Lynn and I returned from visiting MK, Mike, Sara, and Cal last Sunday. It was easy to spot exuberant signs of Spring on our route. Today I thought I’d share some photos of pretty blossoms we saw along the way.
Up in Wisconsin, apple trees are blooming:
Apple Blossom Time
And the bees are busy:
I think this is a variety of pear tree. They’re busy blooming too:
Pear tree blossoms
At a rest stop in Kentucky, these Poppies were showing up on schedule just before Memorial Day:
In Tennessee, MK’s cactus garden is flowering and looks pretty as a picture in the early morning light:
And Black-Eyed Susans in Georgia didn’t want to be left out:
Most of these photos were made with iPhones and I’m very happy with how they turned out. Isn’t it handy to have such a good camera in your pocket? If you want to try a quiz, see if you can spot which ones weren’t made with phones.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Stay positive, be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. Enjoy Spring, and if you can, make some photos!
I’ve visited and written about Orlando Wetlands several times this year. Now I’d like to follow-up and show you some of the things that haven’t been in the blog yet. Sorry for including so many more photos than usual – I need to catch up!
A group of Vultures resting in a tree or on the ground is called a ‘committee’.I’ve seen single Vultures pose with their wings spread before, but this was the first time I’ve seen so many, all doing the same thing, on top of identical palm trunks. It really caught my eye! It was almost like the ‘committee’ was taking a vote! If you search for “horaltic pose” you’ll find some info about this. They often do it in the early morning to warm up.
An unusual committee of vultures
Wildflowers and butterflies (and dragonflies too) have been plentiful.
Blue Iris Bloom
White Peacock Butterfly
You may spot a snake catching some rays among the Lilly pads.
But the snakes have to be careful or a Great Blue Heron might spot them too.
I’m not sure what the plants around this frog are, but they add some nice color and texture to the photo. I’m also not sure how these frogs survive in a lake with such a large population of Alligators.
Turtles are plentiful too.
Mossy back turtle. Florida Cooter(?)
This Caracara was strolling along the path leading to the boardwalk. I followed at a distance until it turned and I could get an image of it in profile.
Out for a stroll
Red-winged Blackbirds are courting and staking out their territories.
Singing Red-winged Blackbird
I heard this Pileated Woodpecker knocking from at least a quarter mile away. It kept on as I walked and the sound led me right to it.
I didn’t hear this next one knocking, but its red highlights stood out and made it easy to find on this palm tree.
Posing ducks are hard to resist.
Black Bellied Whistling Ducks on the railing
And here’s one more Spoonbill photo. Fledglings were practicing their flying skills and learning how to get around and feed themselves. Landing on a railing is tricky!
Young Spoonbills, exploring the world
Migrant birds were also passing through Orlando Wetlands this spring. I found a Painted Bunting, a Cape May Warbler, and a European Starling – although my photos of them aren’t very good. And there’s a story over at https://birdersjourney.com/2023/04/30/life-bird-what-a-delight/ about spotting a Blue Grosbeak! So it’s been a glorious place to wander around with a camera this year. I think I’ll keep checking on it every once in a while.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Stay positive, be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, make some photos!
I haven’t posted in a while, so it’s about time. And I have been making some photos lately. Here are a few that I like – all made since my last post.
Another quiet morning on the St. Johns river.
(February 17; Boat ramp on HW 50 at the St. Johns River; three frame panorama; merged in Photoshop.)
Warm light on a wading Willet.
(February 17, Gator Creek Road in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, single frame, cropped.)
A wary Raccoon.
(February 23; Orlando Wetlands Park, single frame, cropped.)
(February 24, Central Winds Park in Winter Springs; Focus Bracket in Camera, merged in Photoshop.)
Through the trees.
(March 4; Orlando Wetlands Park; single frame; cropped.)
(March 4, Orlando Wetlands Park, single frame, Adobe enhanced resolution, cropped.)
(Eastern Meadowlark; March 7; Joe Overstreet Road; single Frame; cropped.)
A river runs through it.
(March 10; Leroy Wright recreational area along SR 520 at the St. Johns river , Cocoa Fl; Sony Pixel Shift Multi Shoot (16 frames), merged in Sony Imaging Edge; Converted to B&W in Lightroom.)
I made all of these (and more!) while trying out and setting up my new camera.
In late October of last year, Sony announced the latest version of their high resolution model line: the A7R V. There’s a lot of info available on the web about it. I read a great deal of that over 3+ months before finally deciding to upgrade my faithful A7R III (which was announced way back in October of 2017). I packed up quite a bit of my existing camera gear and traded it in for the new one. If you’re interested, you can read a lot of the same info I researched on-line, so I’m not going to repeat any of that here. I’ll just summarize some things and give you my first impressions to go along with the images above.
6 years is a long time in the camera design universe. These are changes that I really like:
The native sensor resolution is slightly higher – nice for landscapes and very helpful for wildlife photos. The pixel shift multi shot capability now seems to work very well (it didn’t on the A7R III and I never used it). For static subjects where you want huge resolution files, I think it’s a better implementation than even the Olympus EM 1 MII version that I used a lot when I had that camera.
Focus capabilities are immensely improved. The human eye auto focus on the A7R III convinced me to buy that years ago. The A7R V AI auto focus is much better and will be wonderful for many subjects, not just people.
Image Stabilization on the A7R III was not a standout feature. On the A7R V it is.
The A7R V has a huge image buffer. You can shoot continuously at the highest frame rate for up to 1000 frames (using CF Express cards). Even using SD UHS-II cards (slower than CF Express) it will still shoot over 100 frames before the buffer fills.
Many RAW Image formats are now supported. You can choose compressed / uncompressed as well as medium or low resolution RAW files if you don’t need the full resolution.
Video is much improved (although I should study this and use it more often!).
The Electronic Viewfinder and the back LCD are both improved with higher resolution and frame rates. The LCD also tilts and swivels – very useful.
Other things have changed, but they’re minor (for me). In summary I like everything Sony did with this camera and I hope to use it for a long time to come. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to try and answer them in the comments.
By the way, nesting activity at Orlando Wetlands is still in full swing. It’s a good opportunity to observe several species creating new life.
Click on any of these photos to see higher resolution versions on Flickr.
It’s been a little over a month since my last post. I enjoyed writing this one after such a long break.
I went over to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge toward the end of August. I wasn’t expecting to see much, but I wanted to get out and photograph something. I’m glad I did, because the sunrise was one of the best I’ve ever watched.
That photo’s from Veterans Memorial Park on the west side of the Indian River looking east toward MINWR and Kennedy Space Center. I was concentrating on the sunrise when I noticed several other folks had shown up. One was Pat H., who I’ve known for a while. I’m glad I ran into her since she was there to photograph the Artemis 1 SLS rocket on the pad at launch complex 39B. At the time, the planned launch was a couple days later. After we talked, I went and got my long lens to make a close up photo of it (the header image). You can see a higher res version on Flickr at this link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/52311586034/in/dateposted-public/. I’d hoped to include a photo of the launch in today’s post too, but it’s been postponed. Hydrogen is tricky stuff!
After that I went through Gator Creek Road, Black Point Wildlife Drive, and also stopped by the Bairs Cove boat ramp. This kayaker had gotten up very early to go fishing. I didn’t see him catch anything while I was there though.
A fine morning for fishing
I was happy to find this pretty, young Roseate Spoonbill and its reflection at one of the first corners on Gator Creek.
Other birds were a bit scarce, but this Loggerhead Shrike flew right in front of my car and landed in a mangrove. I quickly rolled down the passenger window and pointed my lens at it. Auto focus is amazing now days. My camera locked on the bird in the middle of all those branches at the first shutter press (no – that doesn’t happen all the time!)
A Bird in the Bush (is worth two in the hand?)
I also saw some gators and a raccoon on Black Point, and 5 or more manatees at Bairs Cove – but didn’t get good photos of any of them.
Changing the subject, I was browsing my archives one day and found this image I’d never processed. It’s from one of my previous cameras (an IR converted Olympus E-PL5). I ran it through Lightroom’s enhance detail and the Topaz Sharpen AI plug in and it came out with an amazing amount of detail. I like the subject rendering and the background separation too.
In other news, we’d planned some travel but that got postponed while we dealt with a broken central air conditioner here in hot, humid Florida. Supply chain issues mean it takes a very long time to get a replacement compressor (and other parts). Hopefully that’s behind us now (I hope Murphy doesn’t read this). As a side note, I didn’t realize Portable ACs work as well as they do!
Sorry to ramble on for so long. I suspect that my posts will be longer since they’re less frequent now. I hope all of you are doing well. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Stay positive, be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, make some photos!
I wanted to check on the Osprey nest in downtown Winter Park, Florida. I decided to leave (very) early so I could also make some night time / low light photos in the area. I’ve done that before (see: /https://edrosack.com/2015/10/03/winter-park-at-night/). Here are a few of the results from this time.
Colony Theater Building
The Colony Theater on Park Avenue in Winter Park Florida first opened in 1940. Matinees during WW II cost 39 cents. The theater closed in 1975 and was converted to retail space (see winterparkmag.com/history/). It’s still photogenic. This is a single frame (ISO 100, 26mm, f/8 @ 3.2 sec.)
Bright blooms at night
When I saw that planter in full bloom in front of an interesting building across the street, I knew I had to make a photo. But I wanted everything in focus and both the flowers and the building / lights well exposed. I made three frames: one focused and exposed for the flowers (ISO 100, 35mm, f/8 @ 20 sec.) and two more focused on the building (ISO 100, 35mm, f/8 @ 10 sec. and 4 sec). I did an HDR blend of the building exposures in Lightroom, and loaded the result along with the flower exposure into separate Photoshop layers. There, I aligned and masked the sharp flowers into the building layer. It took a few minutes, but I like the result.
This one is a three frame exposure bracket (ISO 100, 24mm, f/8 @ 4, 10, and 20 sec.). I first called it “Empty street”, but then noticed the three ghostly figures and changed the title. The header image in this web post is an enlargement of the center.
Very early train
I set up and made a test shot while I waited for a train to come through (ISO 100, 53mm, f/7.1 @ 25 sec.). I wanted a long exposure to show a lengthy train streak. When I looked at the image later on my computer, I didn’t like the way the train headlight changed the lighting on the trees, so I ended up using the test frame as the base image and blending in the train streak from the other frame. I’m glad I had that test shot to use!
Anyway, I like how these turned out and I thought maybe you’d be interested in a brief overview of how I made them. And by the way, Momma Osprey was on the nest but I don’t think any chicks have hatched yet. I’ll try to go back and get some photos of them.
Thank you very much for stopping by my blog! Your visits, comments, and likes are always welcome and a big motivator for me. Stay positive, be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, make some photos!
I complained a bit about our weather last week, and I do think we’ve been getting more than our normal share of clouds and rain. It doesn’t seem right though to grumble about a few gloomy days here in Central Florida when conditions in some other parts of the country and world are bad or worse.
Anyway, it isn’t quite “Nothing but blue skies do I see” around here, but we have had some very nice days recently. This week I’ll just show you a few photos of “Blue skies smiling at me” to prove it.
Trumpet Trees (Tabebuia) are plain most of the year. In the spring, they burst with blooms for a couple of weeks. The trees in the next two photos are already blending back into the landscape.
Pink Trumpet Tree
Yellow Trumpet Tree
Ball Moss and Ferns
Here’s one last image. It’s not “Blue birds singing a song” but I feel like this blackbird was enjoying the blue skies as much as I was.
Thanks for stopping by and looking at my blog. Your visits, comments, and likes are always very welcome and a big motivator for me. Stay positive, be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, enjoy some blue skies photography.
Our weather’s been interesting – lots of rain and warmer than expected. Between that and other obligations, I’ve had a hard time practicing photography. Checking the forecast late on Thursday night, Friday looked like it would be halfway decent so I jumped at the chance to head out.
There were a few rain drops falling at first and it was overcast. But that made for some dramatic clouds when I stopped by the marina.
Impressive clouds over the marina
Later on it turned into a pretty nice day. I spent some time around Parrish Park watching all the shorebirds.
I like photos like this next one. Getting a flock of birds close by with a fast enough shutter speed and in focus isn’t easy though. This time most of the birds listened to me when I asked them to all fly by at the same distance!
A “grain” of Sanderlings
I drove slowly along the shore and stayed in the car trying not spook the birds. I spotted several different ones and worked to isolate each one in the frame:
MINWR was quieter than last time I was there. But shore birds were out over there too.
I was sitting at this next spot when MaryKate called. The Killdeer were so loud she heard them through the phone and asked about them.
Thistles are blooming on Black Point. They’re attractive photo subjects if you catch a colorful one in good light. A bee or butterfly helps too.
There were other birds and wildlife around: the regular wading birds (herons and egrets), Alligators, Belted Kingfishers, Northern Shovelers, Blue-winged Teals, Caspian Terns, Black Skimmers, and I’m sure others that I missed. I also spotted a different looking hawk that the Merlin Bird ID app thinks is a Swainson’s Hawk (I’m not convinced).
Anyway, it was a wonderful visit and a very nice distraction from current events.
You can click on these photos to view larger versions on Flickr.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Your visits, comments, and likes are always very welcome and a big motivator for me. Stay positive, be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, practice some photography.
I’ve been an early riser for a long time. I used to be at work before others and got a lot done before they showed up. I thought that would change when I retired, but the habit stuck with me.
I’m still up way before sunrise almost every morning. It’s an asset for landscape photography. I get to places when it’s still dark and things (and photos) look different.
Too early at the boat ramp
When I start early, I can go to more places. I’ll continue making landscape photos in different spots as I look for wildlife and the light changes. So I usually come home with a number of landscape images. These two very different photos are from the same trip.
Catfish Creek Trail
Getting there early gives me extra opportunities. It doesn’t work all the time or for everyone. It’s not the best approach for sunset and late night photography – but staying up late is. If you like to sleep in, you’ll need to apply my “too early” strategy in reverse and stay a little later after sunset. And if If you’re lucky enough to be at one of your “bucket list” locations, you’ll probably want to get set up and wait for the best light before you start moving around like I do.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Please be kind, take care of yourselves and each other – and if you can, get out early (or stay late) and make some photos!
We had such a wonderful visit with Sara, Mike, and Calvin last month. It’d been way too long since we’d been together and absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder! Anyway, here are three places we visited while we were up there.
Door County is a scenic peninsula north-east of Green Bay. We’ve been there several times and always enjoy it. This time we were hoping to see some cherry blossoms so we stopped by Lautenbach’s Orchard in Fish Creek.
In the Lautenbach barnyard
There were some lovely flowers on the trees:
But we were there a week or two too early to see the orchard at it best.
The area also has many delicious places to eat. We sampled beignets, Ice Cream, smoked fish and other treats. None of us were the least bit hungry when we got home!
Sara mentioned Fonferek Glen so Lynn and I decided to drive up and look around. It’s a 74 acre county park along Bower Creek near Green Bay. There’s a 30 foot waterfall and cliffs along the creek with a natural stone archway.
If you visit, be a bit cautious. Lynn and I weren’t prepared for the bitting bugs we ran into, and crossing the water and hiking down / up to the base of the falls (with no marked trails) was a little more exciting than hikes I’m used to in Florida.
The water flow does slow down during the summer. The day we were there it wasn’t a torrent, but the falls are still very pretty:
He’s a little hard to see at this resolution, but if you click this photo to view it on Flickr, you can spot one of the two landscape artists that were there that day painting the scene. I wonder if I ended up in his painting like he ended up in my photo?
Calvin has a family membership to the New Zoo near Green Bay and he took us all there one morning. The peacock photo I posted a couple of weeks ago is from that visit. Here are three more from that day.
This owl was inside behind glass in mixed, very poor light. But I like the focus on his eye and was able to rescue the image with a conversion to B&W.
An owl at the zoo
This waterfall at the zoo has a pretty good flow – the pump driving it works well!
A waterfall at the zoo
And it wasn’t just cherries in bloom up there. Many other trees were in full flower and gorgeous.
We’re so thankful that the pandemic is finally starting to fade so that we can travel again. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other. And get vaccinated and enjoy visiting family again!
Header image: Birds in flight in Gills Rock, WI – with an iPhone!