My Weekend, Saturday at Millennium Park
I overslept a little this morning, well, I woke up at my usual time, looked at the clock, and went back to sleep. I’m a bit miffed at myself for doing so, I feel as if I am wasting the best part of the day. But, on the other hand, it felt good to sleep in for a change. Especially since I worked late last night, then did my grocery shopping on the way home.
Today, I’m going to attend my first outing with the Meetup photography group that I joined several months ago, and we’re going on a nature photo walk in Kent County’s Millennium Park. This will be my first time at this particular park, so it will give me the chance to check it out to see if I want to add it to the list of local parks that I visit frequently.
There’s going to be 16 people for this walk if every one shows up, that’s really too many for me to expect to get close to very many birds, but it should still be good, we’ll see.
I’m back, and 16 people didn’t show up, it was 60, as two other groups also joined in. That was way, way, too many people, but still, it was a good day.
I arrived almost three hours early and set off to the east from the parking lot. I wasn’t impressed, as the area was once a gravel mining operation, so it had been bulldozed flat, and not enough time has elapsed since then for much topsoil to form. So, there are few trees, and only the hardiest of plants of any kind. The lakes are man-made lakes created when they dredged gravel. But, nature is slowly reclaiming the area.
I could see terrain better suited to my tastes in the distance, but I didn’t have time to make it that far before I had to turn around to meet the group.
Also, the park was extremely busy, with walkers, joggers, cyclists, and people rollerblading doing their things. By the appointed time for the group to meet, the parking lot was full, with cars lining the road for some distance in both directions from the parking lot.
Still, I had a pretty good day.
I started out carrying the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens) and managed to find a few birds to photograph.
I saw a flock of double crested cormorants across the lake.
And a sharp-shinned hawk, but I must have missed when I thought that I switched the OS off, for there’s ghosting in this photo, and when I went to turn the OS back on, I found that it wasn’t off. Oops.
The lakes also held a few bufflehead ducks.
On my way back to the parking lot, I found an observation deck in a great spot between two of the man-made lakes, with ducks flying back and forth between the two, and right past the deck.
But my best shot was ruined by some tall grass that got in the way.
I could see sitting on that observation deck for hours, happily shooting ducks as they fly past me!
Along with an occasional cormorant.
When I arrived back at the parking lot, I switched to the new prime lens and extender, and shot these while talking to members of the group as they arrived.
Then, we were giving a list of things to look for, a scavenger hunt of sorts, and the group set off in search of things on the list. The list wasn’t a list of species or anything like that, but of things like colors, shapes, and textures. Not really my thing, but here’s a couple of photos that I shot towards the list.
I also managed a few critters.
I was about as close to a perched kingfisher as I have ever been, the problem was that it was on the other side of a fence.
I also fooled around with a tree swallow for a while. I could get a great photo of its plumage.
But if I got rid of the shadow across its face, then I lost the color of its plumage.
To make up for it hard time that the swallow was giving me, this killdeer posed nicely for me.
Okay, to sum things up.
I think that Millennium Park has potential, if I park in one of the other lots closer to where the landscape hasn’t been spoiled by gravel mining, as I found plenty of things to photograph as I got close to the edges. That is, if the entire park isn’t as busy as the portion that I checked out today. The only way to know for sure is to give it another try. I found the one observation deck, and could have spent the day right there. However, there are two others in the wilder part of the park that I would also like to check out.
Also, the jury is still out on the Meetup group. As I said, there were three groups combined today, the Meetup group, a group from the Grand Rapids Library, and a Facebook group. Sixty people on a nature walk is beyond ridiculous, so I hope to attend a few outings with just the Meetup group before I decide whether to stay, or leave. I have suggested an outing next weekend to photograph the wildflowers in Aman Park, we’ll see if they approve it, and how that goes.
One more thing. The first photo in this post, of the killdeer on the nest was shot with the Beast. The very last photo of the killdeer was shot with the 300 mm prime lens and extender. There’s not very much difference in image quality between the two of them. I’ve noticed that the Beast seems to be getting sharper, maybe it’s jealous of how much of the time I’ve been using the new lens? 😉
Well, that’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!