It was once again time for Scott Kelby’s World Wide Photo Walk. Each year, photographers around the world gather on the same day to explore, photograph, share photos with one another, make new friends, and be a part of a great cause. The Worldwide Photo Walk supports The Springs Of Hope Kenya Orphanage, an organization that feeds, houses, educates, and empowers young orphans so that they can grow up to not just survive but succeed. This year there were 24,336 walkers, walking in 1068 locations around the world.
I participated in a walk in Historic Downtown Tituville, Fl. Our walk was lead by Chris Wiley a local fine art photographer. We started our walk in the historic part of Titusville. There are many old turn-of-the-century buildings to photograph. We continued on past the monuments dedicated to space travel. (Titusville is located in close proximity to the Kennedy Space Center.) We ended our walk at the fishing pier under the Max Brewer bridge on the Indian River. Cloud cover thwarted our hopes of a nice sunset. There was, however, a sliver of color in the sky.
I was concentrating mostly on getting some nice architectural abstracts. I like to photograph old crusty, rusty things – something that Titusville has a lot of. It’s always great to get together with other photographers. We had lots of fun! I think I came out with a few good photos to boot. I need to pick one of these photos to enter in the World Wide Photo Walk competition. So it would be great if you could let me know which one you would pick?
click on photo to see larger.
I was looking at some examples of photographs that were taken at night, using the full moon as the light source. This looked like something that I needed to try. So after many moons of bad weather and bad timing, I finally got a chance to try this technique. You don’t need to have a totally full moon, it can be a few days before or after. You need to check a moon phase chart to see when moon rise will be. Hopefully it will be at a decent hour and not after midnight or later. This particular moon rise was at a good time, right about sunset. Using the moonlight is a lot like using the sunlight. If it is low in the sky, you will get some nice shadows. If it is high in the sky, you will get a more even light, but it’s not as harsh as photographing at noon.
Coincidentally, there was an 11pm rocket launch set for the March full moon. This is great! I can photograph the launch and also try out this moonlight photography thing.
The rocket launch was beautiful! Night launches always are beautiful. This was an Atlas V rocket taking supplies to the International Space Station. The full moon was a big help illuminating the foreground of this image. I like how you can see everyone on the dock with a lit up cellphone. You can see a few stars, but the light from the moon dims all but the brightest.
I had a bit of time to kill before the launch, so I took this photo of the bridge. After the launch, I crossed the bridge to the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. This is where I took my midnight landscapes. By this time, the moon was getting pretty high in the sky. It was a very clear night just a few sparse clouds in the distant horizon. A few more clouds would make a very interesting sky, but you take what you get. After you find a nice place to photograph (you will need to scout the area ahead of time) take your time setting up. Your eyes need to adjust to the moonlight. Once they do, you will be amazed at how bright it really is. I was able to work with the camera and walk around without any additional light. Using a flashlight would ruin your night vision and actually make it harder to see. Just be careful that you don’t trip over any alligators.
I was experimenting quite a bit with ISO settings. I settled on ISO 1250 for these images. I will need to do a bit more experimenting to give a solid recommendation. I used f8 and a 6 second shutter speed. I was underexposing a bit. This being my first attempt I did not want to risk overexposing. I think I could have increased the exposure by one stop and still been OK. I had to work the shadows a bit in post. I was able to get more stars in the wider angle image. It looks more like a night photo, the tighter image looks more like it was taken at dusk. The glow on the horizon is not from sunset; it’s the glow of the Titusville city lights. Again the moonlight is overpowering a lot of the stars. If you want a lot of stars you need to photograph on the new moon. You will get the stars, but you will lose the color in the sky and detail in the foreground. You need to keep shutter speed under about 10 seconds to keep the stars from elongating. There is a huge chart to figure this out depending on camera and lens combo, look for the 500 rule.
These photos were taken at midnight, not midday. It’s amazing the colors you can see at night. It’s very eerie being in the marsh at night. The only sounds you hear are the sounds of nature. Wondering what that was that just made a splash in the water? This only adds to the experience.
I came upon this group of sleeping wood storks and spoonbills. I was very careful not to wake them. Every once in a while I could hear one of them ruffling its feathers, but they never moved.
Completing the loop through the salt marsh I couldn’t resist taking another photo of the bridge before heading home. I will need to try this technique a few more times and do some fine tuning. I had a great time photographing my midnight landscapes.
Where am I, inside or outside?
During this years Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival I will be leading a photography field workshop. We will be photographing the A. Max Brewer bridge at night. I will be doing three workshops, Jan 21, Jan 22 and Jan 23. This is one of the many locations on and around the bridge we will be photographing. I hope to see you there!
I was having a quiet breakfast by the pool. The sun was making it’s way higher in the sky. As the sun moved higher, it started to create some interesting light and shadows in the pool. As I said before, “I can’t let interesting light and shadows go unphotographed.” So I went into the house, grabbed my camera, and took a few photos. The water was totally calm and flat, so I did make a few ripples in the water. I thought the image looked better with the ripples, than without the ripples. I like the way they make the light dance on the bottom of the pool. Boggie was looking at me funny, wondering what the heck I was doing.
Click on photo to see bigger.
I recently participated in one of Scott Kelby’s World Wide Photo Walks. Scott Kelby is a photographer who writes and publishes instructional books on Photoshop and Lightroom software. He organizes these photo walks. Photographers from around the world get together and form groups. On the designated day, the groups go to the spot they have chosen and take photographs for two hours. It’s a great way for photographers to share ideas, techniques and have fun. This year there were 1000 groups and 21529 walkers (photographers).
Milton Heiberg is the leader of the group that I joined. Milton is a photographer and photography instructor from Orlando. He also authored several books on photography. I got to know Milton from the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. Milton does several classes and field workshops for the festival. I’m excited to be doing my own photography field workshop on night-time photography, at the 2016 festival in January. Come join me, if you can!
Our group met at the Orlando Wetlands. The Orlando Wetlands is a series of ponds that filter water from the Orlando sewer system. It sounds yucky, I know, but the water is cleaned up before it gets to the ponds. So it’s not really as bad as it sounds. This system not only cleans the water, but it creates a bird paradise.
Our group was concentrating on getting sunrise photos. I was hopefully optimistic about getting a good sunrise. Waking up to rain is never a good sign when you want a good sunrise. Before leaving the house the rain did stop. (It’s Florida, if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes and it will change.) We met before dawn, had a few words of wisdom from Milton. The group walked in the dark to Milton’s favorite sunrise spot. A myriad of sounds filled the air as we walked, gallinules squawked, frogs and gators croaked, owls hooted, and mosquitoes buzzed. We arrived at the sunrise spot with a still overcast sky, although it seemed to be clearing. Sunrise came and went and no sun. We never did see the sun, but there were enough holes in the clouds that I was able to squeak out a few good photos. Getting out in the field with my camera is always a good thing, no matter what the conditions are. We all had lots of fun, and it was a great day. There is a competition for the photos taken on the walks. I need to pick two photos to enter. So if you could help me pick the two favorites, that would help quite a bit!
Click on photos to see bigger.
Here are some of the highlights from the 18th annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival.
Click on photo to see larger.
Birders from all over the United States and several other countries gathered in Titusville, Florida for the SCBWF the last week in January. Although January is typically Florida’s coldest month, and it was one of our coldest weeks. I’m sure visitors from the northeast, who were in the middle of a deep freeze, were happy to be here. Birders both young and old had a great time and saw lots of birds. The youngest birders rivaled even the guides. They didn’t miss a bird and were able to name every one!
Click on photo to see larger.
The early bird catches the worm! Birders tend to take that phrase pretty seriously. No worries though, it’s my favorite time of the day!
Click on photo to see larger.
Back at the exhibit hall you can do some shopping. There is everything from great arts and crafts to that new kayak you have always wanted. Pick out a new pair of binoculars, or plan your next birding trip to some exotic place. Visit the art show and pick out your favorite piece of art. Don’t forget to look at the birding checklist board to see who is seeing what birds where.
Click on photo to see larger.
The entertainment is fantastic! After a long day of birding in the field, save some energy to enjoy one of the evening keynote speakers. You will be glad that you did!
Click on photo to see larger.
Take a class to learn how to be a better birder. Then go out in the field with the best birders in the country, and put what you have learned to use. Don’t be afraid to ask a question. All of the field trip leaders are happy to answer any question you may have. No matter how trivial you may think it is, there is probably another person thinking the same thing, and will be happy you asked the question. These people love to share information, and are happy to help you out. Take advantage of it!
Click on photo to see larger.
Titusville has a large variety of birds. One of the reasons this area is a great place to go birding is the diversity in habitats. There are several types of habitats in very close proximity. This makes it very easy to see many different birds in a short period of time.
If you hang out here too long, don’t be surprised if you start acting like a bird!
A great time was had by all! If you have never been to the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, I hope you will plan on being here next year! If you have been to the festival, I hope to see you again next year!
My wife Robbie and I recently had the opportunity to visit Space Shuttle Atlantis in her new home at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
In preparation of Atlantis’ arrival, the Visitor Complex underwent a facelift. From the new entrance, to the new building that houses Atlantis. At the entrance to the Atlantis exhibit there is a replica external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters that are huge! From Titusville looking across the Indian River at an actual Space Shuttle on the launch pad you really needed to strain your eyes to see the darn thing. The new replica tank and SRB’s can easily be seen from almost anyplace in Titusville. They make a very striking entrance to the new exhibit. After watching the construction and Atlantis moving from the Space Center to the Visitor Complex it was very interesting to see how it all came together. I think they did a fantastic job!
Once inside the exhibit visitors are treated to an entertaining, humorous, and informative short video about the history of rockets.
Visitors are then moved into an amazing theater. A video of Atlantis launching and working in space is projected onto the walls and ceiling of the theater. You can feel the vibration as Atlantis thunders into space. It’s really amazing to watch.
As the theater fades to a black star filled sky, a large door opens and you find yourself face to face with the real Atlantis.
As you walk out of the theater, Atlantis is looking you in the eye. She is very proud of the many accomplishments that were made in her 26 years of service.
(click on an image to see larger images)
The upper level of the exhibit is filled with information about Atlantis and the 33 missions that Atlantis flew. On one of her missions, Atlantis and her crew repaired the Hubble Space Telescope. Getting a good view of Atlantis from any angle imaginable is not the only thing to see. There is a shuttle cockpit mockup where you get to see what it was like to fly a shuttle. There are very cool interactive displays. In one of them you are looking at a video of an astronaut during a space walk. Then you become the astronaut. As you move your hand the astronaut moves his hand using a tool to make a repair.
Behind Atlantis there is a HUGE video screen with images of the Space Station and astronauts making space walks. You don’t need to use too much imagination to feel like you are in space with Atlantis.
Looking from the upper level down to the lower level, you get a good look at the belly of the beast. Also you may be wondering, how do I get down there? You have several options. One you could take the elevator, or…
You could take the eery red hallway! Or even better, you can do what we did, and take the way cool sliding board to the lower level! That was fun!
Before you head down the slide, you may want to take a tour of the model International Space Station. It’s like a habitrail for humans. You get a feeling of what it’s like to spend some time in the Space Station. There is a bit of a thrill as you encounter a clear tube 30ft or so above the floor. The girl in the photo was hesitant to cross the gap. I think a push from her friend got her moving through the tube.
Once you make it to the lower level, aside from seeing Atlantis flying over your head, there are many more things to see. I’m not sure I saw everything. There are more interactive simulators, where you can land an orbiter, aka shuttle, or use the robotic arm. They have the Airstream Astrovan on display that carried the astronauts to the launch pad. I’ve always thought the Astrovan was pretty cool. There are lots of things to see and do at the new Atlantis exhibit. We had a great time! Oh, and don’t worry since you need to exit through the gift shop, you will be able to pick up a memento, or two, of your visit with Atlantis. So grab your favorite Atlantis T-shirt and come see Atlantis in her new home!
I was in Merritt Island Fl. early one morning. My lens was treated to a beautiful sunrise over the Banana River. The Banana River is not a banana though, they just call it that because it’s sort of shaped like a banana. It’s not really a river either, it’s a saltwater lagoon. So it’s not a banana, and it’s not a river, but it’s a really pretty place for a sunrise.
We have been on the edge of tropical storm Andrea all day. For us anyway the storm has just been a big rain maker. We can use the rain, so that’s a good thing. It’s been windy but just enough to get the flags flapping. For our first tropical storm of the season we are getting of easy.
I took a short walk on the beach the other day. I found myself under the Cocoa Beach Pier. As I was walking around watching the waves as they advanced and then retreated over the sand. My eye was drawn to the reflections on the thin layer of water as it slipped back into the ocean. I have always been fascinated with reflections. I liked the way the water flowing back into the ocean was distorting the reflection, giving it an eery feeling.
Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Mi esposa y yo pensamos que una buena manera de celebrar el Cinco de Mayo sería contar con una margarita en la playa. Así que mezclamos un poco de margaritas y dirigirse a la playa. Este es un gran momento del año para estar en la playa en la Florida. La humedad es todavía baja, la temperatura no muy por encima de 80. Es sólo el tiempo perfecto para un viaje a la playa. Llovió todos los días de la semana pasada. Así que estábamos listos para un día soleado en la playa. Fue un muy buen día de relax en la playa.
Spring has sprung with an explosion of color, like fireworks on the 4th of July!
I needed to get a good photo of a red shoulder hawk. I was at the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management area a few weeks ago and I saw a nice one. The hawk was hunting in a location that would make it easy to get a good photo. So when I needed to get a red shoulder, I thought I would return to the TWMA. Hopefully my friend, the red shoulder hawk, would still be there. I knew it was a long shot; things rarely work out the way we want them to. I arrived at the Tosohatchee in the morning to take advantage of the morning light. I drove to the place where the he had been hunting on my previous trip. Unfortunately, he was nowhere to be seen. I drove deeper into the TWMA to maybe find another hawk. I did see a kestrel, but he was too far away to get a good photo. I thought this may be a good time to go back and check on my red shoulder friend. I drove back to his hunting grounds and still no hawk. I still had lots of time, so I thought I would drive around and see what else I might find. I only got a few yards and I saw a pretty swallowtail butterfly on a thistle. I got out of the car and started to photograph the butterfly.
I took quite a few photos when I finally looked around me. There was not just the one butterfly; there were 15 – 20 of them on thistles all around me.
I was having fun with the butterflies when I heard my hawk calling close by. For the longest time I could only hear it calling to its mate. Then I saw it flying over the trees. The hawk was heading toward the area that I had seen him in before. I followed his flight through the trees. I was looking through the trees and I saw him. He landed in a dead tree. The tree that he landed on, although it was in plain sight, it was way too far away to get a good photo. We sat and watched each other for the longest time.
He looked at me and I looked at him. He must not have been totally looking at me. He jumped off of his tree and down to the ground, as if he found something to pounce on. I watched for the longest time, but I never saw him again that day. I failed on this trip to get my hawk photo, but just because you fail at your main objective, that doesn’t mean the whole trip needs to be a failure. Even though I wasn’t able to take any great photos, I still saw lots of cool things and had a great time in the field!
It’s another month, and another issue of Junsjazz Digital Magazine has been published. Issue #7presents a sampling of minimalist photographs from my image collection. It’s all about simplicity and order, and organized emptiness, if you can call it that. As tradition for the past four issues now, half of the magazine (which has grown to 34 pages from an original of eight) is devoted to guest photo bloggers and their works. I’d like to thank the following who have responded to my invitation:
Sally W. Donatello
Stephen G. Hipperson
Scott D. Hill
I extend my gratitude to them for generously sharing their impressive images through this digital magazine medium. Also starting with this issue is a new feature – a collaborative piece between a photographer and a poet – literally a fusion of imagery from the visual and the…
View original post 32 more words
I really enjoy foggy mornings. The fog gives the landscape a surreal feeling. A foggy morning seems very quiet and tranquil to me. The fog changes the way everything looks. It’s like you are in a totally different world.
Here are a few of my favorite images from the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge near Deland Florida:
Living in Florida, I have not been longing for spring’s long-awaited arrival. We actually have had spring most of the winter this year. Having spent most of my years in the north, I do sympathize with my northern friends. I think the most used subject for posts the past few weeks has been some form of “we can’t wait for spring to get here!” I just want you to know that even though, I am here, and you are there, I do feel your pain! Also I have been very jealous of all of your beautiful wintry, snow, and ice photos you have all been taking. I hope you don’t get to take too many more of them this year! 🙂
I can’t pass interesting light and shadows without photographing them. I was on my back porch this morning and I saw how the light was falling on my fern and one of the chairs. So I grabbed my camera and took a few photos.They sit next to each other so they were getting the same morning light. The light was the same but it affected the two objects differently.
Congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens! Watching the Ravens in the Super Bowl brought back fond memories of Baltimore. I grew up in Pennsylvania, but it was a short road trip to Baltimore. I have always enjoyed visiting Baltimore, especially the Inner Harbor. If you have never been to the Inner Harbor, you should definitely put it on your list of places to visit. Even if you’re not a Ravens fan. My last visit to Baltimore was my favorite because I got the chance to spend a day with my daughter Nicole. It’s a very special time when a father can spend some time with his daughter. Nicole is a guidance counselor at a high school located just steps away from the Inner Harbor. On this particular trip north, she picked me up at the airport and I spent the night at her house. The next morning we went back to school together. She took me on a tour of her school. It was very nice having her show me where she works. She is very proud of her students and the work they do at the school, and daddy is very proud of his little girl and the work that she does for her students! It was a great start to a very special day with my daughter Nicole! Unfortunately, although the school year had not started, it was a work day for my daughter. So while she was getting some work done, I took a walk to the Inner Harbor. I was able to shoot some great photos of the Inner Harbor but it was spending time with Nicole that was the highlight of the day.
A week in the life a SCBWF photographer
I have spent the past week as a photographer for the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. It was a great week for birding! The weather was fantastic! I got the chance to speak with many of the festival attendees. Many of them were from northern parts of the country, caught in the grip of a frigid cold snap, seeing temperatures well below zero! They all agreed it was way better to be birding in Florida. The birds were great as well, I will need to check the festival stats to see how many species were counted at this years festival. I was able to add a few new birds to my short, but growing life list. I’m more of a photographer than a birder, but I’m learning. It was a long and grueling week. My days started well before dawn and ended well past sunset. It took me a whole day of rest to recover! It was well worth the effort, I met lots of great people and took lots of photographs (over 2,600). It’s going to take me a while to get all of the photos ready, but as I do I’m going to share some of them, as well as my experiences here. This years SCBWF was awesome! This is my second year as a festival photographer, I have spent many years prior to that as a festival attendee. I always have a great time at the festival. I hope you will enjoy my thoughts and photos as much as I have enjoyed creating them.
I will once again be photographing the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. Birders from all over the United States attend the 6 day festival. Activities include workshops, field trips, class room presentations, keynote speakers and a large vendor area where birders can get up to date on all of the latest birding gear. The Raptor Project will be presenting their birds of prey show. There are workshops and field trips for photographers as well as birders. From novice to expert there is something for everyone. I will be following along with some of the field trips and taking photos of birders, birding and having fun. Check out the festival web site here. If you download the 2013 festival program PDF you will see some of my photographs. I had a lot of fun last year and I’m looking forward to this years festival. Here are a few of my photos from last years festival.
Sometimes getting caught in a quick Florida downpour is a good thing.
I love the way light affects things, and how we see them. That’s probably why I am drawn to photography. I find it interesting that an object can be so unremarkable, until just the right amount and type of light, coming from just the right angle, will make the unremarkable so remarkable. Our friend Cassy brought us this beautiful flower from one of her trees. We put it in a small wine glass and set it on the counter that night. It was a beautiful flower in any light, but the next morning the light coming through the window just made it come alive! Also the shadows and reflections caught my eye and I had to capture that moment in time. So I grabbed my camera and photographed Cassy’s beautiful flower.
Capturing that special moment in time is so important. Hours later the beautiful light was gone and Cassy’s beautiful flower had wilted. But Cassy’s beautiful flower will live forever in our memories and in this little magic box.
We have this strange plant in our yard that a friend gave us. I was not sure what it was called, I had to look it up. It was really small when she gave it to us, it had long thin leaves with little balls on them. It turns out that the little balls create a new plant when the fall off, so we now have many more plants than we started with. The plants that we started with have gotten really tall, they are 3-4 feet tall now. They have started blooming now too. They’ve got these very pretty red bell shaped blossoms on them. So of course I wanted to photograph them, so now that I have photographed them, I thought that I better check to see what they are. I did a quick Google search and found that they are called Chandelier plants among other names. So I thought I would share my Chandelier plants with you.