Pickerel Lake, the long and short of it
First of all, big news! I have accepted a new job, and given notice to my present employer. The pay per hour at the new job isn’t that much more than where I’m working now, but it’s a much better company, and I have the option of working as much overtime as I want, and still be home every night if that’s what I choose. The company tries to keep drivers working 50 to 55 hours a week for the first 90 days, no problem, I can use the money.
With winter coming on, that’s not all bad, for I doubt that I would be shooting many photos over the winter months, and it gives me the chance to work and collect plenty of overtime pay, and get in a better position financially. After I’ve been with the new company 90 days, I can bid on open dedicated runs, which are usually five-day a week runs, with two days off if I choose. If not, I can still work the one extra day for a bigger paycheck. No matter what, I’ll always have one full day off, as the company shuts down on Sundays.
The dedicated runs vary in length, but most are 9 to 10 hours per day, five days a week, and a driver can make extra money by working another run on his “off” day. I’ll also have the option of doing some longer overnight runs if I choose, which pay even more. Maybe the best thing is that I have options. They give all drivers the chance to bid on any open runs every 90 days, so I wouldn’t be stuck doing the exact same run day after day after day. They are also very good at working with drivers who want an occasional day off. Options are good, and even better is the feel that I get from every one that I talk to about the company, whether they work there or not. It’s one of the few trucking companies held in high esteem by both employees, and people who have heard about the company, the exact opposite of the company that I have been working for.
Anyway, I’m not sure how that will affect my hiking, or my blogging. My plan is to work my tail off over the winter, get my bills paid, and save some money. Next spring, I’ll back off a little, by then, I’ll know which runs are open, and I can pick one then.
In the meantime, I’ll be able to get caught up on my blog here, and start posting to the My Photo Lie List again.
So now then, about my day at Pickerel Lake Nature Preserve. This was very early on in my attempts to get more familiar with my wide-angle lenses. As I started out, I fell victim to my old habits, “O0o, pretty colored leaves, and a reflection! Grab the 10-18 mm lens and shoot!” without looking the scene over in detail before shooting.
Wrong lens! Too much sky, too much uninteresting water, and neither the foliage or the reflection are as dominant as I wished it to be. Well, that was early in the morning, and unfortunately, in the short amount of time it took me to realize my mistake, move closer to the trees, and switch to the 15-85 mm lens, the wind had picked up enough to add some ripples to the lake, spoiling the reflections to a large degree.
One thing that I’m learning in landscape photography is what to leave in an image, and what to leave out. If the sky and/or lake aren’t interesting, I should leave them out.
That was shot with the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens), who would have thought that it would be a great landscape lens?
However, even at 150 mm, it was not quite the correct lens, I would have been better off at around 120 mm, but silly me, I hadn’t taken the 70-200 mm lens, as I was carrying enough weight already, with two camera bodies, four lenses, and my lighting equipment. I wished that I could have balanced these a little better, as far as the amount of sky and lake to go with the leaves. But, I did the best I could with what I had, here’s most of the rest of the shore of Pickerel Lake in a series of images that I wish I could stitch together in a panorama.
By the time I got to the shoreline farthest from me, I was getting about the right balance.
The Beast also shot this one.
Then, I was an almost winner, almost in the right spot at almost the right time, an adult bald eagle flying past the fall foliage.
I got the eagle at its closest approach to me.
I had planned on cropping down on the eagle as I was shooting these, but there’s really no reason to. I get better images of eagles on a regular basis, and these images double as landscapes, I just wish that the eagle had been closer.
I’m impressed by how well the Beast performed for these, here’s a 500 mm landscape as another example of what it can do in good light.
Having seen the eagle and foliage together, and with flocks of geese returning to the lake, I decided to try geese and foliage shots.
The geese gave me photo ops that the eagle hadn’t.
Another case of being an almost winner, if the geese had been a little closer, and the surface of the lake smoother, this would have been a stunner.
I couldn’t resist zooming out for this next one, to me, it says fall in Michigan, with geese honking away on a lake ringed with fall color.
My next stop was the small pond that normally produces a few photos for me, on this day, a turtle was all I could come up with.
It has been a wet fall here, so I was hoping to find a few mushrooms and such, I wasn’t completely disappointed. Here’s the view that I would have settled for in the past.
But, with my short lenses, I can get down low now days, and get a better shot.
The reason that I use a shorter lens is to get the depth of field to get all the mushrooms and some of their surroundings in focus. I also find the vari-angle display of the Canon 60 D body helpful, I don’t have to lay on my belly in the dirt to shoot those shots. 😉
As I was walking along through the fallen, colorful leaves, I looked for opportunities to shoot those scenes.
I’m throwing this next one in as a reminder of what not to do!
It was a great scene, but I shot it in portrait orientation, missed the composition by a mile, and ended up with way too much uninteresting foreground, with the colors virtually disappearing because I missed the composition. I cropped that section out of a much larger image. If I had spent a few more minutes analyzing the scene, that could have been my best photo of the day.
I continued on, and found a few interesting things to shoot clustered in a small area. As I was getting ready to shoot them, I decided that this was worthy of a photo.
With the Beast set aside in a safe spot, I shot this…
…decided that they would look better with more light, so I broke out my lighting equipment for this one…
…and this one…
…and this one, which I believe is a slime mold, but I’m probably wrong about that.
I was using either the LED light, the flash unit, or both for those, it sure takes a lot of light for macro photos! While the day had started mostly sunny, by then, the clouds had mostly obscured the sun. But, a break in the clouds prompted me to shoot this scene a second time.
About the mushrooms and other things in the photos above, I hate to ask, but maybe Allen, who does the New Hampshire Garden Solutions blog can ID a few of those things.
So, I continued along the way, still looking for things to photograph, as always.
As Tom, (Mr. Tootlepedal) pointed out, there’s a lot to landscape photography as far as getting the composition right so that the elements of an image lead a viewer’s eyes around an image well, this is a fail.
There’s something about the second one there, that confuses my eyes as I view it, I don’t know how else to describe it, or what I did wrong though.
I don’t know what these growths are either.
I do know that these are leaves though. 😉
Okay, another mystery to me.
I don’t know if the orange things were one of these again…
…as this was the end of a log right on the trail, and I’m sure that the orange things had been crushed by other hikers, but, I don’t know what they looked like before they were crushed. Anyway, here’s a closer view of one.
On a completely different track, there were several species of waterfowl on the lake, but I never got a good shot of any of them other than the geese. However, here’s a bad photo of a pied-billed grebe for the record.
My main goal, besides landscapes, was birds of course, but herds of humans had interfered with my photographing birds all day long. I finally got close to a few.
That didn’t mean that I got good shots though, I was in too much of a hurry, as I could hear another herd of humans approaching. I did get two of a ruby-crowned kinglet displaying his ruby crown though.
Then, the kinglet let me know what it thought of me. 🙂
About that time, the herd of humans tramped past me, and that was the end of the birds.
I shot this scene which I really like…
…in fact, I like the image more than I thought that I would, however, I should have shot this to process in Photomatix to create a HDR image to control the blown out sky. There’s no definition to the clouds at all since they are so badly blown out. (over-exposed) I’m still learning, but one thing that I need to remember is when in doubt, don’t slack off, set-up and shoot for a HDR image.
Maybe that could be spruced up a bit in Lightroom? I hope to be able to afford a new computer by next spring, and if so, I’ll be adding Lightroom to my software, which right now is limited to what Canon ships with their cameras, and Photomatix. I’d do more HDR landscapes, but it takes my poor 10-year-old computer forever to process each image, I don’t have the patience for it.
Anyway, I do quite well on a single leaf as it is.
And to wrap this up, two shots of a female downy woodpecker, since this post is short on birds.
As sort of an afterthought, I’m going to throw in a photo of a monarch butterfly from an earlier hike.
Well, it’s time for me to go do my driving test for my new job, so I’ll have to cut this short. Yeah, right, like I ever do a short post. 😉
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!