Happy Thanksgiving 2016
I’m beginning this post on Thanksgiving Day, using my little Macbook pro for now. The weather today is about the same as it has been all week, grey, cold, gloomy, with light fog and drizzle. Hardly a good day for photography, unless I was shooting landscapes, which seems a little pointless right now.
Maybe it was the rapid change in the weather, but I’m feeling a little under it today, and I didn’t want to carry very much with me while I went for a walk around home. I shot 4 photos total, 2 versions each of these two images.
I suppose that I could have driven around somewhere to find a few landscapes worth shooting, but this little Macbook leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to editing photos in Lightroom, plus, I don’t have Photomatix installed on it to make truly good landscape photos.
I didn’t really feel like driving anyway, I did have the day off from work, for what it’s worth. I slept in an hour or two longer than usual, and after drinking some coffee, catching up on things on the Internet, and cleaning my apartment, I went back to bed and slept a couple of hours more until it got light outside. Then I went for the walk, which even though I didn’t see many things to photograph, was a very pleasant one despite the gloomy weather.
If it sounds like I’m complaining, I’m not, I needed a day to relax and not do very much when I’m usually so pressed for time. It’s been so long since I had a lazy day, that I’ve forgotten how to have one. 😉
I did miss the large screen of the 27 inch iMac when I did what little editing to the photos from today that I posted so far, but I’m looking at this situation as a blessing in disguise. The way things are going, I’ll be able to get this Macbook pro and the version of Lightroom that I have installed on it set-up the way that I want. That way, when I do go on trips, I won’t be fooling around with those details at that time. I may not be able to do any major editing, but I can sort through the photos and delete the poor ones, and flag the best of the rest of the photos for further editing on the iMac when I’m back home. I had forgotten how much I had customized Lightroom with presets. Not only that, I’ve forgotten how to make the presets that I’ve been using on the iMac.
As bad as things are with my large iMac down, things could have been much worse. At least I have all of my photos saved, on not one but two external drives, and I did have Apple’s Time Machine set-up to back up the computer full-time. Hopefully, when I do get the iMac back, it will be as if nothing had happened.
Anyway, I did a short day at work on Saturday, and despite the clouds and occasional drizzle, I went for a walk. I didn’t shoot many photos, due to the weather, and I’m not sure how good these that I did save really are.
I was playing, learning just how much depth of field that I have with the new 100-400 mm lens for that photo.
For this one, I was going to try to catch the blue jay in flight, but it went the wrong way when it did take off.
I’m still working on my very low-light settings also.
With millions of leaves on the ground, why this one caught my eye, I don’t know, but it did.
Another close-up of a goldenrod gall as another test.
I actually had fair light for this next one, but in the wrong direction. As soon as I moved to get a better view of the squirrel, it took off.
My only other bird photos were of a flock of goldfinches feeding on teasel seeds, but too far away for a good photo of any of them.
The weatherman says that we may see some sun on Sunday for the first time in a week, I sure hope so.
The weatherman was wrong for the most part. There were a few holes in the clouds as I arrived at the wastewater facility just before dawn, but they soon closed up for most of the day. There were a few more holes in the clouds around 2 PM, and I did see a few patches of blue sky, but most of the day was just as dreary as the past week has been.
So, between my having to edit these on my little Macbook, and the lack of light, I’m not sure how good the photos that I shot are. I know that this one is horrible, but it’s of a Cooper’s hawk pretending to be the peregrine falcon that been hanging around the wastewater facility the past few weeks.
I thought that it was the falcon until I got home and edited that image. That’s when I saw the banded tail and knew it was a Cooper’s hawk.
Later, I tracked down the peregrine falcon, it was perched on the exhaust of the grain drying equipment, probably to stay warm on a chilly day.
Despite the low-light, I shot a photo of both an eared grebe…
…and a horned grebe…
…just because I hadn’t photographed either species recently. Too bad both of them are in their winter plumage, they’re very striking birds in the spring.
I didn’t see any swans on this day, but I did see the same 4 snow geese that hide out in the middle of thousands of Canada geese. First, early in the morning while they were still in the lagoon…
…that’s the wide version not cropped, here the snow geese are in a cropped photo.
Later, after the geese had left the lagoon to feed in one of the farm fields, I saw the snow geese with the Canada geese again.
That’s just a small portion of the huge flock of Canada geese, and there were more arriving all the time.
I didn’t attempt to count the geese, but my guess would be somewhere around 5,000 of them, I’ve never seen a flock as large as that one before, not even at the wastewater facility.
It’s 4 AM on Monday morning as I’m typing this section of the post, it’s 38 degrees (3 C) outside, with a line of heavy rain just arriving into the area. You’ll have to forgive me, but it looks as though I’ll be staying indoors today. I wouldn’t mind a light rain or drizzle, but I see no reason to go out and get soaked to the bone on a day like today. That means more bad photos from yesterday though, as they’re all that I have available to me until I get my iMac back.
I also saw one of the adult bald eagles…
…but it refused to pose for me, so that was the best that I could do.
I worked on my settings for birds in flight in low-light…
…not too bad, but I think that I can still do a little better.
I finally gave up at the wastewater facility, and drove over to the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, hoping to find a few small birds that I could get close to. I had limited success at that, I think that Brian’s bird banding this fall has made the birds more wary of humans than normal. The poor light didn’t help either, these are the best I could do, no matter how hard I tried.
Usually, when birds are actively feeding, I can eventually get a good photo of them, but it was tough going on this day. I added the 1.4 X tele-converter behind the 100-400 mm lens for this next batch, I’m undecided if that was a mistake or not.
The tele-converter meant that I had to crop these images less, but I was having trouble getting sharp photos while using it. It could have been because of the light, those were shot during the time I mentioned earlier, when a few holes opened up in the clouds. Rather than making things easier, it became more difficult, as what little sunshine that there was only brightened the clouds behind the birds more than the birds themselves. The overpowering light coming off from the bright clouds made it extremely difficult to get the exposure correct.
Anyway, rather than harp on the poor light any longer, here’s two photos from the MLNP that aren’t of birds.
My next stop was the Muskegon Lake channel to Lake Michigan, I hoped to find a few diving ducks there. Instead, all I found was a lone male mallard.
I used the 1.4 X extender for those also, just to get better at using it behind the 100-400 mm lens. As with everything, there’s a learning curve that comes with it, and I haven’t used that combination very much so far. I also shot this with it.
It was a boring day as far as photography, other than having to work extra hard to get bad photos, and most of you know what I do on boring days, shoot gulls.
One day, all the practice photos that I shoot of gulls will pay-off.
I love the fact that now I can get the eye of a flying bird as sharp as the eyes of perched birds in my photos were just a year or two ago. And, when a bird is perched and conditions are right…
…I can get images like that last one. Maybe I should give up on everything else and shoot photos of nothing but mallards and gulls. 😉 Of course I’m just kidding, but by the time that winter sets in for real, that may be about all that I find to photograph for a while.
That’s why I started posting to the My Photo Life List project again, but until I get my iMac back, I can’t do any of those posts. All the images that I have sorted by species left to post are stored on that computer. I suppose that I could plug the external drive that my photos are stored on into my Macbook, but then, I’d have to sort through thousands of photos to find the images that I need for those posts.
If I needed any more bad news, the weather forecast for the next week is just as bad as it has been lately, cloudy with rain everyday for the foreseeable future.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!