Tag Archives: Gorilla

The year in review – My favorite photos from 2012

Happy Holidays!  Once again the season has snuck up on us.  I hope that all of you, your families, and your friends have a joyful and happy season!

Photographer Jim Goldstein has an annual tradition of organizing a “best photos of the year” listing.   I’m very glad he started this, since it’s a good reminder for each of us to take time to review results and contemplate how to improve our photography.  And also to put together an annual “Favorite photos of the year” post.

2012 was another good year for me photographically.  The 2012 folder on my hard drive takes up about 284 GB of space – almost double 2011.  There are 80 folders, and each one represents a separate “photo-op”, with a total of  over 6200 photos, so it does look like I’m trying!  I had a lot of opportunity to make good images this year, and I’m pleased with the results I achieved.  But it doesn’t seem like my ability and skills have grown as much this year as in the past.  Perhaps I’ve plateaued.  Maybe I don’t know what I don’t know about getting better.  Maybe I’m just getting more picky and critical.  Regardless, I think I need to make a stronger effort in 2013.

I’m still using the following system to rate my photos.  The numbers in parentheses are the counts for 2012.

  • 1 star   – The photo is interesting (174)
  • 2 stars – The photo is worth showing to others (396)
  • 3 stars – The photo is the best of (or one of the best of ) any given photo shoot (68)
  • 4 stars – My favorite photo of a year (1)
  • 5 stars – My favorite photo ever (still none, I’m not finished making photos yet!)

The rest of the photos don’t have stars and are seconds or not so good versions. I usually keep them, but they probably won’t get any more attention. This system seems to work for me and I’ve reviewed my 2012 photos and selected my favorites.  This is a hard process for any photographer.  It’s difficult to separate my opinion about a photograph from any emotional connections that I might have with the scene or situation.  But making this effort is important and part of the learning process.  Still, at the end of the day, I don’t claim to be objective about my photography.  These photos are the ones that I like best, so feel free to disagree – but I hope you’ll enjoy looking at the ones I’ve picked.

You can click on each of these to go to Flickr and see a larger version.  Or you can click on this link to go to the complete set on Flickr.

I have 1 miscellaneous subject, 1 mammal, 1 bird, 3 people photos, 7 landscapes, 3 sunrises, 0 sunsets, 6 color, 4 Black and White, and 4 Infra-Red photos.  Definitely a trend away from wildlife and toward landscapes and infra-red.  Here we go…

My number 1 favorite photo of 2012:

Many cypress trees
 Many cypress trees, Blue Cypress Lake, near Vero Beach, Florida, June.  

I have a thing for Cypress trees anyway and when I made my first and only visit to Blue Cypress Lake this year, the natural beauty of this place overwhelmed me.  I’m planning to return early next year when I can also see many nesting Ospreys and other birds.  See this post for more info.

My number 2 favorite photo of 2012:

Pre-dawn Jetty
 Pre-dawn Jetty, Jetty Park, Cocoa, Florida, October.  

When I saw this scene, I really liked the way the light on the walk drew my eye to the bottom left and then the rail and the jetty lead to the sun rays coming up from below the horizon.  So I straddled the rail with my tripod and made this photo.  See this post for more info.

My number 3 favorite photo of 2012:

Keb' Mo'
 Keb’ Mo’ in concert, Plaza Theatre, Orlando, Florida, February.

I like The Plaza and they often bring in acts that I like too.  We were lucky to get seats up front and when the spotlights lit up the smoke, I made this photo.  See this post for more info.

My number 4 favorite photo of 2012:

Water Dragon Sunrise
Water Dragon Sunrise, on board the Carnival Paridise in the Gulf of Mexico, April.  

I stalked this sunrise for about 45 minutes before this scene developed.  I’m happy I waited for it – sometimes patience pays off!  See this post for more info.

My number 5 favorite photo of 2012:

Submarine sunrise
 Submarine sunrise: The British Trident ballistic missile submarine HMS Vigilant leaving Port Canaveral, Florida just after dawn, October.

This was a bonus photo when the sub turned south after leaving the inlet and posed for us under the rising sun.  See this post for more info.

My number 6 favorite photo of 2012:

Cocoa Sunrise
 Cocoa Sunrise, North of the Hubert Humphrey Causeway in Cocoa, Florida, August.

This is an infra-red, fish-eye photo (an “IRFE”).  It’s a really good combination to shake up your photography and inspire some creativity.

My number 7 favorite photo of 2012:

Play time at Union Station
Play time at Union Station, Cincinnati, Ohio, December 2011

This photo missed the deadline for last year’s favorites – so I included it here.  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.  See this post for more info.

My number 8 favorite photo of 2012:

Cruising White Pelican
 Cruising White Pelican, Black Point Wildlife Drive, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville, Florida, December.

White Pelicans are winter migrants to our area, so we don’t get to see them very often.  This one cruised right in and posed in the middle of my viewfinder.  I couldn’t have arranged it better!  See this post for more info.

My number 9 favorite photo of 2012:

On the beach
 On the beach, Venice Beach, Florida, September.

We were wandering around exploring the area near the Venice Pier. Since it was close to mid-day, I didn’t expect the light to be good, but I took my IR camera in case something came up. I think the IR characteristics add a lot of interest to the photo. And it makes a great example of how “playing around” can lead to good things.  See this post for more info.

My number 10 favorite photo of 2012:

Late night?
Late night?, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Orlando, Florida, May.

This photo was difficult to make since the lighting was challenging and I had to photograph the Gorilla through glass.  But it’s a great pose and expression and I was able to clean the image up considerably in post processing.  He looks like I’ve felt a few times.  See this post for more info.

And here is one last photo that I care a lot about:

The Senator
The “Senator” – a 3500 year old Bald Cypress tree, Big Tree Park, Longwood, Florida.

I made this image in September of 2011, so it doesn’t officially qualify for a 2012 favorite.  The reason I put it in this post is because in January of 2012, the tree caught fire, burned and collapsed. The fire was at first thought to have been caused by lightning, but later was determined to have been started by a woman inside the hollow tree so she could see the illegal drugs she was using. Now no one else will ever make a photo of this, so it became a lot more important to me in 2012.  What a crazy, sad event.  For more info see this post and this post.

If you’d like to see my favorite photos from earlier years, you can click on these links: 20092010, and 2011.

I hope you’ve had a great photo 2012 too.  Thanks for stopping by and looking at my 2012 favorites.  Now – go make some favorites of your own!
©2011 – 2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Return to Animal Kingdom

We had family in town last weekend and they invited Lynn and I along on their visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  I’ve blogged about this place before (here and here) and this was a chance to return and see if I still liked it as much as last time.

Yes, I did.  I can confirm that Animal Kingdom is still the nicest zoo I’ve ever been too.  It’s enhanced by the rides and shows, and seeing it with our young nieces and nephew makes it an even more wonderful experience.

Here are a few scenes from the trip.  You can see more photos (and larger versions of these) in this set on Flickr.

Male Silverback Gorilla holding grass
Male Silverback Gorilla holding grass. In the gorilla enclosure on Pangani Trail at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

American Crow
An American Crow enjoys a stolen onion ring

Hibiscus
Hibiscus

Thanks for stopping by and visiting my blog.  Now, go make some photos!

©2012, 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: Blackpoint 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.

To Do

So, gentle reader. In this post, I will describe some of the upcoming events that will be happening in this blog.

First, Lynn took me to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for my birthday at the beginning of May. I have a little over a hundred “selects” to go through and finish so that I can post a gallery and write a blog post about our visit. Stay tuned on this one. Animal Kingdom is a photography must see in Central Florida!

Next, there are several ideas I have for future photo expeditions / galleries / blog posts around Central Florida. Here are a few I’ll try to write about: Leu Gardens, Gatorland in Kissimee (and a comparison to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm), Butterfly exhibits (Lucas Nursery and UF), Orlando photowalks, and several more.

Lynn and I are also planning an Alaska Cruise with some very good friends. I’m going to be keeping notes on this and plan to turn it into one or more entries after we return.

Finally, I have an idea for a series of philosophical entries on how to be successful in general and I think these can also be applied to photography in particular. I’m going to try to intermix these entries with my photo gallery / blog entries.

Anyway, we’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, here’s a teaser from Animal Kingdom:A photograph of a gorilla at Disney's Animal Kingdom

©2009, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.