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

Not to brag too much

I was hoping to have finished another post by now to use up a few of the many photos that I still have saved and would like to put into posts here. That may not happen though, because of the hours that I worked the last week. It doesn’t help when I’m also shooting some of the best photos that I’ve ever shot.

Dragonfly, the cropped version

Dragonfly, the cropped version

For the record, here’s the uncropped version.

Dragonfly, the uncropped version

Dragonfly, the uncropped version

Since I had a willing model, I also tried a few different angles, here’s one of them.

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

I had a pretty good time today, although I saw mostly the same species of birds that I have been seeing lately, the one exception was this Baird’s sandpiper.

Baird's sandpiper

Baird’s sandpiper

I’ve had the Canon 7D Mk II for just over a year now, and I probably made some mistakes when I first started using it. I used settings similar to what I had been using with the 60D bodies, and I came up with those settings while using the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens) and the Canon L series lenses which never seemed to auto-focus very well on the 60D. I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting around home on Saturdays, when it’s doubtful that I’ll see anything special to shoot.

I may not have posted many photos of them lately, but I’ve posted tons of photos of cardinals over the years, so when one perched out in the open to feed on sumac, it was time for some testing.

Female northern cardinal

Female northern cardinal

I liked that look, but I really wanted her to show me her crest, which she did eventually, even though it wasn’t much of a crest.

Female northern cardinal

Female northern cardinal

She was also a sloppy eater.

Female northern cardinal

Female northern cardinal

I learned that when using the 300 mm L series lens, even with the 1.4 X tele-converter behind it, I can open the aperture up all the way and still get sharp photos with the 7D.

Anyway, I don’t want to ramble on about the technical side of these photos, but like I’ve been saying, I’m shooting some of the best photos ever lately.

Solitary sandpiper

Solitary sandpiper

I was trying to see what the sandpiper was eating, but I wasn’t able to catch whatever it found to eat.

Solitary sandpiper

Solitary sandpiper

I’m doing quite well on flowers also, if I do say so myself.

St. John's wort

St. John’s wort

 

Iron weed

Iron weed

 

Purple loosestrife

Purple loosestrife

 

Buttonbush

Buttonbush

And, when I hang around the flowers, I’ve been catching a few bees quite well too.

Honeybee on purple loosestrife

Honeybee on purple loosestrife

 

Honeybee on buttonbush

Honeybee on buttonbush

 

Bumblebee on horse nettle

Bumblebee on horse nettle

 

Bumblebee in flight

Bumblebee in flight

I only wish that all my images were that good, however, I still shoot some photos for the record so to speak, like these two juvenile bald eagles sharing a fence.

Juvenile bald eagle number 1

Juvenile bald eagle number 1

It isn’t every day that one sees two eagles that close together. I thought of going to a shorter lens to get them both in the frame, but then the eagles wouldn’t have been recognizable.

Juvenile bald eagle number 2

Juvenile bald eagle number 2

Then, there are those species of birds that refuse to play nice, and do their best to avoid the camera.

Female belted kingfisher

Female belted kingfisher

As it was, I considered myself lucky that she stuck around long enough for me to switch from the 1.4 X extender to the 2 X for that image. I knew that she wouldn’t hang around much longer, so I was switching back hoping to catch her in flight when I heard the splash that she made as she dove for a fish. She missed the fish from what I could tell, but she also moved to a different part of the lake to watch for her next chance to catch her lunch.

Give me a critter that will sit still for a few seconds, and I can usually get a pretty good image of it these days.

Cottontail rabbit

Cottontail rabbit

Even my “for the record” photos of animals doing things most people never see are getting better, as this series of a chipmunk up in a tree eating berries show.

Eastern chipmunk

Eastern chipmunk

I had a good deal of fun with this gal…

Eastern chipmunk

Eastern chipmunk

….following her through the leaves…

Eastern chipmunk

Eastern chipmunk

…as she tried to stay hidden…

Eastern chipmunk

Eastern chipmunk

…yet, wolf down a few berries when she found them…

Eastern chipmunk

Eastern chipmunk

…and, you can tell that chipmunks are closely related to squirrels from this series.

Eastern chipmunk

Eastern chipmunk

I can’t wait until these guys…

Juvenile wood duck

Juvenile wood duck

…grow up and get their adult feathers…

Juvenile wood duck

Juvenile wood duck

…although I know that I’ll never catch them out in the open like that once they do reach maturity.

The same things apply to this species as well.

Great blue heron in flight

Great blue heron in flight

It must have been a good year for great blue herons this year, because after a couple of years of seeing very few of them…

Great blue heron in flight

Great blue heron in flight

 

Great blue heron in flight

Great blue heron in flight

 

Great blue heron in flight

Great blue heron in flight

…this year, they’re everywhere.

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

 

Great blue heron in flight

Great blue heron in flight

 

Great blue heron in flight

Great blue heron in flight

Hmmm, I’ve just gotten started on this post and I’ve almost hit my limit for photos already, so here’s a couple of more from today.

Grasshopper

Grasshopper

 

Damselfly

Damselfly

 

Damselfly

Damselfly

You know, it just dawned on me. The 60D bodies did not work well with the two L series lenses that I use for birding, yet the Canon 100 mm macro L series lens works like a champ on the 60D body.

Eastern swallowtail butterfly

Eastern swallowtail butterfly

I’m not going to try to figure out why that is, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the results, I hope that you do too.

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

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27 responses

  1. Love the first shot of the Buttonbush. It looks a bit surreal.

    August 7, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    • Thank you very much Gunta! It’s funny, there were hundreds of those flowers all around me, but that one stood out from all the rest. But, I find that more and more with flowers.

      August 7, 2016 at 10:40 pm

  2. Birds, beasts, insects and flowers all beautifully photographed, you should turn professional.

    August 8, 2016 at 3:06 am

    • Thank you very much Susan! A few of my photos are approaching the professional level, but I still have a long way to go yet. Besides, no one would want to purchase photos of the subjects that I shoot the most of, except for possibly eagles and herons.

      August 8, 2016 at 7:32 am

      • What about those cute chipmunks?

        August 8, 2016 at 7:58 am

      • Well, chipmunks are a dime a dozen here, many people, especially gardeners consider them to be pests. No one would want a photo of one, except as the target for a dart board or at the shooting range.

        August 8, 2016 at 8:11 am

  3. Great way to start the week with another wonderful range of your photos to look at and enjoy. Splendid photos of the dragonflies looking like some creatures from Star Wars! Love the flowers and the bees with all the tiny hairs on their backs, the cheeky chipmunk, the lonesome rabbit but my favourite is the flying grasshopper- such detail- nature is amazing- just like your photos.

    August 8, 2016 at 5:19 am

    • Thank you very much Marianne! ( I hope that I have your name correct) I hate to disappoint you, but the grasshopper wasn’t flying, it landed on the windshield of my car and I shot it from inside of the car. I do like that angle though. 😉

      August 8, 2016 at 7:35 am

  4. A great post with great photos.

    August 8, 2016 at 6:26 am

    • Thank you very much Victor!

      August 8, 2016 at 7:35 am

  5. Your shots are so beautiful and clear I almost expect the birds/insects etc to start moving as I look at them! The series of heron photos are marvellous!

    August 8, 2016 at 8:33 am

    • Thank you very much Clare! Even I have to admit that a few of these images are very good, but I think that there’s still room for improvement, especially the herons in flight. My camera is the correct one for those photos, but the lens set-up I’m using isn’t the best for action photos.

      August 8, 2016 at 8:40 am

  6. The dragonfly eyes are fantastic. You can even see all the separate lenses! St. John’S Worth is beautiful too. I would purchase those as posters for my biology classroom if you need some encouragement to go pro : )

    August 8, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    • Thank you very much Maria! Being able to see the individual lenses that make up the dragonfly’s eyes was what I was going for. I’ve come close before, but I’ve never shot one that good before.

      Also, thanks for offering to purchase those images, but I don’t need encouragement, I need more time. Professional photography is hard work, and I don’t know if I’m up to it at my age.

      August 8, 2016 at 10:53 pm

  7. Fantastic pics! I love dragonflies. Such beautiful creatures. But all your pics are amazing! Cheers!

    August 8, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    • Thank you very much Nataly! It always helps when I find subjects willing to sit and pose nicely for me.

      August 8, 2016 at 10:50 pm

      • Oh yes, I know that feeling!

        August 9, 2016 at 4:09 am

  8. Don’t be to sure what photos will and won’t sell, Jerry. I was just reading the NH Wildlife Journal while I was waiting for my truck to be fixed and the main, 4 page story was about the red squirrel. The photos were good of course but I’ve seen just as good here. If you get serious about selling there’s a book called Photographer’s Marketplace that you should get. It comes out once a year.
    Those are great macros of the dragonfly! The downside of using my camera for shots like that is the camera would have to be right in its face, and then it would fly away. Nothing like a zoom lens!
    Nice flower shots too, and you named them all correctly. I’m glad you’re seeing plenty of bees too. I was just shooting some yesterday.
    I agree about the herons. I’m seeing them everywhere too.
    It was great of that grasshopper to land on your windshield! Opportunities like that don’t happen often.

    August 8, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    • Thank you very much Allen! I wouldn’t mind selling a photo or two once in a while for extra money, but I’m not sure that I’d want to turn pro. That’s hard work, and you have to get the subject that who ever is paying you wants. It’s not like I could wander around shooting what moves me as I do now. Besides, I’m learning that most professional photographers don’t make their money selling photos, but by selling camera gear, holding expensive workshops, and getting people to sign up for expensive tours of places like the Galapagos, Iceland, and the Antarctic.

      I used the 100 mm macro lens for the dragonfly, so I was just inches from its face. I’ve found that if I start back away from them, and move towards them slowly, shooting all the time so that they’re used to the sounds involved, that once in a while, one will sit for a photo like that. I also move like a snake charmer does as I move towards them, I don’t know if it helps or not, but as long as it doesn’t cause them to fly away, then I’ll continue to do it. 😉

      Between your blog and the keyword database in Lightroom, I am getting a little better at IDing some flowers. I’ve still got a few that I have no idea what they are, maybe I’ll put them in my next post. I have a couple of other insects that I shot through the windshield as well, maybe I’ll use them up also.

      August 8, 2016 at 11:22 pm

  9. Have you considered splitting your wonderful posts by subject matter? For example you could alternate them like this: birds (and maybe mammals) as one post, then flowers (and perhaps insects) as another post. You can then apply them to the appropriate WP categories, such as birds or flowers, etc. There is a popular blogger who alternates nature-related topics with political-events-related topics. I always read the nature posts, but not the world-events ones. Anyway, keep up the great photos! Best, Babsje

    August 8, 2016 at 6:43 pm

  10. What a treat to come back to find a post like this waiting to be enjoyed.

    August 8, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    • Thank you very much Tom! I hope that you enjoyed your time away, I’ll get to your post shortly.

      August 8, 2016 at 10:41 pm

  11. These are amazing shots indeed. You set a new, higher standard for us mere mortals!

    August 8, 2016 at 7:24 pm

  12. Oh, great…..I’ll be seeing that dragonfly face in my nightmares now. What a dramatic way to start off your post. I found myself spending the most time peering at the insect photos – their bodies and wings are amazingly complex. They sure do make great subjects for your lens. And that airborne grasshopper? Great.

    My other favorite photo was the female belted kingfisher. I’ve only seen one or two in real life, and never very close up, so it really surprised me how long her bill is. Guess it has to be to actually fish with it. That was the first thing that struck me.

    Keep it up. Always a pleasure to read your newest chapter.

    Stay cool – going to be some bad days coming up.

    August 10, 2016 at 7:37 am

    • Thank you very much Judy! Sorry about the dragonfly nightmares, but insects fascinate me also. As I was shooting the dragonfly, I couldn’t get over the beautiful colors reflected from its eyes, but being able to study the photo later, there’s far more to see than the colors. That’s what drives me to improve all my photos, from being able to identify what critters are eating to learn more about them, to the macro photos of insects for the same reason, learning. That interferes with my artistic desires at times, but in the end, there’s room for both.

      Kingfishers are difficult to get a good look at because they are so wary, I was very lucky that she chose to perch near enough to me for that photo. If she had waited just a bit longer before she tried for a fish, I may have been able to capture that also, but I was busy setting up for that possibility.

      After the two cool summers we had, this one is proving hard to deal with, at least it is forecast to cool down for the weekend.

      August 10, 2016 at 7:55 am

  13. Wonderful series, Jerry! I enjoy seeing the expressiveness of the animals and birds. And the flowers are outstanding. Good job!

    Is that female cardinal in the process of molting?

    August 11, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    • Thank you again Lavinia! I’m happy that you said what you did, that’s what I’m going for, showing the expressions on the face of the subjects. The cardinal was just beginning to molt, it’s that time of year here. It won’t be long and I’ll be seeing the bald headed cardinals until they grow their new feathers.

      August 11, 2016 at 10:24 pm