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

It’s been a good summer

Good, but not great. It’s been one of our warmer summers, but after two cool summers, that was to be expected. For the first half of the summer, I was getting great weather for photography, the past few weekends haven’t been as good. I’ve been dodging rain, and even a few tornadoes last weekend. In fact, one of the tornadoes crossed a road that I took on my way home not long after I had made it home. While they were a big news item here, we seldom get the strong tornadoes that they do out on the plains of the United States, we get weak, short-lived ones that blow down a few trees and branches and then dissipate.

At least for the time being, it has cooled off to around average temperatures for around here this time of year, and the drought(s) are a thing of the past. We had two stretches where we received little or no rain, but they ended before the lack of rain had much effect on the vegetation or wildlife here.

I haven’t had much time to get outside, but I’m making a lot more money than I did at my old job, so I can afford better photo gear than I could ever have imagined just two years ago. The thing is, that I’m in no hurry to purchase many of those items at the current time. I’m having too much fun learning the 7D Mk II and the lenses that I currently have. Although, for the past month, the 60D body with the EF S 15-85 mm lens that I use for landscapes hasn’t been auto-focusing as well as it used to. It struggles to find the correct focus, at first it was just in low light, but lately it’s been goofing up even in good light. I’ve been able to get by, and I don’t know if the problem is with the lens or the camera body. It almost has to be the lens, as the same body works fine with the 100 mm macro lens on it. Maybe the 15-85 mm lens got wet one too many times. 😦

I thought about that this past weekend, I used to love walking in the rain, and I still do for that matter. However, I’m being very careful with my camera gear, so I haven’t been going out in the rain as I used to. I doubt if that will change, even though the 7D Mk II is supposed to be moisture proof, as are the 300 mm L Series lens and the 1.4 X tele-converter, I’m being careful to keep them as dry as possible. That’s funny, one of the reasons that I was willing to spend the big bucks on the 7D was the fact that it is weather sealed, but because I did spend the big bucks on it, I try to keep it out of the weather. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, it has been a good summer, I have tons of photos that I shot earlier in the year that may or may not end up here in my blog.

Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan

The problem that I have every year is that as the year progresses, I end up with more and better photos than the ones that I shot in the spring.

Pokeweed

Pokeweed

I’ll probably end up deleting many of the photos that I thought that I’d use here, but there are a few that are of species of birds that I don’t see that often.

Male orchard oriole

Male orchard oriole

Or, I see often, but seldom photograph because they are so common here.

Mourning dove

Mourning dove

Here’s another example of that, three young robins.

Three juvenile American robins

Three juvenile American robins

Two went off in search of food on their own, and seemed to be having a discussion as to whether something that they had found was safe to eat.

Juvenile American robins in conference

Juvenile American robins in conference

While the other decided that sticking close to mom was the best way to get food.

Juvenile American robin waiting for its mother to feed it

Juvenile American robin waiting for its mother to feed it

I haven’t been neglecting photographing the more common species of birds around here.

Female American goldfinch

Female American goldfinch

 

Female yellow warbler

Female yellow warbler

 

Female American goldfinch

Female American goldfinch

 

Eastern kingbird

Eastern kingbird

 

Male Rose-breasted grosbeak

Male Rose-breasted grosbeak

 

Male American goldfinch

Male American goldfinch

 

Grey catbird

Grey catbird

 

Female Rose-breasted grosbeak

Female Rose-breasted grosbeak

But, I find it harder to post those photos when I have fair photos of a northern harrier.

Northern harrier in flight

Northern harrier in flight

 

Northern harrier in flight

Northern harrier in flight

 

Northern harrier in flight

Northern harrier in flight

Or, a common raven posing for me in the sun.

Common raven

Common raven

Breaking news!

Canon has just introduced the 5D Mk IV which I have been waiting to learn about before purchasing a full frame camera body. After reading what little there is in the way for details about this new model, I’m not so sure that it’s the right camera for me. It does have the much improved metering system like the 7D Mk II, which I have come to love. It has improved auto-focusing over the older model, but it isn’t as good as what the 7D Mk II is in some respects, in others, it is better. What it does have is a 30 mega-pixel sensor,Β wi-fi, GPS, a touch screen, and much improved video capabilities. Oh, and a much larger price tag than the 5D Mk III had, in the neighborhood of 50% larger, and I’m not sure that I want to visit that neighborhood. πŸ˜‰

I don’t want to bore every one with my talk of the technical details of the things that will drive my decision, I’ve done enough of that already. However, I’m leaning towards purchasing the 5D Mk III and a device that will allow me to shoot time-lapse and long exposures when the occasion arrises. I’d love the higher resolution of the new model, it’s close toΒ the Nikon D810, but Canon still has a way to go to catch up with Nikon in that area.

I have to keep in mind why I’m purchasing a full frame camera and what I intend to use it for. In general, it’s for better performance in low-light situations, and for better results when printing very large prints. I suppose that being able to “go wider” is part of the mix. What I mean by that is that a crop sensor camera like the ones that I have now increase the focal length of the lens used on it. For example, the 24-105 mm lens that I’d like to have becomes a 36-168 mm lens on a crop sensor body like my 7D. That means carrying another lens to be able to get as wide of a view as 24 mm is on a full frame camera. That’s very important for landscapes, which I’d like to shoot more of. Otherwise, with what I see about the new 5D Mk IV, I’d be just as well off buying a second 7D Mk II, and my bank account would be much healthier if I did.

Before I forget, Canon also announced a new version of that 24-105 mm lens, with improved optics, and only a slightly higher price tag than the old version of that lens. When the time comes to go full frame, that’s the lens that I’ll purchase to go with it.

All of this is important to me as I decide my future, there’s no other way of putting it. It may be a sad comment on my life, such as it is, but I’ve been planning the rest of my life around photography. Not just the photography that you’ve been seeing here in my blog, because I also plan to travel once I have the time to do so. That means more landscape images, which means that the full frame camera becomes more important. As I get older, I turn 62 on Monday, the weight of the gear that I carry will also become more important.

With a 24-105 mm lens on a full frame camera body, and the 100-400 mm lens on my 7D, I’d be ready for 90% of the photos that I’d be taking. Throw in the 100 mm macro lens, and I’d be ready for 95% of the images I’d like to make. Add in a lens wider than the 24-105 mm lens, such as the 16-35 mm, and I’d have almost all the bases covered. That’s a lot less than what I carry now, which would be a big deal as I get older, especially if I do make it out west to photograph in mountainous areas, which I would dearly love to do!

My head is beginning to hurt from all the thoughts racing through my mind right now, trying to weigh the costs versus what I’d like to have, keeping in mind that the more that I spend on camera gear, the less money that I’ll have to travel. It would be easier if I could sit back and wait to decide, but retailers are already beginning to discount the price of the 5D Mk III to clear their stock of those camera bodies before the Mk IV begins to ship in September. Trying to see into the future is hard!

Okay, so I spent the day at work thinking through all of this, and some more time this morning. I keep flipping back and forth between waiting until I can afford the new model, or acting quickly and purchasing the older model at a discounted price.

If I act now, it throws a monkey wrench into all my plans for this fall, which includes purchasing the 100-400 mm zoom lens, which will become my workhorse lens when I do make the purchase. I don’t have any wide-angle lenses that would fit the full frame body, the shortest lens I have that would fit it is the 70-200 mm lens. Even at the discounted price, I couldn’t afford the camera and at least one lens for it. So, the full frame body would be useless to me when I go to shoot the fall colors over the next few months.

Also, I have to remember what I intend to use the full frame body for, landscapes…

After the sunrise

After the sunrise

…where higher resolution is important.

Macros…

Seal all?

Seal all?

…where higher resolution is important.

Bird portraits…

Eastern Phoebe bringing home the bacon

Eastern Phoebe bringing home the bacon

 

Cedar waxwing

Cedar waxwing

 

Merlin

Merlin

…where higher resolution is important.

And, I can’t forget other critters…

Eastern chipmunk

Eastern chipmunk

 

Fox squirrel

Fox squirrel

 

Whitetail deer

Whitetail deer

…where higher resolution is important.

I have the 7D for action photos…

Red-winged blackbird chasing a red-tailed hawk

Red-winged blackbird chasing a red-tailed hawk

 

Eastern meadowlark in flight

Eastern meadowlark in flight

 

Killdeer landing

Killdeer landing

 

Great blue heron in flight

Great blue heron in flight

…so, if my main reason for going full frame is higher resolution in lower light, then the new model of the 5D is my best choice at the current time, as it will have a 30MP sensor. My 7D has a 20MP sensor, the same as the older model of the 5D, but in a crop sensor, which means that the resolution of the 7D is actually higher than the older model 5D. If higher resolution is my goal, then it makes little sense to take a step backwards.

I realize that there’s more to resolution than just the number of mega pixels in the sensor of a camera, but it is a good indication of what one can expect from a camera.

However, I’m not going to make that purchase any time soon, I’d wait until the bugs have been worked out of the new model, and until it has been on the market long enough that Canon begins to offer rebates on it, as they always do after the initial hype over a new model has passed. That’s what I did when Canon introduced the 7D Mk II, and it worked out well for me. And, having a camera that will do everything that I want it to do without add-ons to learn how to use and carry around is another big plus for the new 5D.

Besides, who knows what will happen while I’m saving money for the new camera, things may change dramatically in the next year or two.

I may not like the price tag, but then, I should have picked a less expensive passion. πŸ˜‰

Okay then, with that settled, at least for the time being, it’s time to get back to the present rather than sweating over the future. Or should I say, get back to the past, because I’m going to use up a few more of the older images that I have saved.

Least sandpiper

Least sandpiper

 

A murder of crows

A murder of crows

I thought about converting that last one to black and white, but I kind of like the blue of a nozzles hanging from the irrigation pipe. I should have removed the tele-converter from behind the lens and gone wider with that photo.

These next two, I’m including just because.

Green heron in flight

Green heron in flight

 

Green heron in flight

Green heron in flight

Let’s see, what else do I have saved?

Male downy woodpecker

Male downy woodpecker

 

Eastern swallowtail butterfly

Eastern swallowtail butterfly

 

Male house finch

Male house finch

 

Day lily

Day lily

 

Clouded sulphur butterfly

Clouded sulphur butterfly

Once again I find that I should apologize for all of this post that I devoted to my angst over camera gear, but typing out my thoughts helps me to make decisions. Those decisions lead to the quality of the photos that I post here, so I suppose that you have to take the bad with the good. πŸ˜‰

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

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25 responses

  1. This collection of summer photos would make any photographer very proud. I am amazed that for having spent time at work so much you still had the energy and the willpower to go out and capture these images to share with us.

    By the way, I really like the photo of that Eastern Phoebe bringing home the bacon. πŸ™‚

    Have a great weekend!

    August 26, 2016 at 11:59 am

    • Thank you very much! I’m taking a lot more pride in my photos lately, because now they are worthy of it. Still, I see better images out there, I have to keep working on improving my skills. I don’t find it hard at all to go out after a week of work, photography and just being outdoors is my therapy.

      August 27, 2016 at 3:42 am

  2. selah

    many of the birds you have posted here are not local to me, so thank you for the chance to see them through your lens.

    August 26, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    • Thank you very much Selah! I hope to eventually photograph every species found in my home state, I’m sure that there will be some overlap with the species that you have in your neck of the woods.

      August 27, 2016 at 3:40 am

  3. It is such a pleasure to scroll through your posts, the photographs are of professional standard and so varied. I think the landscape somewhere in the middle of the post was my favourite today.

    August 26, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    • Thank you very much Susan! I do shoot quite a variety of subjects, maybe I’ll sneak off this weekend for a few more landscape photos.

      August 27, 2016 at 3:38 am

  4. I didn’t know that goldfinches ate wild lettuce seeds but apparently they do, and Canada thistle seeds too.
    I can’t tell for sure if that’s a heal all flower or not. It looks like that plant though.
    I like the shots of the critters but especially the chipmunk and the deer. Nice shots of the flying herons too!
    I’ll join you in old age in December, meanwhile happy birthday! I can’t help you decide what to get as a gift for yourself but it should be something nice.
    Great shots, one and all!

    August 26, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    • Thank you very much Allen! The goldfinches seem to like the seeds from all the taller plants, although I have seen them push the stem of a dandelion over and stand on it to hold it down while they eat the seeds. I think that they do prefer being up off from the ground.

      I haven’t been shooting enough photos of deer lately, I may have to go deer hunting on day this fall. πŸ˜‰

      I may treat myself to a good meal for a change for my birthday, but that’s about it.I find it hard to break out of my money saving mode once I have my mind set on something.

      August 27, 2016 at 9:07 am

  5. A wonderful series of photos with colourful birds, butterflies, cute mammals and a stunning landscape. It’s your birthday so many happy returns of the day and go and treat yourself to that camera! You deserve it!

    August 26, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    • Thank you very much Marianne! I won’t be treating myself to that camera soon, it isn’t even available yet. But, I may treat myself to a short trip somewhere other than where I normally go.

      August 27, 2016 at 3:37 am

  6. I enjoyed your story of keeping your waterproof gear dry just in case because it is too good to spoil. It sounds like a good idea to me whatever the manufacturer says. I am sure that you will make excellent use of whatever gear you eventually buy because you will certainly have given the purchase sufficient thought in advance.

    Your pictures are a treat to look at usual and I really look forward to the time when you get to grips with some good landscapes.

    August 26, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    • Thank you very much Tom! I’d be devastated if anything happened to my good camera, so even though it’s a tough cookie, I tend to baby it.

      I hope to shoot more landscapes soon, but I’m always hoping for that. Maybe once the leaves begin to change, I’ll be able to point a lens at something without feathers of fur. πŸ˜‰

      August 27, 2016 at 3:35 am

      • We are very happy with your non landscape pictures to be going on with.

        August 27, 2016 at 6:41 pm

  7. how can you even contemplate deleting some of those photographs? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ – Please dont – they are so very beautiful and no doubt a lot of work, time and heartache is attached to every (frame) shot. I, as one of your followers, can not even bring myself to press my delete button here on m email list – I keep your page here, so that I can just look at the pics whenever I want to. Thank you for giving me so much pleasure.

    August 27, 2016 at 1:07 am

    • Thank you very much for the kind words! I don’t delete the original photos, or the photos from my blog. What I do when I finish editing my photos for a day is to copy them in reduced quality for use in my blog so that it saves storage space on WordPress. Sometimes what I thought was a good photo when I shot it doesn’t stand the test of time and repeated viewings, so the copies get deleted, and I always have plenty of others to fill the blog posts.

      August 27, 2016 at 3:26 am

  8. You are getting very arty again, Jerry, and I like it. Your kildeer landing photo could be renamed Kildeer Dancing, and entered in any photo show. I also enjoyed the visual designs of the goldfinch on the zigzag wire fence, and the murder of crows. Yes, the photos are about the birds, but not ALL about them.

    One other that really got my attention was the redwinged blackbird going after the hawk. You were in the perfect spot to capture the huge size difference between the two. Loved that.

    I’m hoping all the rain were having keeps the leaves on the trees a bit longer. I’m not ready for the next stage of the year yet.

    Keep up the good work.

    August 27, 2016 at 9:06 am

    • Thank you very much Judy! Yes, I do let my artistic side loose once in a while, I should do it more often. I should have worked the crows on the irrigation pipe more, there was a much better image there than the one that I got. If only I had taken the time.

      Yes, I lucked out with the hawk and the blackbird, that’s a tougher shot to get than it looks. With both birds against a bright background, and the underside of the hawk white, and the blackbird black.

      I love the rain, but did it have to come on the weekend? 😦 If it wasn’t raining right now, I’d be out shooting more photos.

      August 27, 2016 at 9:14 am

  9. Great post of variety, Jerry! So many beautiful captures! πŸ™‚

    August 28, 2016 at 11:13 am

    • Thanks again Donna, it has been a good year.

      August 29, 2016 at 9:18 am

  10. Happy birthday for tomorrow Jerry! I have enjoyed scrolling through all these wonderful shots especially the beautiful birds you see on your walks. I am sure when the time comes, the decision about what to buy will become clear. I often worry myself stupid about a decision I have to make and then something happens that virtually makes up my mind for me on the spot.

    August 28, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    • Thank you very much Clare! I have decided to hold off any purchases for the time being, and wait to see how everything plays out. I don’t really need another camera since I already have a great one.

      August 28, 2016 at 6:34 pm

  11. Happy Birthday, Jerry! I hope Monday brings all kinds of good things your way.

    Enjoyed all the birds and critters. My favorites are the cedar waxwing and the chipmunk, but it is really hard to pick a favorite among so many interesting shots. The crows on the pipe almost look as if they are on an amusement park ride, and enjoying it. That is a great photo too.

    August 28, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    • Thank you very much Lavinia! I’m working on Monday, and the only good thing that comes from that is a paycheck. πŸ˜‰

      The crows on the pipe was something that I shot almost as a joke, looking at the image later, I realized that it had a lot of potential, I should have tried harder.

      August 28, 2016 at 6:29 pm

  12. Jerry, for Monday – happy birthday and all the best for you. May you have a wonderful day. Carina

    August 28, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    • Thank you very much Carina! I got my birthday present a day early, as you will see in my next post.

      August 28, 2016 at 6:26 pm