My Week, Stormy
I am headed out the door shortly for a very early morning walk. There’s severe storms in the forecast for later today, so I’m going to try to make it back home before the storms hit.
Well, I’m back, I got rained on, the wind did its best to blow me into the next county, but I managed to finish before the strong stuff arrived. Since the weather wasn’t very good for photography, I shot only seven photos total, and I’m going to post three or four.
As I was nearing the expressway that I cross under, I looked over and saw a deer standing on the edge of the field there, and as I was getting the camera ready, a second deer stepped into view as well.
Given the weather, and the fact that all the deer that I had seen the day before were under cover so to speak, I thought that these two were behaving oddly, but I continued on.
I did the long version of my daily walk, seeing many birds, but they were the same old same old, so there was no reason to expose my camera to the elements, especially since there was almost no light under the clouds.
I didn’t mention it last week, but my right leg has been hurting for the past few days. I don’t know if one of the new pairs of boots I am breaking in are responsible for that, or why, but I seriously considered taking the day off as far as walking. I probably should have, because I ended up hobbling home again today. I was hoping that going back to an older pair of shoes would help, but it hasn’t.
The pain in my leg is rather odd, it feels as if I have a deep bruise on the outside of my right shin, but there’s no bruise or swelling there, just pain. Oh well, no pain, no gain.
Anyway, as I was on my way back home, I passed the spot where I had seen the deer earlier, and one of them was laying down right out in the open. I thought that really odd, since it was raining off and on all morning. I thought that maybe the deer had been struck by a car and had managed to make it that far, so I investigated further. Nope, that deer and the rest of the deer there were just fine.
For the first few years that I started taking nature photos, the last two were about typical of the photos that I got of deer. Trying to get good photos of them standing became my goal, now standing deer are easy for me, I’d like to get a good photo of them on the run with their “flags” up.
That’s it for now. I have some chores around home to tackle, and I’m going to get a hair cut today. No matter what the weather is like, I’m not going to do any more walking today, but if the storms set up correctly this afternoon, I may drive over to Grand Haven and see if I can get some good photos of the storms rolling in off from Lake Michigan.
We had storms yesterday, that’s for sure, but they weren’t the photogenic type that you can see from a distance. The thunderstorms were imbedded within a solid band of rain, so I didn’t bother going anywhere to try to photograph them. I stayed home to finish my chores, and rest my leg. The winds that came with the storm were impressive, the winds that followed behind the storms were even more impressive. It’s still rather blustery outside this morning, with the wind pushing colder air into the area. The temperature has dropped 20 degrees from what it was yesterday at this time, and it’s only going to get colder. With the heavy cloud cover today, along with the wind, I doubt if I will bring back many photos today.
I brought back one photo, its claim to fame is that it is of a tree that managed to keep most of its leaves despite the 60 MPH (96 K/H) winds yesterday.
With the wind still very strong today, the few birds that I saw were in the thickest brush that they could find, I think that they were afraid of being blown to parts unknown if they tried to fly out in the open.
I had to clear fallen branches off from the sidewalk and walking paths along the way, there were many signs of the winds from both the storms and the front from yesterday. At least we didn’t suffer the destruction and loss of life as they did a few hundred mils south of here in Illinois and Indiana, where strong tornadoes wiped out entire towns.
Resting my leg yesterday seems to have helped, I did have some pain left in my right leg, but it didn’t slow me down as it has been doing. I think that the problem is due to my having worn the Cabela’s brand boots while working. I have to pull the carts off from the truck by pulling them as I walk backwards, and I have to get up a pretty good head of steam to get the carts over the dock plates. Not only that, but the carts are poorly designed as far as pulling them the way that I have to, I have to take stutter steps or the carts hit my legs as I pull them backwards. I don’t think that the Cabela’s boots were designed for some one running backwards in the manner that I have to. We’ll see. I’ll wear my old shoes both at home and at work until my right shin is back to normal, then, I’ll wear the Cabela’s boots while on my morning walk.
Since I don’t have any more photos from today, but I do have a few odds and ends left from my vacation in Michigan’s UP in September, I’ll post a few of those as filler, rather than do any more posts on that trip. I’ll start with a couple of photos of the retired Coast Guard icebreaker, the Mackinaw.
If you’re interested in learning more about this ship, here’s a link to more information.
The United States Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw WAGB-83 was built as part of the war effort during World War II to meet the heavy demands placed on industry for an increase in production of war materials. Tremendous increases in the movement of iron ore, limestone and coal for the nation’s steel mills were particularly necessary. In order to keep tonnage on the move into the winter months on the Great Lakes, an icebreaker was needed. Congress authorized construction of Mackinaw on December 17, 1941, ten days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Funds were provided from a Special Presidential Fund used to expedite desirable projects. The hull was launched March 4th, 1944 and Mackinaw was commissioned on December 30th, 1944. Cheboygan, Michigan remained her home port her entire life.
You know, I think that posting photos of the Mackinaw right after the weather that we had this weekend is rather fitting. November has always been the worst month of the year as far as loss of ships and lives on the Great Lakes, including the SS Edmund Fitzgerald which sank in a Lake Superior storm on November 10, 1975, with the loss of the entire crew of 29.
Here’s a list of some of the more memorable November storms that have swept the Great Lakes.
On November 11, 1835, a southwest wind-swept across the lakes, taking numerous vessels. This was still early in the life of commercial shipping on the Lakes, so most of the losses were on the lower lakes where settlements were greatest.
The 1905 Blow
The storm on Lake Superior is also commonly refereed to as the Mataafa Storm after the most significant shipwreck caused by the disaster. The storm started as a one-day blow. The last of the season shipping was trying for one last load. The storm signals were hoisted and most ships were still in port when the rain began, becoming heavy. Turning to snow, it was driven by 60 mile-per-hour (96 km/h) winds at Duluth. Only the Charlemagne Tower had been out on the lake and ran for Portage, Michigan. Over the next two days, the weather moderated and by November 25 (Saturday), it had cleared and ships once again moved out onto the lake. A total of 29 ships were damaged or lost in the storm leading to 39 fatalities.
The Big Storm (1913)
In 1913, from the ninth of November through the twelfth, all five lakes were turned into cauldrons of rolling water by a unique combination of weather patterns. Before the four days ended, 13 ships went under and many more were driven ashore. Two hundred forty-four men lost their lives. The largest loss of ships was on Lake Huron.
Armistice Day blizzard (1940)
The Armistice Day Blizzard was a winter storm that occurred on November 11–12, 1940 which brought heavy snow and winds up to 80 mph. The lake freighter, SS William B. Davock, sank with all 33 hands in Lake Michigan south of Pentwater, Michigan. The SS Anna C. Minch, foundered, broke in two and sunk nearby with the loss of all 24 crew. A third ship wrecked on a reef in the same area, the Novadoc. Two crew were lost and the rest were rescued two days later by the tug Three Brothers. Two smaller boats also sank bringing the total death toll on the Lakes to 66.
Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (1975)
Once again it was a November storm that took the lives of men and their ship. It was November 9, 1975 that the Fitzgerald was downbound to Detroit with a load of taconite. The Arthur M. Anderson joined her on Lake Superior and was downbound for Gary, Indiana. As they were crossing Lake Superior the winter storm blew in. Winds were reported in excess of 50 knots (58 mph/93 km/h) with waves running up to 35 feet (10 m). The next day, Monday, November 10, eastern Lake Superior was still experiencing winds of 50 knots. That afternoon the Anderson reported being hit by a 75-knot gust. By 3:30 pm the Fitzgerald reported a minor list and top-side damage, including the loss of radar. The Fitzgerald was leading, but slowed to close the distance between ships so that it could be guided by the Anderson, who still had radar. Just after seven that night, the last radio contact from the Fitzgerald said that they were still managing. By 7:20 p.m. there was no more contact and the Anderson no longer saw the Fitzgerald on radar. Fitzgerald sank in Canadian waters 530 feet (160 m) deep, approximately 17 miles (15 nautical miles; 27 kilometers) from the entrance to Whitefish Bay near the twin cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
Well, I’ve gone a bit far astray here, but I may do that from time to time, especially over the winter months when I don’t get very many photos or have other things to write about.
A sunny but chilly start to the day. The wind has died down some, finally, as it is below freezing, and the wind would only make it feel colder than it is already.
I’ve been checking the Michigan DNR’s website, looking for places fairly close to home for places to visit over the Thanksgiving weekend. Since it’s in the middle of gun deer season, my options are somewhat limited, as I’d rather not be on public land open to hunting. It would be nice to know what the weather was going to be like, but that’s still a long way off. I also have to face the fact that the bird migration is over with, except for waterfowl, and that will be the case until next spring. I have plenty of time to worry about that, time for a walk.
With some sun today, it was very pleasant despite the chilly start. I shot this photo intending to crop down on the bright leaves, but I like it much more full size than cropped.
Another shot that I really like, even though the chickadee is facing the wrong way.
The wind wasn’t nearly as strong as what it has been the past few days, but it was still strong enough to mess up the crest of this cedar waxwing.
And I shot a couple of photos of Mourning doves, which have been staying well out of camera range most of the past summer.
I’m getting spoiled by my new camera gear, I would have been ecstatic with these photos while I was using the old Nikon, now, it was a ho hum kind of day.
I’m going to have to get away from paying so much attention to birds, at the expense of the rest of the natural world out there. I do a fair job of that when I carry all my gear, or at least take the second body and a short lens with me. Back when I had the Nikon and just a 70-300 mm lens, I did an even better job of shooting a wide variety of subjects. But, I continued to add new species of birds to my list, even though I hadn’t really begun to keep a list. It was seeing and photographing so many different species of birds that led me to start the My Photo Life List project in the first place, and since I started that, birds have become my obsession, which isn’t good.
I should carry the second body every day while I do my daily walk, but I tell myself that anything that I would see on any given day would be there the next day too. But, that is seldom the case. I could try leaving the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens) home, but I have shot around 25% of the new to me species of birds while doing my daily walk, so it is very hard for me to talk myself out of carrying it.
It also seems like overkill to carry two camera bodies and lenses just around home.
But, I may have to start doing that, as long as the weather allows. I’m going to be much more careful with my new gear than I was with the old Nikon, I’ve got too much money invested in the new stuff to chance ruining it. During the really cold snaps and/or blizzards, I may leave the good stuff home and go back to carrying the Powershot that I keep as a back up.
I don’t know if I have written about this before, but one of my many crazy ideas is to get something like a pull golf cart, stroller, or one of the baby carrier wagons that you can pull behind a bike to carry all my photo gear in. I told my brother that, he thought that I was joking, but that’s what he just did, bought a three-wheeled baby stroller, and converted it to carry his gear in. It works very well. I think that next spring, when the garage sales start again, I may have to see what I can find as far as a cart of some kind.
Another sunny, yet chilly day today. At least there’s no snow yet, that’s forecast to arrive in time for the weekend. It’s not looking great for the Thanksgiving weekend either. Oh well, I’ll do a day trip or two and call it good. That reminds me, I had better keep an eye on gas prices the next few days, and fill up my Forester before the price spikes up for Thanksgiving.
Looking outside or checking the weather forecast, you would have thought that today was a repeat of yesterday, sunny and pleasant, but that wasn’t the case today. The wind made it feel much colder than it really was, and it was already quite frosty to begin with.
I wasn’t going to post that photo, I shot it with the Beast, and that type of photo isn’t the Beast’s forte, it does much better on these types of photos.
For about the thousandth time, I should have taken the other body, a short lens, and my tripod with me for the frost photo, when will I learn? Probably never, because today was not a day to be standing around in the wind, fooling around with my equipment to take a so-so frost photo.
Besides, the Beast does these shots so well.
OK, I really haven’t written about carrying all my gear over a thousand times, yet. It just seems like it. 😉
I’ve only had the new stuff for six months now. I’ve thought about doing an updated review of the equipment that I purchased this spring, but the truth is, most readers aren’t interested in that. I will say this though, I’ll stick to my recommendation that people in the market for a camera should begin by shopping for lenses first. After they decide on the lenses that best suit their needs and budget, then go with the best camera body that they can afford to buy, even if that body seems to be a lower end model when compared to the lenses that they plan to use on it. The optics in the lenses form the image, the body only records that image.
I’m extremely happy with my gear, it fits my needs well. Yes, the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens) is a beast, but it is worth lugging it around for the close-ups of birds and other critters that I am able to get with it. The 70-200 mm L series lens is extremely sharp along with great color and contrast, the 15-85 mm does almost as well, without the need to tweak the focus as I have to with the L series lens up close. My photos continue to improve as I learn to tweak the 60 D body to get the best results that it is capable of delivering.
Best of all, I have put together my kit of two bodies and the three quality lenses for less than half the cost of one top of the line body or long telephoto lens. Even after I add a macro lens and a lighter long lens to use as walk around lens instead of the Beast, I’ll be at about half the cost of one top of the line item.
Cloudy and milder this morning, a good ten degrees above the freezing mark for the first time this week so early in the day.
I haven’t written about this in a while, but a few years ago, an oil pipeline owned by Enbridge Energy Company ruptured due to defective installation which was done before Enbridge purchased the pipeline. The rupture occurred about 60 miles from where I live, and much of the oil that escaped from the pipeline ended up in the Kalamazoo River.
Enbridge did everything that the EPA asked of them, and it was about this time of year last year, that the regional EPA officials announced that the clean up was complete, and congratulated Enbridge for doing a fine job of the clean up.
Then, some one higher up in the EPA said wait a minute, not so fast, we can force Enbridge to pay even more in fines and clean up pollution that occurred long before the oil spill. So, for most of this year, Enbridge has been working to continue the clean up of the Kalamazoo River, even though much of what has been removed from the river bottom was left there by the paper mills that used to line the Kalamazoo River, including PCB’s.
The section of the Kalamazoo River where the oil spill happened was already a Federal Superfund site because of the pollution left from the paper mills, and the Feds have been dredging other sections of the Kalamazoo River for the last decade.
So, towards the end of this past summer, the EPA ordered Enbridge to dredge an impoundment on the Kalamazoo River known as Morrow Lake, and gave Enbridge a deadline of December 31st to complete the dredging. However, the branch of the EPA that issues permits for dredging operations has not issued Enbridge a permit for the dredging, so Enbridge asked for an extension of the deadline, which was rejected by the EPA. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place! If Enbridge goes ahead with the dredging, they face fines for doing so without a permit. If they don’t dredge, they face fines for failing to meet the deadline.
Morrow Lake was already on the EPA’s list of places to be dredged to remove the existing contamination, they are using the oil spill to force Enbridge to clean up very minute amounts of oil left from the spill that would be left behind during a normal clean up in order to get Enbridge to remove the PCB’s and other pollutants that had put the Kalamazoo River on the Superfund list in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong, cleaning up the Kalamazoo River is a good thing, I’m all for it. But, the companies responsible for the pollution should be the ones to pay. What really burns my butt is seeing a company under orders from the Federal Government to do something being fined for doing what they have been ordered to do by the government.
The EPA has ordered the dredging, it’s the same agency dragging its heels in not issuing the required permits for the dredging it has ordered. It’s a game that the government plays to extract more money out of companies that try to follow the law. Enbridge is going to face fines no matter what they do, even though they are trying to do the right thing, and that’s not right. The EPA should grant the requested extension until a reasonable time after they issue the permits.
Time for a walk.
A very pleasant morning walk, with just a slight breeze and cool, not cold temps. I brought the medium length lens and my tripod today, planning on some close-ups of seeds and berries since the clouds softened the sunlight making it a good day for such photos. But, I forgot to bring my reading glasses, which I need to confirm the focus when using live view and manual focus. Oh well, there will be plenty of chances for those photos over the coming weeks.
Since I didn’t bring the Beast, of course I saw a species of bird that I would have loved to have had it with me for.
I played peek-a-boo with it as it went round and round the tree until it gave up trying to hide and posed for a few photos.
I’ve been seeing more and more cats in the park, today, there were two at the same time, with half a dozen fox squirrels barking at the cats, and alerting all the birds of the danger. With that going on, I saw very few birds, and none within the range of the lens I was using.
Later in during my walk, I saw a Cooper’s hawk zoom across the upper field, and still later, I saw “Bruiser”, the oversize red-tailed hawk that lives around here. I switched to my bird in flight settings and got one shot of Bruiser, but with the light the way it was today, that photo isn’t worth posting. It’s sharper than I expected, but +2/3 EV wasn’t nearly enough of an adjustment to the exposure, and I didn’t have time to go any higher before the hawk disappeared into the trees.
I’ve written a little about the one much larger than average red-tailed hawk around here, I have now named it Bruiser in case you haven’t noticed, at least temporarily. It really is about 25% larger than the average red-tailed hawk, and it’s fairly easy to tell it apart from the others around here because of how large it is. In all likelihood, it is probably a female, so maybe I should change its name to Bertha or something similar. What the heck, I’ll post the photo even though the exposure is off.
Of course with no other hawk in the frame to use to judge the size of Bertha, she looks like your typical red-tailed hawk.
You know, that brings up something else, how enlightening it can be to walk the same place daily.
Back at the old apartment complex, I got to the point where I could recognize several of the red-tailed hawks there by the variations in their coloration. Here, I can tell Bertha by her size. I have noticed that there is one very light-colored red-bellied woodpecker around here, as compared to the others, like this one.
Then, there’s “Scarface”, the goldfinch that had been injured and has a scar across its face. I have seen it a few times, and it is easy to ID it even in a small flock because of how the light plays on the scar.
It’s taken a year, but I can now identify a few individual critters within a species. I had forgotten about that, it’s something I’ll have to keep in mind and work on.
My legs are feeling much better since I went back to my old shoes both at home and work. If my legs feel as good tomorrow, I’m going to start wearing the Cabela’s brand boots while walking and see how that works out. I’m almost positive that the pain was caused by the way that I have to pull the carts backwards at work.
The clouds today are in advance of a weather system headed this way, which is forecast to arrive this evening. It really isn’t much of a storm, especially not when compared to the storms last weekend. That storm blew through so quickly that the lake effect machine didn’t get a chance to get fired up. This next system is going to change that, it will be strong and slow enough to prime the lake effect machine, with on and off snow showers continuing from Friday all the way to at least Thanksgiving Day.
So, I’ll be sticking close to home this weekend for sure, maybe next weekend as well.
Cloudy, dreary, foggy, with drizzle, just an all around yucky kind of day. At least the temperature is still above freezing, but even that is forecast to change by this afternoon.
Sorry, but the weather today, and the forecast for next week have me feeling a little bummed out this morning. I’ll have four days off from work next weekend for the holiday, and was hoping for some good weather for a photo excursion of some type, but that’s looking mighty grim right now. The weather forecast for the next week is for high temperatures at or below freezing, clouds, and on and off lake effect snow squalls, especially along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
Up until this spring, that forecast wouldn’t have left me down in the dumps the way that it has, but with the new camera gear, I was looking forward to getting good photos. In the past, the photos I shot were secondary to just being outdoors, now, that has been reversed, I’ve been spending more time outdoors for the purpose of getting good photos.
Oh well, I’ll think of something, I hope, time for a walk.
I’m back, and between the time that I wrote what I did earlier in the morning, and the time that I got outside, the wind had come up to blow the fog away. The wind brought colder air and snowflakes with it, the temperature dropped five degrees while I was walking, even though it felt like more. It has to be the weather causing my bad mood today, as it has also put the birds in a bad mood as well.
I had shot a few photos of the gull to remind myself that no matter how gloomy the weather is, there are always subjects to be photographed. I don’t think that the gull is a photographer, so I don’t know why it was so grumpy this morning.
There may be a silver lining to winter weather and not spending as much time on photography. With the cold and wind, I set a much faster pace than I normally do, I would have been back home much sooner, which would have left me bored and craving a smoke. So, I walked farther than I usually do, adding part of the west leg of my weekend route to my walk today. Walking farther and faster will probably help me lose weight, which is a good thing.
The part of my walk that I added today is more sheltered from the wind, I hoped to find more birds there, and I did. I jumped a flock of around 20 mourning doves and a few tweety birds, but didn’t get any photos.
So, I suppose that I’ll add a couple more of the leftovers from my UP vacation.
I’ve got the battery for my camera charging so it will be ready to go this weekend, I think that I’ll do the extended daily walk tomorrow, then see if I can bag a buck at Palmer Park on Sunday.
I feel like such an idiot!
I woke up this morning to sunlight streaming into my apartment, but how could that be? The weather forecast had told me for a week that we were going to be in the middle of a lake effect snow event this morning. There is a dusting of snow on the ground, hardly enough to mention. That’s what I get for believing the weatherman!
I let myself get all bummed out over nothing as far as not having a plan for the long Thanksgiving weekend coming up. I’m sure that it is snowing right along the shores of Lake Michigan, but the wind is out of the north, which will keep the snow there and not blow it inland.
Since all the snow and clouds in the forecast for next weekend is of the lake effect variety, all I have to do is head east to get out from under the clouds, which would make a trip somewhere in that direction worthwhile. So, I have decided that for one day next weekend, I’ll head over to the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge and do some birding and make it a scouting expedition for future trips there as well.
Time for food and a long walk!
The one thing that the meteorologists had correct was the wind, it was nasty during the parts of my walk when I was out in the open. and, a couple of times large dark clouds blotted out the sun, and even spit some snowflakes from time to time.
It’s been a couple of years since I did a post on microclimates, today was a great example of what they are. It was well below freezing today, with ice covering any puddles left from earlier rains, and the snow wasn’t melting for the most part. However, as I was leaving the park, I stopped on the south side of the building that holds the restrooms. Being out of the wind, with the sun shining on me, it felt a good 30 degrees warmer than it did just a few feet away. It was so warm there in that spot that I watched insects crawling on the masonry wall of the building. I hadn’t walked more than a hundred yards away, and it was if I was in a blizzard, with wind-blown snow stinging my cheeks.
Lake effect snow or rain is a great example of a large scale microclimate, the spot in the sun on the south side of an unheated building is a great example of a small scale one. I could feel heat radiating from the masonry wall of the building, heat which it had absorbed from the sun. It was toasty there against the building, which is why the insects hadn’t been frozen.
Anyway, the wind was so strong that even geese were having trouble making headway against it, I shot a few photos, but it doesn’t really convey what I would like them to, so there’s no reason to post them. Besides, I have better photos from today.
And my “catch” of the day, a downy woodpecker eating berries.
I was lucky that there was as much sun as there was, as the downy wasted no time filling its crop with the berries. It plucked and swallowed approximately 10 berries in less than 30 seconds, I was afraid that the photos would be too blurry to use as quickly as the downy was moving.
Those photos aren’t in order either, I arranged these so that it looks like the woodpecker is selecting and eating one berry, but the action was too fast for a series of photos of it eating one berry.
So, that’s about it for the day, and for the week, just one thing left to do, insert the lyrics of a song having to do with the outdoors for my song of the week. This week, it’s Canned Heat’s “Going up the country”
I’m going up the country, babe, don’t you wanna go?
I’m going up the country, babe, don’t you wanna go?
I’m going to some place where I’ve never been before.
I’m going, I’m going where the water tastes like wine.
Well, I’m going where the water tastes like wine.
We can jump in the water, stay drunk all the time.
I’m gonna leave this city, got to get away.
I’m gonna leave this city, got to get away.
All this fussing and fighting, man, you know I sure can’t stay.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!