Just another week around home
The big news for me this week is that Canon has announced the long-awaited, much-anticipated 7D Mark II camera body. I’m not going to go on about it too much, as it is far more camera than most people need. However, Canon has taken one of the best wildlife/birding cameras and made it even better. To me, the improved auto-focus capabilities are the big thing, it will now focus with an f/8 maximum aperture lens, not that there are any f/8 aperture lenses on the market. The important thing about that is that you can use a 1.4 X or even 2 X tele-converter behind nearly any lens and the 7D will still auto-focus, unlike my 60 D bodies, where I have to manually focus if I use even the 1.4 X extender with the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens). It will also auto-focus down to -3 EV light, a great thing when chasing small birds in deep shade!
The 7D also has an improved sensor for better image quality, and dual Digix 6 processors that let it shoot at 10 frames per second, a built-in time-lapse feature, and a bulb timer, just to name a few of the new things that I’d love to have. Canon didn’t cheapen the construction either, it’s still a magnesium frame body that is weather and dust sealed.
The one thing that Canon didn’t add that I wished they added was the vari-angle LCD display. But, after I thought about it for a while, I decided that the display was no big deal. I seldom use the vari-angle capabilities on my birding set-up, that’s a feature I use for macro photography or when using the tripod.
I can’t afford one now, that’s okay, I can wait, I hope. 😉 It will be a year or two before I can afford a 7D, and by that time, Canon will have worked out any bugs in their new design, and they’ll be offering rebates at times on the 7D. I’m sure glad that I didn’t fall for the 70 D when it came out.
The 70 D is probably a fine camera, but it’s only a baby step above the 60 D that I have, the 7D is a giant step up, a top of the line crop sensor camera with most of the same features as Canon’s best full frame sensor cameras. Time to start saving up for one.
Anyway, the weather here turned cool and I’m loving it! I tried not to complain too much about the heat and humidity this summer, but there were a few days when the weather wore me out. With cooler weather, I feel ready to take on the world again. That is, except for my knees. I’m going to have to get serious about finding another job, even if it means less time for photography and blogging.
I was just starting to look for a new job when my mom’s health took a severe turn for the worse, and then she passed away, so that held up my job search. Then, it was a dental appointment, I thought that I may as well let the insurance that I pay for cover that appointment, but it led to another appointment, so I’ve been on hold in the job search.
In other news, I’ve gotten photos of at least two more lifers for me, a Philadelphia vireo and American white pelicans, along with slightly better photos of American golden plovers. But, no photos of them in this post, I’m running behind again.
For this post, I’ll start with a hummingbird.
While I was shooting photos of one, a second one showed up…
…they had a short conversation…
…then the second one looked around for something to eat, and took off….
…leaving just one for me to try to get a better photo of.
With most of the summer resident birds gone, one of the few species left is goldfinches.
I don’t know if that one was a male that had already molted to fall plumage, a female, or a juvenile, in a few weeks, they’ll all look the same.
There are still a few insects around to shoot.
That was just another excuse to attempt to get a good photo of the pokeweed. 😉
There’s still quite a few monarch butterflies around.
But, I have plenty of photos of them from this past weekend, so one will do for now. In the meantime, a few more birds.
This is far from my best image of a waxwing, but I kept it to remind me of the next photo.
While shooting the waxwing, I saw this bird fly high overhead…
…and it is truly an unidentified flying object, darn. It is obviously a tern or gull of a species that I’ve never seen before. But, I had time for just that one photo before it flew out of sight.
On the other hand, this I caught this red-eyed vireo in relatively good light…
…but it dove for shade when it spotted me.
Then it teased me by almost making its red eye visible.
Oh well, I was able to sneak up on one last spring to catch the red eye, at least this one showed me enough to make a positive ID without the red eye.
The squeamish, who don’t care for spiders should look away now.
The next series came as quite a surprise to me, such a surprise that I blew most of the shots. It’s rare for a great blue heron to visit any of the ponds in the apartment complex where I live, and so I was surprised last week when I saw one here. This week, I was even more surprised to see one chasing a great egret around. I didn’t catch the chase because of obstructions in my way, but here’s the heron, which I believe is a juvenile…
…and here’s the egret, which I believe is also a juvenile.
I shot that one quickly, and was going for a better shot when the heron charged the egret again…
…but I was so close that there was no way for me to get both birds in the frame, so I decided to stick with the egret, even though I was a bit slow…
…I started tracking the egret well, just as it flew behind a tree…
…but I was able to get a lock on the egret just as it came in for a landing…
…but I cut its head off! Arggh!
The heron had a good laugh about that…
…I shot one of the egret at 500 mm…
…then zoomed out for this one…
…and then zoomed out to get all of the laughing heron in the frame.
I sure wish that the birds would let me know in advance what they were going to do so that I could be prepared! It’s hard to zoom in and out, adjust the exposure, and all the other things that need to be done to get a good photo, like sawing down a tree in the way. 😉
It’s so much easier to photograph mushrooms.
I think that the next ones are all of the same species, but in different stages of development, if that’s the correct term for how they grow.
All those were shot with the 10-18 mm lens if I remember correctly, this next one was from the Tokina macro lens.
Finally, the ugly…
Wrens are very difficult to get a good photo of, they love staying in the darkest corners of the woods. But, I fooled this one, after that bad shot, I was able to sneak around to the other side of the thicket before the wren spotted me.
What the heck, it’s early, so here’s the pelicans.
And, here’s the Philadelphia vireo.
I shot the pelicans at a man-made lake right next to the apartment complex where I used to live. It still amazes me how many species of birds use that area during migration. The vireo was shot at Pickerel Lake on Saturday. I’ll do a post on that trip, and another on the trip to Muskegon on Sunday, where I spent the day birding.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!