How far do I go?
First of all, I must apologize for the way that I ended the last post. Since I’m now working between 11 and 12 hours a day, I don’t have as much time for blogging as I would like. I had been piddling around with that post for close to a week, and even though I only have the weekends for photography now, I’m still getting behind on getting the photos into posts again.
In some ways, that’s not all bad. One thing that I’ve come to realize is that the professional photographers whose work I admire are often on assignment for a month or more to shoot the images that they show in their how-to videos that I watch. They don’t show the thousands of images that they shot that they culled the keepers from. I’ve been deleting a few photos from earlier this spring every time that I go through the images that I have saved, because I’ve shot better photos since then. Maybe that’s the secret to great photography, working from behind so that you can improve on images that you’ve already shot. 😉
Despite what most of the people who commented on my last post said, I’m not a great photographer, at least not yet. I’m very good at getting close to wildlife as these uncropped images show…
…explaining to them that I only want to take a photo of them…
…then shooting away as they pose for me.
But, there are problems with each of those photos which I should have avoided when I shot them.
I shoot completely wild animals as I find them, when I know that most of the really stunning wildlife images that I see were shot in at least somewhat controlled conditions, most of the time. Although, the Audubon Society just announced the winners of their yearly photo contest, and there are some stunning images that were shot in the wild, in fact, most were shot in the wild. By the way, the winning photo of an eagle and herons was shot with a 7D Mk II, so I can’t blame my equipment for my poor photos. 😉
Anyway, if I set-up hides to shoot photos of wildlife from, should I also put out a bird feeder or two to attract the birds to the area in the first place? I don’t have a problem when people who feed birds also shoot photos of the birds, as long as they are honest about it. Heck, I’ve even shot a photo…
…or two, of a bird on a feeder.
Although in this case, the bird wasn’t there to eat, as no one had filled the feeders for months. No, the thrasher was there to do the weird thing that I see birds do when it’s hot, spreading their feathers out as far as they can, and they seem to go into a trance as they are doing it.
It can’t be to cool off, since they always do it in a sunny spot. I thought when I saw robins doing it on the ground that it had to do with anting, where birds rub ants on their feathers because ants secrete formic acid, which may remove parasites like feather mites. But this thrasher, and a few other birds that I’ve seen doing this, have been off the ground where there aren’t many ants, if any.
Oh well, I’m sure that some day I’ll read the explanation why birds some times behave that way.
Other than the thrasher, I’ve only shot a handful of photos of birds on one of the feeders at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, and I’ve only posted one or two here. When I did shoot birds on the feeders, it was to test out new equipment or a new technique that I wanted to try, and see how good the results could be.
Would putting up a feeder or two be any different from hanging around a tree or bush full of berries that I know the birds love, and shooting photos of the birds when they arrive?
What a pig, two at a time!
It’s no wonder its crop is bulging out so much.
Apparently, the waxwing was hungry.
But then, it slowed down to one berry at a time.
I also hang out around thistle plants, not only to shoot the flowers…
…but also because I know that goldfinches love thistle seeds.
Switching gears, I started this post with idea of prattling on longer about what I would like to do in the future, but I’ve decided that I’ve gone on long enough about that. I still haven’t decided whether I’ll ever begin shooting photos of birds around a feeder or not, but there’s other things that I’d like to shoot other than birds, or wildlife, flowers, insects, and while they may be something from nature, of a more artistic bent. I’ve been working on that.
I purposely shot that out of focus, it’s the reflection of the sun coming off from the creek here at home. That one came from this attempt at being more artistic.
And, the second one was a result of this attempt.
None of those are that good, but I enjoyed playing around while exploring a more artistic side of photography, I wish that I had more time to work along those lines. But, I am beginning to see and even realize some of the shots that I’ve been trying to get for some time now.
I love the patterns in the leaves of the sumac bushes, and I’ve been trying for years to get a photo of them that conveys the things that I love about them. That one is very close.
I had sat down on the ground to shoot this pink.
As I was sitting there deciding whether or not I had gotten the best photo of the flower that I could ( I didn’t), this fly came along, and I decided to shoot it.
It was then that I saw the sumac leaves, with the sun on one side of the leaves, and backlighting the other half of them. The problem was that I’ve failed so many times at catching the shot that I wanted that I didn’t take the time to shoot the sumac leaves exactly the way that would have given me the shot that I ultimately would like to get.
About this time, you’re probably thinking that I’ve gone off my rocker, maybe I have. But, there’s a lot to like about that image beyond the nature photography aspect of it. The pattern of the growth of the leaves from the stem of the plant, their texture, the lighting, the composition, the depth of field, and so on. It’s not so much a nature photo as it is an exploration of the art of photography as the art form it can be. I know that not every one will like it, that’s okay, I understand that most people come to my blog to see the pretty birds…
…the action shots that I get…
( a side note, there were several species of birds attacking the hawk at the same time, here’s a kingbird making its pass at the hawk)
…or maybe people come here for the flowers…
…or macro photos.
So then, why am I so bent on also trying to become more artistic?
I’m not sure that I can answer that question, other than to say that it’s something inside of me trying to get out. It’s what stops me in my tracks when I see one flower that stands out from the thousands of other that surround it.
It’s what drives me to shoot an occasional landscape photo just to stay in practice, even though I know that the resulting image won’t be that good.
I was hoping to get a lightning bolt, didn’t happen.
No, I didn’t boost the color saturation, that’s how green it was under a cloudless blue sky.
I don’t know why, but my camera cuts through the fog, or more accurately, it creates blotches of fog in my images when the fog was more spread out when I shot the photo.
Anyway, I’m getting off track again, which always happens, even when I’m out shooting photos.
When it comes to setting up hides in places, I worry that I’ll end up with lots of shots of a very few species of birds, the ones that inhabit the type of habitat that I’ve chosen for the hide. The species that I post here runs in cycles already, as new species arrive in the spring each year, and the same happens in reverse during the fall migration. For example, I’ve been seeing and shooting many dickcissels the last few weeks, since they are late arrivals here.
Earlier this spring, I spent an inordinate amount of time (for me) getting the photos of the marsh wrens and Virginia rails that I’ve posted recently. That time was well spent, since I’m proud of the photos that I got of both of those species.
However, I’m easily bored, so I also shot a lot of bad photos of them…
…before getting the ones that have appeared in earlier posts.
I’m also debating whether I should spend more time near a bird’s nest.
That one was impossible to miss, the kingbird had built her nest less than 10 feet (3 meters) from the road in a completely dead tree with no foliage to hide her or her nest. Once I had gotten the photo that I wanted and moved on.
However, at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, I discovered that a pair of Baltimore orioles had built their nest…
…hanging over the picnic pavilion where I’ve been sitting to shoot photos of the birds that I see there. I shot far too many bad photos of the orioles coming and going as they fed their young. This oriole had built her nest in a well concealed spot where it was almost impossible to get a clear view of the adults as they came and went.
But, I kept returning to the pavilion for a few weeks, as I figured that if the oriole had chosen that spot for her nest, my sitting there quietly snapping a few photos now and then wouldn’t bother them. Generally, if I spot a bird on a nest, I do as I did with the kingbird, get a good photo, then move on, avoiding getting close to the nest again.
Changing the subject, it’s been a killer week at work so far this week. Fifteen hours on Tuesday, almost 12 hours yesterday, and they wanted me to work longer. Yesterday was another 14 hour plus day, which leaves me no time to do anything other than eat and sleep.
I haven’t had much time to work on this post at all, so of course, I’m not happy with it. I’m also feeling guilty about not having the time to properly reply to people who’ve made such wonderful comments to my last few posts, nor have I had the time to properly comment on their recent posts.
I’m not sure want the answer is, I could probably get by posting a few images without babbling on as I do, but by putting my thoughts into words, as haphazard as they have been lately, helps me to work out the things that I’ve been pondering. I could just add a few words about each photo, saying where and how I got it I suppose, but that may get to be boring after a while. I thought about taking my new Macbook with me so that I can work on these posts as I’m sitting somewhere, like the three hours I spent waiting for a load outside of Chicago on Tuesday. I’m not sure that I want to subject it to the bouncing around that it would take if I did take it in the truck with me though.
Anyway, one last image for this one…
…and then I’ll post this one.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!