Tag Archives: landscape

Out of practice

It doesn’t take very long to forget about some things. Good habits lapse and bad ones take over quickly.

I hadn’t been out photographing in about three weeks and was anxious to go last week. So I got up early Wednesday morning and headed over to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge – one of my favorite spots. Although I managed to come back with some photos I like, all did not go well. Turns out I was out of practice and there were several issues that made me miss shots. So today, I have a few reminders of things not to do. Maybe my mistakes will help someone else.

Morning glow Morning glow – from Gator Creek Road

  • I didn’t check the MINWR website before I went. If I had, I would have seen: “The Black Point Wildlife drive will be closed for two weeks for annual maintenance beginning 8/19/21.” Luckily, there are plenty of spots to explore in the refuge, so this wasn’t a critical error. But somewhere else, it could have been. Check the website!
Silhouettes Silhouettes

  • I hadn’t reset my camera / lens. My long zoom has a focus limiter switch. You can choose the full range of focus (2.4m – infinity) or limit it to one of two ranges. I usually keep it set to the 10m – infinity selection which speeds up focus response for birds in flight. I’d used it at home though for a close up (2.4m – 10m) and put it back in the case without reseting it. Then when I pulled it out at MINWR to photograph a distant bird, it wouldn’t focus. Fortunately (unfortunately?) I’ve made this mistake before, and it didn’t take long to correct. But it was confusing and I did miss a shot. Reset your camera and lens to defaults when you put them away.
Bird Buddies Bird Buddies

  • A lot of the time, I have my camera in my lap so it’s ready to use on short notice. But at one point while driving down Biolab Road, I’d put it in the open case on the seat next to me. Of course, a huge gator picked that time to stroll across the road in front of me. I probably wouldn’t have made the shot even if I’d been ready, but I would’ve had a better chance if the camera had been closer. Keep your camera ready at all times.
  • I’m really upset at myself about this last one. At some point during the trip I’d set my aperture to a small f-stop to increase my depth of field. And I forgot to change it back to wide open (the default – see above!!!). This slowed my shutter speeds and ruined a few photos due to motion blur that I wish I’d gotten. I usually don’t check my photos all the time, but the instant feedback you can get with digital cameras is wonderful – if you use it. Inspect what you’ve captured every once in a while so you can catch problems.
Morning meal Morning meal. A 1/125s shutter speed was fine for a still subject.

Header image: Looking west from Biolab Road, Infrared, B&W. Full version here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/51424824946/in/dateposted-public/

These mistakes are embarrassing – I hope I don’t repeat them the next time I’m out. And I hope they help you too!

“That is what you should not do. So let that be a lesson to you.”

Berenstain Bears: THE BIKE LESSON

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Please take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, avoid some mistakes and make some photos!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Show up for the Show, and Share

We live in an extraordinary universe. Nature’s gorgeous creations are all around us. Photography is about sharing a small part of the beauty we each experience with others.

One of those mornings One of those mornings

Scenes worth photographing aren’t only at iconic photo spots. And images from those might be over shared anyway. Go out wherever you are and find inspiration. And make photos. And show us what you’ve seen. The hardest part is getting up and going out.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. If you can, show up for the show, make some photos, and share them!


Hurricane Ida is expected to hit Louisiana today – it’s a very dangerous storm. Be careful out there and please take care of yourselves and each other.

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Working a scene

Sometimes when I’m out photographing at dawn, I’ll see someone stop, hop out of their car, make a single photo, then get back in and leave. Will they get a good image? Maybe. But they’d have a better chance if they could invest some time trying different compositions and settings to see what works best.

Brewing storm Brewing Storm: 6:24 am, 20 mm, ISO 100, f/5.6, Blended exposures (2.5 and 0.8s)

On a recent morning at dawn, I photographed a photogenic thunderstorm from the St. Johns River boat ramp on SR 50 for about an hour. As the light changed, I tried different lenses and techniques and I’m pretty happy with the images I came home with.

Sunrise through a thunderhead Sunrise through a thunderhead: 6:52 am, 39 mm, ISO 100, f/11, Blended exposures (1/125 – 1/30s)

I thought you’d like to see these examples from that morning. In each caption, I’ve listed the time I made the photo and the settings I used. Maybe you can take away some ideas for your next dawn photo excursion. If you have any questions or want more details about what I did, please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer.

A storm across the river A storm across the river: 7:24 am, 160mm, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/320s exposure, 5 frame panorama

Header image: Thunderhead and mist over the marsh: 6:39 am, 105 mm, ISO 100, f/8, Blended exposures (1/4 – 1/60s). Full image at https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/51378599007/in/dateposted-public/

The light and colors varied tremendously while I was there. I enjoyed watching them evolve and using different settings / focal lengths to capture the changes and include or isolate parts of the scene.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Be careful out there and please take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, work a scene!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

More landscapes

A short post today with more images from my last trip to MINWR.

Dawn over the anchorage Dawn over the anchorage

I suppose we all occasionally struggle with photography – finding something to point our cameras at can be difficult. Other times, it seems easy and images almost make themselves. My last trip to MINWR was like that – I came home with more than a normal number of landscapes I really like.

Across the marsh Across the marsh

I felt like I was really in the “zone”. Every composition I tried looked good to me. And they still looked good when I got home.

Wide Water Wide Water

Anyway, here they are.

Fun fact: These were made with three different cameras: A Sony full frame, an Olympus Micro Four Thirds, and an iPhone. Can you tell which is which? If you’re interested in the answers, you can click on these to see larger versions (and EXIF data).

Header image: Another view of the marina. Larger version: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/51349701361/in/dateposted-public/

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Covid cases in Florida are at an all time high. Be careful out there and please take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, make some photos!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Merritt Island NWR – July 21, 2021

Our weather’s been seasonably hot and humid here in Central Florida. We’re very definitely in the dog days of summer. According to Wikipedia, they’re called that because historically they’re associated with the summer-time rise of Sirius (Canis Major – the “Dog Star”) in the night sky.

Anyway, mid-summer isn’t the best time for birds / wildlife but I really wanted to do a bit of photography. So I packed some camera gear and headed out toward Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge at zero dark thirty last Wednesday to see what I could see.

There was a nice view near the entrance to the refuge about 25 minutes before sunrise:

Titusville Marina at dawn Titusville Marina at dawn

I drove around Gator Creek Road next although there was little activity and I didn’t make any photos.

Black Point Wildlife Drive was a different story. There were a few of our regular resident birds:

Reddish Egret Reddish Egret

Watching Watching Osprey

And I lucked into a feeding frenzy where Herons and Egrets were “fly fishing” for minows in a small pool of water.

The light was harsh, but it was a great place to practice birds-in-flight photography. They move fast and erratically chasing the fish. Looking through the camera with my right eye while watching the wider scene with my left helped me anticipate the action before I could see it through the lens.

Fly fishing 2 Fly fishing 2

According to the iBird app on my phone, Northern Flickers are here year round, but I don’t spot them very often. When I do they’re usually skittish – this one was no exception. But it decided to fly ahead of me along the road and I followed along slowly at a distance. It finally stopped for a few seconds on the side of a palm tree in some pretty good light and I was able to jump out of the car and make this image.

Northern Flicker Northern Flicker

While I was over there, I went by Veterans Memorial Park to check on the repairs they’ve been doing. The area’s been closed since way back in September 2017 due to damage from Hurricane Irma. It took a while, but now it’s open again and back on my list of favorite sunrise spots!

Sunrise at Veterans Memorial Park Sunrise at Veterans Memorial Park

I like going to MINWR in the dog days of summer when it’s quiet. It may not be the greatest time for wildlife, but there’s still plenty to see and photograph. As a bonus there are usually fewer people there too. I had Black Point all to myself for most of my drive – a very special privilege and well worth getting up early for.

Header image: A Snowy Egret, also “fly fishing”. Larger version here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/51327744874/in/dateposted-public/

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Covid is surging out there again. Please take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, make some photos!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Developing Clouds

I was on my way home through some rain one day last week when the sky started to look very interesting. I stopped by the house, picked up a camera (I know – I should have had it with me!) and headed up toward Lake Jesup to make a few photos. I’m glad I did – the clouds got even more dramatic!

Squall Line Squall Line

They were developing quickly. These photos were all made within about 40 minutes.

On the way On the way

The clouds varied in different spots and directions. I stopped several times to make photos.

Weather across the water Weather across the water

This last photo is of some mammatus clouds. If you click on it to view a larger version on Flickr, you can see an airliner flying just below the clouds. I hope passengers were getting a good view and the ride wasn’t too bumpy.

Into the Mammatus Sky Into the Mammatus Sky

The last time I wrote specifically about photographing Florida weather was in 2015: (https://edrosack.com/2015/10/17/photographing-florida-weather/). I think the weather photo hints from that post are still relevant:

  • Although you can see interesting weather all year, the best time here is summer afternoons and evenings.
  • The storms are big.  Many times I find myself using a wide-angle lens or stitching panoramas for this kind of photography. The photos in this post were made with a 20mm lens. Some situations (like this thunderstorm) benefit from a longer focal length.
  • You can shoot from inside your car in many cases or just dodge the showers.  Bring a lens cloth and maybe a towel or some plastic to cover  your camera if it’s not weather resistant.
  • Be careful with exposure.  If you have clear sky behind the clouds you can easily blow out highlights in the image which will be tough to fix in post.
  • When processing your photos, try using some mid-range contrast / clarity to bring out details in the clouds.  Don’t go too far though or your results will look unrealistic.
  • Find yourself some good foreground locations in advance so you’ll be ready to head out when the weather gets interesting.
  • And be careful – don’t get struck by lightning or ruin your equipment!

Clouds and weather are often threatening and dangerous. But sometimes they’re interesting and beautiful. Be careful, and if they develop, make some photos.

You can browse more weather related posts on the blog at this link: https://edrosack.com/?s=weather. If you click on the photos above, you can see larger versions on Flickr. I’ve also collected other Florida Cloud and Storm photos that you can browse in this set.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other. And when you can, make some photos!

Header image: Clouds over the hill. Larger version here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/51310975255/in/dateposted-public/

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Picking a Print

We’ve been slowly (Lynn thinks too slowly!) making prints for our family room. We like metal prints and have been pleased with ones we’ve ordered from MPix. When they sent us a 25% off coupon last week, it was time for another order.

Having images tagged and organized in Lightroom is a big help for something like this. Using its filtering capabilities helped me quickly come up with some (too many) candidates. It was also easy to choose images based on size. I needed enough pixels for a quality larger print.

Candidate images

I spent a few minutes converting some I thought would look good to monochrome. I sorted them based on which ones I liked the best and then asked Lynn to help. We narrowed our B&W choices down to the ones you see below. They’re in date order, along with info about each.

Stormy Shore Stormy Shore; Casey Key, FL; June 2015, 8 frame panorama; 8863×6064

Anhinga - full length portrait Anhinga – full length portrait; Gatorland, FL; March 2016; 5 frame panorama; 7665×11204

Field of Flowers Field of Flowers; Advance, WI; August 2017; 3 frame panorama; 5167×4134

Cocoa Beach Pier before dawn Cocoa Beach Pier before dawn; Cocoa, FL; October 2018; Single frame (Olympus Hi res mode); 10196×6797

"Who are you lookin' at?" (B&W) Who are you lookin’ at? Viera Wetlands, FL; January 2020; 2 frame panorama; 8312×5541

In the end we liked the photo of the deer the best. I think we can appreciate looking at it for a while. Our print should get here next week – I hope it turns out as well as the others we’ve ordered from Mpix.

Do you make prints of your photos? Have you tried metal prints? How do you pick the ones you hang on your walls?

Header image: Lake Eola in downtown Orlando; January 2013; Single frame; 7348×5046


It looks like tropical storm Elsa is heading our way. If you’re in the projected path, stay up to date and stay safe.

And for those of you in the US, Happy Independence Day!


Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, make some prints!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

A Marvelous Morning After All

Have you ever had one of those photography outings? The kind where you’re not sure any of the photos will be worth the effort? Where it feels like you’re just going through the motions?

 Hindsight: Perception of the significance and nature of events after they have occurred.

https://www.thefreedictionary.com/hindsight

I hadn’t been to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge since March. The weather forecast when I got up at zero-dark-thirty last Thursday wasn’t good: Overcast, hot, and probably buggy because of the rain we’ve had recently. I went anyway and on the drive over, the clouds were pretty thick. I stopped at a favorite spot and made a few photos. The light was mostly dull, but there was a minute or so when the clouds lit up.

A nice morning after all A marvelous morning after all: Gator Creek Road panorama

There wasn’t much wildlife along Gator Creek Road, but the sun was back-lighting some flowers along the water. I tried a few photos, hoping to catch the early morning colors in the background. The shadows of the stamen and stigma on the flower petal were a nice bonus!

Wild flower 1 Wild flower 1: Morning-Glory(?)

The hot summer months aren’t the best time to see wildlife here in Central Florida and I didn’t spot much on Black Point Wildlife Drive, either. But I made a few photos of our colorful residents. The clouds made for diffuse light and soft shadows, although to get a good exposure, my ISO settings were running between 3200 and 6400. A little noise / grain in an image is better than no image, right?

Green Heron Green Heron

Blue Heron Blue Heron

There were lovely patches of wild flowers on Black Point too:

Wild flower 2 Wild Flower 2

I normally see several Manatees at the Bairs Cove boat ramp. On Thursday I only got a brief glimpse of a single one. There’ve been reports of a lot of Manatee deaths this year. I wonder if that’s why. Anyway, while looking for them I found this place by the canal that I’d never noticed before. I liked the viewpoint.

By the boat ramp By the boat ramp

Driving home Thursday morning my thoughts were mixed. I’d enjoyed getting out and seeing the refuge again, but I wasn’t sure I’d gotten any good photos. Most of what I remembered seeing in the view finder didn’t seem that great. When I started looking at them on the computer, I was happy with how they turned out. There’s something about the light that morning that appeals to me.

So:

  • You can’t know how a photo trip will turn out before you go. You can’t even be sure how much you’ll like the photos before you go through them.
  • If it feels like you’re just going through the motions, go ahead and do your best. You might be surprised by the results.
  • Hindsight could be another name for photography. Your photos let you perceive the significance and nature of a trip after it’s over.
  • In hindsight, my morning was marvelous after all.

Header image: A panorama of the wetland across the road from the Black Point exit.

By the way, Happy Father’s Day to all Dad’s out there! Many thanks for everything you do to make the world a better place.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other. And when you can, make some photos!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Tennessee – May 2021

Here’s one more post to finish up with photos from our road trip. These are all from time we spent at and near the new Central Florida Photo Ops field office in Nashville, Tennessee.

I’d never heard of the Parthenon in Nashville’s Centennial Park before MK took us there. It was originally built for Tennessee’s Centennial Exposition in 1897 to celebrate Nashville’s nickname: “Athens of the South”.

Nashville Parthenon 1 Nashville Parthenon (iPhone)

The original structure was meant to be temporary. Nashvillians liked it so much that they didn’t want to tear it down – so they kept patching and repairing it until 1920 when the city decided to rebuild it with permanent materials. In 1982, work started on the statue of Athena which was completed in 1990, making this an exact size and detail replica of the original temple in Athens, Greece – both inside and out.

The surrounding Centennial Park grounds are beautiful too with many things in bloom while we were there.

Centennial Park flowers, by the Nashville Parthenon Centennial Park flowers, by the Nashville Parthenon (Thanks for this idea MK!)

The next photo is a multi-frame, stitched panorama I made of Nickajack Reservoir on the Tennesee River. It was another one of the very pleasant scenic surprises we encountered at highway rest stops on our journey. This one was along I-24 near Jasper Tennessee.

A peaceful pause A peaceful pause

Natchez Trace is a historic forest trail extending about 440 miles from Nashville to Natchez, Mississippi. It was created and used by Native Americans for centuries. European and American explorers, traders, and emigrants also used it in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Natchez Trace Parkway is a scenic highway running along the route of the original trail. It was built starting in the 1930s and the final sections were completed in 2005.

Natchez Trace Parkway bridge, as seen from a nearby overlook on the north side. Natchez Trace Parkway bridge, as seen from a nearby overlook on the north side.

There are many historic sites along the parkway and sections of the original foot trail are still visible. I’m hoping to explore some of these next time.

The header image is also of the Natchez Trace Parkway, from the base of the bridge by the National Park Service sign.

The Stones River photos in my Memorial Day post from a few weeks ago are from Tennessee too.

I’m collecting all my photos from Tennessee in this album on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157719274946967

We enjoyed our first visit to the area and are looking forward visiting again. Next week though, I’ll try to get back to some Central Florida Photo Ops! Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other. And when you can, make some photos!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Memorial Day 2021

Memorial Day is observed In the US on the last Monday of May. It’s a time set aside to honor and mourn military personnel that have died in the line of duty.

Fence line Stones River Fence line

Lynn, MK, and I visited the Stones River National Battlefield (https://www.nps.gov/stri/index.htm) and Cemetery (https://www.nps.gov/stri/learn/historyculture/nationalcemetery.htm) on our recent trip. Photos from there seem fitting for a Memorial Day post.

Stones River National Cemetery Stones River National Cemetery

The Civil War Battle of Stones River was fought from December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863. There were 24,645 casualties in the battle (12,906 Union and 11,739 Confederate). That’s 31.4% of all troops and the highest percentage of casualties of any major battle in the Civil War.

Fields of fire Fields of fire

Tactically it was inconclusive, but strategically it was very important to the Union. The Confederate threat to Kentucky and Middle Tennessee was neutralized, and the Cumberland River wharfs and Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad were secured as major Union supply routes for the rest of the war. After the battle, Abraham Lincoln wrote to General Rosecrans saying: “You gave us a hard-earned victory, which had there been a defeat instead, the nation could scarcely have lived over.”

Cart Cart

There’s a lot of talk nowadays about how divided we are in the US – and I suppose we are. But we all must search for common ground and strive to overcome our differences so that as Lincoln also said: the “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Artillery Artillery

This last photo (and the header image) are also appropriate for Memorial Day. Lynn and I made a habit of pulling off at rest stops along the Interstate. We almost didn’t visit this one in Kentucky, but I was really glad when we pulled into the parking lot and saw a beautiful field of poppies overlooking the road. I crouched down low to hide the traffic and emphasize the flowers and made this image:

Plentiful poppies II Plentiful poppies II

“In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row, 

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.”

From the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Flanders_Fields)

Ever since Lt. Col. McCrae’s poem was published in 1915, poppies have been a symbol of soldiers lost in war.

You can see other Memorial Day related posts at this link: https://edrosack.com/?s=memorial+day

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other. And remember the fallen.

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved