Tag Archives: birds

Slow Photography

No, not slow shutter speeds. Photography itself is slow.

It usually is this time of year. Our heat, humidity, and bugs have all become bothersome. And at least for me, wildlife seems harder to spot. This year we also have a pandemic to deal with – especially here in Florida. So my photo motivation has been sluggish. I did end up taking my camera out three times last week and came home with a couple images that may be worth sharing.

I saw a mention (On Flickr? Can’t remember. ) of a place called Lemon Bluff. It’s a small Volusia County park / boat ramp on the St. Johns river. I’m not sure how many photos you could find there, but it would be a great place to launch a kayak.

St. Johns RiverSt. Johns River from the Lemon Bluff boat ramp

I also brought my camera on two short trips into Orlando. I wanted to see how the swans are doing. Our first visit was cancelled by a rain storm, however the second one went a little better.

Almost grownAlmost grown – These Lake Davis cygnets are just about as big as Mom and Dad.

Both families are doing well. There are still two cygnets at Lake Davis. Lake Cherokee has three – they’re a little smaller. I’m not posting photos of them because they were napping in the grass right in front of an ugly irrigation pump. I should file a complaint with the swan modeling agency!

You can see my other St. Johns River photos in this album on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/sets/72157624991879878.

And this search will bring up other posts about Lake Cherokee and Lake Davis: https://edrosack.com/?s=Lake+Davis+cherokee.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. Hang in there and take care of each other. And if you can – stay motivated and make some photos!

©2020, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

MINWR – 17 June 2020

I wish I knew how to predict what sunrise will be like. But I don’t, so I just show up and see how it’ll turn out. Here’s the first photo I made last Wednesday:

The water is wideThe water is wide

And this next photo is from nearly an hour later. The color and clouds were going strong the whole time!

Rays and reflectionRays and reflection

That daybreak was remarkable. I’ve been out photographing some mornings where the colors only pop for a few moments. And I’ve been out other times where they don’t really pop at all. If any of you know how to predict this kind of thing, I really want to hear from you. If you too want to know, don’t ask me!

Well, our summer season has already arrived here in Central Florida. It’s hot and I was chased by many mosquitoes (and chewed on by a few) as I photographed the sun coming up. I think our recent afternoon thunderstorms have made the bugs worse.

And the birds seem to have moved on, or at least they’re hiding in the places I normally visit. There weren’t many to see along Gator Creek Road or Black Point Wildlife Drive. I did stop by the Green Heron nests that I bypassed on my last visit (https://edrosack.com/2020/05/17/minwr-11-may-2020/). I didn’t see any nesting activity, but this cooperative young one was still hanging around.

YoungsterYoungster – This juvenile Green Heron has fledged and is out in the world fending for itself

And here’s one final image – a panorama of some trees that I thought were interesting in infrared.

Pines and palmettosPines and palmettos

Changing the subject again – I hope all Dads out there are having a wonderful Fathers Day! Thank you for all you do – you make the world a much better place!

“Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father.” Lydia M. Child

I miss you Dad. I hope we made you as proud as our families make us.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. Hang in there and take care of each other. And if you can – make some photos!

©2020, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Return to Orlando Wetlands Park

Orlando Wetlands Park re-opened a few weeks ago and I met Kevin M. there for a socially distanced walk around.  It was good to see him and good to go photographing.  I posted a few images from that trip at the end of last week’s blog (the bonus baby birds).  And here are some more.

This first one is a 600 mm combination wildlife / landscape image.

Pink in greenPink in green –  Roseate Spoonbill in flight.

The  pink bird in sharp focus against the blurry green Cypress Tree / vegetation says “Florida” to me. I’ve made similar images there before but I think this one is better (see this post:   https://edrosack.com/2018/04/01/orlando-wetlands-park-the-rest-of-the-story/).

Kevin is pretty handy to have along! I hear Barred Owls calling all the time, even in our back yard – except I hardly ever get good photos of them. We both heard this one.  I searched in vain and was happy when he found it so we could get some photos.

"Who cooks for you?"Who cooks for you? – Perched Barred Owl.

There are always interesting things to see at Orlando Wetlands.  This Least Bitterns is a good example.  It was flying back and forth between clumps of reeds fishing for its breakfast.

On the huntOn the hunt – Fishing Least Bittern

I like this photo of a young Night Heron that’s just landed in a cypress tree.

A young Night HeronA young Night Heron

And watching (and listening) to Whistling Ducks never gets old.

Formation flightFormation flight – A pair of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Many people were enjoying the park on the Saturday we went. It was tough at times to give everyone six feet of clearance, but we managed.  If you plan to visit, check their web page for the latest information on access, services, etc.

You can browse other blog posts about Orlando Wetlands at this link: https://edrosack.com/category/photo-ops-in-florida/orlando-wetlands/.  And my photos from there are collected in this album on Flickr:   https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157639616792296

It’s good that pandemic restrictions are easing and we can get out a little bit again. Hopefully things will keep improving.  Please make sure you stay safe when you venture out.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog.  Hang in there and take care of each other.  And if you can – make some photos!

©2020, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Another baby bird update

It’s still baby bird season here in Central Florida.  I thought I’d update you on several I’ve been following.

Lake Cherokee Mute Swans

Lake Cherokee Mute SwansAs of May 23rd, there are three surviving cygnets at Lake Cherokee (this photo is from May 17th).  On April 25th, I counted 6.

Lake Davis Mute Swans

Lake Davis Mute SwansThere are only two cygnets left at Lake Davis (this photo is from May 17th too).  On April 25th, there were 5.  They seem a little bit larger / older to me than the ones at Lake Cherokee.

There’s a lot of wildlife in and around Lake Davis and Lake Cherokee. One neighbor’s seen owls, hawks, eagles and otters there and it wouldn’t be surprising if there are alligators too.  Life for these young swans is dangerous.

All of the remaining ones seem to be healthy and growing.  Hopefully they’re big enough now to avoid any more predation.

Winter Park Ospreys

Wing exerciseWing exercise – These two chicks are still in this nest.  In this photo (also from May 17th) Mom and sibling duck out of the way as the other one exercises its wings.

They’re growing fast and getting stronger. I don’t think it’ll be too long before they fledge.

Bonus baby birds

Here are a few other young birds I’ve seen in the last week.  These are from a stroll at Orlando Wetlands Park.

Black-necked Stilts: Mom and chickBlack-necked Stilts: Mom and chick

A young Night HeronA young Night Heron in flight.  I think this one is a Black-crowned Night Heron.  They’re much more common around here than the Yellow-crowned ones.

Family cruiseFamily cruise – Mottled Duck Mom and ducklings

Okay – that’s all of the baby bird news I have. Now for a more serious subject.

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Memorial Day

Here In the US, we celebrate Memorial Day on the last Monday in May (the 25th).  It’s a day to honor those who died defending our freedom and democracy.  Every one of us owes them a debt we can never repay.

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Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog.  Hang in there, stay safe, and take care of yourselves and your loved ones.  And if you can – make some photos!

©2020, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Baby Bird Brief

Lynn and I dropped off some things today at MK’s place. On the way home we checked on the Lake Cherokee and Lake Davis swans and then went by Winter Park to see how the Ospreys are doing.

Lake Cherokee Mute Swan and cygnetsLake Cherokee Mute Swan and cygnets

The swans at Lake Cherokee seem to be fine. But last time I counted 6 cygnets and today I only saw 5. I hope one was hidden in the grass or behind the tree on the right.

Lake Davis Mute Swan and CygnetsLake Davis Mute Swan and Cygnets

The Lake Davis swans seem fine too and I counted 5 cygnets there, same as our last visit. If you’d like to see a few more photos of these birds, one of my Flickr friends (Kathy B.) posted a few in her Flickr photo stream.

We only saw one very small chick in the Winter Park Osprey nest two weeks ago. It turns out it was the only one poking its head up at the time – there were two more hidden in the nest. This visit we saw all three and they’re much larger already. All the hungry babies were loudly begging for food and Momma was busy feeding them pieces of very fresh fish.

Lunch timeMomma Osprey feeding her three chicks

As we were getting ready to leave, Lynn asked if I’d made a video. And of course I hadn’t remembered to, so I went back and recorded a little bit. Thanks Lynn! The chicks in this remind me of mini dinosaurs.

 

Mary D. posted a comment on the last Osprey post. She saw a worker up there and hoped he was placing a wildlife camera. I looked and couldn’t see any sign of one.

You can read other blog posts about Lake Cherokee and Lake Davis at this link: https://edrosack.com/?s=lake+cherokee. And here are some more about Ospreys and Winter Park: https://edrosack.com/category/photo-ops-in-florida/winter-park/

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. I hope all of you are staying healthy and safe out there in pandemic land. Take care of each other and if you can, make some photos!

©2020, Ed Rosack and MK Rosack. All rights reserved

Winter Park Osprey Nest

Lynn and I had to mail a package yesterday and stopped by this nest box near the Winter Park Post Office to check on the Osprey family.

Urban Osprey NestUrban Osprey Nest

They look like they’re doing fine.  Click on this photo to see it larger on Flickr and you can spot one chick’s head just in front of Mom.

This was a good social distancing spot – no one else was there.  We might try to check on it again when the chicks get a little bigger.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Stay safe out there and take care of yourselves, your friends, and your families.  And if you can,  make some photos!

©2020, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Lake Davis Ducks

You may remember this post from last year: https://edrosack.com/2019/07/07/orlandos-lake-dixie-and-lake-cherokee/.  I included a photo of a juvenile Wood Duck and commented that I was looking forward to seeing them in their breeding colors. Well now I have!

Wood DuckMale Wood Duck

Male Wood Duck, ©2020, MK Rosack

The gentlemen are indeed handsome and the ladies are lovely too:

Female Wood Duck and chicks, ©2020, MK Rosack

This family is very large – I count 16 ducklings around Mom!

Female Wood Duck and chicks, ©2020, MK Rosack

Wood Ducks seem to really like Lake Davis.  There were more than a dozen adults and many more babies.  Other kinds of ducks like it too.  This Mallard posed in nice light so I could make its portrait:

A colorful, curly tailed MallardA colorful, curly tailed Mallard

With pandemic lockdowns nearly everywhere here in the US, it’s nice that we have  close by spots for a little solo exercise (with a camera, of course).  MK and I made these photos on two separate trips around Lake Davis near her place over the last couple of weeks.  Thank you for your help with this post, MK!

I’m glad the ducks like this place as much as we do!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Stay safe out there and take care of yourselves, your friends, and your families.  And if you can,  make some photos!

©2020, Ed Rosack and MK Rosack. All rights reserved

In the Neighborhood

Lynn and I have been walking around our neighborhood a bit more than usual lately (six feet away from everyone, of course).  I’ve been carrying a camera and here are some things that caught my eye.

Spanish Moss is common around here – it decorates many of our trees.  This piece dangled in some pretty morning light for me.

Morning light on Spanish MossMorning light on Spanish Moss

By the way, Spanish Moss isn’t moss.  It’s an epiphyte and gets nutrients and water from air and rainfall. See this Wikipedia article for more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_moss

We also have a lot of Cypress trees in Florida.  They’re deciduous conifers – the leaves turn reddish brown or orange in the fall and drop by winter time.  New growth in the spring is a vibrant green.

Cypress branchCypress branch

When we left on our walk, I’d seen a large bird take off from a tree.  It happened too fast for a photo and I couldn’t really make out what it was.  But I remembered to look for it again when we returned.

Watching the NeighborhoodWatching the Neighborhood

That’s when I spotted this pretty Red-shouldered Hawk watching intently from the gutter on a house by the corner.  Our squirrels and rabbits need to be careful!

Park closing info:  I don’t want to post anything about which parks and areas are open or closed in Central Florida.  The situation has been changing every day.  But many places have shut down – do your research first if you decide to head out.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Stay safe out there and take care of yourselves, your friends, and your families.  And if you can,  make some photos!

©2020, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Gatorland Postcard

I sincerely hope that all of you are staying safe and well.

This is my next entry in the occasional blog category called “Postcards” where I upload a photo of Central Florida scenes – similar to ones you’d see on a postcard.

It’s easy to find them all. Just use the “Places / Categories” pulldown menu over on the right side of the blog and select “Postcards”. If you’re viewing the site on a phone, you may not see that menu – in that case, just type “postcards” into the search box.

Cattle Egret in breeding colorsCattle Egret in breeding colors

I made this image in June of 2015 at Gatorland in Orlando Florida.  Gatorland is a theme park and wildlife preserve in south Orlando.  The main attractions there are of course the alligators, but wild birds also use it as a breeding area in the spring.   The birds are used to people and you can get some fantastic photos of nesting birds and breeding behaviors. I’d been thinking about buying an annual pass this year, but the pandemic has delayed that – Gatorland is closed for now.  I’ll get one when we get back to normal.

Here’s a link to all the posts I’ve written about it: https://edrosack.com/category/photo-ops-in-florida/gatorland/.  And you can view my other photos from there at this link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157623039154783.

You should be able to click on this photo to open it on Flickr and then select the download symbol below and to the right of the photo. I hope you like it!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – stay safe out there, and if possible – make some photos!

©2020, Ed Rosack. Creative Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license

Note: Items in my blog that are marked with a Creative Commons license are available in high resolution for you to download for your personal use. Please visit this page to see details and restrictions that apply: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/.

 

Isolation

Anyone can snap a photo.  As photographers, we choose subjects and then compose frames around them so a viewer’s eyes are drawn to what we want them to see.  One thing to think about when we’re out with our cameras is how to isolate the subjects in our images.

Scan the scene when shooting – look for distracting elements and get rid of them.  How?  Sometimes you can’t, but here are some suggestions.

Viewpoint:  Shift a few feet one way or another to hide things.  There’s a much less attractive mailbox just out of the frame below on the left.

A Mailbox on Joe Overstreet RoadA Mailbox on Joe Overstreet Road

Magnification:  We never have enough zoom, do we?  Use what you do have to get close and separate subjects from clutter.  You can also crop later on the computer, but you’ll risk losing some image quality / resolution.

A good morning for a songA good morning for a song – singing Eastern Meadowlark. Joe Overstreet Road

Light:  Sometimes the light is just right to make your subject stand out from the background – take advantage of it!  This can be modified a bit in post processing too.

Shy birdShy bird – A Roseate Spoonbill in the light. Black Point Wildlife Drive

Depth of Field (DOF):  In addition to getting as close as you can and using a long focal length, shooting with a wide open aperture creates a shallower DOF and blurs the background behind your subject.  You may need to shift your position a bit to insure that the entire subject (e.g. both the insect and the bird) are in the plane of focus.

Butcher BirdButcher Bird – Loggerhead Shrikes often kill prey by impaling them on a thorn or barbed wire.  Joe Overstreet Road

Color:  Catching your subject against a contrasting color can help it stand out.  These American White Pelicans with their yellow beaks were very nice to pose for me in the blue water.

American White PelicansAmerican White Pelicans. Black Point Wildlife Drive

So that’s a few ideas. If you think about this when you’re out, your photos will improve. Do you have any other suggestions?  Feel free to add them in the comments.

And speaking of isolation, Lynn and I are both generally in good health (thankfully!).  But the CDC says we’re at higher risk from the COVID-19 virus due to our ages.  We’re going to follow their recommendations and stay up to date on developments.

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

©2020, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved