My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

All I’m really lacking is time

While I wish that I wasn’t working as many hours as I am right now, the good side of that is larger paychecks. Even though I’m only getting out on the weekends, I’m shooting more photos than I can post weekly any way. There’s just so much to photograph at this time of year, it’s hard to miss getting a few good shots every day on the days when I can get out.

Day lily

Day lily

I promised Tom (Mr. Tootlepedal) a photo, so I won’t keep him in suspense any longer, here it is.

English sparrow

English sparrow

Since English sparrows are an introduced, invasive species here in the United States, and are displacing our native sparrows, I seldom photograph them. However, when one of them poses as close as that one did, even I can’t resist pressing the shutter release.

With the run that I have now at work, I start at 10 A.M., I thought that it would be okay for the weekends, I’d just get up earlier than I do during the week. However, I usually get home so late on Friday nights that getting out at first light on Saturday isn’t easy. That, and I found that when I tried getting up early, I wasn’t as steady as I am when I’ve had a good night of sleep. When I’m trying to shoot photos like these…

Honeybee on spotted knapweed

Honeybee on spotted knapweed

…I find that I need to have had enough rest the night before.

Honeybee on spotted knapweed

Honeybee on spotted knapweed

On Sunday, I finally dragged myself out of bed before sunrise, but not enough before sunrise to make it somewhere in the Muskegon area to shoot landscapes there. So, I stopped on my way to shoot this photo.

Barn at surise

Barn at sunrise

I had been checking out that scene on my way home from Muskegon each week, I thought that it would make a fair landscape photo when the light was right. I know, I have the horizon almost centered in the shot, I tried other compositions…

Barn at surise 2

Barn at sunrise 2

…but, I didn’t like them as well. Not too bad for being out of practice. I did a little better later on, after a few rain showers had moved through the area.

Duck Lake State Park after the rain

Duck Lake State Park after the rain

There had been sunny skies early in the day, I was hoping to capture the approach of the predicted storms, but it didn’t work out for that because the clouds rolled in long before the weak storms came along.

IMG_6626_7_8

Duck Lake State Park after the storm 2

Instead, I caught the storms moving out of the area, with the sun just beginning to hit the Duck Lake area while I was there.

It was a strange day, the storms were duds, but almost as soon as the rain ended, the sun came out, as you can see, and the wind began to pick-up, a lot!

I had been birding before the storms, but as fierce as the wind became in a very short time, I gave up on any idea of shooting birds any more that day.

Duck Lake State Park is about half way between Muskegon and White Lake, so I decided to head to White Lake, since I hadn’t been there in a while. I stopped on my way to the breakwater to shoot a photo of the lighthouse there.

The lighthouse on the White Lake channel

The lighthouse on the White Lake channel

One look at the breakwater told me that I wasn’t going out on it this day.

Waves breaking over the breakwater at White Lake

Waves breaking over the breakwater at White Lake

Even though the wind had just come up, Lake Michigan was getting roiled up already…

Lake Michigan on a windy day

Lake Michigan on a windy day

…the wind was from the south, blowing the waves in a northerly direction, until they hit the breakwater, where would “bounce” off from it, and crash into other waves coming from the south…

IMG_6685

Lake Michigan on a windy day 2

 

…with the wind blowing the spray across the breakwater as if it was snow drifting in the wind.

Spray drifting across the breakwater

Spray drifting across the breakwater

It was hard to stay dry. 😉

The wave that almost got me

The wave that almost got me

 

More wave action

More wave action

So, I went back and shot a better photo of the lighthouse…

The White Lake lighthouse

The White Lake lighthouse

…and the flowers planted in the yard around the lighthouse.

The grounds at the White Lake lighthouse

The grounds at the White Lake lighthouse

I knew that none of the images that I had shot so far truly conveyed how large the waves were, so I headed back to Muskegon to see if I could do any better there…

Lake Michigan wave action at Muskegon

Lake Michigan wave action at Muskegon

…not really.

Lake Michigan wave action at Muskegon

Lake Michigan wave action at Muskegon 2

So, my next stop was Grand Haven, I’ve seen photos of waves going right over the top of the lighthouse there, but not on this day.

The lighthouse at Grand Haven, Michigan

The lighthouse at Grand Haven, Michigan

 

The lighthouse at Grand Haven, Michigan 2

The lighthouse at Grand Haven, Michigan 2

Between the wind and the waves crashing over the breakwaters, it was hard to hear anything else, but this thing made enough noise that I could hear it.

US Coast Guard helicopter

US Coast Guard helicopter

I’ve been told by aviation aficionados that you should never use a high enough shutter speed to completely freeze the motion of any aircraft’s propellers, so when the helicopter came past me again, I slowed down the shutter a little…

US Coast Guard helicopter 2

US Coast Guard helicopter 2

…but, probably not enough. As low as they were flying…

US Coast Guard helicopter 3

US Coast Guard helicopter 3

…I assumed that some idiot had been washed off from the breakwater.

People do get washed off from the breakwaters along Lake Michigan on a regular basis, because some people make a game of trying to get out to the end on days like this one. Here’s a series of photos showing the game in action. When they see a wave coming…

So they run to the next support for the catwalk

They run to the next support for the catwalk

and hold on for dear life

and hold on for dear life

as the wave crashes over them

as the wave crashes over them

The wave game

The wave game

The wave game 2

The wave game 2

The wave game 2

The wave game 3

I know that you had to look closely to see it, but the wave went over the head of the guy next to the light. You wouldn’t catch me out there, I’m not afraid of water, but I have a healthy respect for moving water, it’s a lot more powerful than most people realize.

Anyway, I did get in some birding earlier in the day, so I’ll post a few of the photos from then, starting with a lesser yellowlegs.

Lesser yellowlegs

Lesser yellowlegs

 

American black duck

American black duck

 

American black duck in flight

American black duck in flight

 

Mute swan

Mute swan

The sandhill cranes weren’t in the marsh when I arrived, so later in the day they came looking for me, first one…

Sandhill crane in flight

Sandhill crane in flight

 

Sandhill crane in flight

Sandhill crane in flight

…then, in small flocks of three…

Sandhill cranes in flight

Sandhill cranes in flight

…or four.

Sandhill cranes in flight

Sandhill cranes in flight

Darn, I’ve about reached my limit for photos, and still have a few to go. I suppose that I’ll add them to the pile to be posted later, except for this one, a slightly better photo of a bobolink.

Bobolink

Bobolink

I’d rather not sit and whine about how little time that I have for photography presently, but it limiting what and where I shoot. As I said, the upside is a little more money each week, I’m not sure that it’s worth the trade-off, but it is what it is for the time being. Because of that, my next few posts may be shorter, at least as far as what I type, but with the same number of photos.

Speaking of that, I know that most of the photos in this post aren’t that great, but they are a record of my day, and the weather. There are times when that has to be enough. I rushed this post, I didn’t spend as much time editing the images that I included, so that plays a part as well.

I love what Lightroom can do for my images, but there are times after a day of shooting that I’d rather wait to do the serious editing, but I have little time for that now either. The good news is that while editing my images, I’m learning how to shoot them so they don’t need as much editing, but I always seem to miss something as I’m shooting.

Well, it’s time for me to get something to eat and then head off to work, so this will have to do.

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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21 responses

  1. Excellent post!

    July 18, 2016 at 9:44 am

    • Thank you!

      July 18, 2016 at 9:25 pm

  2. Nothing but excellent pictures, I enjoyed the wind whipping up,the water on the lake especially.

    July 18, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    • Thank you very much Susan! One of these days I’m going to catch the lake really rocking and rolling, but that requires several days of high winds, not just several hours.

      July 18, 2016 at 9:27 pm

  3. Beautiful sunrise photos. I love the flying cranes photos. Also, helicopter, how interesting.

    July 18, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    • Thank you very much! Being a bit of an aviation buff, I couldn’t let the helicopter fly past me that low and not shoot a few photos. 😉

      July 18, 2016 at 9:29 pm

  4. Thank you for the sparrow picture. It was very good. You had a good selection of land and seascapes today but my favourite was Duck Lake State Park after the rain. I liked the composition a lot. I wouldn’t be hanging about in those waves either.

    July 18, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    • Thank you very much Tom! I thought that you may want to know what a sparrow looked like without a siskin standing on it’s back. 😉

      Ten people were swept off from various breakwaters yesterday, with two of them still missing and presumed drown. The waves were only 5 to 7 feet, if there’s several days of high winds, they can top 20 feet easily.

      July 18, 2016 at 9:48 pm

      • It is amazing what risks people will take in the name of excitement. Sometimes I am really pleased to be boringly timid.

        July 19, 2016 at 6:15 pm

  5. The rule of thirds is actually meant to be broken in certain situations and your first instinct was great. I can’t imagine lining it up any other way. The green splotch leads you right into the scene. I think it’s perfect.

    I have to say that I don’t mind your posts getting shorter because I’m having the same problem of having far too little time. The trip to the other house takes close to two hours- one way. And then there’s no internet down there, barely a cell phone signal for that matter. It makes for a nice refreshing break actually.

    July 19, 2016 at 12:11 am

    • Thank you very much Gunta! I know that you don’t always have to follow the rule of thirds, and I did try other ways of composing the image. In fact, as I drove past that scene countless times, I thought that I’d be shooting it with a longer lens and with the camera in the portrait orientation to use the green vegetation as leading lines. But, with the soft colors in the sky at dawn, all that changed, the sky then became equally important as the rest of the scene.

      I wouldn’t want a 4 hour round trip between homes, but getting away from technology for a while sounds good.

      July 19, 2016 at 8:03 am

      • The two hour drive (closer to 1.5 hour off season) isn’t so bad because: 1/ It’s gorgeous driving right on the edge of the coast, 2/we rarely do the round trip in a day -generally spending several days down south working on the house before doing the return trip.
        As for the barn shot, I was merely saying I liked that first one very much.

        July 19, 2016 at 1:49 pm

  6. Another brilliant post with so many interesting photos and insights into life around Lake Michigan! What wallies playing the wave game! Wonderful wave photos, can just imagine the sound they make crashing over the lighthouse. Love the flying sandhill cranes, the honey bee, the English/Welsh sparrow but my favourite today is the barn at sunset- beautiful.

    July 19, 2016 at 9:37 am

  7. Beautiful post, Jerry! Quite a variety of photos. I especially love the sunrise colors of dawn and the waves.

    So sad to hear people challenge the waves by going out on the breakwaters when it is dangerous.

    July 19, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    • Thanks again Lavinia! What’s even worse about people risking their lives on the breakwaters is that it costs $12,000 per hour to operate the helicopter I photographed, which we the taxpayers pick up the tab for. If people want to risk their lives, they should have to pay to walk out on the breakwater on days like that, with the admission price set aside to pay for rescue operations.

      July 19, 2016 at 9:30 pm

  8. I love the shot of the barn at dawn – it drew me in and I wanted to get into the photo and walk up to the barn. I was amazed by the size of the waves on the lake and thought your photos showed how powerful they were. Such a great shot of the Sparrow – they are in a bit of trouble here in Britain and have virtually disappeared from most towns and cities.

    July 19, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    • Thank you very much Clare! I hope to get some better photos of the waves, we usually get one or two storms in the fall or early winter when the waves build to over 20 feet. The sparrows are doing well enough here, they used to be strictly city birds in the States, but they are beginning to move to the country because there are so many of them now.

      July 19, 2016 at 9:33 pm

  9. I like the landscapes and seascapes too, especially the sky in the barn shots.
    I’m glad that wave only almost got you. It would be a shame to drench that camera with salt water.
    I can’t believe how foolish we humans can be sometimes, thinking they can stand up to the power of that much water. And for what?
    That black duck has me all confused. I would have bet my paycheck that it was a female mallard. Now I wonder how many times I’ve seen a black duck and haven’t known it.
    But at least now I know how big a bobolink is, thanks to the milkweed. They’re much smaller than I’ve always imagined they were.
    Great shots of the cranes!

    July 19, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    • Thank you very much Allen! The wave came close, but I knew that where I was standing was safe. It’s freshwater, not that I’d want my camera and lens drenched in it either.

      Every time the waves build up like that on Lake Michigan, people end up getting washed away, and most drown. That still doesn’t stop the idiots though.

      About the black duck, on further inspection, I believe it to be an American Black Duck/Mallard hybrid. The size, slightly darker color, and pale yellow bill say American black duck. The white stripes on the edge of the blue on its wings say mallard. I read an article a while back that talked about how mallards are mating with so many other species of ducks that scientists are worried that we’ll end up with one species of duck eventually as they continue to hybridize.

      Yes, the small size of the bobolinks surprised me as well, they are odd looking birds, I hope that I can get a close up some day.

      July 19, 2016 at 9:42 pm

  10. Hi Jerry,
    I really love the barn shots. The hues and the composition make them very appealing. It is also interesting to see more of the buildings in your part of the world. They look very pretty. You’ve done well with the water shots. Those waves look rather intimidating! Thank you for sharing another lovely and diverse gallery. 🙂

    July 28, 2016 at 7:07 am

    • Thank you very much Jane! There are quite a few pretty barns in this area, I should shoot more of them, but I wouldn’t have room to post the images if I did. 😉

      The weather that day was strange, there was no wind with the storms that passed through, the wind came later, after the sun had come out from behind the clouds. Lake Michigan seldom gets ocean sized waves on it, but I hope to catch it one of these days when it does.

      July 28, 2016 at 8:19 am