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

More wishing, more older photos

For more time that is. As of when I’m beginning this post, I haven’t had a chance to get outside at all, let alone test any of the theories that I developed about my camera gear from my last post. I still have photos of motherwort flowers that I shot back in July to post, even though they are fairly good photos.

Motherwort

Motherwort

If I had shot that photo two years ago, I would have been in a rush to get it posted, but this year, it’s just another good photo of a flower that I saw. I also have this photo of a buttonbush flower from the same time frame…

Buttonbush flowers

Buttonbush flowers

…as well as this photo of what’s left when the individual tiny flowers die, shot more recently.

Buttonbush going to seed

Buttonbush going to seed

I have butterflies…

Unidentified butterfly

Unidentified butterfly

…damselflies…

Damselfly

Damselfly

…and dragonflies also.

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

And of course, I have lots of bird photos left over.

An unidentified gull chick not long after it hatched

An unidentified gull chick a few weeks after it hatched

 

Juvenile eastern Phoebe

Juvenile eastern Phoebe

 

Juvenile eastern Phoebe

Juvenile eastern Phoebe

 

Northern flicker 1

Northern flicker 1

 

Northern flicker 2

Northern flicker 2

 

Grey catbird singing

Grey catbird singing

I remember that catbird very well, he was an expert when it came to mimicking other birds. He could even do the “laugh” or whinny of a sora, not an easy task.

I’m going to empty out a folder of saved photos all shot back in July, so that I have room for new photos when I do get a chance to shoot more.

Sumac flowers

Sumac flowers

 

Soapwort?

Soapwort?

 

Soapwort?

Soapwort?

 

Pink

Pink

 

I forgot, again

I forgot, again

 

Eastern chipmunk

Eastern chipmunk

 

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

 

Young cottontail rabbit

Young cottontail rabbit

While I’m at it, here’s some more photos that didn’t make into posts earlier this summer.

Evening primrose

Evening primrose

 

Ducklings at dawn

Ducklings at dawn

 

Female dickcissel

Female dickcissel

 

Juvenile male dickcissel

Juvenile male dickcissel

 

Grey coneflower

Grey coneflower

 

Grey coneflower

Grey coneflower

What I should do is to take the manual for my 7D Mk II with me while I’m working. I’d have time to read it while I’m sitting at the loading dock each afternoon as I’m waiting for the trailer to be unloaded, then reloaded. Now that I’ve come very close to good settings for birds in flight, I should save them to one of the three customizable modes available to me in that camera. I’ve been holding off from doing that until I knew for sure what worked, unlike when I got the 60D body when I saved poor settings before I was ready, then had to go back and tweak them all the time. The process of actually saving the settings isn’t difficult, but I have to remember to set each and every setting that I want to have saved before I save it. With all the settings that I have to change, that’s not an easy task.

I’d also like to learn how to shoot better videos, so reading the manual would be a good idea, so that I could learn the proper settings for what I want to achieve. I shot this video of the sandhill cranes thinking that they were either about to take flight, or that the one was going to do one of their dances, but it turned out that the crane was just limbering up its wings.

However, I’d almost have to have the camera with me as I read the manual, or I’d forget things by the time that I had the camera in my hand and was trying to save all those settings. I’d rather not have my camera bouncing around in the truck with me as I cross the state each day. It would also be a wise idea to wait until I’ve used the 100-400 mm lens that I plan on purchasing in the next month or two, to be sure of the correct settings for that lens before I program the camera. I may find that I have to tweak the settings that I’ve come up with for action photos slightly for that new lens.

I was going to wait until December to purchase the 100-400 mm lens, as a Christmas present to myself, but I’ve moved the timetable up for it. Everything that I’ve added to my kit has come with a learning curve, and I doubt if this lens will be any different, as it has some features that I’ve never used before. I want to have a solid handle on using it before next spring, and as slow as winter here can be for photography, getting a jump on learning the lens is a good idea.

I know that a new lens isn’t going to guarantee great photos, but the 100-400 mm lens will be a great addition to my kit. The ability to pick-up a bird in flight at 100 mm then zoom in on it as far as is required will be much easier than trying to get the bird in the viewfinder at the 420 mm fixed focal length as I do now. The same applies to small birds in thick vegetation, the ability to zoom in after getting the bird in the viewfinder is one of the things that makes the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens) so effective for small birds. I’m also hoping that like the Beast, the auto-focus of the 100 -400 mm lens will be faster than the 300 mm lens and 1.4 X tele-converter, since Canon programs their lenses to slow down the auto-focus when an extender is used behind them.

That zoom lens should also be just the ticket for times when I find a large bird perched somewhere, such as the eagle in my last post. I could zoom in for good portraits, then zoom back out when the bird takes flight. That’s also where having the bird in flight settings saved in the camera and ready to use with a quick turn of a dial will come in handy. Most large birds let you know before they take flight, so I should be able to shoot portraits using the best settings for them, then once the bird alerts me that it’s going to take off, I can quickly turn the mode dial to action settings, and shoot the bird in flight with the best settings for those photos.

Red-tailed hawk in flight

Red-tailed hawk in flight

The 100-400 mm lens is smaller, lighter, and more compact than the Beast is, so it should be easier to keep up with birds in flight than I found the Beast to be. However, I have to say that using the 70-200 mm lens and 1.4 X extender was a joy to use for the flying birds in my last post. If only I hadn’t had to crop as much as I did for the hawk in the image above, that 100 mm extra of focal length means that I wouldn’t have to crop as much if at all.

Before I forget, there were kestrels everywhere at the wastewater facility this past weekend, there were times when I was watching three, four, or five of them at a time. However, all I was able to get was this poor photo when one landed in a farm field.

Female or juvenile American kestrel

Female or juvenile American kestrel

The thing that I wanted to remember to pass along is that I watched as a crow harassed one of the kestrels for quite a while, chasing the kestrel all the way across one of the large fields. The crow that chased the kestrel was one of a small flock, but none of the other crows joined the chase, which I found odd. The crow made several passes at the kestrel, but as small and quick as they are, the kestrel was able to easily avoid the crow’s attacks. A couple of times the kestrel attempted to turn the tables on the crow, and attack it, but as well as crows can fly, the crow was able to assume a defensive position, ward off the kestrel’s attack, and turn the moment into an attack on the kestrel. Since most of the action took place approximately 400 yards (400 meters), I didn’t bother trying to shoot any photos, I just watched the action play out.

Speaking of crows, I have a photo of one left over from this past weekend…

American crow

American crow

…along with three more photos of other birds.

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

 

Palm warbler

Palm warbler

 

Eastern wood pewee

Eastern wood pewee

I also have a few photos from a recent walk around the park near where I live. After a dry first half of the summer, the recent heavy rains have brought a few fungi.

Unidentified fungal objects

Unidentified fungal objects

And, after rain earlier in the morning, I found this spider had found a place to take cover from the rain.

Unidentified spider

Unidentified spider

The flowers have loved the rain as well.

Great lobelia

Great lobelia

But, I’m seeing more signs of autumn’s approach all the time.

Signs of autumn

Signs of autumn

I was missing a toad for this shot of a toadstool.

Unidentified fungal object

Unidentified fungal object

Another sign of autumn, goldenrod and goldenrod soldier beetles.

Goldenrod soldier beetle

Goldenrod soldier beetle

Along with grapes that are ripening.

Another sign of autumn

Another sign of autumn

As I was walking along, I noticed these flowers, but they were all hanging facing down.

Unidentified flowering object

Unidentified flowering object

So, I did something unusual for me, I twisted one of the flowers around so that I could see its face, I’m glad that I did.

Unidentified flowering object 2

Unidentified flowering object 2

Well, that not only emptied out one of the folders of images that I shot around home, but it also put me over my self-imposed limit on photos in one post, so I don’t have room for this one.

Grasshopper on boneset flowers

Grasshopper on boneset flowers

That was shot last Saturday, but I still have more from around home shot earlier in the year. Hopefully, I’ll get to those soon, before the snow starts flying around here. But, if I don’t, at least I’ll have the memories of one of our fleeting summers to share while it’s cold and cloudy here.

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

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24 responses

  1. Always a pleasure to scroll through your excellent photos.

    September 8, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    • Thank you very much Susan!

      September 9, 2016 at 7:43 am

  2. Another delightful gallery of wonderful photos to enjoy today. I particularly love the blue dragonfly with its transparent wings and the northern flicker is very smartly turned out. I like the pose of the palm warbler and the dewdrops on the spider’s web but my favourite is the lone cornflower saying goodbye to summer!

    September 8, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    • Thank you very much Marianne! It isn’t autumn here yet, but it won’t be long.Until then, I hope to get plenty of insects and flower photos to tide me over the winter.

      September 9, 2016 at 7:44 am

  3. Wonderful captures of birds, flowers, plants, insects, and a rabbit! You did an excellent job, even in the limited time you have outside of work. When you retire, will you slow down with your photography, or go up a notch or several notches higher? 🙂

    September 8, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    • Thank you very much! When I retire I plan to spend as much time as possible with a camera (or two) in my hands, shooting as many photos as I can.

      September 9, 2016 at 7:46 am

  4. I loved the photos of the motherwort and lobelia flowers.

    September 8, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    • Thank you very much Maria! I’ll have a better photo of the lobelia soon, but unfortunately, it will be another year before I can get another of the motherwort.

      September 9, 2016 at 7:47 am

      • That’s alright. The motherwort was wonderful. I have not seen the flowers up close like that…lovely.

        September 9, 2016 at 7:52 am

      • Thank you!

        September 9, 2016 at 8:06 am

  5. Great shot of the motherwort flowers! I know how small they are and getting a good shot of them isn’t easy.
    I was also happy to see the great lobelia. I never see them here.
    I’m not sure about the soapwort. The petals recurve as they age and if they were curved I’d know, but they could have just opened.
    The yellow and black flower is a clammy ground cherry (Physalis heterophylla.) I don’t see too many of them.
    This post is full of great shots but I think my favorites are the northern flicker. That’s another bird I’ve never seen.

    September 8, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    • Thank you very much Allen! Not only are the motherwort flowers small, but because of their shape, it’s hard to get the lighting right. There’ll be a much better image of the lobelia flower coming soon. I’m not sure about the soapwort either, I put too much time and thought into getting the photo, and not enough into identifying what I’m shooting.

      I was going to comment on how odd of a name clammy ground cherry is for a flower, but after your identification, I went to add it to the keywords in Lightroom, and found that name was already in the database, for the fruit that develops from the flowers. The fruit is quite interesting also.

      Flickers are a woodpecker, but they spend most of the warm months on the ground in the open, eating ants. They excavate cavities in trees to use for nests, but otherwise, they don’t act like typical woodpeckers.

      September 9, 2016 at 8:05 am

  6. Another feast. I agree that reading the manual without the camera to hand makes for very hard work remembering what you have learned.

    September 8, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    • Thank you very much Tom! I love the capabilities of a modern digital camera, but I hate trying to remember it all as I’m setting the camera up for a particular type of photo.

      September 9, 2016 at 7:49 am

      • My cameras have capabilities that I never even think of using (but I should).

        September 9, 2016 at 5:51 pm

  7. Another excellent collection of photographs! I could comment on all of them individually – but I won’t! Thank-you for the link to the calls of the Sora; I love to hear birdsong/calls and this one I found very endearing!

    September 10, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    • Thank you very much Clare. I’m glad that you liked the link, the sora does have a unique call. What’s amazing is that the catbird was able to mimic it very well, I wish that I had been able to record that.

      September 10, 2016 at 4:38 pm

      • That would have been awesome!

        September 10, 2016 at 4:52 pm

  8. A beautiful collection of photos, Jerry! Always a pleasure to see what your lens has caught. Catbirds are among my favorite birds. They are great mimics. The spider taking shelter under a leaf was also a great capture.

    September 10, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    • Thanks again Lavinia! I love catbirds, they’ve kept me entertained for hours with their singing.

      September 11, 2016 at 6:09 am

  9. Great gallery of fine photos, Jerry!

    September 17, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    • Thank you very much Donna!

      September 17, 2016 at 5:47 pm

  10. You make it far too difficult for me to pick any favourites. There are some photographers who share a single pic as their blog post, but you share a whole stack of excellent ones! What can I do but just say how wonderful the quality of the selection is. I run out of new superlatives very quickly. I hope the new gear works out the way you want and that you also have the time and money to travel more in search of birds for your list and new landforms that you may want to photograph. I think it admirable that you wish to make the best use of the time you have left and that you treat it as precious. 🙂

    September 18, 2016 at 4:25 am

    • Thanks again Jane! I think about cutting down the number of photos that I post, but I don’t limit myself as far as what subjects that I shoot. Besides, I don’t mind showing the world my photos that didn’t come out well.

      I can’t wait to retire so that I can be outside whenever the conditions are right for some type of photography, which means most of the time. 😉

      September 18, 2016 at 9:38 pm