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

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.Β 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.

Pickerel Lake wide

Pickerel Lake wide

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.

Pickerel Lake, not as wide

Pickerel Lake, not as wide

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.

Pickerel Lake, long 1

Pickerel Lake, long 1

That was shot with the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens), who would have thought that it would be a great landscape lens?

Pickerel Lake, long 2

Pickerel Lake, long 2

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 lakeΒ 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.

Pickerel Lake, long 2

Pickerel Lake, long 3

Pickerel Lake, long 3

Pickerel Lake, long 4

Pickerel Lake, long 4

Pickerel Lake, long 5

By the time I got to the shoreline farthest from me, I was getting about the right balance.

Pickerel Lake, long 5

Pickerel Lake, long 6

The Beast also shot this one.

Golden brown

Golden brown

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.

Bald eagle in the fall

Bald eagle in the fall

I got the eagle at its closest approach to me.

Bald eagle in flight

Bald eagle in flight

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.

Eagle in the fall

Eagle in the fall

Eagle in the fall

Eagle in the fall

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.

500 mm landscape

500 mm landscape

Having seen the eagle and foliage together, and with flocks of geese returning to the lake, I decided to try geese and foliage shots.

Canada geese in the fall

Canada geese in the fall

The geese gave me photo ops that the eagle hadn’t.

Canada geese in the fall

Canada geese in the fall

 

Canada geese in the fall

Canada geese in the fall

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.

Canada geese in the fall

Canada geese in the fall

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.

Fall in Michigan

Fall in Michigan

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.

Painted turtle basking in the autumn sun

Painted turtle basking in the autumn sun

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.

Unidentified fungal objects

Unidentified fungal objects

But, with my short lenses, I can get down low now days, and get a better shot.

Unidentified fungal objects

Unidentified fungal objects

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. πŸ˜‰

As I was walking along through the fallen, colorful leaves, I looked for opportunities to shoot those scenes.

Along the trail

Along the trail

Along the trail

Along the trail

I’m throwing this next one in as a reminder of what not to do!

Flubbed photo

Flubbed photo

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. Β 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.

Mushroom cove 1

Mushroom cove 1

With the Beast set aside in a safe spot, I shot this…

???

???

…these….

Unidentified mushrooms

Unidentified mushrooms

…decided that they would look better with more light, so I broke out my lighting equipment for this one…

Unidentified mushrooms

Unidentified mushrooms

…and this one…

Lichen, mold, fungi, or what the heck is this?

Lichen, mold, fungi, or what the heck is this?

…and this one, which I believe is a slime mold, but I’m probably wrong about that.

Slime mold???

Slime mold???

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.

Mushroom Cove 2

Mushroom Cove 2

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.

Along the trail good

Along the trail good

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.

Along the trail, fail

Along the trail, 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.

Odd growths on a maple tree

Odd growths on a maple tree

Odd growths on a maple tree

Odd growths on a maple tree

I do know that these are leaves though. πŸ˜‰

Leaves

Leaves

Okay, another mystery to me.

Slime mold??

Slime mold??

I don’t know if the orange things were one of these again…

Slime mold???

Slime mold???

…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.

Slime mold???

Slime mold???

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.

Pied-billed grebe

Pied-billed grebe

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.

Tufted titmouse

Tufted titmouse

Tufted titmouse

Tufted titmouse

Tufted titmouse

Tufted titmouse

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.

Male ruby-crowned kinglet

Male ruby-crowned kinglet

Male ruby-crowned kinglet

Male ruby-crowned kinglet

Then, the kinglet let me know what it thought of me. πŸ™‚

Male ruby-crowned kinglet's butt

Male ruby-crowned kinglet’s butt

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…

Fall marsh

Fall marsh

…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.

Floating leaf

Floating leaf

And to wrap this up, two shots of a female downy woodpecker, since this post is short on birds.

Female downy woodpecker

Female downy woodpecker

Female downy woodpecker

Female downy woodpecker

As sort of an afterthought, I’m going to throw in a photo of a monarch butterfly from an earlier hike.

Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly

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. πŸ˜‰

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

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40 responses

  1. Congratulations on the new job. And the pictures, as always, are spectacular!

    October 30, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    • Thank you! I’m sure the new job will work out well.

      October 30, 2014 at 2:55 pm

  2. Good luck in your new job, it sounds as if you made the right choice. All that autumn colouring whatever the lens you shot it with looks good to me.

    October 30, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    • Thank you very much Susan! I sort of went overboard with the photos though.

      October 30, 2014 at 2:56 pm

  3. Your photos are astounding, I especially like the close-up of the monarch. And I muttered “Oh wow” when I saw you were able to capture the ruby crown on the kinglet, a very tricky prospect. πŸ™‚

    October 30, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    • Thank you Jet! Swinging a long lens around while trying to keep it on a quick moving kinglet isn’t easy, maybe I’ll have more luck the next time.

      October 30, 2014 at 2:57 pm

  4. Congratulations!! πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚
    And do I have to say, your photographs are always amazing!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    October 30, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    • Thank you very much Saksham!

      October 30, 2014 at 2:58 pm

  5. Great news about the job change!

    What went wrong with your second ‘along the trail’ shot is that the trail isn’t emphasized enough to grab the eye and lead it in. It just blends in with all the other trees, so you’re jumping around looking for a place to land. LOVE the geese shots…

    October 30, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    • Thank you! I believe you’re correct in the figuring out why that shot didn’t work, I found it hard to look at for that reason.

      October 30, 2014 at 2:59 pm

  6. Lovely photographs.

    October 30, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    • Thank you Victor!

      October 30, 2014 at 2:59 pm

  7. So happy to hear the news about your new job. That probably means that the Canon7 gets put on the APP (Accelerated Purchase Plan). All good news.

    Of the first batch of photos, I thought Pickerel Lake #5 was by far the best. It had such a definition of the dead stalks in the water, vs the vibrant color behind.

    Love all the fungus-mushroomy shots. That fact that you can get right down on top of them really makes those images pop.

    October 30, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    • Thank you Judy! I’m in no hurry for the new 7D, they haven’t begun shipping them yet, which tells me Canon may be having problems. The same thing happened when they introduced other new models. I’ll wait until they get the bugs worked out. My next major purchase has to be a new computer.

      October 31, 2014 at 2:53 am

  8. Congratulations on the new job! A nice set of photos, as always. My favorite is teh painted turtle. Brings back many memories of turtle watching in my youth.

    October 30, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    • Thank you Lavinia! I spent a lot of time in my younger days watching turtles also, very interesting critters.

      October 31, 2014 at 2:54 am

  9. What a really good set of shots in this post. It is interesting that the camera picks out all the trees with no leaves on them that you don’t see when you look at the view with the naked eye. I wish that I had an editing program as good as my ability not to notice things that stick out in the image.

    I thought that the floating leaf was the pick of all the shots because it had a good three dimensional feel about it.

    October 30, 2014 at 6:51 pm

  10. I should have added that you are right that the ‘along the trail fail’ does fail. This is because the eye is led in two directions at the same time which makes the head hurt. There is a line up the middle of the shot but also one leading off to the right. There were many excellently composed shots in the post to make up for that one.

    October 30, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    • Thank you Tom! What’s interesting is how a scene can look so good to the naked eye, but make your head hurt in a photo, as that photo does that to me as well. It has to be the difference between seeing it in two, rather than three dimensions. I did notice some of the bare trees, but I forgot my chainsaw to remove them before shooting the photos.

      October 31, 2014 at 2:58 am

      • Nature is often inconvenient.

        October 31, 2014 at 7:21 pm

  11. Simply gorgeous images. We don’t have those autumnal changes in Brisbane, except with introduced tree varieties. That white fungus(?) certainly is weird. Looks like a squirming pile of fly maggots! I’m always fascinated by interesting fungi. Such a beautiful display of nature. My shots are very amateurish! Congratulations on the new job.

    October 30, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    • Thank you very much Jane! I’m glad that you enjoyed your visit to Michigan. πŸ˜‰

      October 31, 2014 at 2:59 am

  12. Congratulations on the new job. I have had two new jobs in the last two years, so I know how you feel about now!

    Great pictures too. Double dipping on the blog post today.

    October 30, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    • Thank you very much Dennis!

      October 31, 2014 at 3:00 am

  13. Good luck in the new job! Love your shots of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet

    October 30, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    • Thanks Bob! The kinglets sure pack a lot of attitude in a very small body!

      October 31, 2014 at 3:00 am

  14. Nenkin Seikatsu

    Beautiful pictures, as always.

    Good luck with your new job: I wouldn’t willingly drive a vehicle in the winter for all the money in the world.

    October 31, 2014 at 4:54 am

    • Thank you very much! Winter driving is not so bad, if every one keeps their head.

      October 31, 2014 at 10:32 am

  15. Congratulations on the new job Jerry! I hope it turns out to be a good one. It sounds like it’ll be a money maker, and that’s always a good thing.
    The first orange jelly like mass on a log before the whitish mushroom shot is an orange jelly fungus, probably Dacrymyces palmatus, also called witches butter.
    The brain like mass with white edges is a slime mold and it’s a beauty, but unfortunately I can’t figure out which one. I’ve never seen one like it but I hope I do.
    The things that look like puffballs but have orange liquid in them are wolf’s milk slime mold (Lycogala epidendrum) which are fairly common at this time of year. The easiest way to find out if it’s a puffball or not is to mash one. Puffballs are usually darker brown in color too.
    The growths on the maple tree look a lot like tinder fungi (Fomes fomentarius) but I’m not 100% sure about them.
    I think my favorite shot of all is the floating leaf, but the brain like slime mold is tough to beat. I’m glad that you found some slime molds. Now you’ll start seeing them everywhere.

    October 31, 2014 at 8:06 am

    • Thank you very much Allen! I thought that the orange jelly fungus was just that, but I’m never sure. I had no idea that the brain like mass was a slime mold, I thought that it was a combination of lichens and molds. I’ve seen it before, but I never got good photos of it. I’ll have to go back for better photos, if the snow doesn’t hide the spot. πŸ™‚

      This will sound silly, but won’t mashing the wolf’s milk harm it in some way? From one of your recent posts, I thought that what I had found was wolf’s milk slime mold, but one again, I’m no expert.

      I wasn’t sure if the growth on the maple was a fungi of some type, or some other type of growth, it did have me scratching my head, I’ve never seen anything quite like it before.

      October 31, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      • I’m basing my guesstimate of the brain like slime mold on its edges, which look just like slime mold. It would be interesting to watch it for a day or two to see how / if it moves or changes.
        If you mash a single wolf’s milk fruiting body to release the liquid yes, it won’t go on to produce spores and you will have stopped its development. I often find them “pre mashed,” by animals or humans I can never be sure.
        I looked up that bracket fungus in a couple of my mushroom books and I’m fairly sure that it must be a willow bracket fungus (Phellinus igniarius,) which always has a charred looking top and grows on maples. How it got the name willow bracket if it grows on maples, I don’t know.

        October 31, 2014 at 9:02 pm

      • Thanks for taking the time to look those things up! I’ll try to find the brain slime mold on Saturday to shoot more photos of it. The Wolf’s milk slime mold was already “pre-mashed” I’d never do it myself. It’s only recently that I’ve begun to move dead leaves or grass from in front of something I’m trying to photograph. I guess it’s because I see how much damage other people do to nature that I try to have as little impact as possible.

        The willow bracket fungus that only grows on maples must be like orange-crowned warblers that don’t have orange crowns. πŸ˜‰ Some one should write a book on the silly names that we have given things in nature. πŸ™‚

        November 1, 2014 at 2:55 am

  16. The Michigan fall colours are beautiful – I am quite envious! I was also pleased to see the shots of birds – especially the little Kinglet – and all the fungi and slime moulds. Congratulations on the new job – I hope you will be happy working for the new company.

    October 31, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    • Thank you Clare! I’m sure the new job will be better, as I won’t be destroying my knees there. The fall colors are about gone now, but I have several more posts of images that I shot earlier to go.

      November 1, 2014 at 2:10 am

  17. Congrats on the new job. Love all the fall colors πŸ™‚

    October 31, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    • Thank you very much Ingrid!

      November 1, 2014 at 2:10 am

  18. Awww that kinglet is so cute! And I guess I finally understand why they call that a basking turtle!!! Lovely fall fotos!

    November 2, 2014 at 7:42 am

    • Thank you Lori! The kinglets are tiny birds with big attitudes, fun to watch, but hard to photograph.

      November 2, 2014 at 8:19 am

  19. Congrats on your new job, sounds like a good plan for the winter. I especially liked your Ruby-crowned Kinglet and the Fall Marsh photo, but what’s up with all of those weird fungi in MI. it’s a bit spooky!

    November 2, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    • Thank you! It was just before Halloween, so spooky fungi seemed to be required. πŸ˜‰

      November 3, 2014 at 12:04 am