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!

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.

Burrowing Owls – Our Newest Addition

In May we visited Brian Piccolo Sports Park in Cooper City in the early morning with our friend, Brian Rapoza, to get burrowing owl pictures.

To see the Note click here.To hide the Note click here.
Brian is an old friend who we first introduced in 2012blog and later contributed to Why You Haven’t Seen Any Painted Buntings.


While there, Nancy got a few pictures. This is the one she likes best.

Burrowing owls


For more information, you can go to our Burrowing Owls page. If you hurry, you can have Print #1 either on fine art paper or canvas up to at least 23″ by 35″. Soon we will be making a few prints for our next art festival, which is still scheduled for Odessa in early Decemberannounced.

We Made New Printable Instructions

revised 8/26/2020

While I was making updates to some of our How-To articles’ formatting and adherence to Internet standards, I also took the opportunity to improve clarity for some of them. Some, but not all of the articles have downloadable printable versions, so I also updated the printable version if warranted.

I created new printable versions for the following articles:

Our New Technique For Signatures & Titles,

Color Matching – Part 1,

How We Digitally Stretch Our Gallery Wrap Edges Before Printing, and

Using The Vanishing Point To Keep The Size Right When Moving Wildlife Around.

Other printable versions that might be added soon are:

Using Multiple Moulding Widths In One Frame, and

Finding The Area Of An Object Using Photoshop.

Here are the other articles that we’ve improved (along with the printable version, if available). If you had trouble understanding them before, you might want to try again. You could also leave a comment about the areas that still need work:

Changing The Color Of A Signature,

Create A Signature Brush,

Another Method For Adjusting A Logan Precision Sander,

Making A Cardboard Box To Ship Art,

Create A Signature File, and

Our Display Panels.

An Apology And Activity Update

Some of you have been flooded with “new blog post” announcements just this week. Some of these had unintelligible titles, but all of them lead to “file not found” messages. I’m sorry to bother you like that. Among other things, I’ve been working on deferred maintenance on our website and blog this extended off-season. Some of the changes didn’t go as smoothly as anticipated. Most of the errant blog notices were created while I was online with our web hosting provider trying to identify and correct the problems. The good news is we fixed virtually all of the problems. And I’ll know to shut down my notification services before sending fake posts (or even calling my host provider).

Most of the changes were behind-the-scenes stuff that you might not even notice, like bringing the website and post up to ever-evolving standards, making our information easier to find to Google, et al, and so forth. For what it’s worth, our site is now secure. In fact, it was that change, which should have been straight forward, that caused many of the problems. Oops!

I haven’t quite gotten to my list of Nancy’s new pictures to show you but hope to have something by the end of the month. Most of the certificates of authenticity I had promised have been sent out, although there is more to do still. And I have plenty of new ideas to check out – printing on rocks, a new angle on gallery-wrap moulding, printing on aluminummentioned, continuing my weird-wood seriesintro, maybe even a discussion of hanging hardware. My midnight rainbowdiscussed may have to wait a little longer. Stay tuned and stay safe.