The light was unusual about 15 minutes before sunrise . I don’t think I’ve encountered anything like it before.
Strange light at dawn by the dock (3)
There were only a few clouds near the horizon. The sky was much brighter than the river and things on it. So bright that I knew it would be hard to capture the dynamic range in the scene. I went ahead and started photographing anyway.
Strange light at dawn by the dock (1)
That light lasted about fifteen minutes. I tried single frames, bracketing, and hi / low panoramas to capture it. When I got home and looked at the files, nothing had recorded the whole dynamic range. In hindsight, maybe I could have done a little better by bracketing with a wider set of exposures, or using exposure compensation to lower the overall brightness of the brackets. But I didn’t think of doing that then. I hope I remember next time.
It seems that my frames wanted to be high key, so I processed them for detail in the foreground and let the sky blow out. In the end, I like how they look.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Your visits, comments, and likes are always very welcome and a big motivator for me. Be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And make some photos – even in strange light.
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
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:
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
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.
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
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.
I hope you don’t mind a short post today. I’ve just recovered from a sore throat and laryngitis that I somehow caught in spite of all our pandemic precautions. It wasn’t serious and I’m feeling fine now, but I didn’t get a chance to go on any photo excursions last week.
Anyway, I made this image about a month ago in a favorite spot along the Indian River in Titusville.
It was a good morning
It’s on the western shore, just south of Veterans Memorial Park. The light was changing that morning and I managed to make several photos that I like. For this one, I exposed one frame for the foreground and bracketed three more for the sky. I adjusted them in Lightroom and merged all four manually in Photoshop.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other. And when you can – make some photos!
Veterans Day is still a few days away, but since I only publish once a week, I’m going to jump the gun.
The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month is approaching again and here in the US, we’ll observe Veterans Day. We should keep it in mind all year as a reminder of the debt we owe to every Veteran for protecting us and our freedom with their courage, sacrifice, and service.
View from Veterans Memorial Park, Titusville, Florida
I’d like to share a few quotes that are more eloquent than anything I might come up with.
“America has thrived because citizens have been willing to contribute their voices and shed their blood to challenge injustice”
Barack Obama, November 11, 2010:
“It’s about how we treat our veterans every single day of the year. It’s about making sure they have the care they need and the benefits that they’ve earned when they come home. It’s about serving all of you as well as you’ve served the United States of America.”
“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”
Sunrise over the docks – Veterans Memorial Park, Titusville, Florida
The photos in this post were made at Veterans Memorial Park in Titusville. I used to enjoy stopping by there for a sunrise photo on the way to MINWR. It was damaged in Hurricane Irma in September 2017 and the piers and seawall have been fenced off since then. I’ve stopped every once in a while to check on it, but hadn’t made any photos there. Until recently.
The fence is as ugly as ever, but I managed to poke my lens through and over the top of it for a couple of compositions. I thought they’d make good additions to a post about Veterans.
I searched online for news about this park, but didn’t see anything that was recent. Until it’s repaired, we’ll have to wait to get back out on those docks – and keep working around that fence.
Here’s a portrait of a young Wood Stork in Parrish Park, Titusville from a few weeks ago. I think these birds are interesting and I like the sharp focus and the blurred background isolating the subject.
A portrait of a stork as a young bird
You don’t often see these in urban settings and I’d never spotted one before I got more into wildlife photography here in Florida around 2006. Adults don’t have feathers on their head and upper neck, so this one with its feathers up there mostly gone is a young adult.
Anyway, the reason I wanted to show you this is because this photo reminded me again just how lucky all of us photographers are to be able to use modern cameras and lenses.
The detail you can see in this crop is amazing! There are clouds reflected in its eye and you can easily see sharp individual feather barbules! I guess my point is, get out your camera gear and use it. You might be surprised by what it reveals.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Hang in there, cherish your friends and loved ones, and take care of each other. And if you can – make some photos!
For 39 years, the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum in Titusville has hosted the TICO Warbird Airshow. I’ve heard a lot about it over the years, but hadn’t ever been until my friend Van asked me if I wanted to go with him to this year’s version on March 13 at the Space Coast Regional Airport.
North American B-25 Mitchell bomber flight demo
There was a 50% chance of rain, but the downpour held off for us. I liked the overcast conditions – the clouds made more interesting backgrounds than plain blue sky would have. The forecast may have helped with the crowds too – we found easy parking and a place up front near the demo area.
The planes were mostly older ones, some dating back to World War I:
Snoopy and the Red Baron – WW I aircraft flight demo
Other aircraft flight demos included B-29, F/A-18s, F-16s, MiG 17, F4U Corsair, A-4C Skyhawk, P-51, T-33, F-104, UH-1, and AH-1. They also had static displays including the A-6, F-14, A-10, and S-2 that were in the service when I was (way back when!)
Grumman S-2 static display
Parachute demos, helicopter and airplane rides, and even war-games were also big attractions.
Wargames – World War II Sherman tank on the move. The Germans lost again.
So, a lot to see and photograph. Here are some things to consider if you go:
You’ll mostly need a telephoto lens. Even when flying over the demo area, you’ll want to make the aircraft as large in your viewfinder as possible. I used a 200 – 600mm equivalent lens.
Practice your panning and don’t frame too tight. If you’re not careful, sudden maneuvers (there’s a lot of them) could cut off portions of the planes. A zoom lens helps with the framing.
When photographing the jets, leave even more room – they move fast!
A normal or wide-angle lens will be nice for the static displays. Or use your telephoto for up close details.
Use continuous autofocus
Check your histogram often to make sure the sky in the background isn’t fooling your camera’s exposure meter.
Vary the shutter speed. Try for some photos where the props are blurred, but make sure you keep the airframe itself sharp.
Wear a hat and use sunscreen. Even in the cloudy conditions we had, I got too much sun.
Bring folding chairs or scout out seating areas. We sat up front with excellent visibility.
It was a great show – I’m glad Van invited me! Unfortunately, you’ve missed it for this year – but be ready 2017 or go to another airshow in your area. And during the rest of the year Central Florida folks can stop by the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum – check their website for info.
Click on the photos in this post to see larger versions on Flickr, and I’ve posted more photos from this event in this album.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!