Tag Archives: fishing

Casey Key

Intro / Description

Lynn and I have been visiting Casey Key on the Gulf coast of Florida for many years and last weekend Mary joined us for another very pleasant stay over Labor Day.

Casey Key is a barrier island created by the intracoastal waterway and is south of Sarasota and just north of Venice.  It lies partially in the city of Nokomis, Florida and is an easy drive that’s about 2 hours from Orlando via I-4 and I-75.

It’s a very wealthy community with very little commercial development and consists mostly of high end homes.  There are a few small beach hotels near the southern end.  We stayed at the Gulf Sands Beach Resort, which is an older place located right on the beach.

Info for Photographers

Casey Key is very scenic and would be a good place to hold a workshop on sunset photography.  The three nights we were there, they ranged from very nice to spectacular.  Here is one photo I made with some fairly prominent sun dogs visible.

Sunset, pelican, and parheliaCasey Key: Sunset, flowers, pelican, and parhelia

Photo hints: We don’t normally go to the Gulf coast for surfing since the water is usually calm and clear.  In the past I’ve seen it as clear as a swimming pool, so it’s often a wonderful place for snorkeling.  Anticipating this, I brought  my Canon G9 and underwater housing.  But I didn’t get to use them much this time because the waves were pretty high (for the Gulf) and the water was murky.  I think it’s still stirred up from recent tropical storms passing through.

Casey Key itself has the best view to the west so get ready for some very nice sunset photos.  The scenery to the east consists mostly of housing.  You may get some color in the morning clouds to the west if you watch for it.  You might also want to try a sunrise photo from the jetty area.

For sunsets, set up early and stay late since the color often changes after the sun goes down.  This is easy to do if you have a place right on the beach.  You may also want to go back out later for some night shots.  The night sky to the west will be fairly dark and allow you to get some stars in your exposure. Vary your foreground, the height of your camera, and your lens field of view to create some different looks.

You’ll also see a variety of birds.  We saw pelicans, gulls, Great Blue Herons, and several other species during our visit.

Seagull
Bird watching me – a seagull at Casey Key

Tripod/Monopod: You can get by without a tripod, but having one will give you much more flexibility.  I tried some High Dynamic Range photography and was glad I had my tripod.

Lenses: You’ll appreciate a wide angle lens for sunset and landscape photos.  My most used lens was the  16-35mm wide angle.  You might also want to bring a longer lens too for the birds on the beach and nearby.

Best time to visit: Anytime (when the tropical outlook is calm).

Other:

If you like to fish, you can do so from the beach and also from the north jetty which is a very short drive to the south end of the key.  I once caught a very nice snook from this jetty, but had to let it go because the season ended the day before.

Three Fishermen
Three Fishermen: A Great Blue Heron stalks two humans, waiting for a handout.

There are many shells on the beach at Casey Key, so walking can be a bit rough for a city tenderfoot.   You might want to bring something to walk in.  And you definitely should walk the beach.  You’ll find many pretty shells as well as sharks teeth there.

Casey Key shells and shark teeth

Here are some other things that are close to Casey Key.  If you can stay a bit longer, you might want to check them out:

  • Warm Mineral Springs in North Port, Florida is a private resort with beautiful clear water.  Take your snorkel and underwater camera.
  • The Venice Rookery is a few miles south.  This is a small island in a small pond and hosts many species during nesting season.  If you’re there in the spring, be sure to stop by.
  • The Myakka River State Park has an unusual Canopy Walkway that would be worth seeing.
  • Oscar Scherer State Park is also very close by.
  • We’ve also been to the Mote Marine Lab for an interesting visit.  One morning we also saw one of their researchers monitoring the sea turtle nests on the beach at Casey Key.

Summary

Please visit my set on Flickr to see more photos from Casey Key as well as larger versions of the ones above.

My Gallery / Flickr photo set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/sets/72157624780918915/
Website: http://www.gulfsandsbeachresort.com/
Address / Phone: Gulf Sands Beach Resort

433 Casey Key Rd.
Nokomis, Fl. 34275
941-488-7272
Fax (941) 484-6827

View in Google Maps

Central Florida Photo Ops Rating: Make some nice photos while you relax

©2010, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

My favorite photos of 2009

First, I want to wish all readers of this humble photo blog a very

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Second, this year your devoted author has decided to join the growing tradition where photo blogs post a collection of their favorite photos from the year.

To accomplish this, I’ve gone through the photos I made in 2009 and used Lightroom to rate them from 0 through 5 stars. The rating system I’ve adopted is as follows:

  • 1 star – The photo is interesting
  • 2 stars – The photo is worth showing to others
  • 3 stars – The photo is the best of (or one of the best of ) a given shoot
  • 4 stars – My favorite photo of a year
  • 5 stars – My favorite photo (ever)

Photos without stars are seconds or not so good versions of other photos. I’ll keep them, but they probably won’t get any more attention.  Since adopting this rating system, I’ve tried to use it consistently.  Before this I would rate images, but the meaning of the ratings would vary.  As far as what they mean now, it’s all subjective and my opinion only.  Feel free to disagree, but I hope you’ll enjoy looking at the ones I’ve chosen.

I was really blessed in 2009 with a huge number of photo opportunities.  On my hard drive in my 2009 folder, I have about 16,000 images, taking up 164GB of space (I shoot mostly in RAW).  Of these:

  • 3804 of the images have been cataloged in Lightroom.  Many of the remainder are source images for multi-shot panoramas or HDRs, or high rate bursts that I selected from.
  • 1084 are rated 1 star or higher
  • 692 are 2 star or higher
  • 75 are 3 star or higher
  • 1 is 4 star, and
  • None are 5 star (I’m not done taking photos yet!)

Of the 692 that are 2 star or higher, I’ve selected 44 (mostly 3 star) images to include in a gallery of my favorite 2009 photos.  You’ve seen many of these photos in this blog, already.  But where it made sense, I re-processed them to try and improve them.  Here are the top ten. You can click on each of these to go to Flickr, where you can see a larger version.

My #10 favorite photo is:  Great Blue Heron in flight.  This heron didn’t like me aiming my camera at it.  It’s making a lot of noise as it leaves the area.  I was able to pan with its motion to get a sharp shot.
Great Blue Heron in flight

My #9 favorite photo is: Ketchikan harbor.  The trawler Isis, a house in the background, and the parked float plane are very representative of Alaska.
_DSC5669

My #8 favorite photo is: Black Point Sunrise. This reminds me of a boundary of a set of points in a complex plane (i.e. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandelbrot_set)
Black Point Sunrise

My #7 favorite photo is: Glacier Bay Sunrise, A dawn panorama heading in to Glacier Bay National Park.
Glacier bay sunrise panorama

My #6 favorite photo is: Black-bellied Whistling-Duck in flight.  We saw this unusual and photogenic duck at Orlando Wetlands Park.
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck in flight

My #5 favorite photo is: Lake Lily Park tree and bird at dawn.  Sometimes you go out specifically to photograph.  Other times you go out just  carrying your camera.  It’s exciting to me when I find a photo like this one while I’m just out carrying my camera.  The light on this Cyprus tree caught my eye as we walked around the Lily Lake  one Saturday morning looking at their flea market.  The bird in the middle distance was a bonus.
Lake Lily Park tree and bird at dawn

My #4 favorite photo is: Black Point Wildlife Drive: Wide angle, winter dawn. On this particular morning, it was hard coming up with any good photo inspiration for the sunrise.  There were no clouds, not much color in the sky, not a lot of interesting landscape detail, no cooperating wildlife, the wind was blowing pretty hard, etc.  This palm tree had an interesting vine growing in it that was pointing back toward the road, so I  made it the subject of the picture and violated all the composition rules by putting it way off too one side.  To me, the road leading past the tree could represent the last part of the long journey of exploration and learning that led to being able to make this photo in this place at this time. The road is empty because each person’s journey is unique. Oh, and BPWD just happens to be a one way road – toward the photographer. The somewhat surreal colors come from a program called “Photomatix” that will “tone map” multiple, bracketed exposures.  Anyway, I liked it too.
Blackpoint Wildlife Drive: Wide angle, winter dawn

My #3 favorite photo is: Gorilla watching people, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, Disney’s Wild Kingdom.
Gorilla watching people

My #2 favorite photo is: Breaching humpback, off shore from Juneau, Alaska.  In the full res version, the two white dots in tree to the upper left behind the whale are bald eagles.
Breaching humpback whale near Juneau

And … my #1 favorite photo of the year is: Ship, water, glacier, rock.  A multiple shot panorama showing Johns Hopkins Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park from the cruise ship MS Westerdam.  The full res version of this photo is 7747 x 4716 pixels = 36.5 megapixels.
Panorama view of Johns Hopkins Glacier from Cruise ship deck

I’ve posted a gallery of all 44 images on my website at www.edrosack.com/BO09.  I’ve also uploaded them to this Flickr set, and you can click this link to watch a slide show at Flickr.  When you watch the show, you might want to click the “show info” link.

Thanks for looking.

All content ©2009, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Canaveral National Seashore

Intro / Description

Three of us from the Photographic Interest Group went over to the Canaveral National Seashore yesterday to explore. We entered at the north end near Turtle mound. We could only go about 2 or 3 miles into the park, the road was closed after that.
CNS_-1

CNS is a national park located on the east coast of Florida, south of New Smyrna Beach.  It’s a very scenic place and there are many activities available.  The surf was very high yesterday (due to Hurricane Bill?) and there were quite a few people out taking advantage of it.
CNS_-4

In the short time we were there, we also saw people fishing:
CNS_-2

and canoeing:
CNS_-3

There’s a lot of wildlife in the area, but the number of people here at certain times of the year (like yesterday), probably makes it difficult to see much of the animal population, unless you’re here when the people aren’t. We did see some wildlife – here’s a CNS Anole:
CNS_-9

And a sandpiper:
CNS_-10

We also stopped by the Eldora Statehouse, which is a historic example of earlier life along the Mosquito Lagoon.
CNS_-8

Speaking of mosquitoes, make sure you bring some bug spray – they were pretty vicious at times.

Photo Hints

Bring what you have. I don’t like to take my expensive DSLRs into the hot sun near the ocean for long periods of time, but you might if you’re careful. Shorebirds can be small (and fast) – so to get prize winning bird photos here, you’ll need to be lucky or a very dedicated and good photographer willing to forgo other activities. It might be a good place to practice "birds in flight" photos in your spare time – Pelicans often cruise down the shoreline. If the surfs up, that can be fun to watch / photograph too.

One non-photo hint:  Be careful where you park.  The rangers are rather zealous about enforcing the parking regulations.  Parking on the grass is not allowed – even when it isn’t specifically posted.

Summary

The beach is a nice place to take some photographs and CNS is a very nice beach. We originally went there to explore a new place as a bird photography location.  We didn’t find many birds, but we only stayed for a short time. I wonder if other times of the year would be more productive?  The surfing would have been an excellent photo opportunity if I had been prepared for it (beach clothes, longer lens, etc).

If you’re here to visit the beach, bring a camera – over the course of of your visit, interesting photo opportunities will present themselves.

I have a few additional photos of this visit posted on Flickr .

Website: http://www.nps.gov/CANA/index.htm
Address: Visitor’s Center
7611 S Atlantic Ave, New Smyrna Beach, Florida
(386) 428-3384
Central Florida Photo Ops Rating: Come for the beach – take some pictures too.

©2009, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

My Summer Vacation around Central Florida

My summer vacation – Day 1 : A visit to Wekiwa State Park and a solo canoe trip down the Wekiwa river where I attempt to paddle, navigate and make photographs, all at the same time, and where success is measured by returning without once falling overboard, with all the gear I left with, and with all my body parts still attached and undamaged (although somewhat sore).

I’ve been to many of the springs in the Central Florida area, but just never got around to going to Wekiwa, so with a few days off, I thought it was about time. I’ve heard a lot about this park and there is a lot of info on the web. You can find out plenty at their main web page . I had visions of capturing “The Shot”. My vision was this: The camera half in the water as a massive gator swims toward me and I make photos from the safety of my canoe. To prepare, I purchased a WP-DC21 underwater housing to protect my Canon G9. See the results below of my search for “The Shot” (go to the galleries to see higher resolution versions of these photos).

Gator in the grass

What happened you ask? Well, life is a journey, not a destination, and so is photography. I’ll try again for “The Shot” another time. I haven’t been in a canoe for many years – paddling while handling the camera and staying out of the trees is trickier than I thought. And I forgot my raw chicken to lure the gators within camera range. Wekiwa is a great place. Photo tips: Bring an assistant to help paddle. Take sunscreen, you’ll need it. Get there early of course for the best light and to avoid the crowds. Going on a week day will help avoid crowds too. I didn’t see anyone when I got on the river at 9 on a Monday morning, but by the time I came back around 10 or 10:30 there were a few people in canoes and kayaks. You’ll see lots of birds, turtles, gators, fish, and river otters. The river otters move pretty fast so be alert – I almost fell out of the canoe trying to get a photo of them. Here are more of my photos from day 1 .

My summer vacation – Day 2 : Another day break hike through Orlando Wetlands Park

When I made a return visit to this wilderness located 20 miles from downtown Orlando, Florida I was the only human there and once again I felt like I was in a different world far away from everyday concerns. Just what I was looking for. I strolled through a primitive Florida landscape and visited with some varied wildlife including possum, deer, gators, and various birds including herons, hawks, and egrets. It’s close enough to my home so that I can get there by dawn, even in the summer and the sunrise can be very pretty. Here is a link to the first blog post I did about this park. It has some more information and photos.

The road at dawn

Here are more photos from day 2 .

My summer vacation – Day 3a : A return visit to Black Point Wildlife Drive in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

I’ve been to Black Point Wildlife several times, and although spring time seems to be the best time of the year for viewing wildlife, it is still very pretty in the summer time as long as you go early in the day. I was a bit disappointed at first since I didn’t see much, but to make up for it there were no other people there at all. Toward the end of the drive there were a lot of birds including a flock of spoonbills, although they were far away. Mike Thomas has a blog entry (no longer available) about this place and he mentions gators big enough to eat a Volvo. That should be enough to motivate you to go over there, even if gas is $4! I haven’t seen those particular gators (although I was driving a pickup truck, not a Volvo), but I have seen their little brothers. Here’s a link to a map of the drive.

Great Blue Heron and reflection

Here are more of my photos from this part of day 3 .

My summer vacation – Day 3b : A drive down Bio Lab road along Indian River lagoon, where I survive repeated attacks by bloodthirsty monsters!

Mike Thomas also mentions BioLab Road . This is a really pretty drive along the Indian River north of the cape. Lots of birds, gators, and mosquitos here. Make sure you take insect repellent – I didn’t have any and I never even set up my tripod because I couldn’t stay out of my truck long enough. I was swarmed by mosquitos and bitten within a minute or two whenever I got out of the truck. This is a dirt road, but it is pretty well maintained although I did get my truck muddy! Here is a link to a map of the area.

A whole lot of fishing going on

Here are more of my photos from this portion of day three .

©2008, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.