Serving up still more leftovers
According to the widget that I installed on my blog, it’s only three months until spring arrives. These may be the longest three months of my life, I’m getting to the point where I hate winters. I think that I have photography to blame for that, as I didn’t used to mind winter as much.
Up until a couple of years ago, I didn’t mind bundling up and trudging several miles through the snow during the period of endlessly cloudy days as lake effect snow continued to fall. But then, I was carrying just a small point and shoot camera which fit very nicely in a coat pocket, I wasn’t trying to lug 20 pounds of photo gear with me. I’d also settle for so-so photos of the few species of birds that don’t migrate south, along with the few other subjects that I may have found.
It isn’t that there aren’t times in Michigan when winter creates beautiful scenes to photograph, not that this is one of them…
…but, it was the best that I could find yesterday, and there are far fewer subjects to photograph, such as these…
…which won’t be seen around here until next April.
I really shouldn’t be complaining, as this fall has been one of the best on record, and has been a huge improvement over last fall. I stole this graphic from a local TV station to remind myself how good we’ve had it so far this November.
It doesn’t help matters any that I’m becoming spoiled, and maybe just a little bit bored by shooting the same species of birds so often, when so many of the photos look exactly the same as earlier ones that I’ve shot.
Okay, so I caught the colors of the bufflehead’s head a little better in this photo than I have in the past, I was still too far away for a really good photo. It’s the same with this rough-legged hawk in flight…
…and this northern shoveler.
It looks as though I have some decisions to make about where I go, what I photograph, and how I approach both my blog and my manner of shooting photos in the future.
Actually, I’ve been giving these subjects some thought for the past few months. If I really want to improve the quality of the images that I shoot, I’ll have to get closer to my subjects. That means that I’ll have to give up my “run and gun” approach to shooting photos of birds, and find good spot to sit and wait for them to come to me. Doing that will also mean that I’ll have to find places to go where there are fewer humans around to scare away the birds.
There’s more to all of this than photography or my blog as well, do I really need to add the wear and tear to my vehicle driving to Muskegon every weekend just to shoot photos of birds…
…that I could photograph around home, even if one of the American tree sparrows begins to sing softly?
By the way, the tree sparrows have pretty little songs, and I feel lucky for having heard it in person, as this species nests much farther to the north and it’s rare for them to sing around here especially at this time of the year.
Maybe I’m a bit bummed out because I went to Muskegon yesterday and found very few birds or other subjects that I haven’t already posted dozens of photos of already, like this American pipit.
I’ve posted a few images of them lately, but that one reminded me of spring, with just a bit of snow on the ground, with what could be mistaken for the first signs of plants emerging from the snow. Unfortunately, the greenery is some of the last that will be seen around here for several months and not the signs of spring arriving here.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that I want to shoot photos of only species of birds that I’ve never seen before, but I would prefer that my posts over the winter months not be of just the same few species of birds over and over again, unless the photos that I shoot are special in one way or another. None of the photos that I’ve posted so far fit that criteria, they look the same as many others that I’ve recently posted. The truth is, I really don’t mind shooting what appears to be the exact same photo as what I shot the day before as I learn something from each and every photo that I shoot. Not only do I learn more about photography, but I also learn more about the birds and the way that they behave, and how best to get closer to them. However, there’s no reason to bore every one with the same old same old posted here all the time.
Luckily for now, I have plenty of photos of subjects that I won’t be seeing for a few months saved on my computer to be posted.
So, by using them up over the winter, my posts won’t be quite as boring as they would otherwise be. I’ll also be able to get back to posting to the My Photo Life List project that I’ve put on hold over the past few months.
In a way, that has worked out well, for I’ve been able to shoot better images of many of the species of birds than I was able to the first time that I saw them. And, with winter here again, I hope to shoot better photos of some of our winter resident birds than I have gotten in the past, at least a little better than the ones that I have now.
I also have to take into consideration the fact that most of the people who comment on my blog tell me not to change the way that I blog, since I do post a wide variety, not only of species of birds, but other subjects as well.
That was shot early this spring, right after I had purchased the 7D Mk II and was testing the auto-focus as the car approached me. I had to wait until other traffic cleared before I shot that photo, and by then it was too close to me for a really good photo.
I’ve been attempting to shoot more photos like this next one, nothing special, just a collection of pretty colored stones.
And, some of the old standby subjects as well.
It’s always nice when a bird spots me…
…and then strikes a pose.
I’m always trying to become more artistic in my photography, I think that this one was a failure.
I’ve been meaning to post one of the dozen or more similar that I shot of the leaves that I saw like these.
There was a section of the trail that was in deep shade most of the day, and almost all the plants grew the green and white leaves. But since it was a deeply shaded area, I had trouble getting a good photo other than this one. I assume that the leaves didn’t get enough sunlight to trigger photosynthesis in the entire leaf?
As many times as I’m able to capture this moment when a bird realizes that I’ve snuck up closer to it than it is comfortable with, I still love shooting these photos to show the surprised expressions on the bird’s faces.
Another of my attempts to shoot a good still life.
And, two more birds from this summer.
By the way, the weather outside today is more typical of November in Michigan than what we’ve had so far this month. There’s a solid dark gray overcast with light snow flurries falling, and of course the temperature is below freezing with a cold wind blowing. I know that other parts of the country and other parts of the world have cold, snowy days, but then they have a few days of sunshine again afterwards. Here in Michigan, we can go a month at a time with little or no sunshine.
I should be out walking, but I haven’t come to terms with the fact that there’s no color outside on days like today, everything is a shade of grey as I look out the window. Besides, I’m waiting for UPS to delivery a goody package from B&H Photo. Nothing special in the package coming today, just a USB hub so that I can plug more things into my iMac than what the four USB ports it came with allows. I have a 1 Tb external hard drive that I use as a back-up drive. I also have a 4 Tb external hard drive where I store my images. I’m planning on adding another 4 Tb drive to use to back-up just my images, but I have no place to plug it in as it stands now. I’ve also broken down and ordered a lens cleaning kit that includes a blower and brush to remove the dust from my lenses.
The last item that I ordered brings up another point.
I’ve made very few mistakes as far as purchasing things that either don’t work at all, or don’t work for me. Other than the UV filters which I have removed from my lenses, the only other mistake that I’ve made was purchasing a monopod. I know, some people get by using a monopod, but I was never able to get the hang of using one. I fought harder to keep the monopod steady than what I did while holding the camera in my hands alone. I even purchased an inexpensive ball head to use on the monopod, which made it slightly more useful, but after I purchased the very inexpensive compact tripod that I have now to go with the very good carbon fiber tripod that I already had, I have no need of the monopod at all. That left me with the ball head and nothing to use it on. Well, that’s going to change, I’ve ordered a clamp to go on the window of my Subaru for use at the Muskegon wastewater facility, where I do much of my birding in my vehicle.
At the wastewater facility, the birds are quite used to cars driving around, and will hold relatively close to the roads even when the cars stop. But, step outside of your vehicle, and the birds vamoose as soon as they spot you.
Also, I’ve learned from my landscape photos just how important a tripod is, even in good light. So, I’ll put the ball head to use on the window clamp, clamped to the window of my Subaru, so that I’ll be able to get even better photos of the birds found there. Being able to have the camera mounted solidly will also make it easier to shoot more videos, which I hope to do in the future as well. At least that’s my plan, it remains to be seen how well it will work.
Anyway, back to the cold grey colorless days, it just isn’t fair! Just two or three weeks ago…
…we had colors like that outside, for me to photograph, along with this one.
Just last weekend, the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve still looked like this.
What a crybaby, we just got our first snowstorm of the year last week, and I’m already complaining about winter’s arrival. It isn’t the cold that bothers me as it is the lack of color.
Geese may not be very bright, but at least they have enough sense to fly south…
…when they’ve had enough of winter around here.
Well, that about wraps this one up. I have a feeling that it will be typical of the posts that I do for a while, a few of the photos that I’ve shot lately with a good many from this past summer and fall until I use up all of the saved photos that I have stored for my blog.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!