Around home, A burst of activity
I’m going to start with an update about my new job, the hours are horrible right now, and I’m getting the runs that the more senior drivers don’t want, but I expected that being one of the new drivers. Last week, I had start times ranging from 6 PM on Monday to 6 Am on Friday. It’s hard to develop any type of sleep schedule when one works such a changeable schedule, if you can call it a schedule.
This week has been better, with more consistent start times, so I’m feeling quite chipper right now, rather than dragged out like last week.
The big news is my paycheck, this new company pays every two weeks, and my paycheck this Friday will be three times what a one week paycheck was at my old job. So, it does work out that I’m making almost exactly 50% more than my last job paid, and that makes it worth putting up with the miserable work hours for the time being.
Oh, and included in that is the fact that I had Thanksgiving day off without pay, as I haven’t been on this job long enough to qualify for holiday pay yet, or there would have been even more in my next check! It’s going to be great not to be broke all the time, I think that this weekend, I’m going to splurge, and go out for a steak dinner for the first time in years!
The weather has relented some as well, it’s been cold, but the snow has let up at least a little for the last two weeks, and we’ve even had a few sunny days this week. Because of the odd hours I’ve been working, there are days when I don’t make it out for a walk at all, but then there have been other days when I’ve been able to do the five-mile long version of my daily walk, so it is averaging out to being about the same as it was at my old job as far as getting out to shoot a few photos.
On that front, the past two weeks I have been playing with the high-speed burst mode of shooting photos of subjects in action, as you will see shortly.
The reason for that is because every review of the new Canon 7D Mk II has put a lot of emphasis on the fact that it can shoot up to 10 frames per second, with a buffer large enough to hold 33 RAW images, and some fantastic number of high quality Jpegs.
My 60D can’t come close to that, and I’ve only tried the high-speed burst mode once, on a vulture and hawk which were both out of range at the time that I tried it, but it seemed to work reasonably well. I found it to be a great way to shoot a large quantity of bad photos in a very short time. My results the past two weeks is somewhat the same, high-speed burst is a great way to shoot a large number of bad photos in a short time, but, it can also be the way to catch good action shots that I would otherwise miss.
Trying to time when a water drop from melting snow will hit the ground is impossible, as is catching a drop in midair.
Unfortunately, I used too slow of a shutter speed on the falling water drop, but I can see the potential of using the high-speed burst mode of shooting photos. But, I won’t tell you how many images I deleted to get those two. 😉
With my old Nikon, I used to be able to fill the buffer shooting quickly when pressing the shutter release for each photo, so I’ve been leery of using the high-speed burst mode of my Canon 60D, That was an unfounded fear. On the same day as I shot the water drops, which I shot in quick but short bursts, I saw Bruiser, our resident male red-tailed hawk fly past me, although he was really out of range, so I started shooting in high-speed mode and didn’t quit until it got beyond the point of being ridiculous, just to see how large the buffer of the 60D is. I shot 59 high quality Jpeg images in that burst, and never did fill the buffer. These three images that I saved from that experiment are nothing special, but it did show me that using the high-speed burst mode was something that I need to use more often.
Like I said, those are nothing special, other than they showed me the potential of using the high-speed burst mode, and how large the buffer of my 60D is, which I put to much better use during a trip to Muskegon. I shot some of my best photos of a great blue heron flying straight at me, but you’ll have to wait until I do a post on that trip to see them. 😉
In the meantime, another thing that I have been trying is using the Tokina 100 mm macro lens for more than just macros, since it is my best lens optically.
Of course, that lens is a great macro lens.
You may remember the mosses from a recent post, when I had to shoot at f/2.8 to get any photo at all. The last one was shot with the lens stopped down for more depth of field in this image, so more of the image is in focus and you can see the mosses better.
Here’s another image of something from a recent post, the egg case that I shot earlier. With more sunlight, I was able to get closer to show one of the insect eggs in the egg case.
Here’s another repeat of sorts.
I did manage to get close to a few birds.
And of course, a few squirrels as well.
Now then, I still wanted to play with the high-speed burst mode, and since it was a sunny day, I decided to try a few shots of mallards in action, since they are great subjects for practicing on. I did catch one flying, but didn’t do very well catching it in action.
I was using the 70-200 mm lens with the 1.4X tele-converter, and that was too slow as far as auto-focusing and shutter speed for any good images. So, since the mallards were just lounging around, I decided to switch gears and try for my best photo ever of a male mallard.
That may sound strange, since I’ve shot hundreds of photos of mallards, but it’s hard to get a perfect photo of them.
That’s not bad, I got most of him in focus and exposed correctly, but his chest is out of focus, and his belly is slightly over-exposed. Luckily, mallards love to ham for a camera.
I had forgotten just how hard it was to get a great image of a male mallard! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, if they weren’t so common and tame, mallards would be one of the most sought after species of birds that there is. They’re beautiful, the way that they are colored, but we take them for granted because they are so common.
In the last two photos, you can see how they change color as the light strikes them at different angles, and the pattern of the feathers on a male’s back.
I tried the Tokina macro lens, and no surprise, it got me the best photos of the day.
Enough mallards for now, time to switch to ice. I was actually looking for a bird that I had heard calling, but never found, when I spotted this ice formation created when the water in a metal fence post froze.
I shot another from a little farther away.
And then, I tried getting as close to the ice as I could.
That’s it for the photos, just a few more words to say.
I said earlier that I shot some of my best heron in flight photos at Muskegon, that was even though it was a rainy, foggy day. However, the heron was small potatoes compared to this guy!
But, you’ll have to wait for my next post to see more photos of him. I wonder if he’s a distant relative of Mike the snowy owl that I photographed a couple of years ago? This one sat and posed for me just like Mike did.
Anyway, not only did I get some good shots of the owl, but also another golden eagle and several of its cousins, bald eagles. I don’t know when I post the Muskegon trip photos, like I said, it was rainy and foggy that day, so the image quality isn’t the best for some of the images. It’s also supposed to be nice with sunshine this weekend, so I’ll be going back, hoping for better photos.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!