Tag Archives: bridge

Is photography a group or solo activity?

Four of us from the Photography Interest Group went to Viera Wetlands last Saturday.  On the way, we stopped by Riverfront Park on the Indian River at SR 520 in Cocoa for sunrise.

Old boat by a bridge
Old boat by a bridge

There weren’t many clouds, but with a longer lens than I normally use (120mm equivalent instead of an ultra wide-angle), I managed to place this boat in the frame against a background of clouds and the causeway bridge.  The colors on the water are nice and I was happy with the result.

As we left, I saw what looked like a sunken boat out of the corner of my eye to the south of where we’d been photographing. Since the good light was fading, and everyone else was ready to leave for Viera, I didn’t get a chance to check it out at the time.

For some reason, sunken / abandoned boats really appeal to me as photographic subjects. Maybe it’s because I spent time in the Navy. They seem sad and make me wonder what happened and why. This one nagged at me, and I really wanted to explore it so I decided to drive back over on Wednesday to see what I’d missed.  Many times the boat gets salvaged – so if you don’t photograph it when you find it, you may not get a second chance.

A dream, gone
A dream, gone – in the harbor at dawn.

Luckily the boat was still right where I’d seen it.  I found a spot where I could use the sailboat mast reflections to outline the sunken hull and place it between the blue and orange colors mirrored on the water.  I like the first photo, but I think this second one is stronger.

If we’d taken the time to explore this on our first visit, would I have gotten as strong a photo?  Did I get a better photo on my second trip because I was by myself?  Is photography essentially a solo activity?

Cue the standard photography answer:  “It depends.”   I believe you need to be “in the zone” to make great photos.  Distractions and / or fellow photographers can hinder concentration – or they can point you in the right direction.  When you’re with a group you also have to compromise and go along – you can’t do everything you want and force everyone else to do it too.  If you’re mainly a landscape photographer, going photographing with someone really into bird photography may not help your landscape images.  Or it might – birds hang out in some beautiful places.

If you go with people more experienced / knowledgable than you are,  you may learn a bit and make better images as a result.  Or you may find out about new places that they know but you don’t.  Or you might even open your eyes to a different way of seeing something.  If you’ve ever been out photographing with a group, you know there will be many similar images.  But there will also be some that look completely different even though two photographers stand right next to each other.

I looked through my most interesting images (according to Flickr, anyway).  Of the first 20, 10 were when I was by myself and 10 when I was with other photographers.  Conclusive numerical evidence, eh?

So to answer the question in the title of this post:  Is photography a solo or a group activity?  Yes.  You’ll be a better photographer if you go photographing both by yourself and in groups.  Mix it up and take advantage of both ways to enjoy and improve your photography.

By the way, we did make it to Viera Wetlands.  We saw many of the usual animals in the main area including Hawks, Ospreys, Great Blue Herons, Little Blue Herons, Green Herons, Snowy and Great Egrets, Grebes, Black Bellied Whistling Ducks, Alligators, Turtles, etc.  We saw a few more species in the Click Ponds:  White Pelicans, Sandpipers, Roseate Spoonbills, and Woodstorks.  A nice visit.

Sandpiper flock and reflections
Sandpiper flock and reflections

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

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Viera Wetlands update, 5/18/13

I went over to the coast yesterday with Kevin M.Kevin K.Lutfi E.

Sunrise sure is happening really early again!  We started out on the 520 Causeway near Port Canaveral – Kevin M. wanted to make a sunrise photo with a lit up cruise ship in the scene.  Here’s how my version turned out:

Disney cruise ship at dawn

Disney cruise ship at dawn – Port Canaveral, Florida

We also moved around looking for other compositions and I think each of us also made an image of this:

Beneath the Bridge
Beneath the Bridge – 520 Causeway looking east

After sunrise we moved down A1A to explore Lori Wilson Park and the boardwalk there.  It’s very nice and located right on the beach.  Migratory birds have been reported there, but we didn’t find any on Saturday.

Our last stop was Viera Wetlands.  We wanted to check on it because we hadn’t been by since February.  We saw a few of the common wading birds, some juvenile Anhingas, Ospreys, Coots, Glossy Ibis (that we hoped were White Faced Ibis – but weren’t), lots of Grackles, and a few other species.  We also took a turn around the Click Ponds where we found a relatively uncommon Black Crowned Night Heron.  Kevin M. managed a good photo when it came out of the reeds for a few seconds.

Black Crowned Night Heron

Black Crowned Night Heron (Photo by Kevin McKinney, used with permission)

This wasn’t our most productive or exciting trip ever, but we did have a good time.  The activity was slow – I think we’re starting to get into the summer birding slow down here in Central Florida.  We may need to look for a few different photo ops for the next few months.

You can read other Central Florida Photo Ops blog posts about Viera Wetlands from this link.  And I’ve collected other photos from there in this set on Flickr.

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

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Photographic Perseverance, Providence, and Perspicacity

The scene below is not the one I thought I would photograph when we returned to Space View Park in Titusville, Florida last week.

Looking north at the Max Brewer Causeway before dawn
Looking north at the Max Brewer Causeway before dawn – This condo is right at the entrance to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. I’d love to wake up there every morning!

You may remember this post from a few weeks ago.  That was a very foggy day and there were no real sunrise photo opportunities.  I wasn’t too happy with the landscape photos I made on that trip and wanted to try again.  This time, when we arrived before dawn, the first thing I noticed was the lighting on the Max Brewer Causeway leading to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.  When I walked over to get a better look and perhaps make a photo, the reflection of the building in the water caught my eye.  I like how this turned out.

This photo illustrates why paying attention to the photographic application of three words could result in more photo ops for you:

  • Perseverance: Continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition; Keep trying until you can fulfill your vision;  Circumstances change and you may not get the photo you want on your first try (or your second …).  This was our second visit to Space View Park recently.  I still haven’t gotten a sunrise photo I’m truly happy with at this place.  I guess I’ll have to go back again!
  • Providence: Having foresight; care or preparation in advance; Try to anticipate conditions so you’re ready to take advantage of them.  Have the right equipment with you and know how to use it.  I had my tripod, cable release, and wide-angle lens ready for this shot.
  • Perspicacity:   The capacity to assess situations or circumstances shrewdly and to draw sound conclusions; Be able to react when the situation you anticipated isn’t what happens.  Have an open mind and look for images that you didn’t consider in your planning.  I didn’t just concentrate on the sunrise to the east.  I also looked around for other photogenic scenes.

After sunrise we also saw a common loon fishing very close to the docks.

Common Loon
Common Loon

Later on, we came across a couple of Belted Kingfishers that were more cooperative than usual.

Belted Kingfisher lady poses
Belted Kingfisher lady poses – These usually fly away from me as soon as I point a lens at them. This one was lazy or tired and sat still for a portrait.

Another fine day with a camera on Merritt Island!

If you think about the three words above, maybe they’ll help you come away with some photos you wouldn’t other wise get. 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.

Cincinnati Christmas

Lynn and I had a wonderful visit with our daughter Mary at her place in Cincinnati over Christmas. Once again, she was the perfect hostess and kept us busy with all sorts of activities. We spent a lot of time eating, both at restaurants (Nada, Melt, Christmas brunch at the Hilton, Tom+Chee, Papa Johns pizza, Cracker Barrel) and cooking (crab cakes, Quiche, salmon, gingerbread, etc.) and too much time shopping (antique mall, after Christmas sales, outlet mall). In between we went to the Nutcracker, bought hats at Batsakes, visited the local wine shop and gave her new Nespresso machine a real work out. It was primo family time, but I did sneak in a little photography:

Roebling Bridge and Ohio River at night from Kentucky
Roebling Bridge and Ohio River at night from Kentucky

Play time at Union Station
Play time at Union Station – Cincinnati, Ohio. 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.

Cappuccino
Cappuccino: We enjoyed using Mary’s new machine and overdosed on caffeine while we were there.

What a great visit! You can see more photos from our trip to Cincinnati in this set on Flickr. You can re-read my other posts mentioning Cincinnati here and here.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2011, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

The Covered Bridge Capital of the World

Lynn and I were in Indianapolis last weekend for the Midwest Sad Iron Collectors Club convention. Lynn did a presentation on trivets and got to meet a lot of her collector friends. I helped with the presentation, and did some tourist type things around Indianapolis while she was busy.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we both visited Mary Kate in Cincinnati. Tuesday night we went to the Prima Vista Italian restaurant where we had a wonderful meal overlooking the city’s skyline. Make sure to bring your camera. On Wednesday, we visited the Newport Aquarium , Hofsbrauhaus , and Skyline Chili . The Newport Aquarium is a nice place to make photographs. They have a large tank that you walk through, with fish of many descriptions swimming beside and over you and you can linger as long as you want. A fast lens with a polarizing filter to reduce reflections would help get better photos through the glass. The beer at this Hofsbrauhaus is just like I remember from the one in Munich.

Thursday, while Lynn went to the auction, I drove quite a distance (~3 hrs each way) from Indianapolis to Bowling Green Kentucky to visit the Corvette museum and factory. Along the way I went through Louisville, Ky – where they were holding a National Street Rod auto show – so there where some very interesting vehicles on the road with me. Factory tours are only $5, and the assembly line is fascinating, especially if you like cars. You can’t take pictures inside the factory, but the ones I took at the museum are here .

On Friday morning, we both went with other members of the MSICC on a tour of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and museum. My Brickyard pictures are here .

Friday afternoon Lynn was busy, so I drove over to Rockville, Indiana. Rockville is located in Parke county, about 50 miles west of Indianapolis. Parke County, has more covered bridges (30) than any other county making them “The Covered Bridge Capital of the World”.

Marshall Bridge, J. A. Britton, Builder, 1917

There is quite a bit of information about Parke County here . I wasn’t there at a good time of day (I had to be back at the convention for dinner – so I couldn’t wait around for sunset) but I made a few photographs anyway. If you go, you should plan to spend a day or two so you can scout out all the bridges and pick some to photograph at dawn and dusk. The tourist map they hand out isn’t the most useful. It was hard to locate some of the bridges. And some of them are way out in the country on narrow dirt roads. My bridge photos are here.

©2007, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.