Gatorland Rookery Photos

Gatorland Rookery 01

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to head to Gatorland in Orlando, Florida. Despite its kitschy premise and old-time Florida tourist feel, the attraction is home to a huge number of nesting birds, and the Gatorland rookery is a prolific and important breeding location for quite a number of Florida aquatic bird species.

This opens up a lot of possibilities for photography, but the last thing in the world you want is to be toting your camera gear in among thousands of noisy tourists. It isn’t the ideal situation for making great bird photos. However, the Gatorland rookery is open to photographers only, from January 30 through June 15, every Thursday through Sunday from 7:30am. All you need is to get the Photographer Pass and you’re good to go.

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I found that there were lots of photographers present, but everyone was polite and considerate, and it seemed everyone was happy to take turns at the hottest spots. And there are many – the Gatorland rookery is located on a lake within the property, and there is a winding boardwalk that follows one entire shore of the lake.  Many of the nesting birds were so close you could nearly reach out and touch them.

Gatorland Rookery 03

I saw many nesting species, including tricolored herons, snowy egrets, cattle egrets, great egrets, cormorants and wood storks. There were a variety of chicks, from newly hatched to fledglings, and many eggs in the nests as well. All in all, this was a great experience, worth the early morning drive from St. Petersburg, and I recommend the Gatorland rookery to any photographers in the area or passing through who may want to try their hand at getting some shots of Florida’s nesting birds in their gorgeous breeding plumage.

Gatorland Rookery 04

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Sync Photoshop Settings with Photoshop CC

Sync Photoshop Settings 05If you’re like me, and work on multiple computers – or even if you don’t, and just want to be able to migrate to a new computer or recover from a system crash, this is a Photoshop feature you’re going to love. Starting with Photoshop CC, you now have the ability to sync Photoshop settings to the cloud (Creative Cloud, that is). This allows you to copy settings between computers, whether it be from your desktop to your laptop, Windows to Mac, or to a fresh install on a new or recovered system.

Here’s how it works.

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Adobe Acrobat Actions – Create Custom Helpers

 Adobe Acrobat Actions
Did you know that Acrobat XI has an Action Wizard? That’s right, if you look under the Tools Panel on the right, it has its own section. Here you’ll find several pre-made actions for automating your workflow – but that’s not all. Acrobat XI allows you to create your own custom Adobe Acrobat actions, simply by choosing the steps you want to automate.

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Florida Springtime

Florida Springtime

Here in Florida, we don’t really get the four seasons in the way it comes to other parts of the world. But you know that Florida springtime is in the air when the birds begin raising their young. On a recent warm spring morning, this mother escorted her 9 ducklings out to forage for breakfast in the early light on Sawgrass Lake in Saint Petersburg.

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Photoshop Pen Tool Mastery

Photoshop Pen Tool

Earlier this year, during some conversation on the excellent Photoshop and Lightroom Facebook Group, I proposed that one of my objectives for 2014 would be to create a good set of instructional videos for the Photoshop Pen Tool – a series that would be thorough, yet accessible. One mention of the Pen Tool makes many Photoshop users quake with fear and dread, and I think this is unfortunate – the Pen Tool is powerful and is the “right tool for the job” in many circumstances – I wanted to demystify this tool and make it something that anyone can learn to use.

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Using Smart Previews in a Lightroom 5 Workflow

using smart previewsWith Lightroom 5, previews got quite a bit smarter.

Lightroom has always used previews, generated from the original library image, as a way to speed up navigation in the Library module. With a preview, the original doesn’t have to be loaded and rendered each time you view an image. However, previews have typically been low resolution images, not suitable for any kind of sharing, and certainly not suitable for editing in the Develop module.

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Snowmass Village Ski Resort

Snowmass Village

Sometimes, the best images are right under your nose. While visiting Snowmass Village, Colorado recently, I was anxiously anticipating getting out on the mountain for my first day of skiing this year. But, on a whim, I grabbed my camera and headed out on the balcony in the blue hour after sunset, and this is what I saw. A beautiful sunset, and the warmth of Snowmass Village radiating against the cold of the surrounding peaks.

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Creating and Editing Links in Acrobat XI

creating and editing links

Acrobat XI is chock full of ways to enhance our PDFs to enrich the user experience for people who read our documents. One of the was we can create more engaging PDF documents is through the use of links. Creating and editing links is easy in Acrobat XI.

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Put a Photo inside a Shape in Photoshop

photo inside a shape

One of the most common questions I hear from people new to Photoshop, is how to place an image or photo inside a shape – be it a geometric shape, a letterform, or most any shape you can imagine.

In this episode of The Complete Picture, Julianne Kost shows a few ways to accomplish this technique, which is technically known as a “clipping mask.”

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Good Enough to Eat

good enough to eat 5

Here in Saint Petersburg, we are blessed with mild temperatures year round, and that means that our local Saturday Morning Market is bustling throughout the year. Winter is a big season for local growers, with crops ranging from veggies of all sorts – lettuce and greens, to peppers and avocadoes, to citrus and, locally, strawberries.

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