I have the rest of my life, Part I
I still have quite a few photos saved from last week, a few of them will make it into this post as I go along.
But, this post will be a bit wordier than my past few posts, as I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on my photos and my blogging.
However, before I get started down that long and winding path, I have a few updates.
The small woodlot that used to stand at the corner of the apartment complex where I live has been totally cleared of trees except for a few around the edges of the property, darn.
Just this past week, the owners of the vacant parcel of land that borders Creekside Park on the east have started clearing that parcel, but not totally clear. I’m not sure what they are planning on doing, it looks like they are planning on putting a small subdivision in there, with just a few homes. I can’t say that I’m pleased about that, but since I couldn’t afford to purchase the land, I have no say in what happens. If they leave what remains uncut the way it is now, it shouldn’t have too much of an impact on the wildlife around the park.
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may remember that my knees were bothering me a good deal before I went on vacation. Well, I was on my feet for most of the sunlight hours everyday while I was on vacation. My knees healed up, the pain and the limp that I had developed went away. A few weeks back at work, the pain is returning, as is the limp. Time for a new job!
I have wanted an ultra-wide lens for a while, I had discussed a few, and I believe that I had settled on the Sigma 10-22 mm lens if I remember correctly. That’s all out the window. Canon has introduced a new 10-18 mm lens for crop sensor cameras, which my 60 D bodies are.
When I saw that, I added that lens to the list of possibilities, but then I learned that it would be an all plastic lens, including the lens mount. I had almost crossed that lens off my list when I heard about the plastic mount. But, I also took into consideration what size filters all the lenses on my list took, because filters can add up to quite a bit of money.
I could prattle on about that, but I won’t. The reviews have started coming in on the new Canon, and they are all pretty much the same. Yes, it is an all plastic lens, to keep the price and weight down, but optically, it is the best ultra-wide lens ever built for crop sensor bodies. It also takes 67 mm filters, the same as the 70-200 mm L series lens that I already own takes. I already have a 67 mm polarizing filter, so that saves me a few bucks there. Since any other filters, such as neutral density filters, will fit both the 10-18 mm and 70-200 mm lenses, I’ll save a few bucks there.
The plastic mount still bothers me a little, but I have to be realistic, it’s not as if I’m changing lenses all the time, and I’m pretty easy on my equipment, so the plastic mount shouldn’t be a problem. Especially since the new Canon lens is only three hundred dollars, 33% less than the Sigma I had been looking at and half the price of the Canon 10-22 mm lens I had also been looking at.
I shouldn’t buy another lens at this time, I still haven’t learned how to get the best out of the lenses that I already own, and that’s especially true of the Tokina macro lens.
When I purchased the macro lens, I had big plans to spend a lot of time using it this summer, learning how to do macro photography, and getting good photos of the miniature world around us. What I didn’t know then was how much the improvement in my other types of photography was going to affect me.
I have hundreds of images of cardinals saved on my computer, but none of them come close to these as far as image quality.
It’s not just those two that have me looking at my photos in an entirely new way.
Nor is it only the photos of birds.
There’s a part of me that would like to change the direction of my blog to where I only post the very best of my photos.
However, some of my favorite images continue to be those of wildlife engaged in every day activities that most people never get a chance to see. Judging from the comments to my blog, they are the reader’s favorites as well, like the woodchuck and porcupine in trees, the muddy red squirrel, and so on.
While I would love it if I could get perfect photos every time that I pressed the shutter release, I haven’t gotten that good yet. As luck would have it, I just happen to have a few examples birds in action, but my photos of them aren’t that great. 😉
To start with, a young female turkey that had been dusting itself in the main part of the park. She decided that the other people in the park were too close to her, but she didn’t seem to mind me being even closer. I have photos of her dusting where I first saw her, then of her walking towards me, but I’ll leave those out, and post just these. She found the horseshoe pits in the park just perfect for dusting.
By the way, it is believed that bird dust themselves like that to rid their feathers of parasites, such as feather mites. Some birds bathe in water, others use dust, some use both.
Then there are these two photos, first, of a female red-winged blackbird shaking herself dry in the rain, then a close up of her showing the water drops still in her feathers on the top of her head. (You may have to click on the photo in order to make out the water drops in her crown)
Speaking of red-winged blackbirds, here’s a few of them chasing a red-tailed hawk.
I was trying out some new exposure settings for flying birds that day, and I was so intent on the exposure that I forgot to turn the Image Stabilization of the lens to the action mode, so there’s some “ghosting” present in these images from the IS fighting the movement of the camera as I followed the action. And, it isn’t as if this is the first time that I’ve posted photos of red-winged blackbirds attacking a red-tailed hawk, so, then my decision is how many should I post, and should I show the entire flock of blackbirds….
…or crop in on Bertha, the red-tailed hawk, as she keeps an eye on the blackbirds?
Or, go for a shot of one of the blackbirds doing a little hawk surfing?
More decisions on what to post. I spotted a young robin just starting to get its adult feathers, and thought that I should get a photo.
The photo isn’t that great, but as I stood there shooting that photo, I heard a ruckus just a short distance from me as a Cooper’s hawk made a pass at an adult robin. The hawk missed, but I didn’t.
So, the question is, should I post either or both of the photos. I have many images of Cooper’s hawks, many of them better than the one above, but I was able to watch the robin elude the hawk, even if I didn’t get both birds in the frame.
Here’s more bad photos that I question whether I should post them or not. This time, it’s an adult male rose-breasted grosbeak feeding one of its young. Maybe I’m reading too much into the photos, but I imagine that the conversation between the adult and juvenile bird went something like this.
Dad: “Here’s your lunch son.”
Son: “Feed me!”
Dad: “Here you go son”
Son: “Beetles again? I wanted a nice juicy inchworm!”
Dad: “I worked my butt off to find you this beetle, you’re going to eat it and like it, even if I have to shove it down your throat!”
Son: “Well, I’ll eat it, but it doesn’t have to mean that I’ll like it.”
I would have loved to have captured that series on a day with good lighting, but it didn’t happen that way.
I tell myself that I have the rest of my life to shoot good photos of nearly every subject eventually, so there’s no need to post these now. I could wait until I get better photos, and stick to the better quality images, like these.
I also have the rest of my life to get even better images than these last few, so where should I draw the line?
If you had told me a year ago that I would still be seeing marked improvements in my photos to the degree that I see, I wouldn’t have believed it possible, but it seems like I’m seeing more improvement this summer with every passing day than last summer.
If I wait for the perfect photo, or as close to perfect as the first two cardinal photos in this post are, then I wouldn’t be posting very often. My posts would also become a lot shorter than this one has become. 😉
I still have close to 90 photos left over even after all the photos that I have in this post. While I can easily weed that down to around 50, I really don’t want to post daily as I have been for the most part up until this week. But, I save too many photos to post weekly, the posts grow too long if I post once a week.
I thought about resurrecting a dormant blog that I have to post just my very best photos to, but I’m not sure that it is a good idea to do so either. I would still be posting almost as often between the two blogs, so what difference would it make other than that my photos would be spread out over two blogs rather than one.
I considered adding a poll to this post to ask all of you what you would prefer to see here, just the best of the best, or wildlife in action, but I have a fair idea of what the results of the poll would be, and each of you would have a different opinion as to what your favorite photos from this post would be.
So, I guess I’ll wrap this one up and continue my thoughts in a second post on this subject.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!