Aman Park 2015, A bit early, sorry Allen
In recent years, I’ve gone to Aman Park, just west of the city of Grand Rapids every weekend until I caught the trilliums there at their peak. Here are a few links to the posts that I’ve done in past springs.
The number of trilliums in bloom is quite amazing, but I was a week too early this year. This year, I wasn’t that worked up about hitting the same park every weekend in order to do yet another similar posts to those I’ve done in the past. So, even though I was a few days too early this year, I didn’t return the next weekend to catch more to the trillium while they were open. In fact, I arrived at Aman Park at mid-morning, and I had to fool around for a while waiting for almost all the wildflowers that I shot for this post to open for the day.
That was okay, I had the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens) on the new Canon 7D Mk II to play with, photographing birds and a few other things, including some woodpecker porn.
Since I started with a bird photo, I’ll get the rest of them out of the way, then get to the flowers later.
When I can get the 7D locked in on a bird, it tracks it very well as you can see. Here’s another example, although the image isn’t as good, since the bird was a tiny blue-grey gnatcatcher flitting about in the treetops.
That’s one of those bad photos that amaze me, the 7D tracked the gnatcatcher as it flew through the branches rather than focusing on the branches. However, I don’t want to rave too much about my new camera yet, I still have a lot to learn. Instead, here’s the rest of the wildlife photos, mostly birds, from this day.
As you can see, it was a bright sunny day, what you can’t tell from the photos is that it was the warmest day in nearly six months. That had the flowers opening up as the day progressed, so here they are, starting with Dutchman’s breeches.
Next up, a few of the spring beauties that I saw.
Hepatica is a small flower that comes in several different colors, so here are a few that I found on this day.
I should note that my ability to ID flowers isn’t the best, so I may be making a few mistakes here and there. Some people may say that it’s a mistake to lay on the ground shooting photos of small flowers, because you could come face to face with one of these.
I tried to slither closer to the snake, but it being much more experienced in slithering than I, was able to slither away from me. 😉
I’m not positive, but I believe that these are cutleaf toothwort.
Here’s my worst flower photo of the day.
I think that the part of this day that I’ll remember the most is how quickly the flowers opened as the day went on. I had arrived at mid-morning to find only the Dutchman’s breeches out, with just a few of the other flowers just starting to open. By early afternoon, there were flowers everywhere, although I was a few days too early to catch the trillium at their peak. My new 7D has the ability to do time-lapse series of photos built-in, one of these days I’ll have to test it out to show a flower opening.
Anyway, here’s a couple of photos of trout lilies.
As the day progressed, the bloodroot flowers opened.
The real stars are the trillium, and I tried to get a few shots to show just how many there are, but, I brought the wrong lenses with me for that. In addition to the Beast and the 100 mm macro lens, I had taken the 10-18 mm lens, but it was really too wide for a good shot, I wished that I had taken the 15-85 mm lens instead, or even the 70-200 mm lens.
My heart wasn’t into it anyway, since only one-third to half of the trillium were open, so you wouldn’t be able to see just how many there are no matter which lens I had brought with me. Still, I tried a couple of shots with the Beast at 150 mm.
A sidenote, I found another park, quite by accident, which has almost as many trillium as Aman Park does, it’s Grose Park in northern Ottawa County. I took the back roads home from Muskegon one day, and found this new to me park because I saw a park boundary sign, and had to check it out. It’s a small park, and I imagine quite busy in the summer since it is on a lake, but there were few people there in the spring, just me and the trillium.
That was also shot with the Beast on the 7D, and I’m amazed at the quality of that image. There’s more to the 7D than just its superior focusing abilities!
Anyway, a few close-ups of the trillium before I end this one. I’ve learned two things shooting this type of photo. One, is that Lightroom uses color to determine what it thinks is a shadow in a photo. If there’s a shadow on a light-colored flower, I haven’t found a way in Lightroom to lessen the shadow, yet. The other side of that coin is that Lightroom assumes that anything black in an image is shadow, so adjusting the exposure of images of black subjects can be tricky at times.
I have also learned that the LED panel light that I have isn’t bright enough to overcome the shadows either, so I spent a lot of time looking for blooms that were just right as far as lighting.
These next two probably shouldn’t be included in this post, they are of henbit flowers that I found here at home after I returned from Aman Park, but I like these, so I’m going to add them in here.
In a way, I feel bad about not going back again the next weekend to catch the trillium at their peak, but it’s also the peak time of the year for birding. Since the trees are just beginning to leaf out, it’s easier to see and photograph birds, it’s the peak of the spring migration, and the birds are also in their breeding plumage, making it easier to ID them.
Sorry Allen, I know that you like seeing the masses of trillium, maybe next year. I learned a good deal on this excursion, starting with this. Early morning light may be great for most subjects, but if the flowers haven’t opened for the day, it’s rather silly to be there before they open. During the mid-day hours, the shadows from the trees are something that has to be considered when going for the wider shots of the fields of flowers. In looking everything over, I concluded that late afternoon would be the best time to go to Aman Park to photograph the flowers. I also have a better idea which lenses I should bring with me to get the best photos of the flowers. It was so much easier when I used the Canon Powershot point and shoot that went from very wide-angle to 40X without changing lenses. 😉
I have made a note in my calendar for next year, which reminds me of something else.
Because my old laptop computer was on its last legs, I hadn’t been using it as much to do online research, or to keep track of events and places the way that I had in the past. Now, I’m just getting back into the swing of doing those things with the new iMac. It’s only been in the last two weeks that I put Google Earth on the iMac, to check out the small park that I mentioned earlier, and to view the area of Lane’s Landing and other parts of the Muskegon State Game Area to find possible pathways to walk while looking for birds.
I had forgotten what an invaluable tool a computer connected to the Internet can be in finding good places to go to find wildlife. On some rainy day, I need to spend some time tracking down many of the links that I had on my old computer, and adding them as bookmarks on my new one.
Anyway, before I go too far afield on that subject, I think that it’s time to stick a fork into this post, it’s done.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!