I spotted this large fish (~2 1/2 feet long) resting near the shore. My long lens was stowed in my backpack and I knew it wouldn’t stay there long, so I quickly made a photo with my IR camera. If you click through to the larger version on Flickr, you can better see the small minnows swimming nearby.
Dragonflies are out and about. This is the first time I’ve noticed them this year.
And finally, here’s a photo of my walking companion. This bird joined me for a bit on my stroll around the park.
The park offers free Tram Tours on weekends – check their site for details. I much prefer to walk so I can pause and photograph any time I want and get a little exercise too.
Thanks for stopping by the blog. Now – go make some photos!
We had a hard time deciding where to go – storm damage and other circumstances are limiting our choices. Many places that we like in Central Florida are closed (Viera Wetlands, Lake Apopka, Mead Gardens, many parts of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Jetty Park, etc.). We ended up deciding between Circle B Bar in Lakeland and Orlando Wetlands (both are open). I hadn’t been to either for a while and Orlando Wetlands is closer, so…
With the sun up and the clouds gone, we walked for a while before it got too hot. This colorful bird caught my eye. I didn’t realize it was a new life bird until I got home.
Some other things we saw: a Raccoon, a Peregrine Falcon, Red Shoulder Hawks, Black Belllied Whistling Ducks, a Juvenile Blue Heron and other wading birds, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a Painted Bunting, Red Eyed and White Eyed Vireos, House and Carolina wrens, Palm Warblers, and a Chicken (the Ranger said its name is Chuck).
Sorry about the glitch last Thursday – I didn’t mean for this post to go out then. Hitting the wrong button in WordPress is embarrassing, but at least my email subscribers got to see an example of how my posts usually begin – as just a few words jotted down to expand on later. Here’s the rest of it.
In the grand scheme of life, photography isn’t required. We managed for most of our history without photos. And even today, with cameras in every cell phone, many people never make a photo. So is photography important?
Barred Owl Pair
The world is awash in geo-political problems. World leaders with nuclear weapons call each other names and threaten annihilation. Scientists say global warming is going to drown our coast lines. Storms and earthquakes cause massive destruction and loss of life. Watching the evening news is overwhelming and sometimes even depressing. In this world, how important is an activity like photography?
Images and video play an increasing role in documenting problems and news in our society. Ubiquitous cell phone cameras give us a look into life as it happens, views that were less likely to be seen in the past. Is that a good thing? In general I think so, even though what we now see all the time is often uncomfortable.
What about photos like the ones in this post? Are they important? Maybe not to you, but to me they are. When I’m out photographing I can forget all about many worrisome things and concentrate on an activity I enjoy. If I’m lucky I become completely absorbed in the process – “in the zone”. Worries drop away – at least for a time. And sharing the results may not be crucial, but I do think it’s worthwhile. Allowing others to see what I can and they can’t is an activity worth doing. The photos don’t have to worthy of the Louvre. But’s it’s nice to get one every once in a while that goes up on my wall.
These photos were all made at the Audubon Birds of Prey Center in Maitland Florida. They take in injured raptors, treat them, and (if they’re well enough) return them back to the wild. They’re able to release just over 40% of their raptor patients. Some birds (like the ones pictured here are too severely injured, so they become permanent residents that we can photograph when we visit.
The images don’t have a lot to do with the ideas in the post. But they’re good examples. The act of making them got me out of the house to meet a friend. We enjoyed seeing the birds, and our donations will help the Audubon society to continue to help injured raptors.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos – it’s important!
Country Road – Near the Lust Road entrance to the drive
There’s been lots of activity there this summer. Robert and others described feeding frenzies in the ponds by the pump house. Alligators and birds have gorged on fish, creating some great photo opportunities.
And people have seen many interesting birds too including Swallowtail and Mississippi kites, Brown Thrashers, Fulvous Whistling Ducks, an Ash-throated Flycatcher, Purple Martins, and others.
Red Shouldered Hawk with Field Mouse (in right claw). It had just caught the mouse on the road and carried it to this tree.
On our trip, we also saw several kinds of dragon flies:
Halloween Pennant Dragonfly
And many water lilies blooming, some of them in very pretty light:
MINWR can be quiet through the hot part of the year and the times I checked on it this summer, I saw few birds / wildlife. Conditions were poor with little rainfall for long periods followed by some huge fires along Black Point Wildlife Drive.
On the other hand, Lake Apopka’s been a wonderful place to visit this summer. It’s a shame I didn’t go over there more often. Not too long ago, the lake was polluted with farm runoff. Restoration efforts and the opening of the wildlife drive about two years ago have made it a premier nature and wildlife destination in Central Florida.
It’s about the same distance from me as MINWR. I’m going to make a point of visiting more often. If you haven’t been recently – go.
It’s been a while since our last trip to Wisconsin to see Mike and Sara (April of 2015!), so Lynn and I were excited to spend a week with them at the beginning of August. We were also quite happy to finally get to meet Avon – who is (probably) a mountain cur that they adopted from a rescue society. He’s a real sweet dog!
I didn’t realize how big of a crop Sunflowers are in Wisconsin. And fortunately for us, the beginning of August is peak bloom time. In fact, Bergsbaken Farms near Cecil Wisconsin was having a Sunflower Fest while we were there so we stopped by.
Riding in the rain through the sunflower fields
Even though it was a bit rainy that day, there was still a large crowd and we enjoyed seeing the seemingly endless fields of flowers. We also saw a few strange creatures:
Strange creature seen in Wisconsin field
There were several of these tall, happy looking beings along one of the paths through the field. Authorities didn’t respond to questions on where they came from or why they wore sunglasses in the rain. One of my Flickr friends commented: “A nice guy no doubt, but a little seedy, wouldn’t you agree?” Yes, I do agree!
Clouds, Mountains, Desert. Near San Augustin Peak, NM. 7 frame panorama.
I find western landscapes extremely appealing. Maybe it’s just that they’re so different from Florida. When I saw these mountains, I made MK pull over so I could make this image.
Volcano Cinder Cone. IR, B&W, 3 frame panorama
This is a view of one of the three Volcanoes visible from the Volcano Day Use Area in Petroglyph National Monument, a little west of Albuquerque. When I got back to the car, I realized I’d dropped a lens cap somewhere along the path. I did go back and look for it and of course, couldn’t find it. Does that happen to you too?
Lynn’s been busy in our back garden and suddenly it’s even more photogenic. Lots of new plantings / flowers and they’ve attracted some interesting visitors. I’ve been keeping a camera at the ready so I can go out quickly and see what’s happening.
This blue bit is the stamen – I like this composition more than one I made of the entire flower. I left a small piece of the rest of the bloom in the bottom left of the frame for context.
Bees and Butterflies seem as happy with the new garden as I am.
Bumblebee in flight (BIF) (Olympus E-M1 II Pro Capture mode)
Gulf Fritillary butterfly
I briefly spotted some Ruby-throated Hummingbirds too. But in my excitement to let Lynn know, I let go of the screen door too quickly and the noise was enough to drive them off. I’ll be more careful next time and hopefully get some photos of them as well.
I’m very lucky that Lynn has set up such nice photo ops for me! I can’t wait to see what else she arranges in front of my lens.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
Springtime color – Flowers in a courtyard in St. Augustine, Florida
Lynn mentioned she’d like to spend a night or two in St. Augustine and I readily agreed. It’s one of my favorite, must do photo ops. She made reservations at a Bed and Breakfast (http://www.44spanishstreetinn.com) just behind the Columbia Restaurant and we headed up there last weekend.
I’d been feeling a little sick, although not bad enough to cancel the trip. I was looking forward to going back to Marineland Beach (earlier posts here and here) and perhaps the Alligator Farm (many posts here).
We arrived mid-afternoon on Saturday and checked in. It was a lovely place and extremely convenient. Strolling around town before dinner, I warmed up my camera with a few photos including the one above.
I woke up feeling worse on Sunday morning and decided to sleep in. We were staying one more night and I figured I could always do sunrise the next morning. After a wonderful french toast breakfast and some cold medicine, we set out to explore on the Old Town Trolley. We’d never done that before and I was glad we did this time. Riding the entire route, we got to locations we hadn’t seen on previous trips. It was also very nice to just sit there and still be able to make some images. My energy was very low and I was indisposed to walking around.
I had a small camera bag with me, and shot mostly with my infrared camera. I like the way it rendered the old buildings. It was out and ready when I noticed this fellow riding in front of the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument.
Infrared bicycle pirate – commuting to work?
I tried searching for ‘infrared bicycle pirate’ photos on both Google and Flickr and didn’t find any. Apparently they’re a very rare genre. Perhaps I should specialize.
Monday morning came with my symptoms getting worse and once again I couldn’t get up for sunrise or even make it to the Alligator Farm. I guess that means we’ll have to schedule another trip. I’m feeling a better as I write this and hope I won’t have to go to the doctor tomorrow.
I’m happy I made a few images I like. If you’re sick (indisposed) fight your lack of desire (indisposition) to make photos. You can look at other photos from St. Augustine in this folder on Flickr.
Happy Easter and thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – don’t be or get indisposed – go make some photos!
I went for another walk last week at Orlando Wetlands Park with Tom M. It was a pretty morning and in addition to the normal bird suspects, we also saw Soras, Purple Gallinules, and heard reports of Bald Eagles and many Black Crowned Night Herons.
“Compositing is the combining of visual elements from separate sources into single images, often to create the illusion that all those elements are parts of the same scene.”
Multiple exposures are a subset of compositing, and are much easier to produce in today’s world of digital photography. In addition to creating an illusion, they can be used to show things that are difficult for a camera to capture in a single frame and better show reality. Examples are panoramas, focus stacking, HDR, etc.
There’s a lovely Pink Trumpet tree on the west side of the main path into the park. It’s in bloom and that morning the moon was setting behind the tree. This snap from my iPhone shows how the tree looked against the sky and moon.
I wanted to isolate one bloom with the moon and clouds behind it, but the depth of field with my telephoto lens was too shallow to show both in the same frame. So I made two, with one focused on the flower and the second on the clouds / moon. Then in Photoshop it was relatively easy to combine the two frames to show what I wanted.
Moon, clouds, and flower
Here’s a second example:
Ibis flight sequence
This one is from a sequence of a single White Ibis flying by in a little under 2 seconds. I brought all 25 frames into Photoshop on separate layers and aligned them. Then I used the focus select function to mask the birds from each layer into a single composite. I ended up having to omit every other frame to avoid overlapping birds.
If you’re willing to dive into Photoshop or any other image editing software that offers layers and masking, you can do the same sort of work. Think about techniques like these when you’re out photographing. If you capture the source frames you need when you’re out, then when you get back to your computer you can use them to solve problems and enhance your creativity.
Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. Now, go make some multiple exposure photos!
Just 35 miles from Los Angeles, the Santa Monica National Recreation Area is an escape from the bustle of the city. We headed to the Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center for some orientation (and souvenir shopping), and did the short but steep hike up to Inspiration Point. We saw lizards and birds along the way, and the dry landscape made for dramatic views against the Santa Monica Mountains:
Plant at the Pinnacle
That Saturday, we took a morning boat trip out to Anacapa Island – the smallest of the Channel Islands – with a company I’d highly recommend: Island Packers. For just $29 each way, the beautiful boat ride alone was worth the trip. On our way to Anacapa, we enjoyed stunning views of Oxnard Harbor, a few Harbor Seals “sunning”, and even an illusive Minke Whale (he was too quick to photograph and never came back up).
The Channel Islands are truly a magical place, sometimes called the United States’ Galapagos Islands because there are 145 species of plants and animals only found there. We stayed 3 hours on the island exploring, seeing as much as we could, and eating the picnic we brought, but there are many arrival/departure options so you can stay as long as you’d like (or even camp over – although the smell of pigeon poop was rather strong!).
I also enjoyed playing with the fish eye lens I borrowed from my Dad – I thought it brought an interesting perspective to the Island.
Channel Islands National park Sign
On our way back to land, we had the treat of a humpback whale doing acrobatics for us: for about 10 minutes we watched him partake in “pectoral slapping” – spinning back and forth and slapping his fin on the water – quite the site juxtaposed against a giant oil rig in the background.
Man vs. Whale
If you ever find yourself on the West Coast, it’s definitely worth the trip out to the Channel Islands (and a hike over in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area). It’s amazing to find so much nature near such a large metropolitan area. Check out the other photos from my trip in this flickr album (including a life bird: the Rock Wren!).
Thanks for stopping by and reading MaryKate’s blog post. Now, go make some photos!