I started on this post well over a week ago, going in one direction at first, then another direction later, now in yet a third direction now. I promised a few warm and fuzzy critters for some of my readers, so I’ll throw in a few of them to get this started.
That was shot yesterday, when I spent some time sitting in the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, as was this one.
This one as well.
Here’s a little larger warm and fuzzy critter, from a few weeks ago.
While I’m at it, I may as well toss in these two as well.
I was in the process of stalking the four bucks in hopes of getting a good photo of them, but a construction crew working on one of the irrigation rigs at the Muskegon County wastewater facility spooked them before I could get close.
These represent the first way that I began this post, but then, I started comparing my photos to those that I see while I’m watching the online tutorials on either photography, or using Lightroom, and of course I was disappointed. We don’t have critters with the Wow! factor that lions, cheetahs, zebra, penguins, or any of the other critters that I see in those videos that I watch have. We have some wolves, up in the upper peninsula, along with moose, bobcats, and maybe a lynx if one is extremely lucky.
But, I don’t live in the U.P., I live in southern Michigan, where deer and squirrels are the most common mammals, along with rabbits.
One isn’t going to Wow! people with a photo of a bunny or even a cardinal…
…no matter how good the photo is.
Despite the improvements that I see in my macro photography…
…and my landscapes…
…I was getting down on myself again, as I had decided that my sunrise “landscapes”…
…were really more of a cloudscape than a landscape.
The marsh is just there as a somewhat interesting foreground to give the photo some depth, but the sky and the clouds are the only things about that photo that make it interesting.
The photos that I shot of the dunes at North Ottawa Dunes showed that I am getting better at composing my photos to convey just how large and steep that the dunes here in Michigan are, but other than that, the images weren’t really very good in other respects. Some of that was due to the weather that day, with misty rain and fog, along with the dreary sky, I suppose that they weren’t that bad. They’d have been better if I had gotten there at sunrise…
…or if there had been interesting clouds over the scenery.
If I told you what is in that last photo, other than the clouds, you’d probably think that I was crazy. The water is one of the storage lagoons at the Muskegon County wastewater facility, and the “hills” in the background are the county landfill, hardly nature at its finest. 😉
It’s beginning to dawn on me, that if I can get images like that, and the others in this post, taken at a wastewater treatment facility and landfill, there just may be hope for me yet. That notion got a boost when I checked out the eagle tree at the wastewater facility, and got a few good images of a critter that does have some of the Wow! factor, bald eagles.
Not my best photo of an eagle, but not bad either.
I finally did just about everything right, with the cooperation of the eagle, it stayed perched long enough for me to get a few good photos of it, then, as I waited and watched, I got my camera and lens all set-up for when the eagle took flight. And, the eagle rewarded my patience by circling me several times.
That was the eagle that had been perched in the top of the eagle tree, the second eagle…
…stayed perched for another 15 to 20 minutes, before I gave up and moved on.
So, that brings me to the question, how do mated bald eagles find each other when they cover so much territory while they are hunting?
Other birds that mate for life, such as swans, cranes, and geese, are inseparable all year round, but other than when the female is on the nest, or both parents are bringing food to the young, the eagles will travel great distances individually as they hunt, yet they seem to be able to find each other again. Is that why they perch in the same trees so often, the trees act as their meeting place? Find an eagle perched in a tree once, and it’s a safe bet that you’ll find it there very often.
Okay, so I do fairly well when I shoot raptors…
…of course they’d be better if the light had been right, and without the irrigation rig in the background, but sooner or later, I’ll be in the right place at the right time.
The thing that they don’t tell you in the online photography tutorials is how many photos that they had to shoot to get the winners that they show during their presentations. I suppose that’s the big thing, I may find a sharp-shinned hawk being harassed by blue jays…
…catch the hawk as it dives…
…and almost catch the hawk as it chases one of the jays, hoping to turn the jay into lunch…
…but I can’t control the paths that they birds take as they go about the life and death struggles of eating or being eaten. I may have to witness that many times before I get exactly the shot that I want.
There was quite a show going on there for a while, I could see medium size birds flying from the woods to a couple of dead trees, as soon as they would land, another bird would come from the woods and chase them off. That’s how I spotted the sharp-shinned hawk, it was the bird chasing the other birds off from the dead trees, or so I thought. The other two birds were flickers…
…and I couldn’t tell if they were tormenting the sharpie, or just wanted to look for bugs in the dead tree limbs, and the sharpie was hoping to turn one of the flickers into lunch. But, every time that the flickers landed in the trees, the sharpie would come out of the woods towards them…
…sometimes perching in the dead trees for a while after the flickers had left…
…but it would always return to the woods, where the blue jays would resume harassing it, until the hawk would make another try for one of the jays. About then, the flickers would return to the dead trees, until the sharpie came out of the woods towards them. They kept me entertained, and busy with my camera, for quite a while.
I shouldn’t dwell on the shots that I miss, or get down in the dumps if I have an off day now and then, but I do. I should be happy to get one really good shot per day.
Whether it’s a macro like that, or a bird…
…or a cute squirrel eating crab apples.
I also wish that the theme that I use for my blog would allow me to display my photos in a larger size, as I’m trying to include more of a bird’s or animal’s surroundings with them at times in my photos.
That way, you also get to see more of the habitat that the critters I photograph live in, which can be a good thing. I work on my photos on my 27 inch iMac, and when I see them as presented here in my blog, I’m usually disappointed.
Not only would the animals and birds show up better in a larger image, but my attempts at landscapes would look better displayed in a larger size.
A larger size image would also be better for displaying my more artistic attempts.
I actually shot several different versions of that last one, which was one of the things that contributed to my taking a step back, and trying to decide if my photos were getting better, or if I was deluding myself again, something that I’m quite good at.
I thought of signing up for a nature photography class, just so that I could get some feedback from an expert as to where I stand, but the classes were on week nights and in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and I didn’t feel like driving that far for the classes. It’s just as well, I just checked out the webpage of the photographer that teaches the class, and not to brag, but with the exception of the sharp-shinned hawk series of photos, the photos of mine in this post are better than most of the expert’s photos.
I hope that none of the regular readers and commenters to my blog will take offense at my wanting an outside opinion as to the quality of my photos, after all, you’ve followed my blog probably because you liked my photos to begin with. I’m not fishing for compliments, I could use some critical input, although I know the first thing that I’d be told. I’m getting too many distractions in the background, and the bokeh isn’t smooth as cream.
I’ll have to work on that, along with the other things that I need to do to improve my images.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!