman inside the hollow tree so she could see the illegal drugs she was using. Now no one else will ever make a photo of this, so it became a lot more important to me in 2012.  What a crazy, sad event.  For more info see this post and this post.

If you’d like to see my favorite photos from earlier years, you can click on these links: 20092010, and 2011.

I hope you’ve had a great photo 2012 too.  Thanks for stopping by and looking at my 2012 favorites.  Now – go make some favorites of your own!
©2011 – 2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Three more from the beach

We’re busy this weekend with computer and roof problems, so not much time for photography. Here’s a few more photos from our beach trip last week.

Venice Pier at Sunset
Venice Pier at Sunset

The mermaid in the garden by the sea
The mermaid in the garden by the sea – From the patio behind the hotel.

Morning shell-scape
Morning shell-scape – Casey Key is a prime spot for shell and shark’s teeth collectors.  Hurricane Issac passed off shore and stirred things up, resulting in lots of shells on the beach.

You can see some other photos from Casey Key in this set on Flickr.

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved