Tag Archives: pier

Explore and discover – then react

Some photographers plan their photo ops in detail.  In many cases that’s a good approach. Portrait and wedding photography are genres that need advanced planning.  And if you’re going on a once in a lifetime trip, planning is prudent.  Other genres are more reactive (e.g. photo journalism).

I try to do research and planning if I’m going somewhere I haven’t been, but I don’t plan most of my photography.  Especially if I’ve been to a place before, my approach is to explore and discover, and then react to what I find.  Often, I end up with photos that I never imagine when I start out.  Which is loads of fun!

A few weeks ago, I went over to the Sanford Marina to make sunrise photos.  I arrived early and discovered very calm conditions in the harbor.  I reacted with this photo.  It’s nothing like the sunrise I originally went looking for.

Still water, sailboats, and starsStill water, sailboats, and stars – Very early and very calm at the Sanford marina

Last week, I took a ride here in Central Florida along Maytown Road between Osteen and Oak Hill.  It goes through some very undeveloped areas and ends at Seminole Rest, a small park in the Canaveral National Seashore.  In this case, I hadn’t really planned for any photos.  I was just driving to see what’s there.  I was glad to discover this gnarled old tree, although I wish I’d found a little better light to go with it.

Weathered TreeWeathered Tree – Seminole Rest, Canaveral National Seashore in Oak Hill, Florida

This last photo is from back in 2013.  It sat in my archives until this week when I discovered it again and processed it.  It took a while for me to complete my reaction to the scene.

Sun and shadowsSun and shadows – Long exposure under the pier at Cocoa Beach

The photo and video in last week’s post also resulted from the “explore, discover, react” approach.

So what’s the moral of this story?  I suppose it’s this:  If you approach photography like I do, you’d better be ready to react to a scene when you see it.  Know your equipment so you can capture what you need when you discover something.  Even in the dark or in rapidly changing situations.  Know your software capabilities too, so you understand what you need to capture.  Be ready for the opportunities that you find, and the ones that find you.


On a different subject, I realized after I published last week’s blog that embedded video isn’t included in the email.  The Jetpack plugin software that I use doesn’t even put in a link to it.  So if you read the blog only via email and wondered what the video was about, you can click here to view it on YouTube.   And you can always click on the title of the post inside the email to view it on the web.  Sorry for any confusion.


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

©2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Fishing up a storm

I was at the Cocoa Beach Pier last Thursday morning with Tom M.  People were fishing in the surf and the Snook were running.  We watched two large ones caught in just a few minutes and someone told us they’d caught eight so far.  It was easy to see that the fishermen were having a great time.  Their concentration when casting and excitement when they hooked one was obvious.

A little later,  this gentleman wandered over.  I only had to move a little to place him in the middle of the reflection from the clouds and sunrise.

Fishing up a storm
Fishing up a storm 

I had a good time photographing that morning, but it seemed like the fishing was much more enjoyable.  Maybe I should bring fishing gear when I go out with a camera.

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

Cocoa – March 20, 2014

Keith H. mentioned that he’d like to visit the Cocoa Pier.  I hadn’t been in a while and when I checked The Photographer’s Ephemeris, it looked like the sun would rise lined up pretty well with the Pier this week, so we decided to go over.  We arrived early hoping for some star photo ops, but thick clouds and lights on the beach limited star visibility.  I did manage to capture a planet in this frame:

Venus rising past the pier
Venus rising past the pier – The clouds parted for a few moments before dawn

It’s pretty crowded underneath this pier, so the sun alignment wasn’t as big a deal as I hoped.  I caught a glimpse of it through the pilings and clouds just after dawn – here’s what it looked like:

Sunrise under the pier
Sunrise under the pier – The ship visible in the upper left was a bonus.

On the drive back, we stopped to photograph the new Port Canaveral Exploration Tower:

Port Canaveral Exploratio Center
Port Canaveral Exploration Tower – The new building is quite eye-catching! It wasn’t there the last time I drove by.

 A quick, but fun photo excursion.

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

©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Whether the Weather

I usually always leave early on photo expeditions so I can get somewhere in time to catch sunrise.  I have many sunrise photos collected in this set on Flickr.  

Lately, sunrise and I haven’t been getting along.  I show up faithfully, but sunrise doesn’t.  It’ll send its friend fog instead.  Or it’ll come dressed in plain, clear sky attire instead of its fancy, colorful cloud costume.  Or I’ll get frustrated and sleep in, and sunrise puts on a show without me.  I don’t think it likes me anymore.

Marina reflections
Marina reflections – Fog at the Titusville Marina. Panorama, looking east, just before sunrise.

Rock n dawn
Rock n dawn – clear skies at daybreak.  Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Orlando Wetlands Park
Orlando Wetlands Pano – I slept in on this morning and showed up at the park after sunrise when this front was coming through.  I bet it was really nice before I got there.

Well, seriously – I am a bit frustrated that I haven’t captured a good sunrise in a while.   But I know the weather and my luck will change eventually.  And I enjoy getting out and seeing different things even when the sunrise isn’t at its prettiest.

There are a few things I do to try to maximize my chances with the weather.  Persistence is probably the best solution.  The more I go out photographing, the better my chances are of catching a good scene.  And software can help.  My main weather site is Weather Underground.  I usually look at their hourly forecast with precipitation probabilities and cloud cover predictions.  On my phone, I use Mycast and Dark Sky.  Mycast has pretty good forecasts and I can look at IR clouds on its Map tab to see cloud cover even when it’s dark.  The Dark Sky app has excellent short-term predictions – especially about rain.  I also sometimes use Clear Sky Chart.  It’s mainly an astronomy site, but does offer very good cloud cover predictions.

So yes, my relationship with sunrise photography hasn’t been the greatest lately.  But I’m working on it.  I’m sure we’ll eventually get back together.  In the meantime, I’ll enjoy being outdoors and seeing whatever develops.

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

©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Partial Solar Eclipse at Sunrise

I hadn’t been paying enough attention to astronomy news. Luckily my loyal Sherpa was (thank you Lynn!), and she mentioned that a partial solar eclipse would  be visible along the US east coast at sunrise on November 3rd.  So I took off for Cocoa Beach where I knew I could get a clear view of the horizon.  This was the scene a little before sunrise.

Mai Tiki Bar
Mai Tiki – before sunrise

Normally clouds are a great thing for sunrise photos.  In this case, though, the eclipse would last only a few minutes, so I worried that the band of clouds low on the horizon would block the view.  But the sun and moon finally did break through so we could watch the last part of the event.

Partial eclipse of the sun

Partial Eclipse of the Sun – As seen from the base of the Cocoa Beach Pier

I wanted to clearly show the sun’s disc so I used my “bird” lens for this photo zoomed in to 400mm.  I was happy that these three people were watching from the end of the pier so I could place  them in the frame.  The sun was extremely bright and I was careful not to burn anything in my camera (or my eyes!).  It was tough to compose since I kept my lens pointed away from the sun most of the time and only glanced briefly through the viewfinder to make images.

I like the way this one turned out.  It was definitely a unique sunrise and well worth the drive over.

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

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Merritt Island – April 10, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, I met photographer Larry Jordan at Gatorland and he mentioned wanting to visit Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. He hadn’t been in long while, so I offered to go with him. It was a great excuse to get out and show off one of my favorite places and it didn’t disappoint. We met before dawn at Space View park for what turned into a pretty sunrise.

Dock at dawn

Dock at dawn

After sunup, we entered MINWR in search of wildlife, first to Gator Creek Road where we saw a few birds including black necked stilts. These unusual looking, pink legged birds are only in Florida for the summer breeding season and I’m glad they’re back already. Next we went to Blackpoint Wildlife Drive to see what was going on there. The initial portion was very quiet, but then the action ramped way up!

Four more black necked stilts were flying all around the first pond on the right. They were very active and noisy in what I think was courtship inspired chasing and calling to each other. We enjoyed watching and photographing them, but decided we’d better move on – we didn’t want to miss out on whatever else was going on. It turns out that was a very good idea.

At the next pond, the first thing I noticed was a flock of White Pelicans. They were pretty, but a bit far off for photos – and just swimming around out there feeding. Then we noticed the Black Skimmers.

I often see these birds along the north shore of the Bennet Causeway leading into MINWR. There, they usually huddle with the gulls and this makes for static looking photos. We didn’t see any there yesterday morning and we found out why at this place. It seems they were all over there and very active. I’ve never seen so much skimming. Long graceful glides over flat water with an uncluttered background, sometimes fairly close to shore. They use their longer, lower bills to slice through the surface searching for fish and write a sharp wake behind them. Wonderful to watch and with such good light, a near perfect opportunity for photographs.

Black Skimmer skimming
Black Skimmer skimming

There were other birds in the pond feeding and flying around close to shore – great conditions for BIF (Birds-in-Flight) photography practice! Several Roseate Spoonbills flew in (toward the camera for a change!) and posed beautifully at nearly perfect angles. We also enjoyed watching a Redish Egret, a very pretty Tri-colored Heron in breeding colors, and many other birds feeding.

Roseate Spoonbill, landing
Roseate Spoonbill, landing

After the excitement at BPWD, I didn’t think it could get any better, but I was hoping to show Larry a Florida Scrub Jay since he hadn’t photographed one before. We drove to Scrub Ridge Trail, parked and walked north along the path where I’ve seen them, but they weren’t there. Feeling a little let down, we walked back to the parking area and a very pretty Scrub Jay was waiting there to welcome us. We each got several photos in different poses / locations.

Our last stop was the Visitor Center. I was hoping that the Painted Buntings would still be around, but they seem to have moved on.

By the way, the 50th anniversary of MINWR is coming up on August 28th. If someone ever asks you about benefits from the US space program, you can mention the establishment of this extraordinary refuge. See this article in Florida Today for more details.

I’ve rambled on for too long so here’s one more landscape from the morning to close this out:

Dock and pier at dawn
Dock and pier at dawn, IR B&W

I had a great time showing Larry around the area and he brought a lot of photo-luck with him! You can click on any of the photos above to see larger versions. You can also see more photos from MINWR in this set on Flickr, Black Point in this set, Birds in this set, and Florida Landscapes in this set. And I have many older posts on the site about MINWR – you can browse through them from this link. Larry posts to Smugmug and you can see his bird photos (including ones from this trip) at this link.

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

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

The sun, the sea, the gull, and me

Kevin M. saw online posts reporting recent sightings of Razorbills and Common Eiders at Sebastian Inlet.  So we decided to twitch down there to see if we could see them.  Along the way, we stopped by the Cocoa Beach Pier for Sunrise.  Photographers are always looking for interesting foreground for our landscape photos.  This time, an obliging gull sat still for me very close to my tripod and added some interest.

The sun, the sea, the gull, and me
The sun, the sea, the gull, and me – The Cocoa Beach Pier at sunrise – My closeness didn’t concern the Ring Billed Gull in the foreground.

After the sun rose, we headed on down A1A and got to Sebastian Inlet around 8:30.  It was my first visit to this state park and all the activity impressed me .  In addition to the birders and photographers, there were many campers, fishermen, boaters, and people just out enjoying a very nice day.  We searched up and down the park for a couple of hours, and talked to the rangers and several other birders but had no luck finding a Razorbill.  Just as we were getting ready to leave, word spread that the Common Eider had been sighted, so we all hurried over to the place marked by a pod of photographers and spotted this bird:

Common Eider
Common Eider – iBird says these don’t get much south of New England, so they are rare in Florida. My second life bird of 2013.

I did make a few more photos that morning.  Here’s an IR of the beach, sand and glare:

The beach
The beach

And here’s a Magnificent Frigatebird.  These tend to soar far overhead and off shore.  This one was a bit closer and lower and this is my best photo of one so far.  There were 9 or more in the area that morning.

A Magnificent Frigatebird glides overhead
A Magnificent Frigatebird glides overhead – I don’t often see these on the east coast of Florida. There were several at Sebastian Inlet this weekend.

We didn’t find the Razorbill, but we saw plenty.  I’m always amazed by what you can see out in nature if you go look.  Give it a try!  Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.