My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Image

My week, you can never go home again?

Saturday

On Saturday, I went up to the Leelanau Peninsula.

You can read the good side of the day here for the Leelanau Peninsula, and here for the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

I spent a considerable amount of time there in the 1970’s, mainly hunting and fishing. That’s hard to believe these days.

I’m going to attempt to limit my negativity, as it is a beautiful area, but that’s going to be difficult.

The area was known as a fruit-growing area, with dozens of orchards dotting the landscape. Because of the moderating influences of Lake Michigan, that part of Michigan leads the nation in the production of tart cherries, and ranks high for the production of other fruit, such as apples, sweet cherries, and pears.

In the late 1970’s two things happened which changed the face of the area forever, the creation of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and the influx of a large number of rich liberals Yuppies.

The park was authorized on October 21, 1973. The park’s creation was highly controversial because it involved the transfer of private property to public. The Federal government’s stance at the time was that the Great Lakes were the “third coast” and had to be preserved much like Cape Hatteras or Big Sur, which are National Seashores. The residents living in what is now Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore believed they were stewards of the land and did not want it to be overrun by tourists. The Government eventually won out using strong-arm tactics to force local residents out of their homes and businesses.

I had come to know a few of the people in the area, they were not at all happy about being forced out of their homes, and/or losing their livelihood. The government then let out contracts to concessionaires to run businesses much like the locals had run, such as canoe liveries. The government denied permits to the locals, and awarded the contracts to outside people who had the money to bribe donate to the correct political party in power.

The Yuppies moving into the area was very much like what I read about is going on in the Jackson Hole, Wyoming area these days.

The Yuppies looked down their noses at the locals, whom they referred to as hicks or hillbillies. Any one who hunted or fished was a redneck. The rich liberals did their best to drive both the hicks and rednecks away. They also took over the local governments by promising one thing, and doing another. (Sound familiar?) What they promised was to preserve the rural character of the area, and the natural beauty. What they did was to use local zoning ordinances to hamstring the local farmers and tax them out of existence. (Sound familiar?)

Of course, Yuppies are motivated by one thing, money! So, if any one waved enough green under their noses, those people were allowed to build any monstrosity anywhere. Instead of rural farmland, now there are mega resorts, huge gated communities, and some of the ugliest buildings ever designed by man as a blight on the ridges to the northeast of Traverse City.

This weekend was the first time that I’ve been there in years, it’s nothing like it used to be at all. And the crowds! I couldn’t get to many of the places that I wanted to photograph because there was either nowhere to park, or lines of traffic a quarter of a mile long or longer waiting to get to a place to park. I swear, I could have walked down the Platte River all five miles from the M 22 bridge to the mouth of the river where it empties into Lake Michigan without getting my feet wet by walking on the tubers, kayakers, and canoeists on the river. The Crystal River was only slightly less crowded.

Those rivers are being destroyed by that volume of people, but the government doesn’t care as long as they get their cut of the profits from the concessionaires.

Turns out that the local hicks and hillbillies were correct, that the area has become overrun with tourists.

Yes, I feel like a hypocrite for doing a couple of posts about how beautiful the area is, then complaining about how crowded it has become in this one. But, like Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, it’s one place that every one should see once in their life. Besides, the crowds will soon tire of the crowds, the area will no longer be trendy, and eventually, the crowds will thin out.

Something else happened up there as well. All day long I saw small things, birds and flowers, that I wanted to photograph, but for the most part, didn’t. I didn’t really have the time if I wanted to hit all the landscape photo ops that I had planned on.

I got to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse not long before sunset. I shot a few photos, but was going to wait for slightly better light, then shoot a few more. While waiting, I jumped a doe and two small fawns in the woods near the light. While chasing them, I found a trove of wildflowers that were begging to be shot. Having some time to kill, I did so.

???

???

???

???

Grey-headed coneflowers

Grey-headed coneflower

Whitetail doe and fawns

Whitetail doe and fawns

I sat down on a bench to wait for the light, and it hit me like a ton of bricks, I love photographing flora and fauna much more than I do landscapes, and always have. Don’t get me wrong, I like shooting landscapes, but it isn’t my first love. That probably explains a lot. You may not guess that though after looking at the photo of the deer. They were in shade so deep that I had trouble seeing them with my naked eyes, I cranked in a full stop of exposure compensation, and took a shot. I’m surprised that the photo turned out as well as it did.

But I digress. There I was, sitting on the bench thinking about how much more I had enjoyed myself the last half hour chasing deer and shooting flowers than I had all day long fighting the crowds. Since I had planned on staying overnight, I was trying to think of places to start out in the morning, but drew a blank. I decided that I had enough of fighting crowds, and that I would enjoy myself more anywhere other than in the swarm of humanity I had dealt with all day. So, I didn’t even wait to see what the light would do at sunset, I packed it up, and headed for home.

Sunday

One or two more things from yesterday. I used to consider the Leelanau Peninsula to be my second home, since I loved it there, and spent so much time there. Now, I consider the Pigeon River Country to be my second home, even though the scenery pales in comparison to the Leelanau area.

There are lessons to be learned from those two places and the way that they’ve changed over my lifetime. Leelanau has become everything that it shouldn’t have become, a huge money driven tourist trap of sorts. What used to be old family farm houses are now trendy shops, boutiques, or art galleries. Many of the orchards have converted to, or added vineyards, which isn’t a bad thing at first glance. But, now you have thousands of tourist taking the winery tours, and getting crocked at all the wine tasting stops, then driving like the drunks that they are.

The Pigeon River Country has been allowed to revert back to its wild state for the most part, as a result, very few “nature lovers” ever visit the area, and there are fewer people visiting now, then back in the 1970’s.

Oh well, I’ll have to ponder a little longer on all of that. For my walk today, not much was going on, but I managed a few shots, starting with a turkey vulture in flight.

Turkey vulture in flight

Turkey vulture in flight

Male American goldfinch

Male American goldfinch

Male American goldfinch

Male American goldfinch

Male American goldfinch in flight

Male American goldfinch in flight

Butterfly

Butterfly

Monday

In a change of my typical routine, I overslept this morning rather than waiting for Wednesday. That could be because the heavy cloud cover has kept it almost as dark as night, and some very welcome rainfall has been falling this morning. So, I’m fooling around this morning waiting for the rain to clear the area, which looks to be over with for at least the time being.

My mistake, the rain had fooled me into thinking it was over, just long enough to get outside. Not that it mattered, I suspected as much and was prepared.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the show that a scantily dressed attractive young woman put on for me in the park today. I don’t know if it was a police sting looking for Johns, or a real hooker, but it sure made the day a lot more interesting than normal! Sorry guys, no photos, this is a family blog.

Other than that, it was an enjoyable walk in the rain, that didn’t leave me much to prattle on about. Besides, I’ve devoted too much space to this past weekend’s trip, so I’ll cut today short to make up for that.

Tuesday

The sunshine has returned, and it has turned even cooler than it has been, the first shot of fall weather. Too bad that it won’t last but a couple of days. They are forecasting a heat wave of sorts for next week, so I’m going to enjoy this shot of cool air while it lasts!

The birding forecast for this weekend is looking good as well, with a good many shorebirds being seen in Muskegon, along with a few raptors that I could use photos of. I’ve already made the arrangements at work to do half my Friday run Friday night as I usually do, then go home, and finish it up on Sunday. That will let me get some sleep Friday night so that I can be in Muskegon early to join with the Muskegon County Nature Club to go on their field trip with them.

I should be making plans for the long Labor Day weekend, but after fighting the crowds and traffic this past weekend, I’m considering sticking close to home. When I visit many of the places that I go around here, I see very few people, and I could use that right now. Besides, I can save money staying home.

Time to get a move on.

After this past weekend, I came up with the title for this post. After my walk this morning, I added the question mark.

For the newer readers of my blog, up until last fall I lived in an apartment complex where I was able to photograph many herons, geese, ducks, and swans. I thought that those days were over, other than mallards and an occasional goose around here, but I was wrong.

Juvenile great blue heron

Juvenile great blue heron

Juvenile great blue heron

Juvenile great blue heron

Much to my surprise, there was a young heron fishing in one of the small ponds here. So, I found a good spot where I was somewhat hidden, and started filming the action. As you can see, the heron made a nice catch early on.

Then, for no reason that I could fathom, the heron charged a flock of mallards resting on the bank of the pond.

Juvenile great blue heron charging mallards

Juvenile great blue heron charging mallards

Once the heron had the mallard’s attention, it waded right past the flock as if they weren’t there.

Juvenile great blue heron wading past mallards

Juvenile great blue heron wading past mallards

As soon as the heron was past them, the mallards all dove into the pond…..

Mallards going for a community swim

Mallards going for a community swim

Splashed around a little….

Bath time

Bath time

…then just as quickly, went back on shore.

Dip over, time to get back on shore

Dip over, time to get back on shore

Dip over, time to get back on shore

Dip over, time to get back on shore

Dip over, time to get back on shore

Dip over, time to get back on shore

In the meantime, the heron had made another catch.

Juvenile great blue heron

Juvenile great blue heron

Whatever it was, it must not have tasted good to the heron, for the heron bent back over and released whatever it was back into the water gentle as you please. I’ve never seen a heron practicing catch and release before. 😉

I was hoping that the heron would continue around the pond closer to where I was, but I had no luck with that.

Juvenile great blue heron

Juvenile great blue heron

Juvenile great blue heron taking off

Juvenile great blue heron taking off

Juvenile great blue heron in flight

Juvenile great blue heron in flight

It was kind of nice shooting some of my old favorites again, and I was thinking that I would have to change the title of this post, when I came to the next pond, and another heron.

Juvenile great blue heron

Juvenile great blue heron

I had watched the first one fly off into the distance, there’s no way that this is the same one. Besides, this one posed nicely for me, none of these are cropped.

Juvenile great blue heron

Juvenile great blue heron

Juvenile great blue heron

Juvenile great blue heron

Juvenile great blue heron

Juvenile great blue heron

Juvenile great blue heron

Juvenile great blue heron

It was just like old home week at my other apartment!

For the technical details, all those were shot with the 70-200 L series lens, minus 1/3 EV, and ISO 100. I may have stopped the aperture down a little too far in those last shots. The camera was set to program mode as is usual, but I was dialing the shutter speed down to stop down the aperture for more depth of field to make sure that I had the entire heron in focus. I’ve had trouble getting all of larger birds in focus before, and I didn’t want it to happen today. I think that the photos would have been a touch sharper if I hadn’t adjusted as much. I think that I got the shutter speed a little too low. But we’ll see, I’m sure that I’ll get another chance.

I probably should have shot a few at -2/3 EV as well, I forgot that the camera was still set to center weighted metering mode for shooting the landscapes this past weekend.

A week or two ago, I took the slight amount of extra contrast that I had the camera set to render out of the settings, as I found that when I got the exposure correct, I was getting a little too much contrast. Our eyes tend to mistake contrast for sharpness, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. So, anyway, between having the camera set to center weighted metering, and having taken that little bit of extra contrast out, I should have gone down another 1/3 stop on the EV for a little more contrast in these.

I’ve set the camera back to partial spot metering, which works much better for birds and flowers, most of the time. Using partial spot metering, I can go down 1/3 stop and keep it there for everything other than birds against the sky.

Sorry about the last few boring paragraphs, but typing that stuff out helps me to remember what I am doing and why, and to make sure that I check all my settings from time to time.

Wednesday

Another perfect day weather wise, I’m getting spoiled. Cool sunny days, and crisp overnight temperatures are not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the weather in August here in Michigan, but that’s what we’ve had. There’s even less wind today than there was yesterday, so maybe I’ll be able to get a few shots of flowers today. There’s a few late season flowers about to open soon, and I could do a better job of a few that I shot last week.

I’m back, and things were interesting in the park today. No hookers today, but there were guards from the mental hospital up the road rounding up what I think was a walk away from the facility. I didn’t pay enough attention to what was going on to be positive, but that what a glance in the direction of the guards and a person who didn’t seem very cooperative from time to time suggested.

I’m probably not being politically correct calling the facility a mental hospital, sorry. I don’t know the correct term as prescribed by the PC police these days. I do know that the doctors there saved my ex-wife’s life, and that the patients there are nothing to be wary of for the most part. I’m sure that there are a few dangerous patients, but for the most part, the patients are good people in a bad situation in life.

I also noticed that some of the play groups don’t play well together. It humorous in a way. Group A will be at the playground in the lower part of the park when group B arrives. Group A will then pack up and move to the playground in the upper part of the park. Group B will then follow Group A up there, at which point, group A will return to the lower level. I don’t stick around long enough to see how many times they will move, but it seems like they would be able to either work out their differences, or divide the park between the two groups rather than chase each other around. I never will figure people out.

Anyway, I shot a few photos worth posting today. I’ll start with the bugs.

White butterfly

White butterfly

Bee's eye view of a bee

Bee’s eye view of a bee

Neither of those shots came out exactly as I intended, but they are close enough.

Now, the blooms. I found some downy lobelia blooming in the sun, the other shots I have posted lately were taken in deep shade. So, I needed to take a test shot or two of the first of the flowers opening for when the plant is in full bloom.

Downy lobelia

Downy lobelia

I’ve also posted many photos of Queen Anne’s lace of late, but these shots were too good to pass up.

Queen Anne's lace

Queen Anne’s lace

Queen Anne's lace

Queen Anne’s lace

I don’t want to brag (too much) but I think that I pulled off something very tough to do in those last two. The white flowers against a dark, almost black background makes those shots high contrast, but I was able to soften the sunlight to the point where the photos look like a low light shot. The photos are sharp, yet the overall photos have the appearance of a soft focus shot. So, I came up with high contrast/sharp photos with the appearance of being soft light/soft focus at the same time. They may not wow, but I think that those are the two best photos that I have ever taken, technically and artistically.

Here’s a flower I haven’t photographed lately.

Dandelion

Dandelion

And, the goldenrod is just getting started.

Goldenrod

Goldenrod

I’ll wrap today up with the birds, all male American goldfinches. They are everywhere this time of year.

Male American goldfinch

Male American goldfinch

I’ll bet that there’s at least one in this mass of wildflowers.

Male American goldfinch

Male American goldfinch

Yup, sure is.

Male American goldfinch

Male American goldfinch

Male American goldfinch

Male American goldfinch

Sorry that I’m posting so many shots of the finches lately, but they’re one of my favorite species of birds. They are as cheerful and even comical as chickadees, but with a beautiful song, and brighter colors. Besides, since so many species of birds are already headed south from what I can tell, I’m running out of birds to photograph.

Thursday

We’ve been flirting with record low temperatures overnight the past few nights, but haven’t set a new record yet. It’s too bad that this pleasant weather is only going to last through the weekend, before the heat returns next week. This has been a string of phenomenal weather as far as I’m concerned, so I’m going to enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

I’m all fired up for this Saturday, when I’m going birding in Muskegon once again. Not only are the shorebirds there in numbers, but people have seen merlins and peregrine falcons as well. I have to remember to give the UV filter on the Sigma lens a good cleaning before I go. In fact, I should do that this morning before I go for my walk, then use the Sigma lens today for any birds, just to get used to using it again. It’s been a few days since I’ve had it on the camera. It’s been a joy to carry just the two shorter lenses the past two weeks, but it’s time to get used to carrying and using the beast again.

Okay, I’m back, and I not only did I carry the beast, but I also put it to good use, at least I think so. Since it’s been a while since I used it, and there was a flock of geese in the complex, I started out by shooting a shot of a headless goose, just in case I didn’t see anything later on worth photographing.

Headless Canada goose

Headless Canada goose

Canada goose with head

Canada goose with head

As is usually the case, I spied a couple of things that I wanted to change lenses for, but I had forgotten the case for the Sigma, so I had no way to carry it off from the camera, so I made do with it.

Rabbit's foot clover

Rabbit’s foot clover

Purple wildflower

Purple wildflower

That reminds me, the forecast was for calm winds for the next few days, which was totally wrong. There was a stiff southwest wind blowing this morning that continues to blow now. Anyway, after those shots, I got down to some serious birding for a change, starting with a rather grumpy goldfinch.

Male American goldfinch

Male American goldfinch

Maybe he didn’t like having some one photographing him as he preened?

Male American goldfinch

Male American goldfinch

Next up is a catbird, nothing spectacular, but there’s two reasons I shot this. One was to get the best shot that I could under trying circumstances, the other was because this catbird was one of a half-dozen species of birds hanging out under one small bush. I also got shots of a song sparrow and goldfinch there, but missed the robins, starlings, and English sparrows. Why all those birds were packed in together, I couldn’t tell, there must have been something there that they were all feeding on.

Grey catbird

Grey catbird

Next up is a male cardinal that I see on almost a daily basis. He does not like to have his photo taken, as I have chased him around several times. He’ll get behind a branch, start singing, and the second I work my way around to get a clear view of him, he moves so that there’s something between us. I think that I posted photos of him in action before. I got him singing today!

Male northern cardinal singing

Male northern cardinal singing

Then to really tick him off, I cropped another photo down so that every one has a good look at him.

Male northern cardinal singing

Male northern cardinal singing

A little later, this guy came hopping down the path towards me, stopping off now and then for a bite to eat. Since he was headed my way, I just stood there and shot a photo every few hops until I got these two.

Male house finch

Male house finch

Male house finch

Male house finch

On my way back, I saw a couple of cedar waxwings fly out of a honeysuckle bush to perch in a tree overhead. I was about to shoot a photo of one of them in the tree, when I spotted movement in the honeysuckle bush. This cedar waxwing dropped down into the open for this shot.

Cedar waxwing

Cedar waxwing

That’s not cropped at all, when I first got him in the viewfinder, I couldn’t get a focus lock because he was too close. So, I stepped back half a step, and got this, just before he flew off to join the others in the tree above. I shot a few photos of them in the tree, and they came out fairly good, but there’s no reason to post them after that shot above.

I think that it was a good idea to take the beast today, and to warm up on the earlier photos of the birds that I have posted today. I’m not sure that I would have been able to get that last one without “warming up” on the earlier ones. I think that I’ll bring the beast tomorrow as well, along with its case, so that I can get better photos of the flowers, along with more practice for the birding trip on Saturday.

One last thing, I am deleting photos now that I would have loved to have gotten with my old Nikon. The heron from yesterday is a great example, I shot over a dozen photos of it, and they were all better than any I had taken with the Nikon. But, they’re not as good as I can get with the Canon, so there’s no reason to post, or save them. It was the same with the birds today, I deleted more photos than I posted, not that there was anything wrong with them, but I can do better, so into the recycle bin they go.

Friday

Yesterday I posted with a poll for my regular readers to vote for how I should continue this blog, the results were overwhelmingly in favor of switching themes, so I have. At least for the time being. I really like this new theme that I have chosen so far, but it’s time to see if I can get my photos to display larger.

Cedar waxwing

Cedar waxwing

I think it will work! I know that I said that I would give it a week before I decided, but almost every one who does read my blog and comment regularly have cast their votes already, and I wanted the waxwing to display as large as possible. It’s not everyday that I get that good of a shot!

I like the drop down menus that this theme allows, I plan to make good use of that in the future.

I know that I’ll fill up my free space quicker using this theme, but I also knew that I’d have to start shelling out for more space eventually anyway.

I also realized after I posted the poll that if I switched over to a new blog, that the posts for the My Photo Life List project would end up spread over two different blogs. That idea didn’t appeal to me at all, neither did all the work of transferring the posts and pages that I have completed over to a new blog.

And finally, it will be good to have everything under one roof so to speak. I had been leaning towards a new blog, I glad that most people who voted changed the direction I was leaning in. 😉

Now then, the weather continues to be better than I could hope to expect for the end of summer. I haven’t shut my windows in weeks, although I’m afraid that it will change this weekend.

I’m back from my walk, and I have some very good photos to sort through to decide which ones to post.

There are advantages to living close to the local airport. I was walking along, deep in thought, but I could hear an airplane behind me. That’s not unusual at all, it happens many times a day while I’m walking. However, eventually the drone of four huge piston engines worked its way through my thick skull, and I turned around to see this.

The World War II era B-17 bomber "Aluminum Overcast"

The World War II era B-17 bomber “Aluminum Overcast”

I had read in the news that this plane was going to be at the airport this weekend, and I was slightly ticked off that I didn’t turn around sooner for a better shot. I lucked out though, it did another fly by a bit later on.

The World War II era B-17 bomber "Aluminum Overcast"

The World War II era B-17 bomber “Aluminum Overcast”

The World War II era B-17 bomber "Aluminum Overcast"

The World War II era B-17 bomber “Aluminum Overcast”

Back at the honeysuckle bush from yesterday, I got a shot of a waxwing swallowing a berry, even though it isn’t as good as the photo from yesterday, I’m going to post it anyway.

Cedar waxwing swallowing a berry

Cedar waxwing swallowing a berry

And, to make up for the low quality of that shot, here’s one of the waxwings perched in the tree above.

Cedar waxwing

Cedar waxwing

Even though I have posted many photos of these of late, I’m posting yet another.

Male American goldfinch

Male American goldfinch

The Sigma 150-500 mm lens may not be as sharp as my two shorter lenses, but here’s a few odds and ends to show that it’s no slouch either.

Pokeweed "fruit"

Pokeweed “fruit”

Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly

Now comes my catch of the day! A series of photos of a red squirrel eating berries. The lighting couldn’t have been much worse, but anytime you get close to a red squirrel sitting still, it’s a keeper.

Red squirrel eating berries

Red squirrel eating berries

Oops, dropped my berries!

Red squirrel eating berries

Red squirrel eating berries

Ah, one left!

Red squirrel eating berries

Red squirrel eating berries

Red squirrel eating berries

Red squirrel eating berries

Red squirrel eating berries

Red squirrel eating berries

Now then, to wrap this up, a female goldfinch. I see her nearly everyday while I take a break, she must have a nest in the bushes behind the bench I sit on.

Female American goldfinch AKA "The Jailbird"

Female American goldfinch AKA “The Jailbird”

I have noticed that the males tend to feed mostly on thistle seeds if they can find them, the females go for chicory seeds more than any others right now. I wonder if that has to do with feeding their young?

Since tomorrow is my birding trip with the Muskegon County Nature Club, and I have a lot to do to get ready for the trip, I’m going to wrap this one up here.

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

Advertisements

19 responses

  1. i’m hungry, those berries look good 🙂 nice post

    August 16, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    • Thanks, but you’ll have to be fast to beat the birds and squirrels to them!

      August 16, 2013 at 2:31 pm

  2. Love these latest shots. The juvenile heron was fantastic. I like the look of the new theme except these old eyes of mine have a hard time reading against a black background.

    August 16, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    • Thanks, I may have to go back to the old theme. Going just that little bit larger with my photos used a lot more space, and no one seems to like the white print on black.

      August 16, 2013 at 10:48 pm

  3. Love the photos of the Goldfinch on the purple thistle. The Monarch Butterfly was another favorite of mine. I like the new theme but not a fan of the black….I wasn’t able to read everything because the black was too harsh…..great for photos, not good for words – my two cents!

    August 16, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    • Thanks, glad you liked the photos if not the theme. I may have to go back to the old theme. Going just that little bit larger with my photos used a lot more space, and no one seems to like the white print on black.

      August 16, 2013 at 10:51 pm

  4. Love the heron shots. I’m sorry your park was so crowded and devalued. You could come here. The countryside is nice and there is no one about at all.

    August 16, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    • Thanks, I would love to visit Scotland, but I’m afraid that my boss has other plans for me.

      August 16, 2013 at 10:52 pm

  5. the bird is a cedar wax wing, right? great post and great photos

    August 16, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    • Thanks, and yes, it’s a cedar waxwing, close up and personal!

      August 16, 2013 at 10:52 pm

  6. I think your first unknown flowers might be creeping bell flowers. The photos look better against a dark background but I put a photo on my blog beside a photo on yours, and they aren’t that much bigger. Yours are a little wider but mine are taller. I’ve seen others get huge photos with this theme by not having anything on the right side of the screen where you have your links and other stuff. They put it all at the bottom instead. You can see an example of what I mean at http://seekraz.wordpress.com/
    I have trouble seeing white text on a dark background too and I get around it by going up to “view'” on windows explorer and then changing “zoom” to 150%.
    Did you have any trouble changing themes? I’ve thought about it, but it always ends up in my too hard basket.
    Great photos!

    August 17, 2013 at 6:56 am

    • Thanks for the help, the comment, and the nice words. I’m going backwards here, but changing themes was easy, as the two themes I switched between were very compatible. I haven’t had much time to play with the new theme, but I’ve seen other blogs as you described. Maybe on Sunday I’ll have time to change things around. I’m not sure if I want to go much larger with the photos, as I want the entire photo visible without having to scroll.

      Maybe it’s me, but I see little difference between black text on a white background, and white text on a black background, other than it’s what we’re used to. I’ll try the white background as a test, but I think that the photos will lose some of their impact. We’ll see, or at least I will. 😉

      More later, plus a comment on your latest post when I get home this evening. I’m running late for a birding trip.

      August 17, 2013 at 7:08 am

  7. That shot of the cedar waxwing is fantastic! And I just loved the series of photos of the mallards and the heron. You come up with the best captions, too!
    As for “going home again” I remember growing up, we always went over to Petosky from our cabin in Atlanta. It was always such a fun place to visit and you could get to the lakeshore and look for Petosky stones. Then, when my kids were little and we started camping up there, we took a trip over to Petosky and I could not believe the changes. Condos all along the shore line. NO public access anywhere! I was flabbergasted at what had happened to the area. We have never gone back since that time. The place I had remembered so fondly from my youth was completely ruined in my opinion. It seemed to me that the only ones who were allowed to enjoy the lakeshore were the rich! Maybe that’s why I love Atlanta so much. It hasn’t changed at all in 50 years, matter of fact in some ways there are less people/businesses there now than there was years ago.

    August 17, 2013 at 10:28 am

    • Yeah, a couple of years ago I had to run US 31 down from the Straits through Petosky, Cheboygon, and Traverse City, I don’t recognize it any more. The big difference isn’t just the money, the east side of the state has remained under control of the state government, and the people’s voices are listened to some what. Once the Feds took over Sleeping Bear Dunes, they did what ever they wanted and to heck with what the residents wanted.

      August 18, 2013 at 12:30 pm

  8. It’s very odd but the photos do look brighter and sharper–not sure if it’s because of the file sizes and/or the new, rich background but this theme does showcase your work much better! Love the ducks and the young heron, of course!!!

    August 17, 2013 at 10:39 am

    • Thanks, some of it is the size, most of it is the dark background. Our eyes see contrast as sharpness. That’s why some people have trouble reading the white text on the dark background. I have some more tweaking to do.

      August 18, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      • Makes sense to me!

        August 19, 2013 at 3:10 am

  9. First you made me laugh with the liberal yuppie description, then I got aggravated, along with you. With the advent of ‘change’ they have created destruction.
    This is the first time I’ve heard you say you use Program mode. Any reason why you don’t use AV (aperture priority) mode?
    Fabulous photos and views along the way. Love how you came to the unde

    BTW, love the new look. 🙂
    But it’s weird..don’t want to have to leave my contact info every time I comment. Just in case it’s on my end, I relogged into wordpress. Is it just me? Also, with my lasik eyes, I have a hard time reading a white font.

    August 17, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    • Thanks! I don’t mind people being rich, I related the story of the yacht race to you some time ago. The people who stay busy making more money aren’t the problem. It’s the people who acquire some wealth, then want to impose their ways on every one else.

      I got into the habit of using the program mode with the Nikon, it was the only way I could get anything out of it. I like it, it allows me to go from shooting a flower close up to a bird flying overhead without playing. The 60 D does an excellent job of coming up with good exposure solutions. But, I don’t use the program mode like most people. I have mastered using my middle finger on the shutter release, and keeping my index finger on the dial to scroll through the exposure solutions. So, if I want more depth of field, I dial the shutter speed and aperture down, or up if I want less depth of field or a faster shutter speed. That way, I’m never caught at f/11 when a bird flies by.

      I am going to try tweaking the theme to see if I can get my photos to display well, and make it easier for people to read.

      August 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm