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

Still trying to catch up, Part II

I’m finding it very hard to get caught up, even though it rained the entire time I was walking on two days, and so I saved just a couple of photos from those days combined. It’s summer in west Michigan, and there are so many flowers in bloom…

Yellow day lily

Yellow day lily

…insects to photograph…

Spider with its meal

Spider with its meal

…birds…

American crows

American crows

…amphibians…

Toad

Toad

…and mammals…

Fox squirrel

Fox squirrel

…that it’s hard for me not to go crazy shooting too many photos every day.

I’m trying to cut back on the photos, and the frequency of my posts, I really am. So I have been deleting most of the photos of the same old same old, like red-winged blackbirds attacking hawks.

Red-winged blackbirds attacking a red-tailed hawk

Red-winged blackbirds attacking a red-tailed hawk

But those photos seem to be the favorites of some of the readers of my blog.

As I said in a previous post, I’ve been testing my short lenses out, here’s a few photos taken with the 15-85 mm lens.

Sumac flowers

Sumac flowers

Sumac flowers

Sumac flowers

Yellow moth mullein

Yellow moth mullein

Crown vetch

Crown vetch

Unknown not cropped

Unknown not cropped

Unknown cropped

Unknown cropped

Unknown not cropped

Unknown not cropped

Unknown cropped

Unknown cropped

Bird's foot trefoil

Bird’s foot trefoil

And here’s a few from the Tokina macro lens shot handheld.

Yarrow

Yarrow

Sumac

Sumac

Milkweed

Milkweed

Milkweed

Milkweed

Milkweed

Milkweed

Motherwort

Motherwort

Fleabane

Fleabane

Fleabane

Fleabane

A couple of quick notes.

The 15-85 mm lens is a fine lens, but it can’t quite match the image quality that I get from either the 300 mm prime or Tokina macro lens, which is no surprise. Full size, the images look great, but you can see that the quality drops off when I crop the images.

The Tokina macro lens really belongs on a tripod for true macro photography to get the best results from it, but, I can make do shooting handheld if I have to.

I really need to change my ways. I typically shoot what I see exactly how I saw it at the time. But, by doing that, I often get things in the frame that distract from the subject that I’m going for. That’s apparent in the photo of the bird’s foot trefoil, I should have moved the buds in the top of the photo out of the way before I shot that photo.

So the past few days, I have been paying more attention to everything that would appear in a photo, and trying to get better photos by moving things around, or even trimming grasses or other plants out of the way.

Here’s a few more from the Tokina macro lens.

Dianthus

Dianthus

Black eyed Susan

Black eyed Susan

Ground ivy?

Ground ivy?

Skipper on sulfur cinquefoil

Skipper on sulfur cinquefoil

Unknown berry flowers

Unknown berry flowers

Tiny beetles on unknown berry flowers

Tiny beetles on unknown berry flowers

Tiny beetles on unknown berry flowers

Tiny beetles on unknown berry flowers

Stonecrop

Stonecrop

Stonecrop

Stonecrop

Heal all

Heal all

Heal all

Heal all

St. John's wort

St. John’s wort

Like I said, I should be using the tripod more, but it’s too time consuming while on my daily walks to do so. The tripod sets up quickly, but I have to set everything that I’m carrying down, set the tripod up, mount the camera, shoot the photos, then reverse the procedure for every new flower that I see. Maybe if I did it more often I’d get quicker at it, but I doubt it. I will be using the tripod more on weekends when time isn’t a factor.

I have two more photos from the Tokina which really illustrate the need for a tripod. These yellow flowers are very small, the entire cluster of flowers is about the size of a pencil eraser. This is as close as I could get handheld with just the Tokina lens.

Unknown

Unknown

I put the Tamron 1.4 X extender behind the Tokina for this photo.

Unknown

Unknown

Even though I was laying down, I couldn’t hold steady enough to get a really sharp image of the flowers. Still, that isn’t too bad considering how small each individual flower is. Those photos weren’t cropped at all, I was trying to see just how large I could make the flowers appear without resorting to cropping.

I would love to have the time to really learn macro photography, but that’s not going to happen right away. With my new cameras and lenses, it’s like an entirely new world to me out there, and I want to get great photos of everything that there is to photograph. And with so many things to see….

Male northern cardinal singing

Male northern cardinal singing

Hover fly?

Hover fly?

Fly on milkweed

Fly on milkweed

Eastern kingbird in flight

Eastern kingbird in flight

…I don’t know when I’m going to have the time to get around to learning macro photography. πŸ˜‰

Making things worse is that I keep finding and shooting things that I find very interesting, like a doe, her fawns, a turkey, and a fox squirrel hanging out together.

Whitetail deer, turkey, and fox squirrel

Whitetail deer, turkey, and fox squirrel

You just have to know that I didn’t shoot just one photo of this, or of a blue jay and its young.

Blue jays

Blue jays

…so you know that there will be more photos of these coming soon.

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

 

Advertisements

24 responses

  1. Thanks for the picture of the fox squirrel, cute.

    June 27, 2014 at 11:31 am

    • Thank you Susan!

      June 27, 2014 at 11:39 am

  2. outdoorcanvas

    Awesome variety of images! The images of the birds / hawk reminds me of our resident Barred Owl that every night is being hounded & chased off by two bluejays.

    June 27, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    • Thank you! The small birds are fearless when it comes to protecting their young from predators.

      June 28, 2014 at 12:02 am

  3. Definite improvement of the flower shots when you pay attention to surroundings! That Dianthus is exquisite.

    June 27, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    • Thank you! I always paid attention, but I usually ignored anything that was distracting, shooting things exactly as I saw them. However, I decided that I will have to “disturb” nature a little in order to improve my photos.

      June 28, 2014 at 12:04 am

  4. These are wonderful! I can understand why you take so many photos and why it is so difficult choosing which ones to save. You are very lucky to live in an area with so much wildlife and to be able to get so close to the creatures without spooking them.

    June 27, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    • Thanks Clare! I am a lucky man, that’s for sure.

      June 28, 2014 at 12:05 am

  5. I wonder if your first unknown purple flowers might be alfalfa (Medicago sativa?) The tiny yellow ones look like black medic (Medicago lupulina). This is the time that many plants in the pea family (legumes) start blooming. Good shots coming from that macro lens. I love the shine on that hover fly-ish insect.
    How often do you get to see a deer family with a squirrel and a turkey? I wonder if someone is feeding them. I had a neighbor who was feeding the black bears, so anything is possible.
    They say that the living is easy in the summertime, but not if you’re a nature photographer!

    June 27, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    • Thanks Allen! You’re correct on both species.

      The macro lens is an excellent piece of glass, I love it, I just have to learn it a bit better, and use my tripod more often.

      The turkeys hang out in that spot a lot, maybe some one does feed them, but I’ve never seen signs of that. It is good for the turkeys, there’s open ground for them to use for dusting, small stones for their crops, and plenty of both plants and insects that the turkeys eat. The deer just happened by at the same time I did. I’ve seen squirrels feeding near turkeys before, I’ll have to figure that one out. It could be that when the turkeys scratch for seeds and nuts that the squirrels feed on what the turkeys miss.

      June 28, 2014 at 12:24 am

  6. You are making me think that I ought to start to take photography more seriously. Your observation and results are so good that it makes me think that a lot more hard work on my part might pay off. Thank you for another set of beautiful and interesting images.

    June 27, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    • Thanks Tom! That’s high praise coming from some one who posts excellent photos especially of flowers. I don’t consider what I’ve been doing to be work, I’m having more fun than ever with my photography. I do love to learn, and if I can play and learn at the same time, then I’m doubly happy.

      June 28, 2014 at 12:26 am

  7. Really great “story photos” of animals! We loved the weird mash-up of turkey/deer/squirrel as well as the toad doing yoga. πŸ˜‰ So much fun!

    June 28, 2014 at 8:50 am

    • Thanks Lori! There’s more to come.

      June 28, 2014 at 4:26 pm

  8. Like it or not, you’ll always be my nature photography mentor. I always find several things I could be doing better when I look through your photos. And it gives me another excuse to get out there and play, so that’s a plus, too. πŸ˜‰

    June 28, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    • Thanks Jan! It’s funny though, I look at your photos to see what I’m doing wrong.

      June 28, 2014 at 4:37 pm

  9. Great photos- I thought we were being set up for a joke- ‘a deer, a turkey, and a squirrel go into a park…’

    Very cool short-lens work!

    June 28, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    • Thank you!

      June 28, 2014 at 7:11 pm

  10. I love all your photos and find your posts to be very inspiring! I hate carrying a tripod and almost never do. I usually only use one around camp or home base. I like to travel light! Have you ever tried a gorilla pod? I can never get enthused about those.

    June 29, 2014 at 1:19 am

  11. Another great bunch of photos. Love the toad shot – I never have gotten that close to one, as I’m always nervous that they’re going to jump toward me. Interesting to see all the patterns on their skin. Looks like he was keeping an eye on you, though. πŸ˜‰

    June 29, 2014 at 8:28 am

    • Thanks Judy! I was about 5 feet from the toad, but they are more likely to jump away from you than at you. Even if they did jump on you, it’s just a toad, it wouldn’t hurt you. πŸ˜‰

      June 29, 2014 at 8:32 am

      • In my mind, scaring me to death would be painful. But, I will try to remember your comments…..;-)

        June 29, 2014 at 10:21 am

  12. Don’t you dare delete any photos of RTHs being mobbed or ridden by red-winged blackbirds!! πŸ™‚ Great post, with wonderful flowers, vibrant colors, too.

    July 1, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    • Thank you, but RTH being mobbed by blackbirds is almost a daily event around here. πŸ˜‰

      July 2, 2014 at 1:12 am