It’s the middle of October, when the fall colors are about at their peak for the season most years, but the majority of the trees are just beginning to turn color this year. They say that the delay is due to the warmer temperatures and copious amounts of rain that we’ve had. I know that on the day that I shot the falcons in the last post, the Muskegon area had received 1.6 inches of rain that morning. One of these days I’ll catch action like in those photos when I have some good light.
The day before, which was a Saturday, I went out around home to do some more playing with the new lens, and came home with this shot.
That may be an image that both a few of the experts and the general public may agree on as being a pretty good one.
Can’t say often enough how great it is to be using a camera and lens that perform almost flawlessly!
Maybe the combination of the 7D Mk II and the new 100-400 mm lens work so well for me because they see things the way that I see things, I don’t know for sure though.
Here’s the rest from Saturday around home as I played.
I liked the juxtaposition between the red and green leaves here.
I found a Hickory tussock caterpillar and shot a little wide because I liked the red leaves it was on…
…then I moved closer for this one.
There’s still a few chicory flowers around, this one wasn’t looking the best, other than the dew covering it made it special.
I liked the color combination in this next one.
I shoot this shot every year, hoping to get some depth in the image, this year, I succeeded, at least to some degree.
There were still a few insects to be found.
And, a few birds let me get close for a change.
There were dabs of color here and there.
I was a little surprised to find a dragonfly on such a cool and cloudy day.
But not surprised at all by the cheerful chickadees flitting about as quickly as ever.
Here’s another of the more artistic images that I tried for.
It’s the same for this one.
Sometimes, one leaf is all that it takes to tell you that fall is approaching.
On Sunday, when I shot the falcons, I finally gave up shooting birds due to the fog and lack of light, and went off in search of a few landscapes to shoot. I found one good spot, the high banks over the Muskegon River just outside of Newaygo, Michigan. These next ones were shot with the 60D camera and 15-85 mm lens, and are three bracketed photos merged into a HDR image.
I like the view of the distant hills in the background better in that image, but I prefer the foreground in this one.
I also stopped to shoot across an un-named marsh, but a high-tension tower ruined the best view there, you can see the power lines going to the tower in this image, sorry.
As you can see, the color is just getting started here. I hope to do much better next weekend.
It’s funny, I would prefer rainy, foggy weather for shooting landscapes, and next weekend is forecast to be sunny. I wish that I would have had sunny weather this past weekend while shooting the falcons, and “bad” weather next weekend for landscapes when the colors are better.
I just read a hint online that you should shoot fall foliage photos in the middle of the day under bright sun. To be fair, that tip was on a tourist website, not one dealing with photography. Since I’ve learned the software, my equipment, and how to use it, I find that I get far more color saturation when the leaves are wet.
I’m just hoping that there are still leaves on the trees next weekend, for I have the feeling that once the leaves begin turning color that they won’t last long this year. That’s only my opinion based on what I’ve been seeing so far though.
It was a warm cloudy day today, I’d better get used to the clouds, for it won’t be long and sunny days will be as rare as hen’s teeth around here once the lake effect cloud machine kicks in gear for the winter.
I had to go and take a physical for work, holders of a CDL (Commercial Drivers License) are required to have a physical every other year, and I was due for mine. I thought that I’d be in and out in no time, since there were only a couple of people in the waiting room, but I was there for almost three hours.
Oh, I should update you on the water leak in my apartment. When I went in to renew my lease, I spoke to the manager. The next day, maintenance was here to cut a hole in the drywall, and they found the leak, a crack in the foundation wall. The next day, a crew was here to fix the leak, I thought that it wouldn’t be long before I had the use of the room back, wrong. It took another week for the drywall contractor to show up and repair the drywall, and that was over a week ago. The carpet is still torn up, but it has mostly dried again, because I’ve kept the window open whenever I could. I may have to give them another nudge.
Anyway, because of the lack of time, I did some more practicing around home here. As many photos as I’ve shot over the past few years, I shouldn’t need any practice, but the new 100-400 mm lens on the 7D is like an entirely new ball game.
When I get it right, the leaves seem to glow from within!
I think that this is a dandelion, but I didn’t check the leaves to be sure of that.
Whatever it is, I love the way that the petals are unfurling.
This is the weakest image from the day, and not just because I had to include the corner of the restroom building in the frame to get the rest of the scene as I wanted it.
It looks good here though, maybe I judged that one too harshly. I shot it because I liked the colors, and also to practice getting more depth to my images, I didn’t intend to post it when I shot it. Because the intensity of the various colors affect how our eyes see depth in a two-dimensional photograph, versus what we see in person in three dimensions, it helps me to shoot such photos in order to see how it all plays out in my images.
There’s still a few sparrows migrating through, they are about the last family of birds to migrate south for the winter, and it won’t be long and they’ll be gone too.
I hadn’t taken my tripod with me, so I did a test of sorts. I rested the camera and lens on a post, dialed down the ISO for good resolution, and shot this tree.
I may have to begin carrying my tripod all the time if this image is any indication of what I could be getting. Shoot fall foliage in bright sun, hah! There’s no way that the tree would have looked as good in bright sun with harsh shadows under the leaves.
As I walked along, thinking about how poorly the falcon photos from Sunday had turned out, it dawned on me that I had set the global exposure limits of the 7D Mk II after just a few weeks of using it. So, I went into the menu, boosted the high ISO noise reduction setting a little more, and then boosted the maximum ISO that the camera can use unless I over-ride it, up from 6400 to 12800, just to give it a try. I couldn’t get any of the robins that I saw in the woods to pose, but I did manage one shot of this nuthatch before it spotted me.
Of course that image can’t compare to one that was shot at a much lower ISO setting, and I have lost a little detail, but that looks just as good as my images shot at 6400 did before, and it was shot at ISO 8000. I think that I’m on to something.😉
Every stop of light that I can get is very important when shooting in low light, so being able to shoot at ISO 12800 means another stop of faster shutter speed to freeze motion, or one more stop of aperture for more depth of field when needed.
The alternative would be to always use a tripod and shoot at lower ISO settings, but there’s no way that I could have set-up the tripod and gotten the photo of the nuthatch, it was gone when the shutter tripped the second time.
Maybe I could have shot the falcons with better results if I had used a gimbal head on a tripod to be able to follow them in flight, but that will take a great deal of practice. It was tough enough keeping a focus point on one of the falcons as fast as they are, and as little light as there was when I shot them.
If you think that I’m obsessed with the falcons, you may be correct, but trying to figure out solutions to get better images the next time something similar happens is how I improve my images overall.
I was going to write a little more about that, but it led my train of thought to something that I’ve been meaning to say for some time now, how each expert in the videos that I’ve watched makes recommendations that are exactly the opposite of what some of the other experts say. For example, Michael Melford says to never shoot with the sun at your back, except when you do, but he typically shoots landscapes and still life photos. Arthur Morris, who shoots mostly birds, says to always shoot with the sun at your back, except when you don’t. Each genre of photography has its own rules, and as always, those rules were meant to be broken.
Anyway, I’m having some more large prints made, this time I’m going with 11 X 14 inches, and I’m printing a few images that have a fair chance of selling. One reason that I needed to do this is that all the prints of eagles that I’ve had printed in the past have sold, and I no longer have prints to show any one if they ask about eagles. I’m sure that these prints will turn out well, since I bit the bullet and had some blown up to 16 X 20 inches not too long ago. I’ll pick up the prints tomorrow on my way home from work.
I picked up the prints, and they did turn out well, as I expected. I can see one thing though, the eagle in flight that I shot with the 70-200 mm lens is sharper…
…than any of the photos that I’ve shot with the new 100-400 mm lens. It has to be the Image Stabilization that’ softening my bird in flight images, since the 70-200 mm lens doesn’t have it. I thought that the IS on the new lens was good enough, I suppose that in reality it is, but for the sharpest images, I think that I’ll have to turn the IS off.
Great, something else that I need to do to get the best images. I’ve already gotten to the point where I could use a few extra digits on my right hand to run all the dials, buttons, and switches on my camera already, now I need an extra digit or two on my left hand to set the lens correctly for the type of photo that I’m shooting.😉
I did have time for a walk after work today, and I shot a few photos.
I saw a cardinal with a background of bright yellow leaves, and thought that it may make an interesting photo. However, the cardinal wouldn’t cooperate and pose for me, so this was the best I could do.
And, I did some more playing to learn the depth of field of the new lens, today I learned that f/7.1 wasn’t stopped down enough for this photo.
I also learned that I can’t always trust what the depth of field preview button shows me when I press it, I thought that I’d get the entire flower in focus and sharp. The depth of field preview button works much better when the lens is stopped down than it does when the lens is almost wide open. Another lesson learned.
Well, that wraps up another week so to speak.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!