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

And the rains came, and went, I got a lifer

It’s a Saturday morning, and I should be out shooting photos, but there’s a constant moderate rain falling at the present time. There’s even a few flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder from time to time. Since I worked until just after midnight last night, I missed what little morning light that there was any way. It looks as if the rain will be an all day event, or close to it, so I may as well resign myself to that fact, and do a little housecleaning of sorts. Maybe I’ll be able to use up more of the photos that I have saved from earlier this summer without going into one of my long-winded discussions of photo gear. 😉

That may be too hard for me to do though, since I’m going to start the photos with this one.

Spotted sandpiper

Spotted sandpiper

One of the things that I’m trying to do is shoot more artistic photos when the conditions are right for that. The sandpiper was between myself and the sun just coming up over the horizon, so I had good backlighting for that photo. It’s a tough shot to pull off, but when a bird perches long enough to get the exposure dialed in, it can yield a good photo. Now, if I could control the wind blowing vegetation around in the frame, I may come up with a great image. Still, I like that one.

They don’t call the hour after sunrise the golden hour for nothing.

Least sandpiper in front of a semi-palmated sandpiper

Least sandpiper in front of a semi-palmated sandpiper

The hour before actual sunrise is great for some landscapes, but not so good when photographing nocturnal animals headed home to sleep.

Raccoon at sunrise

Raccoon at sunrise

I lucked out, the raccoon paused for a while when it heard the shutter of my camera going.

Raccoon at sunrise

Raccoon at sunrise

I got the raccoon and the vegetation exposed fairly well, but then the color of the sunrise was blown out. If only critters would hold perfectly still so that I could shoot HDR images…

The storm passes

The storm passes

…but the critters are almost always on the move.

Raccoon at sunrise

Raccoon at sunrise

While I’m wishing, I could wish that the critters were always in good light as well, or that they would turn around to face me.

Gadwall duck

Gadwall duck

But, that’s like wishing that they’d all strike the same pose at the same time.

White-rumped sandpipers

White-rumped sandpipers

There’s always one that has to be different.

White-rumped sandpipers

White-rumped sandpipers

Even when there’s another bird in the frame.

Blue-winged teal in front of White-rumped sandpipers

Blue-winged teal behind White-rumped sandpipers

I know that I said that I didn’t want to get into a discussion about photo gear, but the reason that I saved these next two photos is that they represent some of my first attempts using the 2 X Tele-converter in very low light.

Male American goldfinch

Male American goldfinch

The image quality isn’t great, but I was surprised at how well these did turn out to be.

Male American goldfinch

Male American goldfinch

It never hurts to push your gear to the very limits to see what it can do. I now know that in a pinch, and with me helping out the auto-focus, I can get usable photos in very low light when using the 2 X extender.

Here’s a couple of images from my uncooperative subject files. This pewee was singing constantly when it was perched in partial shade.

Eastern wood pewee

Eastern wood pewee

But when it moved out into full sunshine, it wouldn’t so much as let out a chirp.

Eastern wood pewee

Eastern wood pewee

At least he struck a nice pose for me.

Changing gears, I have plenty of flower photos left over.

English plantain

English plantain

 

Unidentified flowering object

Unidentified flowering object

 

Fleabane

Fleabane

I could probably fill an entire post with flowers.

I give up

I give up

 

Too many flowers look the same to me

Too many flowers look the same to me

 

Black-eyed Susan and sweet pea

Black-eyed Susan and sweet pea

Back to the birds. One day this spring, I found this great crested flycatcher…

Great crested flycatcher (I don't name them, only photograph them)

Great crested flycatcher (I don’t name them, only photograph them)

…and this house finch…

Male house finch

Male house finch

…standing in the parking lot of the headquarters for the Muskegon State Game Area.  I was changing settings to try to get them both in focus at the same time when the flycatcher decided to take off, so I had to shoot quickly.

Great crested flycatcher and Male house finch

Great crested flycatcher and Male house finch

Too quickly.

What the heck, I may as well empty out the folder that those photos came from.

Savanah sparrow

Savannah sparrow

 

Cliff swallow

Cliff swallow

 

Barn swallow

Barn swallow

 

Assorted shorebirds

Assorted shorebirds

 

Bonaparte's gull

Bonaparte’s gull

 

Bonaparte's gull

Bonaparte’s gull

 

Unidentified fluttering object

Unidentified fluttering object

 

Damselfly with a snack

Damselfly with a snack

 

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

Let’s see here, what else do I have saved?

I usually try to shoot a landscape or two every time that I’m out, but few of them make it into posts that I do, because they’re not that good. But, it helps to stay in practice in case the opportunity to shoot a good one comes along.

Just another bad landscape for practice

Just another bad landscape for practice

Sometimes, those photos include birds.

Turkeys and wildflowers

Turkeys and wildflowers

But, I’m not very good at those shots either.

I do pretty good with turtles though.

Eastern box turtle

Eastern box turtle

Before I forget, I promised to post this photo soon, so now’s as good of time as any.

Unidentified plant, for Allen

Unidentified plant, for Allen

Well, the rain moved through the area sooner than what I expected from the forecast, and from the radar images that I had checked. I did make it outside for a walk on Saturday, and while I saw plenty of birds, I wasn’t able to bring home a single image of any of them. I did shoot a few photos of various fungi that I saw, but they will appear in a later post, since I’m almost out of room in this post for too many more photos.

Instead, I’ll finish this post with these three images.

Unidentified fluttering object

Unidentified fluttering object

I stood there watching the butterfly through the viewfinder, mesmerized by the way that the light played off its hairy wings.

Unidentified fluttering object

Unidentified fluttering object

I never did get exactly the shot that I wanted, which is why I’m including three of the many photos that I shot as I watched the butterfly sipping nectar from the goldenrod flowers.

Unidentified fluttering object

Unidentified fluttering object

Breaking news!

I got my birthday present a day early this year. No, it has nothing to do with photo gear, other than I used a camera and lens to check another species of bird off from my list of birds for the My Photo Life List that I’m working on. This time, I did it in style, there’s no questioning if this is really a buff-breasted sandpiper or not.

Buff-breasted sandpiper

Buff-breasted sandpiper

That’s number 227, only 124 more to go.

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

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22 responses

  1. Your photos posted here are so varied and so amazingly beautiful! I enjoyed every one of them. What else could you do with longer lenses and more advanced cameras? 🙂

    August 28, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    • Thank you very much! I’m not sure that the 5D Mk IV is that much more advanced than my 7D Mk II, other than low light ad video. A longer lens would be nice, but I’m working on getting closer to my subjects until that day.

      August 29, 2016 at 12:05 am

  2. Your photos are such a wonderful slice of life, they are such fun.

    August 28, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    • Thank you very much Charlie!

      August 29, 2016 at 12:02 am

  3. I appreciate the amount of time you put into posting these excellent shots — it’s just that I forget to say so. lol

    August 28, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    • Thank you very much!

      August 28, 2016 at 11:05 pm

  4. My today’s favourite is the photo of “,,English plantain” superb close-up.

    August 29, 2016 at 1:35 am

    • Thank you very much Carina!

      August 29, 2016 at 9:01 am

  5. Excellent, varied photographs, I liked the barn swallow best. You must be pleased to have got another ‘lifer’.

    August 29, 2016 at 4:39 am

    • Thank you very much Susan! Not only a lifer, but excellent photos of it, so I’m very happy. 🙂

      August 29, 2016 at 9:01 am

  6. Great start to Bank Holiday Monday to see all the wonderful photos in your post. Great to read that you have ticked another bird off your list-it’s rather a sweet looking bird too. There are many photos that I love today but the special ones are the spotted sandpiper, the raccoon, the turtle, the plantain, but my favourite is the Savannah sparrow. I also like the water in the Gadwall duck photo. In fact reading his through you can tell I think all your photos are fantastic!

    August 29, 2016 at 5:21 am

    • Thank you very much Marianne! I love the great outdoors and almost everything I find there, and I hope that it shows in my photos.

      August 29, 2016 at 9:04 am

  7. Happy Birthday, and congratulations on getting another lifer. Your buff-breasted sandpiper shot was terrific.

    August 29, 2016 at 8:46 am

    • Thank’s again Judy! I’d love it if I could get that good of a photo of every species.

      August 29, 2016 at 9:16 am

  8. I think that unidentified arrowhead like plant might be a halberd-leaved tearthumb (Polygonum arifolium.) The leaf veins aren’t right for a true arrowhead. I’m not sure why they’re turning such strange colors though, unless they feel fall coming on. I kind of like it.
    The flowers you gave up on are self heal aka heal all (Prunella vulgaris.) Unusual color variations in these examples!
    I’m not sure what the white flower before the fleabane is, but it looks familiar.
    I’m glad you’re getting rain now. I wish it would come this way but it always seems to go north or south of us. I’m really hoping that nature doesn’t make up for the lack of rain with snow!
    Congratulations on the new lifer!
    I think my favorite this time is the box turtle, because I’ve never seen one.

    August 29, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    • Thank you very much Allen!
      I hate to disagree with the expert, but I looked up the halberd-leaved tear thumb, and its leaves are not the correct textured are too heavily veined to be the leaf in my photo. The photo was shot months ago, at the same time I was shooting the Virginia rail and marsh wrens. I went back to the same area on Sunday, and while I didn’t find the same leaf, I believe that it was an oddball leaf of pickerelweed. There’s plenty of that there, and the leaves are the same shape and texture, but green in color. Why that one plant would take on that green/yellow striped color pattern is beyond me.

      Unusual color patterns in the heal all is an understatement. 😉 I assumed that’s what the purple flowers were heal all, but I thought that the blue ones were something different. Learn something new every day.

      The white flowers that look familiar began blooming towards the end of May, and continued to bloom into at least early August. They grow in drifts near, but not in water. The plants are about a foot tall, maybe 15 inches, tops. It isn’t either of the arrowheads that you had in a recent post, I found them this past weekend.

      As much time as you spend in the woods, I’m surprised that you haven’t seen a box turtle.

      August 29, 2016 at 11:58 pm

  9. Dash, I finally knew a flower and the New Hampshire Gardner got in first. I liked ‘the storm passes’ very much.

    August 29, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    • Thank you very much Tom!

      August 29, 2016 at 11:23 pm

  10. Congratulations on the lifer Jerry! It’s a beautiful shot too. A really enjoyable post with such a variety of subjects – I love the hairy butterfly covered in gold-dust!

    August 29, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    • Thank you very much Clare! It’s funny, you saw gold dust on the butterfly’s wings, I saw copper, but now that you mention it, there is gold also. But, that’s the beauty of nature, we all see it slightly differently.

      August 29, 2016 at 11:23 pm

  11. I love the goldfinch. We had a group of them fledge here recently.

    The box turtle is my favorite, and brings back memories of when my father found one beside the road and brought it home for us all to see. He released it not long afterwards. I haven’t seen one in years. Thank you for posting that one!

    August 31, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    • Thank you very much Lavinia! I’m glad that the turtle brought back some good memories for you. I also hope that the goldfinches return next year, for not only are they pretty birds, I love their cheerful chatter.

      September 1, 2016 at 11:22 am