I’m loving it!
It was a pretty good weekend, all things considered. We didn’t get the storms on Sunday morning, they fell apart out over Lake Michigan. Instead, we had a very hot, humid, and hazy day, so I packed it in early to enjoy the air conditioning for once. There was a very stiff wind blowing as well, which made photography difficult particularly the few times that I tried to shoot flowers.
The storms arrived in the evening, and I managed to sleep through them, despite the fact that they did some damage around here, and a lot of damage to the north and east of here. About the time that I got home from the grocery store, and was getting ready for my walk, the clouds left this morning from the storms last night began to clear out.
So, even though I still have many photos from earlier this summer still saved, I’m going to post daily photos from yesterday and today, with a few older ones thrown in. I should start with the sunrise from yesterday, because it was quite good, but instead, I’m going to begin with a series of photos from towards the end of my day yesterday. I was at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, the observation deck along the Muskegon River to be precise, when I saw a family of barn swallows. The juveniles would line up on the railing of the deck…
…and when one of the parents would head their way, the young swallows would let the parents know which one of them was most deserving of the food.
As strong as the wind was, this one was nearly blown away by a wind gust, but managed to hold on after it being touch and go for a few seconds.
The juveniles could fly, but I think because of the high winds, they preferred not to fly unless they had to. I was shooting from one level down on the deck, there was just enough room for me to stick the 300 mm lens under the deck railing and shoot up at the swallows on the other side of the upper level. I started out using the 300 mm lens with the 1.4 X extender, then it hit me, this is the perfect place to do some more testing with the new Canon 2X tele-converter, so I made the switch. All the photos so far were cropped quite a bit, the next one wasn’t cropped at all.
I’m happy with those, but I just had to crop one to see just how sharp the image was.
Who says the 2X extender isn’t sharp? It was the perfect situation to put it to use in the way that it is best used, getting that little bit closer to stationary birds when I have plenty of time to get it on the camera, and to get focused on the subject.
I did attempt to get photos of the adults feeding their young, but missed every time. It happens quickly, and I had to stretch and stand on my tip toes to get high enough to stick the lens under the railing of the next level of the deck.
Anyway, going back to the beginning of the day, here’s three of the series of photos that I shot of the sunrise.
After having climbed one of the dunes for those photos, I decided to wait a few minutes and shoot this one looking across the dunes when there was enough light to see.
The clouds were moving at a high rate of speed, driven by the winds, so after climbing down off the dune, I stopped to shoot this one, looking down the channel towards Lake Michigan.
Then I stopped at the beach to get this shot before the thousands of people showed for the day, since the park was still officially closed.
That’s where I learned to swim as a kid, and you may find it hard to believe, but that beach is considered to be second-rate here In Michigan. While it isn’t as popular as Holland or Grand Haven, it’s still elbow to elbow on a warm day.
Here are the photos that I shot with the second camera as I played around between sunrise photos.
On a lark, I drove up to the “blockhouse”, which is a little over a mile north of where the beach photo was shot. The blockhouse was built by the Civilian Conservation Corp back in the 1930’s, as a scenic look-out over Lake Michigan. Since the park was still officially closed, the blockhouse wasn’t open, not that it mattered. The trees between there and the big lake have grown so much over the decades, there’s not much of a view of the lake any more. But, I did find birds to shoot.
I looked over my shoulder to see this monarch resting.
Then, I shot this series of a juvenile tufted titmouse checking out a walking stick.
I never saw the walking stick under the titmouse until I blew those images up on my computer, but I did see something fall, which turned out to be the walking stick. The titmouse seemed very interested in where it had gone, I thought that it had been just a piece of bark that the bird had knocked loose.
I looked to my left to see three monarchs resting.
Then, I got a better shot of a chickadee…
…and a chipmunk.
There were other birds around, but I missed them all, other than this bad photo of a downy woodpecker.
From there, I returned to the Snug Harbor area in Muskegon State Park, to see what I could find there, and because I had planned on hiking back to Lost Lake. All I found were grey squirrels.
I was all set to shoot one of the black morph grey squirrels, when another one chased the one I was going to photograph up a tree.
They’re both the same species, just different color variations. Later, I caught two of the grey ones feeding together.
Instead of hiking back to Lost Lake for the fourth week in a row, I decided to go to the Muskegon Lake Nature preserve instead, since I haven’t been there since spring.
I learned a new trick, if the sky isn’t what you’d like it to be when shooting birds that are above you, try a polarizing filer.
Of course the bird has to be at the correct angle to the sun for the polarizing filter to work, but I can see that it’s another tick to add to my bag.
I shot a few macros there also.
I think that I’ll save the rest for later. In the meantime, two more birds from the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve.
I see that I’m already over my self-imposed limits for photos, but to finish this post, here’s a photo from this morning.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!