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

Still trying to catch up, Part I

Well, I still find myself a week behind and trying to catch up with my photos, while trying not to post everyday. That’s been made worse, as over this past weekend, I brought the second camera body and one of my shorter lenses each day. Give me two cameras and I take twice as many photos. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The photos from this weekend won’t appear here, but I’m going to relay what I found out while it’s still fresh in my mind.

The EF S 15-85 mm lens is a fine lens, it even comes close to being useful for macro photography, however, it can’t compete with either the 300 mm prime lens or the Tokina 100 mm macro lens as far as sharpness when shooting very small subjects. Of course, I’m being overly picky, and if the 15-85 mm lens was the only one that I had for macro photography, I’d be happy with it. I would still use it in a pinch if I had to, but with two other lenses better suited for such photos, I’ll reserve the 15-85 mm lens for landscapes, which it does a superb job of.

That said, I could see myself taking the 15-85 mm lens along with me on days when I use the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens) for wildlife because of the shorter lens’ versatility. The 15-85 mm will do both landscapes and a credible job of macros if any such photo ops come up.

The Tokina 100 mm macro lens is as sharp or sharper than the 300 mm prime lens. I used it handheld on Sunday, which really isn’t the way to get the best out of it, but it was too hot and muggy for me to lug around my tripod. Besides, I was walking a busy trail, and using a tripod wasn’t a wise thing to do. I was still able to get subjects full frame that I had to crop down images shot with the 300 mm prime to get to the same size in the image shot with the Tokina. On top of that, because of the shorter working range with the Tokina, inches rather than feet with the 300 mm prime, it opens up more possibilities as far as composing the photos that I shoot.

I did have problems getting the exposure correct with the Tokina, part of that was me, I didn’t believe the LCD display when I checked my images. I think that another part of the problem was one of those obscure camera settings.

The engineers at Canon are fully aware of the short comings of some of their lenses. So, they program their lenses and cameras to compensate for that. For example, when I use the 15-85 mm lens, the camera body “knows” that and adjusts the way that it records images to make the images look better than they would if the compensations for that lens weren’t programmed in. I had that setting set wrong. The engineers at Canon don’t program their bodies to improve the images shot with another brand of lens. Gee, I wonder why? ๐Ÿ˜‰

One more thing about the Tokina, and possibly the 300 mm prime lens. They may be too sharp, with too much color saturation, and other things as far as image quality for the camera settings that I am currently using. Some of you may remember that the Canon lets me store three sets of offsets pertaining to image quality. At first, I was dialing in one set of offsets for each lens I owned at the time, but by the end of the summer, I found that all three lenses did well with the same settings. Those are all zoom lenses. I then set the offsets for good light/poor light, and that has worked well.

However, some of the images that I’ve shot lately using the two prime lenses are telling me that I should back the camera body’s compensations for those two lenses, some of my photos have actually been too sharp, the colors too dense, and so on. Here’s an example from the 300 mm prime, and remember that this image has been reduced in quality for posting here.

Unknown

Unknown

To me, that photo looks faked, or if it had been “juiced” in post-processing. It wasn’t, it was “juiced” in the camera body when it was recorded. I think that I will back off the compensations for the two prime lenses, and that I’ll end up with settings for my zoom lenses, another for my prime lenses, and a poor light setting for the zoom lenses. For the prime lenses in poor light, I’ll use the good light setting for the zoom lenses, at least for now.

Anyway, the Tokina macro lens and the Canon 300 mm prime make an awesome one-two punch for flowers, insects and other small subjects. That’s like the Beast and the Canon 300 mm prime making a great one-two punch for birding and wildlife.

And, the reason I’m putting this in this post is so that I remember what I’ve done in case the setting changes I make don’t work. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now then, for the old photos.

Bird's foot trefoil

Bird’s foot trefoil

Hairy vetch

Hairy vetch

St. John's wort

St. John’s wort

After my bad photo of a woodchuck in my last post, here’s a better one.

IMG_4686

Woodchuck

A cedar waxwing exercising its feathers.

Cedar waxwing fluffed

Cedar waxwing fluffed

Cedar waxwing

Cedar waxwing

Cedar waxwing

Cedar waxwing

Iris slightly overexposed with insect

Iris slightly overexposed with insect

Iris slightly correctly exposed with out insect

Iris correctly exposed with out insect

Catalpa

Catalpa

Catalpa and bumblebee

Catalpa and bumblebee

Peony

Peony

I know that I shouldn’t post any more squirrel photos, but they are such clowns that I can’t help myself.

Muddy fox squirrel

Muddy fox squirrel

Muddy fox squirrel

Muddy fox squirrel

Male American goldfinch

Male American goldfinch

Cottontail rabbit

Cottontail rabbit

This male cardinal was in a singing war with another nearby male, I wish the lighting had been better for this one.

Male northern cardinal

Male northern cardinal

I was wrong about the meadowlarks not nesting here this year, it may be due to the weather that they didn’t act the same as last year. Then, a flock of meadowlarks showed up and stuck around for a week or more, with the males singing daily as they courted the females.

This year, the flock showed up, and only stayed a day or two, with very little singing. I don’t know if the same pair is nesting here again this year, maybe because of the long winter we had, once they arrived, they did away with the long courtship, and got right to nesting. And, I do where their nest is, but you won’t see any young meadowlark photos, I avoid nesting birds.

Eastern meadowlark

Eastern meadowlark

You may see a few more than the three photos of motherwort that I’m posting here today, as I am determined to get a good close-up of how complicated each of the small flowers are.

Motherwort

Motherwort

Motherwort

Motherwort

Motherwort

Motherwort

Chicory

Chicory

Beardtongue

Beardtongue

Eastern meadowlark

Eastern meadowlark

From the bad photos too good not to post file. I was going to try for a photo of the reflections on the water, but a mallard photo-bombed me as I was about to press the shutter release.

Female mallard

Female mallard

She did her best to splash me. I was only a few feet from her, so I couldn’t keep herย in focus or freeze the action.

Female mallard

Female mallard

Then she gave me that innocent ” What did I do” look.

Female mallard

Female mallard

Then, as if to make up for ruining my shot of the reflections, she moved a short distance away where I could get all of her in the frame to dry her wings. That was nice of her, as I like these next two, if only the leaves didn’t intrude on the left.

Female mallard

Female mallard

Female mallard

Female mallard

Stonecrop

Stonecrop

Bindweed

Bindweed

I found out that there are really two woodchucks that have moved into the burrow near the creek.

Woodchuck 1

Woodchuck 1

Woodchuck 2

Woodchuck 2

Bumblebee on unknown

Bumblebee on unknown

Maple leaves

Maple leaves

Female red-winged blackbird

Female red-winged blackbird

Sedge or grass??

Sedge or grass??

Chipping sparrow in the rain

Chipping sparrow in the rain

Red and green

Red and green

Juvenile male Baltimore oriole

Juvenile male Baltimore oriole

Well, I’m caught up to this last weekend’s photos, so I guess that it’s time to stick a fork in this post, it’s done.

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

 

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24 responses

  1. Keep posting those squirrel pictures, I love them.

    June 24, 2014 at 4:41 am

    • Thank you Susan!

      June 24, 2014 at 9:52 am

  2. Love all the pics. Favorites? – the meadowlarks. Just love those birds!

    June 24, 2014 at 5:42 am

    • Thanks Judy! The meadowlarks are very good at hiding from me, but they slip up once in a while.

      June 24, 2014 at 9:53 am

  3. A very nice set, particularly nice job with the motherwort.

    June 24, 2014 at 5:50 am

    • Thanks Bob! I’m not happy with the motherwort photos, I’ll keep trying until I get a good one.

      June 24, 2014 at 9:55 am

  4. It looks like that macro lens is going to earn its keep. I’m not sure why that first flower looks like it has been outlined, though. I’ve never seen that happen.
    I’m surprised that those woodchucks let you get so close, even with a long lens! I’m not sure if that unknown is a sedge or not. The way to tell is to pinch the stem. if you feel pointy edges it’s a sedge. Grass stems are round.
    Nice close-ups of the motherwort. I know how small those flowers are!

    June 24, 2014 at 6:27 am

    • Thanks Allen! I’ve seen photos like that first “outlined” flower, usually when some one gets carried away in photoshop or one of the other photo editing programs. But, I did that to the flower in the camera. I can adjust the sharpness, color saturation, tone, contrast, etc, that the camera sees and records. I set my camera up to match what I think that I would get if I were shooting Kodachrome slide film, and the settings for my zoom lenses is about right. However, both the prime lenses are sharper, with better color, contrast and so on, so they look overdone under certain circumstance, I’ll have to back down for them.

      Animals like me, what can I say. It sounds funny, but with my current long lenses, I have trouble with wildlife getting too close to me.

      I tried to get closer to the motherwort with the macro lens, but I think that I was too close. I’m going to try for better shots if it ever stops raining here.

      June 24, 2014 at 10:09 am

  5. Cute series of the female mallard – made me smile! ๐Ÿ™‚ I thought the stonecrop, bindweed and maple leaves had excellent sharpness.

    June 24, 2014 at 8:12 am

    • Stick a fork in it – it’s WELL done. Liked the motherwort a lot,

      June 24, 2014 at 8:27 am

      • Thanks Judy!

        June 24, 2014 at 10:10 am

    • Thanks Amy! I love mallards almost as much as I do squirrels, they both add humor to a day’s walk.

      June 24, 2014 at 10:11 am

  6. Thanks for the photographic work !!
    The first plan could be “silense coronaria”, what do you think?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silene_coronaria

    June 24, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    • Thank you! That’s the flower, thank you again.

      June 24, 2014 at 1:58 pm

  7. How can you tell the two woodchucks apart? We had a lot of western meadowlarks where we lived in Utah. Sure do miss their songs.

    June 24, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    • I can’t tell the two woodchucks apart, yet. They were both sunning outside the den, but I was too close to get them both in one shot. I’ll have to listen to a recording of the western meadowlarks, there’s a few of them around here, but the eastern are more common. If their songs are similar, I’d miss them too.

      June 25, 2014 at 1:32 am

  8. More useful education to go with some superb pictures. You are a wonder of the world. Keep it up.

    June 24, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    • Thanks Tom! IT’s true, the world does wonder about me, mostly it’s whether I’m crazy or not. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      June 25, 2014 at 1:29 am

  9. Love your woodchuck and muddy squirrel photos!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    June 25, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    • Thank you Michael!

      June 26, 2014 at 1:20 am

  10. good set of pictures again. I liked the cottontail rabbit stepping across the track and the plants – chicory, maple leaves, sedge/grass.

    June 26, 2014 at 9:56 am

    • Thanks Clare!

      June 26, 2014 at 2:50 pm

  11. Too funny: I was just about to ask what a cottontail singing war sounds like, but decided to reread, and only now realized the singing war was between the cardinals! Time for that morning cup of coffee here. Great photos, love the squirrel and woodchucks.

    June 27, 2014 at 6:46 am

    • Thanks, and I hope that the coffee has kicked in!

      June 27, 2014 at 11:39 am