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

Thank you Mr C!

In my quest to improve the quality of the images that I get, I have been trying different camera settings out to see what works best for each of my lenses when shooting various subjects. One color that I’ve been having trouble with has been vivid red subjects, either flowers or birds.

A few posts back, I was pondering whether the saved “picture styles” that I use for my zoom lenses were too much for my prime lenses, and with the help of a male cardinal that was nice enough to pose for me long enough to try out various settings, I have learned what I needed to know.

Male northern cardinal

Male northern cardinal

Male northern cardinal

Male northern cardinal

The cardinal hung around long enough for me to shoot several photos using different photo styles, ones that I have saved, and ones that come preset from Canon, and the two images above were shot using the standard setting from Canon.

I have found the same to be true with the Tokina macro lens, it does best using the standard setting as if comes from the factory also.

Unidentified small flower

Unidentified small flower

Knapweed

Knapweed

Unidentified tiny flower

Unidentified tiny flower

Beardtongue

Beardtongue

Beardtongue

Beardtongue

I don’t want to get into detail about what Canon calls “picture styles”  other than to say that it is a way to tweak an image as it is recorded by the camera. My 60 D comes with a few factory styles preloaded for landscapes, portraits, macro, and so forth. I can also save three styles that I set-up myself. It turns out that the two prime lenses I own do best at the standard setting, while my zoom lenses need a little “help”  to get the best from them. And when I say a little help, I mean very little, as some of the factory pre-sets alter the image quality far more than the ones that I set-up myself.

Before I forget, clean-up from the tornado on Sunday continues. I thought about walking to the damaged area to shoot a few photos, but the authorities are begging people to stay out of the area so they can get the clean-up done. There are people with no power yet on Wednesday, even worse is the fact that some people have lost their homes at least temporarily until the homes are repaired. So, as much as I would like to post a few photos for the record, I’ll stay out of the way, and let people get their lives’ back.

Okay, back to the photos, and I’ll apologize in advance for the quantity of them. These were all shot during my hike around the Pickerel Lake Nature Preserve last weekend. I saved enough photos to do two posts, but it was a three-day weekend, and I have way too many photos from the other days saved also. With my new photo gear, it’s as if everything in nature is new to me, and I’d like to photograph it all every time that I set foot outside.

Before I prattle on about that, I’ll get to the photos, starting with a female red-winged blackbird hopping from lily pad to lily pad, gathering insect to feed to her young.

Female red-winged blackbird

Female red-winged blackbird

Female red-winged blackbird

Female red-winged blackbird

This isn’t a very good photo, the heron managed to keep the sun behind itself as it flew past me, but it’s one of the few green herons that I’ve seen this year.

Green heron in flight

Green heron in flight

I noted earlier this year that I was seeing very few great blue herons, that continues to be the case, and it holds true for green herons as well. I spent the day there at Pickerel Lake, and that’s the only heron of any species that I saw.

But, the good thing about nature is that there are always things to see, even when there aren’t many birds around.

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Wild rose

Wild rose

Wild rose

Wild rose

Juvenile cottontail rabbit

Juvenile cottontail rabbit

Indian pipes

Indian pipes

And, the problem with photographing nature is that you may shoot many photos of the same subject, and not be able to decide which images to put in your blog post. 🙂 I found a spiderwort flower and began shooting a series of photos using my Tokina macro lens.

Spiderwort

Spiderwort

Spiderwort

Spiderwort

While I was taking a short break to let my muscles relax from trying to hold perfectly still, a dragonfly perched within range of the Tokina lens.

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

I went back to shooting more photos of the spiderwort.

Spiderwort

Spiderwort

Spiderwort

Spiderwort

I know that there isn’t much difference between any of the photos of the spiderwort flowers, but I was trying slightly different angles, focus points, and aperture settings to change the depth of field so that more or less of the flower was in focus. I love them all, and couldn’t pick just one. You should have seen how many I deleted to get down to four! The dragonfly was still hanging around, so he got shot again.

IMG_5845

Dragonfly

I couldn’t believe that a dragonfly would allow me to get as close to it as I did.

These next images were all shot with the 300 mm prime lens with extender.

Bullfrog watching a painted turtle crawl up a log to bask

Bullfrog watching a painted turtle crawl up a log to bask

Unidentified snake in the ferns

Unidentified snake in the ferns

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Damselfly

Damselfly

Damselfly

Damselfly

Then, I had the great idea of shooting one photo of a subject with the 300 mm prime lens, and then the same subject with the Tokina macro lens.

Spotted bee balm at 420 mm

Spotted bee balm at 420 mm

Spotted bee balm at 100 mm

Spotted bee balm at 100 mm

Orange hawkweed at 420 mm

Orange hawkweed at 420 mm

Orange hawkweed at 100 mm

Orange hawkweed at 100 mm

Hoverfly at 420 mm

Hoverfly at 420 mm

Hoverfly at 100 mm

Hoverfly at 100 mm

Motherwort at 420 mm

Motherwort at 420 mm

Motherwort at 100 mm

Motherwort at 100 mm

Black medic at 420 mm

Black medic at 420 mm

Black medic at 100 mm

Black medic at 100 mm

Hop trefoil at 420 mm

Hop trefoil at 420 mm

Hop trefoil at 100 mm

Hop trefoil at 100 mm

 

I used the Tokina macro lens for the rest of these photos.

Swamp milkweed

Swamp milkweed

Swamp milkweed

Swamp milkweed

Purple loosestrife

Purple loosestrife

Pickerel weed

Pickerel weed

Male mosquito on St. John's wort

Male mosquito on St. John’s wort

Fly on the back of my hand

Fly on the back of my hand

Ants

Ants

Unidentified flowering object

Tick trefoil

Unidentified flowering object

Tick trefoil

Unidentified flowering object

Tick trefoil

Bladderwort

Bladderwort

Bladderwort

Bladderwort

Pickerel weed

Pickerel weed

I was feeling quite proud of myself for how well I had done in getting good photos of the smaller flowers like the black medic and hop trefoil, until Allen’s latest post on slime molds. Don’t let the name slime mold fool you, Allen captured some truly incredible photos of some beautiful subjects that aren’t easily seen with the naked eye, his post is definitely worth a look!

If I add anything more to this post I’ll end up repeating myself later, so I’m calling this one finished.

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

Advertisements

30 responses

  1. Great series of photographs.

    July 11, 2014 at 9:16 am

    • Thank you Victor!

      July 11, 2014 at 9:38 am

  2. Hoverfly, swamp milkweed….never heard of such things before. Thanks for the lesson.

    July 11, 2014 at 9:46 am

    • Thanks Judy, you may see them in person soon!

      July 11, 2014 at 9:50 am

      • Looking forward to it. Wouldn’t mind a slime mold hunt, either – thanks for directing me to Allen’s post. No slugs though, please. They creep me out.

        July 11, 2014 at 9:56 am

  3. Great photographic work, esp. the Red Winged Blackbird, landing on the sea roses 🙂

    July 11, 2014 at 10:44 am

    • Thank you very much!

      July 11, 2014 at 1:22 pm

  4. Thanks for the mention Jerry. Flies and mosquitoes are pretty small and they also move, so I wouldn’t be feeling too let down if I were you. The shots of the hoverfly in flight are pretty amazing. I think, as you use that macro lens more, you’ll start seeing smaller things to shoot. That’s the way it went with me, and mushrooms started it all. They’ll be coming along again soon!
    I like the shots of the red winged blackbird dancing on the lily pads. That’s something you don’t see every day! I stumbled into a nesting site the other day and had a male RWB hovering just above my head trying to peck me. He escorted me out of his area, hovering and screeching the whole time.
    That purple unknown flower is another in the pea family. It looks like it might be tick trefoil (Desmodium incanum,) also called beggar’s ticks. The seed pods stick all over your clothes if you get too close. I don’t recognize the yellow ones.
    These posts are getting to be like the old Jerry’s Wild Kingdom posts with all of the critters you’re seeing!

    July 11, 2014 at 10:52 am

    • Thanks Allen!

      I do find smaller things to shoot, and I’ve even shot a few mushrooms lately. But, I’m already having trouble cutting back on my photos, so the mushrooms will have to wait for now.

      I’ve had to walk a gauntlet of RWBs for the past two months, they just quit in the past week, so the little ones must be on their own now. I’ve never been pecked, but they have come close.

      I knew that the name of the purple flower contained the word tick, but the only thing I could think of was tickseed coreopsis, and I knew that they were yellow flowers. I must be getting old, not being able to remember things like I used to.

      July 11, 2014 at 1:32 pm

      • Tell me about it!

        July 11, 2014 at 3:19 pm

  5. What a great set of pictures, I liked the first dragonfly best.

    July 11, 2014 at 10:59 am

    • Thank you Susan!

      July 11, 2014 at 1:22 pm

  6. I wish that I had your steady hand. Your set of contrasts between the two lenses was interesting.

    A fly on the hand is worth two in the bush as they say.

    July 11, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    • Thanks Tom! Years of target practice with a rifle helped me develop the steady hand, and while one fly on the hand is worth two in the bush, the one on your hand is the one that bites.

      July 11, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      • That is very true.

        I used to be target shooter as a boy but that was lying down with a sling and sadly hasn’t given me any lasting steadiness.

        July 12, 2014 at 5:00 pm

  7. Wow, wow, wow! What a great bunch of photos. That first dragon fly is a killer – I love that one! The snake in the ferns is pretty cool, too, and the female RWBB on the lily pad. Your ability to capture the insects is really incredible!

    July 11, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    • Thank you! I think of insects as just being tiny birds. 😉

      July 12, 2014 at 2:59 am

  8. At different times over the years I have had dragonflies sit on my hand for a long time. I come up very quietly behind them and bump their feet slowly with my finger. They then step onto my finger and don’t fly away unless something surprises them. It might depend on the type of dragonfly…. Great pictures as usual!

    July 11, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    • Thanks! I’ve never tried getting a dragonfly to perch on my finger. I do have damselflies perch on me though.

      July 12, 2014 at 2:59 am

  9. I love all the insect photos and the hoverfly is amazing.

    July 11, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    • Thanks Clare, I hope to do better with the hoverfly this weekend, if I can find one.

      July 12, 2014 at 2:57 am

  10. Again plenty of fantastic images.

    July 11, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    • Thanks, I do get carried away!

      July 12, 2014 at 2:57 am

  11. I love the young red-winged blackbird, and look at the eyes on that hoverfly!

    July 13, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    • Thank you! The hoverfly was mostly luck.

      July 13, 2014 at 9:32 pm

      • You know what they say: we make our own luck!

        July 13, 2014 at 9:47 pm

  12. You are having just way too much fun with your macro lens. That mosquito is friggin huge !! And I thought the ones in Maine are big. Great collection you have in this post, hard to pick a favorite.

    July 15, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    • Thanks again! I’m just getting warmed up with my macro lens, and the almost macro lens (the 300 mm prime). It’s cool to see small things like a mosquito blown up as large as I can make them on the computer screen. But, I would want to see a real one that large! 😉

      July 16, 2014 at 2:41 am

  13. Oh, just wonderful pictures!

    July 16, 2014 at 4:53 am

    • Thank you very much!

      July 16, 2014 at 9:27 am