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

Ju Dee, Ju Dee, Ju Dee, or, lost in my own little great big world

Okay, so I do a terrible Cary Grant impersonation.

The reason for even trying is that a local reader of my blog had decided that they would like to accompany me when I went on one of my of my hikes. I’m not sure why she wanted to go along, I think that she thought that I was some kind of critter whisperer or something, and that when I step into the woods, the critters come running to me like in a Disney cartoon.

But, before I go any further along that line, I have to apologize to Judy for asking her to lug my tripod, and then not using it, even though there were times when I should have. I have a one track mind, and the reason that I wanted the tripod along was to shoot a specific species of flower, spotted bee balm. However, the spotted bee balm was a long way from reaching its peak.

I had great plans to always use my tripod for macro photography, but those plans sort of went by the wayside. I found that there were many times I simply could not set the tripod up in such a way as to be able to shoot the subject that I wanted to shoot. I started using the macro lens handheld, with disastrous results. Okay, I needed practice using it handheld, so for most of the last month, that’s what I’ve been doing. When I see a specific species of flower that I know that I should use the tripod for, then, I bring it with me and use it the next time I know I’ll see that species of plant, otherwise it remains at home to reduce the weight that I have to carry. I get into routines for no real reason, and then it becomes hard for me to break those routines. Right now, one of those routines is getting better using the macro lens handheld, so I forget the tripod entirely, even when I should or could use it.

So once again, I’m sorry that you carried the tripod with us for nothing, Judy!

One the great side of the ledger, I actually enjoyed having some one to talk to while I was hiking! After what had happened over the last few years, I had forgotten that there was such a thing as pleasant company on a nature walk.

It’s been several years since any one went along with me on any of my hikes, and I would say that I’m used to getting lost in my own little world, except, nature isn’t a little world, it’s a great big wonderful world, that never ceases to amaze me! The little world that I get lost in is that of my own thoughts, since I’m so used to be alone.

That brings me to something about myself that is very hard to explain, getting completely immersed in nature.

But, since the time that I have begun this post, I have decided that I should devote an entire post to the subject of how deeply immersed in nature I become at times, so I’ll focus the rest of this post on that day.

It was an enlightening day for me in a way, I knew in the back of my mind that I have been so intent on photographing insects and flowers that I haven’t been paying much attention to other subjects, and that hit home almost as soon as we started walking on the boardwalk that takes you across a corner of Pickerel Lake. I was so intent on finding water flowers or dragonflies to shoot that Judy had to point this turtle out to me.

Painted turtle basking in the sun

Painted turtle basking in the sun

I did see a water strider, and one of these days, I’ll get a good photo of one, until then, this will have to do.

Water strider

Water strider

I tried the new 10-18 mm lens out on this dead tree that’s very close to the boardwalk, to see if I could get the entire tree in the frame, I did.

Pickerel Lake

Pickerel Lake

But, that shot isn’t really all that great, I should have gotten down lower. The problem is the fence along the boardwalk to prevent people from falling into the lake. The next time I’m there, I’m going to see if I can shoot through one of the openings in the fence, or maybe from under the fence to get a better angle on the tree.

Here’s a few more photos that really don’t need any explanation.

Butterfly on swamp milkweed

Butterfly on swamp milkweed

Unidentified marsh flower

Virgin’s bower

Unidentified marsh flower

Virgin’s bower

Wasp or fly?

Wasp or fly?

Cedar waxwing

Cedar waxwing

White moth

White moth

White mushroom

White mushroom

It’s kind of funny, Judy was wondering why I wasn’t photographing more of the things that we were seeing along the trail, but, that’s from my new attitude towards photography. Many of the things that she asked if I was going to shoot were in poor light, or not very good examples of what ever species they were. It’s kind of nice not coming home with 400 images to sort through, most of them not very good, ย to come up with a few for a post. I’ve learned to go for good shots to begin with, since I’m outside every day, I have no trouble getting enough photos for my blog.

We did see a few birds, or I should say that I saw a few birds. Judy was afraid of spooking them, so she stayed well back, and I doubt that she saw very many. They were all the more common species of birds, and few of them were willing to pose for me on this day.

Male American goldfinch

Male American goldfinch

Eastern wood pewee

Eastern wood pewee

Eastern wood pewee

Eastern wood pewee

So, we walked along, with me occasionally shooting some of the other subjects to be found.

Beetle on what was left of a wild rose

Beetle on what was left of a wild rose

Green spider

Green spider

Butterfly on milkweed

Butterfly on milkweed

The butterfly was actually hanging upside down on a drooping milkweed flower, but looking at the image as I shot it, it just didn’t look right, so I rotated it. It still doesn’t look quite right, but at least it doesn’t give me vertigo looking at it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We reached the spot where the spotted bee balm grows.

Spotted bee balm

Spotted bee balm

The flowers weren’t much farther along than last week, but I did capture this wasp or bee feeding on either the nectar or pollen.

Wasp on spotted bee balm

Wasp on spotted bee balm

Wasp on spotted bee balm

Wasp on spotted bee balm

And, I tried for a good photo of the actual flowers.

Spotted bee balm

Spotted bee balm

The tripod wasn’t a complete waste of energy for Judy to have carried it, I used the case as a background for this shot to help make this grass stand out from a boring background.

Unknown grass flower

Unknown grass flower

Continuing on, Judy pointed these tiny mushrooms out to me, the heads of them were only about a half an inch (12 mm) in diameter.

Orange mushrooms

Orange mushrooms

I cropped this next one down, and I can see a tiny insect on the mushroom.

Orange mushroom

Orange mushroom

You may not have been able to see the insect with the smaller size of the photos here, but it’s on the left third of the head of the mushroom. I’m not sure, but I think that what look to be crystals or spots of lighter color in the mushroom are grains of sand. I’m loving the Tokina macro lens!

I also used it for these two photos.

Unidentified mushroom

Unidentified mushroom

Lichens and mosses

Lichens and mosses

But, I should have switched to the new 10-18 mm lens for that last one. I wasn’t trying to get super close, I was going for the vibrant colors, which I almost got, but the short depth of field of the macro lens means some of what’s in the photo is out of focus, detracting from the quality of the image. With the close focusing ability of the wide-angle lens, it would have been a better choice of lenses. I almost went back to re-shoot that, but didn’t want to take the time, silly me.

Here’s a few more photos that need no explanation.

Unidentified round flower

Button bush

Orange mushroom

Orange mushroom

Black jelly mold?

Black jelly mold?

Beetle on a lilypad

Beetle on a lily pad

Here’s an image where my one track mind took over again. I saw this bee balm and knew how I could capture it almost instantly.

Bee balm

Bee balm

I love the lighting in that shot.

Judy was looking at the way that the tendrils of a vine were wrapped around the stem of the bee balm, I tried lowering the camera slightly as well as stepping back, but then I lost the lighting that I wanted for the flower itself. You can see that I was getting a few of the petals of the flower over-exposed in this next photo.

Bee balm

Bee balm

It was one of many times that I should have done two things. One, take more time explaining to Judy what I was doing and why so that I wouldn’t seem like such a jerk. Two, I should have taken more time looking the lighting over, I may have been able to get a good photo of both the flower and the vine, which would have been even better than the flower alone. But, I didn’t do either.

I did shoot a couple of dragonflies.

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

I found another of the orange butterflies on swamp milkweed.

Butterfly on swamp milkweed

Butterfly on swamp milkweed

This butterfly was being dive-bombed by bees or wasps, and would flinch whenever the smaller insects got close.

Butterfly on swamp milkweed being dive bombed by a wasp or bee

Butterfly on swamp milkweed being dive bombed by a wasp or bee

I tried to time a photo to see if the smaller insects were stinging the butterfly or not, but even I’m not that good. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So, another shot of the butterfly will have to do.

Butterfly on swamp milkweed

Butterfly on swamp milkweed

I was able to get a couple of photos of pickerel-weed that are better than before.

Pickerel weed

Pickerel weed

Pickerel weed

Pickerel weed

Judy pointed these out to me.

More unidentified round flowers

Bur reed

While I was sizing up this fungi for this photo.

Fungi

Fungi

And finally, as far as photos, this cardinal in jail.

Male northern cardinal in "jail"

Male northern cardinal in “jail”

It makes one wonder how birds are able to fly through the tangle of branches.

It was a very good day, and if Judy ever wants to come along again, I’d say yes in a heartbeat, as she is the first true nature lover that I’ve met in at least the last five years, other than a few of the people from the Muskegon County Nature Club. They tend to be serious birders who use spotting scopes and/or high-powered binoculars and bird from a distance, which doesn’t work out well for my efforts to photograph birds.

If you would like to read Judy’s take on the day, see photos of me crawling on my belly while shooting some of the photos in this post, or for just a good laugh, you can find a post that she did here.

That’s it for this one, except for this quote I found….

Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

…thanks for stopping by!

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20 responses

  1. Looks like you had a fabulous day. We’ve noticed our chance encounters with fellow bloggers are very enjoyable as we always seem to have a lot in common. Great photos as unusual.

    July 16, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    • Thanks Ingrid, it was a great day! I never expected to meet any one who read my blog, but I supose that stranger things happen.

      July 17, 2014 at 2:54 am

  2. You were on your best photographic behaviour on your hike and took a splendid set of pictures.

    July 16, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    • Thanks Tom!

      July 17, 2014 at 2:54 am

  3. I think that first unidentified marsh flower is virgin’s bower (Clematis virginiana.) It’s blooming early there.
    The first round white flower is button bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis,) also earlier than ours. The small white round flowers are bur reed (Sparganium erectum.) I can’t find it here this year.
    I’m not sure about the black stuff. Some slime molds and mushrooms turn black and liquefy as they age. Usually black jelly fungi look like little pillows and have kind of a matte finish.
    I love the shots of the beetle and the flying bee with the butterfly!
    I don’t know what to make of that spotted bee balm. I’ve never seen it. I’ll have to look it up and see if it grows here.
    It looks to me like that macro lens is a keeper. If those mushrooms are what I think they are, they’re pretty small and I’d guess that you were laying in the dirt to get that shot.
    I had a friend visit a while ago and he said he couldn’t believe that I was finding so many things with no effort at all “while we’re just walking along and talking.” I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by telling him that he was doing all the talking while I was doing all the looking. Put me in the woods and I have a hard time focusing on anything but nature. I think I’d make a lousy guide!

    July 16, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    • Thanks Allen!

      I thought that I knew what virgin’s bower looked like, I’ve seen it as a vine. these flowers were on a bush growing right on the edge of the water.

      The spotted bee balm is a cool plant, I actually IDed it myself last year. According to the USDA, it’s found in Vermont and Massachusetts, but not New Hampshire. At least here, it likes dry, sandy, rather poor soil. But, I’m hardly an expert, I’ve found it in two places so far.

      The macro lens is definitely a keeper, and soon, I’m going to put the 1.4 X extender behind it and get really close to small subjects!

      My biggest problem with some one else was along was not drifting off into nature and forgetting that there was some one with me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      July 17, 2014 at 3:04 am

  4. I have to agree with Ingrid that I have yet to meet a blogger I follow that I didn’t instantly like. After all, we’ve already established that we have much in common. I can’t think of a better way to make friends. Sounds like you both enjoyed the hike and the photo-shoot. So nice of Judy to point out the turtle.

    July 16, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    • Thank you! I’m still not sure why Judy wanted to come along, she turned out to be very observant in her own right.

      July 17, 2014 at 2:55 am

  5. Awesome pictures. Some of the best photo-shots I have seen. I would consider many of them to be National Geography standards.

    The one which really stood out for me was the one of the Beetle on the lily pad.Looks ethereal, almost as if it is a painting.

    Shakti

    July 17, 2014 at 6:00 am

    • Thank you very much Shakti!

      July 17, 2014 at 10:32 am

  6. I liked the butterfly and bee photos and the tiny orange mushrooms are amazing. I enjoyed reading this post very much.

    July 17, 2014 at 11:28 am

    • Thank you very much Clare!

      July 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm

  7. That first photo of the painted turtle is so cute, it looks like it had quite a climb to that perch! Glad Judy pointed it out. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not much for spiders but that green spider and web is a pretty awesome photo. Dragonfly faces up close look like something out of a cartoon! Really, so many great photos here, I can’t possibly comment on them all. Now I have to visit Judy’s blog to see the pics of you crawling around on your belly! LOL ๐Ÿ™‚

    July 17, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    • Thanks Amy! There are times when I wonder how turtles make to the places that they do when they appear to be rather clumsy. Spiders outside make great photo subjects, as long as they remain outside. ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you visit Judy’s blog, you have your choice, me on my belly, or my fat gut hanging out.

      July 17, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      • Well, it should make you feel good – you’re like our own WordPress celebrity!!

        July 20, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      • Thanks, but I’m just a guy with a camera and too much time on my hands.

        July 20, 2014 at 9:43 pm

  8. Jerk? Hardly!

    Our walk started as an interesting little dance between two pretty different folks who don’t know each other, and are trying to be like.

    I’ll carry that tripod anytime, although you know that I really want to lug the Beast around sometime, just for bragging rights.

    Looking forward to a reprise. Seeing your photos was comical – I didn’t see but 20% of all that you did.

    I’ll be in touch. We are enjoying Nordhouse Dunes, but there are more campers here than we are used to.

    Love this post. Danke.

    July 17, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    • Thanks Judy! I’d very much would like to have you come along again, but you’ll have to bear with me as I get used to having some one around while I’m out there. The next time, I’ll try to point more things out to you, and explain what I’m doing and why.

      Enjoy your vacation, I know it’s been cool, but the weather should be close to perfect the next few days.

      July 18, 2014 at 2:54 am

  9. I really like the pickerel weed closeups, well done!

    July 20, 2014 at 10:38 am

    • Thank you very much!

      July 20, 2014 at 7:43 pm