From around home, before the 7D Mk II
I’m way behind in posting again, or still, which ever way you prefer to look at it. But, I’m having tons of fun right now, when I have time off from work, getting out and shooting loads of photos. There’s just so much to photograph this time of year, with new flowers and birds appearing almost daily.
In some ways, I’m a bit torn, do I only post my best photos, or do I post the not so great photos that are interesting, even if they aren’t the best that I can do? Should I continue to post multiple photos of the same species of birds and other subjects that I love, or do I go for as much variety as I could? Trying to decide what to put in a post, and what to leave out is becoming more difficult, especially with the backlog of photos that I have saved to post. Here’s an example, I’ve posted too many photos of mallards already, but they have so much personality, how do I stop myself from posting photos such as this one?
That one has been saved on my computer for nearly a month, but it still cracks me up every time that I view it.
You may think that with a brand new 7D Mark II that I’d be running around using it for everything, and in a hurry to show all the readers of this blog the resulting photos. Maybe it represents a turning point for me as far as photography, but I’ve been using the 7D only sparingly so far. I am beginning to see it, and all my photo gear, as a tool to be used for what it’s best at. I’ve gone to the Muskegon area twice since I purchased the 7D, and both times I had it set up for birds in flight with the 300 mm lens on it. On both trips, I had one of the 60D bodies with the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens) on it, and shot the majority of the photos on both trips with it, rather than the 7D. I will say that I’ve seen flashes of brilliance from the 7D already, as far as how quickly and accurately it can auto-focus, particularly on moving subjects.
I’m still learning the 7D, whereas I’ve been using the Beast on a 60D body for two years now, I know what that combination can do, and how to get the shot when I need to. I can see that the 7D does turn out better images, but, using Lightroom, I can bring what comes out of the 60Ds up to about the same level, which is pretty darned good in my opinion.
Even during the times that I’ve been carrying the 7D as my main wildlife camera, I still carry one of the 60D bodies for macros and landscapes.
On one day in particular, I saw few birds, so the 7D got little use, but it was a fine day for flowers, sunshine and no wind, so almost all the photos I shot that day were with the 60D. But, I’ll get to that when I get to the photos from that time period, the photos from this post are all from before I got the 7D. These still date back to the early spring, when the bee from several posts back was rolling in crocus pollen.
I may have been better off to delete the majority of the photos that follow, as the weather wasn’t the greatest on many of the days that I shot them. But, they are a record of my spring this year, so here goes.
I’m constantly amazed by what I see through the macro lens when I turn it towards something I see growing on the side of a tree.
We’ve had plenty of rain this spring, but it’s been coming down in torrents when it does rain, with long dry spells in between. That’s made finding lichens and mosses a bit of a challenge. I should also add that there was snow falling three days last week, it melted as fast as it fell, but it was cold enough for snow.
Anyway, you never know what you’re going to see around here.
You wouldn’t think that a critter that can fly…
…would feel the need to perch on a roof to enjoy the view, but when it happens, I always do a double take because it’s not something that I expect.
Speaking of the unexpected, one early morning as I was walking the bike path that runs along the expressway, about a dozen small songbirds came flying out of the brush straight at me, in a big hurry, something that doesn’t usually happen. A few seconds later, a Cooper’s hawk went blasting past me, I turned, but didn’t have time to zoom in…
…so you get an idea that the places that I walk around home aren’t exactly a wildlife preserve. I did get zoomed in and cropped the next photo of the hawk.
But speaking of wildlife preserves, I’m signed up to get daily rare bird reports through eBird, and the number of reports that come from the area of the apartment complex where I used to live is staggering. In some ways, I wish that I still lived in the old apartment, seeing so many species of birds around there is what got me into serious birding. But, the management at the old complex went downhill in a hurry, and the place was really overpriced for what the apartment was. Besides, I do pretty well around here, and on weekends, I manage to track down plenty of birds elsewhere.
The man-made lakes in the area of the old apartment is what seems to attract many of the rarer birds to that area, but I’ve done well enough around the new apartment, capturing shots of birds that prefer open grassland, like this meadowlark.
It’s so good to hear their song again, after the long cold winter that we had. In fact, it’s great to hear all the birds singing!
If there wasn’t so much background noise around here, I’d have shot a few videos, so I could record their songs, because hearing them sing is one of the reasons that spring is my favorite season.
There are some advantages to shooting photos of the more common species of birds around here, they make great practice subjects as I test new settings and techniques out in photography. Also, I’m able to observe them closely, and learn more about them, even if I don’t always shoot photos of what I learn. For instance, I never knew that flickers drummed on dead tree branches the same way that other woodpeckers do, until I saw one doing so.
It would pause for a few seconds to give out its distinctive call….
…then go back to drumming again.
Speaking of woodpeckers, here’s a few more.
Sorry about those last two, the pileated was really too far away, but while I’ve heard them, and caught glimpses of them, I haven’t been able to get close to them for a while now. That may change, or at least I hope that it does.
Speaking of getting close to my subjects, the fox squirrels are getting so used to my being around that they allow me to get too close to them.
So do some of the mallards.
I never did figure out what those three were up to, but I could tell that they were up to something, you never know with mallards.
I did shoot a few good photos for this post, besides just interesting ones.
But, I wish that they had been of a different species of bird, other than the parasitic nesting cowbirds. The female cowbirds lay their eggs in the nests of other species of birds, which almost always results in the death of the young birds of the “host” species. Cowbirds laying eggs in bluebird nests is what led to the sharp decline in bluebirds.
One of these days, I’ll get a really good photo of one of these, a brown creeper.
They’re always on the move, and they blend in so well with tree bark that the creepers are hard to spot. It looks as if the bark is moving. I chased that one around for a while, to get this photo.
On another day, I chased this one…
…it paused for a second, and I thought that I had it…
…but you can see that it had just begun moving again as I tripped the shutter…
…to snatch an insect out of the air…
…which the creeper ate on the run, of course.
Speaking of what birds eat, there’s a reason that robins are so plentiful, they have evolved to fit into nearly every type of habitat. We think of them as the quintessential suburban birds, pulling worms from manicured lawns, but they do equally as well in the “wild”. They have a varied diet that consists of both insects and vegetation, and you can spot them in the deep woods, scratching through the leaf litter for insects, in bushes eating berries, or in grassy fields chasing down insects.
One of these days…
…I’ll get better at catching those moments also.
Oh, before I forget, several posts back, or in a comment to some one, I mentioned finding lichens growing on a piece of discarded carpeting. Well, for what it’s worth, here’s a photo of those lichens.
Here’s a few other lichens that I shot on a frosty morning, just because I liked the light, colors, and textures.
Even though I’ve put too many photos in this post already, I have just a few more to go, starting with a red squirrel.
When I think of spring, this is one of the images that comes to mind, even though I have already posted several similar photos, a male cardinal in a tree singing in hopes of attracting a mate.
One of these days, I’ll get “The Shot” of a cardinal in full song, just like one of these days, I’ll be in the right place at the right time to capture a spectacular sunrise or sunset, rather than at a wastewater treatment facility. 😉
That’s just a teaser of what I hopefully will be shooting more of in the future, sans the power-lines and poles, and other man-made objects in the scene.
I’d better stop here, or this post will go on forever!
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!