Aman Park in September
Aman Park is a bit of an odd duck, it is a City of Grand Rapids park, even though it is several miles outside the city limits. Since it’s close to the city, it’s a nice place to go and spend the day walking the trails, looking for birds, wildflowers, and whatever else catches your eye. Aman Park’s biggest claim to fame are the acres of early spring wildflowers, particularly trillium. It’s also a good spot for birding in the spring when the birds, especially warblers, are migrating through the area.
Since it’s September, I knew that I wouldn’t find any trillium, I was hoping for warblers. I saw quite a few, but all the birds were being ornery today, and the warblers were no exception.
Today was also the first day that I carried both of my camera bodies, with one set for birding, and the other for scenery and close-ups. That went quite well for the first day, although not at all as I expected. It was kind of a weird day, I thought that I was “forcing” shots, that is, just shooting things to come up with a few photos at times, or that I was just fooling around at other times. After downloading the photos to my computer, I was surprised at how well I had done.
I had just made to the first bridge across Sand Creek, which runs through the park, when I found a few flowers to start with, so I set the Beast (Sigma Lens) down, and got out body II with the 15-85 mm lens on it for these shots.
I liked the background colors, but I also took a better close-up.
I packed body II away, crossed the bridge, and found these.
Well, that packing the second body away each time wasn’t going to work, I could tell that already. So, I carried it around my neck and carried the Beast by the tripod mount, as I always do. That worked quite well, even if it sounds awkward. Oh, I should have gone down a full stop on the berry, I shot that one at -2/3 EV, but the hot pink shell was too hot even at that exposure.
The Beast does OK for things other than birds.
But the 15-85 mm is better for close-ups.
I was hearing and seeing birds, but getting a photo of any of them proved difficult all day. I thought that this was a ovenbird when I saw it, but it turns out that it is a lifer for me, a worm-eating warbler. It gets its name from the fact that its primary food source is caterpillars, which many people mistakenly call worms.
Shot two of rapid fire was of tail feathers as it flew away.
I should have used my tripod more often, I shot this one handheld because I didn’t think that the green flowers would look very good, I was wrong, but that happens a lot.
After seeing that photo, I wished that I had set-up the tripod, as I was battling the shade most of the day, not just for that shot. The foliage in the park was a lot more lush, green, and thick than I expected it to be. Here’s a few examples that I shot for the heck of it.
The birds were taking full advantage of all that greenery and doing their best to hide.
The birds even had a scout spying on me to let the rest of them know where I was.
Since the birds didn’t want to cooperate, and I wasn’t finding many flowers, I turned to fungi and oddities. I had to use the flash on this first one.
While taking a break, I looked down to see these on the bottom of a leaf. I’m not sure if they are tiny mushrooms, or some other type of growth.
This one was large enough that I had no problem seeing it.
I saw what I thought was a gall on a leaf at first glance, but closer inspection showed me that it was a beech nut that had fallen, and the stem of the “nut” had impaled the leaf seen here.
That must happen regularly, as I found another on a lower leaf.
At one point as I was walking along Sand Creek, I saw a leaf floating downstream, of course I had to shoot it.
I stood there for a while, hoping for a red leaf to come floating towards me, instead, I got another yellow one, with two water striders hitching a ride.
Now for the last photo from today. I spotted an interesting fungus from a distance, and knew that I had to get a photo of it. Where it was growing presented a bit of a problem, but I looked the situation over, set-up my tripod for the best angle on some very uneven ground, and started to line the camera up. There were some weeds in the way, so I started pulling them out of the ground to get them out of the way. I was about to reach for another of the weeds when I noticed that it had three leaves. Oh-oh!
I checked the ones I had pulled, three leaves.
I don’t think that I’m allergic to poison ivy, but I wasn’t sure if the weeds I had been pulling were poison ivy, poison oak, or something else. No way that I was going to lay down in whatever it was for a photo, it was bad enough that I was standing in a patch of the three leaved weeds.
I took one shot, and got the heck out of there. BTW, that was shot at a full second as far as the shutter speed, that’s how dark it was there in the shade.
I went over to the creek and rinsed my hands off as well as I could with plain water, I don’t know if that prevented me from having a reaction to whatever the three leaved plants were, or if they are harmless to begin with.
All in all, a pretty good day, I really enjoyed the cooler weather today, and there really weren’t very many people at Aman Park today. That surprised me, it can be very crowded on the weekends. I didn’t get any spectacular photos, but I got a few good ones, a few interesting ones, and a few fun ones, what more could I ask for?
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!