Tag Archives: infrared

Beautiful Blue Cypress

May 12, 2017 update: We’re far behind on rainfall here in Central Florida, so the water level in many lakes is very low. It’s a good idea to call Middleton’s Fish camp (800-258-5002) and check on conditions at Blue Cypress Lake and whether rental boats / tours are available before you go down.

Lone cypress at dawnLone cypress at dawn  (IR, B&W, panorama).

The trees at Blue Cypress Lake are simply gorgeous.  Their shapes remind me of  Bonsai, although I think instead Bonsai should remind me of these trees.  The ones here are all completely natural, formed by nature into elegant sculptures.  I love the way my infrared camera renders them.  The bright needles and clouds against the darker sky and water is very appealing.

Lynn and I spent last Thursday night near Vero Beach and met Kevin K. at Middleton’s Fish Camp just before sunrise on Friday.  Middleton’s is the only camp and the only development at all on Blue cypress Lake.  The rest of the lake and shore is completely pristine and undisturbed – very rare in our state.  It’s also quiet.  And peaceful.  And just stunning.

Photographing Blue Cypress LakePhotographing Blue Cypress Lake  (IR, B&W).

I wrote about Blue Cypress Lake back in June of 2012, and that’s worth a read if you’re interested.  All of the info there is still current.

This place really is Florida unspoiled, and a photographic “target rich environment”.  We went on one of their pontoon boat tours at first light and Don (our guide) was knowledgable and skilled at navigating in and among the trees near the shore.   He mentioned that this lake and the surrounding swamp form the headwaters of the St. Johns River, which flows north to the ocean in Jacksonville – something I didn’t know.

Lone cypress and OspreyLone cypress and Osprey  (IR, B&W, panorama).

Blue Cypress Lake is also home to a large colony of Osprey.  There are 200+ breeding pairs with  eggs, hatchlings, and some almost fledged juveniles in nests in the Cypress trees.  The birds fish in the surrounding swamp and carry their catch  back for the young.  Many of these Osprey are migratory and leave for South America after raising their young – something else I didn’t realize.

Jeanne Middleton told me that prime nesting time starts around 10 April so we hit it just about right.  I made a lot of photos of the Osprey last Friday too.  I’ll finish processing them and post them soon.

I have more photos from Blue Cypress Lake in this album on Flickr. And Kevin K. has posted his from last Friday in this folder.

I should go down there and write about this place more often.  It deserves to be seen, photographed, and saved for the future.  Have you been?  If not, what are you waiting for?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Now – get some of your friends, head down to Blue Cypress Lake, and make some photos!

©2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Indisposed

… Interesting word.  dictionary.com shows two definitions:

  1. sick or ill, especially slightly:  to be indisposed with a cold.
  2. disinclined or unwilling; averse

Both applied to me last week.

Springtime colorSpringtime 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.

Est. 1875Est. 1875

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 pirateInfrared 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!

©2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Morning Glory

I had a strong urge to photograph, and at the last-minute decided  to drive over to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge before dawn last Friday.  My first stop was at a spot Kevin M. Tom M. (3/25/17 correction – I misremembered, sorry.  Tom told me about this place, not Kevin.) had mentioned – underneath the east side of the A. Max Brewer Causeway that leads into the refuge.

We’ve had cooler weather here and very clear skies, so I wasn’t expecting much color at sunrise.  But this is what greeted me at dawn:

Morning gloryMorning glory

This image is a two frame panorama I made with the Olympus E-M1 II camera in high res mode.  Lightroom’s been updated for the camera, and I’m impressed with how it handles these files.   And the more I use the new camera the better I like it, especially how it minimizes motion artifacts in high res mode.

I next took a turn around Black Point Wildlife Drive.  The water on the first half is as low as I’ve ever seen it – gone in many places.

Cracked Cracked.  Infrared, B&W

It was exciting to spot a Bobcat.  It was stalking slowly through the grass, but I only managed a single (poor) frame before it disappeared.  I wish it had lingered for a few minutes so I could get a better shot.  I’m guessing it might be a long time before I get another chance for a Bobcat photo as good as the one in this post from 2011.

Bobcat Bobcat

On the back half of Black Point there was a lot more water and a lot more of the regular birds.

Little BlueLittle Blue

I also took a turn around Gator Creek Road and saw an Osprey close up with an awesome fish.  But it grabbed the fish and flew off with it before I could get a photo.  Seems like I need to practice my quick reaction shots!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

A lovely day for a drive

I’ve haven’t been out photographing for a while, so when Kevin M. invited me to ride along with him yesterday I was eager to go.  It was one of those beautiful Florida winter mornings – clear, bright, a little windy, and perfect shirtsleeve temperatures.

We went by the Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area in Osceola County, then down Joe Overstreet road, and finally by the lakefront in Kissimmee.

Three Lakes WMA is a quiet area with dirt roads through varied habitats including pine forests, grass fields, and some hardwood stands with streams and lakes.  There were several RVs and campers parked near the entrance, but they were sleeping in and we had the place mostly to ourselves at first.

A road less traveledA road less traveled – Infrared, black and white, panorama

Whenever we stopped the car to scout for wildlife, it was so quiet, all we heard were birds and the breeze blowing through pine needles.  What a peaceful, non-urban setting!

I’ve been by the Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area three or four times looking for the Red-cockaded Woodpeckers that nest there (read about previous trips here and here). And yesterday, I finally saw one.  Kevin knew exactly what to look for and spotted this one (that I missed) on my side of the car – thanks Kevin!

Red-cockaded WoodpeckerRed-cockaded Woodpecker

It really helps to go out with someone familiar with the place and the species you’re looking for.  Kevin mentioned that he’d been through with our local Audubon group and they pointed out many areas and what to watch for in each.

I have seen Bobwhites before, but this one running across the road was cute!

Bobwhite crossingBobwhite crossing

And I’ve seen Eastern Bluebirds before, but didn’t have a good a photo of one.

Eastern BluebirdEastern Bluebird

We also saw a raccoon, a couple of deer, Brown-headed Nuthatches, Meadowlarks, Eagles, Swallow-tailed Kites, Snail Kites, Hawks, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and many other birds.  It was quite a trip!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Goodbye, Airstream Ranch

Airstream Ranch The Airstream Ranch that was along I-4 in Central Florida is gone now. It was demolished on February 9th, 2017 to make way for a new RV dealership.

I’ll miss seeing our own “trailer henge” when I drive down I-4.  This is a good reminder to always have your camera with you and make the photo when you see it.  You might not get a second chance!

If you’re interested, here’s a Tampa Bay Times article about the demolition: http://www.tbo.com/news/iconic-airstream-ranch-display-demolished-to-make-room-for-new-airstream-dealership-20170209/(sorry, no longer available)

Here’s the post I wrote about this place in 2013:  https://edrosack.com/2013/03/08/airstream-ranch/

And I have a few other photos in this Flickr album:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157633031564941

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos – before it’s too late!
©2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Viera Wetlands – 1/13/16

Kevin M. offered to help me scout for the Smooth-billed Ani that’s been seen at Viera Wetlands.  I’ve wanted to get over there – so I readily agreed to meet him Friday Morning.

It was the first Friday the 13th of the new year, but our luck wasn’t completely bad.  The day started early with some challenging light and fog at sunrise.  I’m glad I brought my IR modified camera and used it to cut through the limited visibility.  I did get one or two pleasing photos, including this one.  But it’s a B&W sunrise! What’s up with that?

The boardwalk by the boat ramp in the fog The boardwalk by the boat ramp in the fog – at SR 520 and the St. Johns River

Kevin led us right to the Smooth-billed Ani (thanks Kevin!).  The light was still poor and we ended up coming back later for a better look / image.  These aren’t normally found this far north in Florida and they’re unusual looking with a very large beak – fun to see.  People have also reported a close relative (Groove-billed Ani) on Apopka Wildlife Drive.

Smooth-billed AniSmooth-billed Ani

We saw Scaups, Mottled Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, Limpkins, White Pelicans, a Wilsons Snipe, a Great Horned Owl, Coots, Moorehens, Roseate Spoonbills, and Osprey among other things.

Hooded Merganser pairHooded Merganser pair

Mom and juvenile Limpkin about to enjoy escargotMom and juvenile Limpkin about to enjoy escargot

The light was spotty all morning with periods of rain.  There were a couple of images I tried  that didn’t work out.  I’m going back soon to try again.  NOTE:  Their website says that Viera Wetlands is closed January 16 – 20.  Plan accordingly.

Based on this post and my previous one, I think you can see that the bird activity has picked up here in Central Florida.  It’s time to get out and enjoy our natural wonders.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. Now, go make some photos!

©2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Regarding image selection

Editors note:  Although I’m feeling much better, I’m still going to take a sick day.  I’ll repeat this post from September 2014.  If you haven’t read it before, I think it’s still very relevant and worth a look.  If you have – then I apologize for the repeat.


If you use raw format in your photography, they look different from jpg photos.  Raw format is just the data read directly off of the sensor with no processing by the camera.  Depending on how you configure your camera and software, raw image contrast and sharpening can be very low, white balance may not be optimized, and exposure is often set for capture / low noise instead of display / print.. This can make it tough to judge raw photos and decide which ones merit further processing.

When I returned from Maine and reviewed my photos, I bypassed some.  When I finished working on the ones I’d identified as “selects”, I went back and re-looked at those I’d set aside.  Some of them deserved attention.

A calm morning on Bubble Pond
A calm morning on Bubble Pond

It’s not just raw images that can be difficult to evaluate.  Infrared photos usually need processing to optimize too.

Bass Harbor Light
Bass Harbor Light

And multi image panoramas make seeing composition and field of view a challenge before the individual frames are stitched together.

Behind Sand Beach
Behind Sand Beach

I can’t tell you how to rate your images and select your best.  But what I can tell you is to be very careful not to discard something before you’re very sure that it’s not worth pursuing.  Give your photos a second chance.  Learn your software so you know how far you can go with adjustments.  And as with any thing worth pursuing, practice will make you better.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

A Jacksonville Jaunt

Although there’s no official definition, Wikipedia’s article about Central Florida (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Florida) says Jacksonville is outside the region. I also consider it to be outside the region – it’s such a long drive and I seldom go up there. But there are a great many photo ops around the city and it’s well worth exploring.

Which is what MK, Lynn, and I did last weekend.  And it was a great weekend for a day trip to national parks and monuments since August 25, 2016 was the 100th anniversary of the National Park System.

Our first stop (other than breakfast!) was at the Fort Caroline National Memorial, which was one of the first French settlements in America (around 1562).  The rangers were setting up to serve National Park birthday cake when we were there.  The rain started coming down pretty hard and I’m trying to control calories, so we moved on.

Fort Caroline rampart Fort Caroline rampart. Along the St. Johns river near Jacksonville, Florida.

I haven’t used my infrared camera for a while and brought it along this time.  Most of the photos I liked best from this trip were IR.  Kingsley Plantation is a well preserved / restored example of pre-Civil War Florida homesteads.  Zephaniah Kingsley moved there in 1814.  The site does a good job describing life during those times, including the use of slave labor to produce cotton, citrus, sugar cane, and corn.  Tours inside the plantation house are by reservation only and were full so we’ll have to see that next time.

Kingsley Plantation - main house Kingsley Plantation – main house. 5 frame infrared panorama

On the way up to Cumberland Island National Seashore, Lynn discovered Amelia Island Light in Fernandina Beach.  We managed to find it in the middle of a neighborhood after a wrong turn or two.  I’m glad we went by – I thought the vultures flying around the structure were photogenic.  I’m also glad I could add it to my collection of Florida lighthouse photos.

A kettle of vultures around Amelia Island Light A Kettle of vultures around Amelia Island Light. I combined birds from several infrared exposures to capture as many of the birds as possible in my image.

You get to Cumberland National Seashore via ferry from Saint Marys, Georgia.  The ferry’s also by reservation and runs only twice a day, so if you want to spend time on Cumberland Island, plan in advance.  I wandered down the street while MK and Lynn finished in the gift shop and found this interesting old building.

An old building on the street in St. Marys Georgia An old building  in St. Marys, Georgia, across from the ferry dock. Single infrared exposure.

This was a long drive from Winter Springs, but well worth it.  We have lots of ideas for where to go back and spend more time.

If you’re interested, here’s one other blog post that includes photos from near Jacksonville (Little Talbot Island State Park).  And here’s a folder where I’m collecting images from that area.  Coincidentally, they’re mostly infrared.

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

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Utah road trip – Chapter 2

As promised, this is the second installment of images from our trip to Utah.  You can revisit chapter one at this link to see photos from Cedar Breaks and Brian Head Peak.  This time, I’ve included images from Bryce Canyon, Zion, Red Canyon, and the road to Capitol Reef.  At the end of the post are two photos MK made.  I don’t often include “behind the scenes” photos, but maybe you’ll like them as much as I do.

Agua Canyon HoodooAgua Canyon Hoodoo, Bryce Canyon National Park

The first four photos in this post are all stitched panoramas.  I found it very hard to fit Utah landscapes into a single frame!  I made the one above with a 200mm equivalent telephoto lens.  I wanted to show a lot of detail in the foreground hoodoo and bring the hazy background closer to make the hoodoo stand out.  I like the result.

Hoodoos watch the sun riseHoodoos watch the sun rise.  Black and white infrared panorama from our drive through Red Canyon on Route 12.

I brought my infrared converted camera on the trip and used it often.  It’s good to have when the visible light gets harsh, since the scene will often look different in IR.  In the composition above, the two almost human looking hoodoos on the top of the cliff drew my eye.  They seemed to be enjoying the sunrise too.  I also liked the way the IR light was hitting the trees and the cliff on the far left.

A switchback near Nepworth WashA switch back near Nepworth Wash, Zion National Park.  

The locals kept warning us about congestion in the parks and there were a lot of people at Zion.  But compared to Orlando we thought the traffic and crowds were pretty light – especially for a holiday weekend.  I composed the frame above to leave two buses and their people mostly out of view on the right.

Desert stormsDesert storms. This is a false color infrared panorama made along Route 12 between Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and Capitol Reef National Park.  

The clouds and rain storms were awesome on the day we drove over to Escalante and Capitol Reef.  IR does well with clouds.  I like the way the ones above look almost three-dimensional.

And here are the two “behind the scenes” images:

Brian Head Peak
Ed and his Nikon (not too close to the edge!) at 11,307 feet on Brian Head Peak.  Photo by MK Rosack, used with permission
MK and Ed at Rainbow Point, Bryce Canyon
MK and Ed at Rainbow Point, Bryce Canyon – we weren’t very tired at this point in the morning – that came later.  Photo by MK Rosack, used with permission.

If you’re interested, you can see more photos from this trip in my Utah album on Flickr.  And you can click on the ones in the post to see larger versions.  I really enjoyed the tour and definitely want to go back and spend more time in this extremely scenic area.

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

©2016, Ed Rosack and MK Rosack. All rights reserved.

Flower in IR

Keith H. had his Olympus EM-5 MII camera converted to infrared, so one day after lunch we stopped by Central Winds Park in Winter Springs so he could test it.  I’ve had my IR E-PL5 for a while, but wanted to see how it worked with the Oly 50 – 140mm f/2.8 lens.

Flower in IRFlower in IR

This frame was at ISO 200, 150mm (300mm equivalent), f/5.6, 1/80 second.  It’s handheld, but I braced the camera and the winds were calm so the shutter speed was high enough to prevent motion blur.  And the long focal length and close focus makes the blurred background look very nice.  So I think this lens works well in IR.

The processing was comparatively straightforward.  I ran it through DxO Optics Pro for noise reduction and detail improvement.  The rest was in Lightroom:  Crop, exposure, contrast, clarity, to taste; spot removal for small specs of dirt on the flower; and then small doses of post-crop vignette and de-haze to get to an initial false color IR image.

As a last step, I tried something new.  Instead of converting to Black and White, I played around with the vibrance slider to partly desaturate the colors in the image.  This gave me the “pseudo B&W” you see above.  I like this rendering and I’m going to try it in the future for IR images.

If you have any questions about this, feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

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

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.