Pushing the limits, learning what works, part II
I shot plenty of other subjects other than the sandhill cranes during my two latest trips to Muskegon, and the photos in this post will be a few of them.
But first, I was very disappointed with the image quality of the photos of the cranes that I shot on those two mornings. I did a very poor job of assessing the situation and preparing for what was going to happen on both days. Too often, I chalk that up to birds being somewhat unpredictable, but in the case of the cranes, it wasn’t as unpredictable as all that. I had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen, but I allowed my prejudices about the gear that I have dictate what lens(es) I used, which is a big no-no.
I have a tendency to focus on my failures, rather than my successes, and I do have some successes from time to time.
But that’s enough of that already. The big news is that I found a B&H video on the art and craft of landscape photography with the speaker being Robert Rodriguez Jr.. There’s very little talk of camera gear, settings, or even composition, it’s him tracing his progress as a photographer, what motivates him, what he looks for in a scene, and so on. It hit me in a big way, for one of his main points was to start shooting what you love.
I’ve complained that the lower peninsula of Michigan has no mountains, no waterfalls, no rocky shorelines, etc. But, I do love Michigan, for other reasons. It’s funny, I had just read something that some one said about Michigan, that it was like a giant water purification machine, and that’s true. The sand and gravel that I’ve complained about does a great job of purifying any rainfall that lands here. Adding to that, in the lower peninsula, most mining is done for four things, sand, salt, limestone, and gypsum, all of which are water permeable, and work in conjunction with the sand and gravel above to help purify the water.
Good, clean water we have in abundance, not just the Great Lakes, but plenty of small inland lakes and streams, it’s the cold clear water in our streams that makes Michigan a great place for trout fishing.
Plenty of water means that plants thrive here, Michigan is the opposite of the more arid western states, here we can’t see the forest because the trees are in the way, blocking our view. In the summer, Michigan is all blue skies, green vegetation, and blue water, with a few other things thrown in for good measure. I just need to practice more to capture those things in a better way than this.
I knew that one wasn’t great, it was a practice shot, that I did even before I watched the video. What’s funny is that I also shot this one before watching the video…
…and it’s very similar to one that Robert Rodriguez Jr. showed in his presentation.
By the way, here’s a link to the video if you’re interested.
So what I need to do is to quit looking for places in Michigan that look like other parts of the world and instead, photograph what it is about Michigan that I love. That, and learn to see the world through my wide-angle lenses, as I have said before.
I also stumbled across several videos from Canon showing some of the features of the 7D Mk II and how to use them. Why Canon makes it so difficult to find these videos is beyond me, it was from watching some of them about the 60D that really helped me learn to use that camera. I’m not going to go into detail about the tips and tricks, other than to say that I’m going to begin putting them into use my next time out, which may be today if I finish this post in time.
In the meantime, here are the birds from the last two days at Muskegon.
I have a series of photos of the nuthatch, 10 images shot in 5 seconds showing how much the smaller birds move around as I’m attempting to get a sharp photo of them, but since most of you know full well how hard it is to catch a small bird perching perfectly still, I’m not going to upload all the rest, just that one when the nuthatch paused for a second. It’s the same with these.
This one was a little chatterbox, but it took me a few tries to catch him talking to the rest of the flock.
A tip for all the birders out there, when you find chickadees, you’ll usually find other birds in the same area. It’s well-known that our all year resident birds form loose flocks during the winter, but I’ve always found that except for when they are nesting, if you find chickadees, you’ll also find the other year-round residents, along with warblers, vireos, woodpeckers, and other families of birds. Not only that, but getting close to a few of the chickadees seems to make the other birds less fearful of me, and then they will allow me to approach them a little closer than they would otherwise. Maybe when they see that I posed no threat to the chickadees, they understand that.
By the way, that reminds me, I just read an article about the vision of birds. Science has known for some time that birds can see much better than humans, well, it turns out that they can also see more of the light spectrum than we can as well, including some of the UV light. That’s how they can tell each other apart. Some species, such as the chickadees all look-alike to us, and we can’t tell the males from the females. But, when researchers began checking what the two sexes looked like in UV light, it turns out that there are differences in the plumage of the sexes, and even some variations in individual birds, which is how they recognize each other.
I had decided not to post the photos of a bald eagle that I shot, since they were taken when the fog was very thick, but I changed my mind, and here’s the best of the lot.
I shot another eagle in flight, it may have been either a bald or golden eagle, it looked too large to be a bald eagle, but since it’s a poor photo, even worse than the one above, I haven’t changed my mind about one. But, here are a few more birds, starting with a male cardinal looking for food…
…to feed to its offspring.
Sometimes, you stumble across situations that just don’t look right, such as a hawk on the ground…
…being watched by a great blue heron perched in a tree.
Honestly, those two were shot from the same spot, within seconds of each other. Normally, you see the hawks in trees and herons on the ground or in the water, but in this instance, the birds were reversed. However, it just hit me, maybe the heron was watching to see if the hawk had been successful in capturing a rodent, since herons will eat rodents as well. Could it have been that the heron was seeing if it was worth looking for rodents in the field that the hawk was in?
I shot other things than birds, like this young buck.
…and this red squirrel.
Then, there were the insects.
I had several requests for more spiderweb photos, so I looked for some…
…then moved closer to get this photo of the spiders underside…
…and here’s its topside.
I found a few frogs at Lost Lake.
As well as a few flowers.
There are times when I have a good idea…
…but my execution is wrong…
…and not even Lightroom can save it. Other times, I get it right, at least I think that I do.
Or, I find the humor in nature, like this dragonfly perched on a branch where the end of the branch looks like a dragon’s head.
Well, I think that it’s time for me to eat breakfast, then head on out to see what I can find to photograph today.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!