Cedar Keys Lighthouse: A New Gigapan

Our first new picture of 2021, this image of the old lighthouse on Seahorse Key is roughly 24,900 pixels high by 106,000 pixels across, covering a horizontal field of view of about 210 degrees, and includes 243 photographs.

Cedar Keys Lighthouse


To learn more, go to its webpage, www.BeeHappyGraphics.com/gallery/CedarKeysLight.html. From there you can follow the link to the full-size image on the Gigapan site, where you can really zoom in. And it is not too late to own the very first copy of this image. (On canvas, this image could be printed up to over 16 feet high by 69 feet across and still have the same detail as any image in our booth. But for you, we would be happy to print a smaller version.)

While working on this image, both of my stitching programs were giving me problems and it occurred to me that both companies (Gigapan for Stitch 2.3 and Kolor for Autopano Giga) were now out of business and not supporting their software. So I bought the best-regarded replacement, PTGui Pro. I’m still learning, but I like its masking and control point options (Autopano may still do better with anti-ghosting, however). I have developed (and will continue to develop) techniques to deal with some of the issues I’ve had and the fact that Photoshop really bogs down when the file size is larger than available memory.

In the last month, we have doubled the number of Gigapans in our collection. We still have several in various stages of development, including one of Fort Myers Pier, which is about 70% complete, and one of downtown Cedar Key from across the water, which may be half-finished. But I have other promises to keep, including St. Augustine Light and Cape Canaveral Lighthouse, for each of which we got special access, as well as other long-standing non-Gigapan projects and blog articles. Stay tuned.

Our New Polk County Courthouse Gigapan

We’ve just finished our image of the old courthouse in Bartow. It is almost 32 thousand pixels high by 88 thousand across and incorporates over 450 photographs.

Old Imperial Polk County Courthouse


For more information (and a slightly larger picture), go to its webpage, www.BeeHappyGraphics.com/gallery/courthouse.html. From there you can follow the link to the full-size image on the Gigapan site, where you can really zoom in. We haven’t actually printed any of these yet, so if you want print #1, there may still be time to order.

We Have Gift Certificates

Somebody asked if we had these back in October, and it sounded like a good idea, so we just finished getting them ready (with only 22 shopping days left for Christmas). We actually have two similar designs. The one below is our less-formal version.

An example of our less-formal gift certificate


You can go to our new Gift Certificates page for more details. These may be different than your average gift certificate, but as I mentioned, we are new at this. Check it out. If you have better ideas for the ideal gift certificate, let us know. If you have a preference between the formal and the informal design, you can speak up about that too. I appreciate your help. And if you want to browse our website looking for ideas for Christmas presents, I know where you can find a gift certificate.

Introducing Our Birder Collection

Ever since we added our Trinidad & Tobago pictures to our website in August 2012, I’ve been torn about the proper place for some of these pictures. We added a couple of them, namely Trinidad Chevron Tarantula and White-necked Jacobin, to our regular collection. Not all of the others met the high fine-art standards of that collection. Still, many had value to a certain part of your audience, so I didn’t want to just abandon them. We’ve decided to recognize that we have two distinct market niches. Now we have started making some of these pictures available as part of our new Birders’ Collection. For now, you can reach them from our Birds Portfolio page. They will be marked with an orange border around the name, as shown below.

Portion of our Bird Portfolio page
This shows how members of our Birder Collection are distinguished in our Bird Portfolio.

As you can see, I’ve already added a few birds to this list. I will continue to add birds from our Trinidad trip as I can since half the work was done in 2012. From there, we can add birds from Africa and even Antarctica, but that will be a longer process. If it becomes a problem for those searching our regular collection, we may have to remove these from our existing Birds Portfolio and make a separate portfolio for our Birder Collection. One would probably access it from the main menu. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. In the meantime, enjoy!

Cape Coral Cancels

It was only two weeks ago that we announced our acceptance into the Cape Coral Arts & Music Festivalblog. The City of Cape Coral has just canceled the event due to concerns about the latest COVID surge. Now the Rotary Club is talking about a month-long virtual event, but we haven’t resolved that yet. We will let you know if we come up with anything definite. Thanks for your patience.

Lutz Just Canceled

The GFWC Lutz-Land O’Lakes Woman’s Club, in conjunction with Keystone Prep High School, has decided that the new surge in the Coronavirus occurring in Florida and across the U.S. has created an unsafe environment, and they have therefore canceled the Lutz Arts and Crafts Festival scheduled for the first weekend in Decemberinfo. They are now looking for an alternative event for April.  We already have two big festivals scheduled for April (check our event schedule as it develops). I’ll let you know what they come up with.

This means our next festival, God willing, is the Cape Coral Arts & Music Festival in Januaryannounced. Maybe we will see you there. This is shaping up to be another light season.

We’re Accepted Into The Cape Coral Arts & Music Festival

The Cape Coral Arts & Music Festival will be on Saturday, January 9th, 2021 & Sunday.  It will be from 10 am to 5 pm on both days. Put on by the Rotary Club of Cape Coral since 1985, the art festival will again be from Del Prado to Vincennes Street on Cape Coral Parkway. The music festival extends another block west and then a block north to the corner of SE 47th Terrace and 10th Place. Admission and parking are free. Last year they had over 120,000 visitors to 300 exhibitors. For more information about this 36th annual festival, go to www.capecoralfestival.com.


This will be our fourth time participating in this festival in seven yearsprevious. Of course we (and the Rotary Club) will be monitoring this latest surge in the Coronavirus as that weekend approaches. Stay tuned.

Our New “Toughest” Canoe Trip

Four months ago I reported on what was at the time our toughest single-day canoe trip everblog. That was an eleven-mile trip in Lake Kissimmee State Park which, although not the longest day trip we had ever taken, was, because of the winds (17 to 24 knots), our toughest trip so far. That trip happened in early March. Less than a week after telling the story, we broke that and other records, maybe permanently.

Toward the end of June, Nancy decided to head back down to Flamingo, expecting the Saharan dust that was forecast to hit South Florida that weekend to create some spectacular sunsets. We were there a few days, but the dust must have passed us by. But we were up until after three o’clock one morning trying to capture a Gigapan of the Milky Way, and we did spend another full day in our canoe. This is that story.

The Start

The day started out beautifully. It was sunny, and by the time we launched the canoe at the marina around 10 am, the temperature was in the upper 80’s and climbing. Winds had been calm but were starting to build slightly from the northeast. Nancy decided to head toward Lake Ingraham instead of Snake Bight, our typical haunt. In our small cooler, we had lunch and drinks. We each had our regular 1-quart water bottles. Nancy was going to bring the 1-gallon water jug from the van, but couldn’t find it. As we came out the channel around 10:30, we headed west.

Lunch

After a leisurely 5 miles, we started our lunch break just before noon. As we got back underway, Nancy mentioned that she was starting to feel bad, but I convinced her to proceed west for just another hour. Looking back, that may have been a mistake. For the next leg, the temperature was in the low nineties and the wind was a steady six knots from behind us. Averaging about five knots, we made it to the entrance to the East Cape Canal at 1:40 pm. Nancy rejected my suggestion to check out the lake, so we headed back.

The Return Trip

Before lunch, when the wind was light and off our quarter, I expected the return trip to take about 50% longer, but now that we were paddling directly into the wind, that estimate was starting to look a little optimistic. For the next hour, we went less than 2½ miles and decided to rest a few minutes just off the beach. Then the wind started to pick up. We rested again less than a mile later. I was already beginning to wear out. About ⅔ mile later, we stopped again, this time long enough to do a beach cleanup. By then the wind had increased to almost 15 knots. During the cleanup, I finish off my water bottle. Twenty minutes later, we got back in the canoe. The wind was still strong. We had trouble making headway and after less than ½ mile, we stop for another beach cleanup. Besides tired, I’m also feeling dehydrated. Nancy shared some of her water. After removing all of the lobster/crab trap lines on the beach, I was greatly relieved to discover that there were still drinks in the cooler. I finished them. More than fifty minutes after we arrived, we again left the beach. The canoe is now fully loaded with debris.

The wind is still about 15 knots, but I feel refreshed. Still, we only cover two miles in the next hour. Around 6:30 Nancy notices a feather floating by and wants to circle around to pick it up. We make one pass, but as I mentioned in the previous article (Our Latest (Toughest) Canoe Trip), winds above 15 knots begin to adversely affect our maneuverability. For one thing, they can make it very difficult to turn into the wind. We missed the feather, and I didn’t have enough energy for another pass so we head back to the beach for another rest. We still have 4½ miles to go and sunset is in less than two hours. I don’t rest long. But then after taking half an hour to travel just ¾ mile more, we rest again.

The Final Push

Now it is only an hour before sunset. Nancy is too quiet. There will be no more stops. The winds are back down to ten knots out of the east, though, and dropping. The sun sets at 8:17. I’m running on fumes. We have headlamps in our dry bags, but at that point, I thought we were closer to the harbor than we actually were so we don’t pull out the lights. We keep paddling. And paddling. As we round the last point into the marina, it is dark, and there is a giant splash just off our port quarter. It must have been that large crocodile, but I was just too tired to jump. We kept paddling. We got to the dock at 9 pm. The winds were still six knots. We were met by a park ranger. He helped remove the trash. I wasn’t much of a conversationalist, but fortunately, Nancy did our talking. We managed to remove and stow the gear, but it took everything I had to get the canoe back on top of the van. The next morning, we slept in.

Conclusions

All total, we canoed just over 20 miles (shattering the old one-day record). The winds weren’t as perilous as they got on the Lake Kissimmee State Park trip, but they did become quite a challenge. Although we didn’t get to look around much, I was glad that we finally made the trip to Lake Ingraham. I was really glad when it was over. I felt obligated to tell this story only because it changed some of the claims I made in the original story so soon after the first story was published. We probably won’t need to update this story again for a long, long time.