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

Just the beginning

I’m starting this post as I drink my morning coffee before heading out for my second day of shooting with my new 5D Mk IV camera. I’ve had more time to look more closely at the photos that I shot yesterday, and all I can say is that I’m very happy with what I see. The final output from Lightroom may not be a huge leap in quality over what I was able to get from the 7D Mk II, but the RAW images from the camera are much better, and I’m just getting started with the 5D. As time goes on, and I get to know the camera better, and learn to process the images better in Lightroom, I think that I’ll see even more improvement in the overall quality of my images.

That doesn’t mean that I’ll stop using the 7D, with its crop factor, it gets me closer to my subjects. However, I will limit when I use it to those times when I have enough light to keep the ISO settings down to a reasonable level for that camera. It’s all about getting the best possible images on a given day.

I’m back home now after my second day of trying out the new camera.

I would have liked to have tried a few different places to go with the new camera, but we’re in the middle of a heat wave here with temperatures climbing over 90 degrees (32 C). Unfortunately, that’s forecast to continue for the next week to 10 days, so it looks like I’ll be stuck going to Muskegon until it cools off.

That’s because Muskegon is on the shore of Lake Michigan, and although it’s now officially summer, the water of the big lake is still cool enough so that when the wind blows the hot air over the lake, the air is cooled by as much as 15 to 20 degrees, so the wind coming off the lake is nature’s air conditioning. It helps that we had an east wind most of the preceding week, which blew what little warm water that there was in Lake Michigan to the other side of the lake, letting 50 degree  (10 C) water come to the surface on the Muskegon side of the lake. That cool breeze coming off from the lake sure felt good! I would have liked to have spent some time on the beach shooting landscapes, but as you may imagine, the beaches are a popular place for people looking to escape the heat, and therefore very crowded when it’s this hot.

I began my day by returning to the scene of the crime from the day before, when I had a menu item in the new camera set incorrectly which caused most of my images of the wildflowers to be unusable. While I had great light once again, it was also windy already just after sunrise, but I did mange to get better images than on the previous day.

Purple prairie clover

I should know by now that I should install one of the extension tubes behind the macro lens whenever I’m photographing flowers so that I can get closer to any insects that appear on the flowers.

Unidentified bee on purple prairie clover

But, as much as the wind was blowing the flower with the bee around, I suppose that I’m lucky to have gotten that one.

A few more flowers…

Butterfly weed


Butterfly weed


Milkweed flower

…and the insects that I saw while shooting the flowers…

Red milkweed beetles mating

…this next one is straight out of the camera, as it was a test shot for me and I love it so much I have to include it here…

Rabbit’s foot clover

…when this is what I was shooting the test shot to end up with…

Rabbit’s foot clover

…and I was about to try for a better shot of the insect on this flower…

Unidentified flowering object with guest

…when another insect landed on the same flower, and I couldn’t decide which bug to go for…

Unidentified flowering object with guests

…the long skinny bug made up my mind for me by flying away, leaving me with the green bee to shoot…

Unidentified flowering object with guest

…until it too took off, so I was able to get this clean shot of a flower that looks like a rose, but I don’t think that it is.

Unidentified flowering object

Well, it’s time for me to write something that I’m sure that you’ll tire of reading in my next few posts, the Canon 5D Mk IV is a huge step forward over the 7D camera that I have been using. All of the images you’ve seen so far were shot with the 100 mm macro lens that I’ve been using for a few years now. However, the clarity, resolution, and details is much better, almost if I had a new lens. Also, and it’s hard to explain this, but the images look brighter, even though the I try to keep the exposure of the final image the same as I have been. I think that it’s because the color reproduction is much better, especially with the warmer colors such as yellows, reds, and oranges.

What ever the reason, I love what I’ve seen so far, and it was only my second time out with it. I’m already learning that there are a few differences between the two cameras, the 7D tends to under-expose most scenes, while the exposure system of the 5D is more accurate. Both cameras use the same system, first introduced in the 7D, but Canon’s engineers must have fine tuned the system since the 7D was introduced. It’s the same with the auto-focusing system, again, both cameras use the same system, but they have refined it a great deal in the 5D.

As much as I love the overall image quality of the 5D, it’s hard to beat the 7D especially for getting close to the subject that I’m shooting.

Grasshopper sparrow

And, it isn’t as if the image quality is horrible…

Grasshopper sparrow singing

…so I’ll have to give some thought to which camera to use…

Male dickcissel singing

…small songbird singing from the treetops…

Male dickcissel singing

…or perched on a wire…

Northern mockingbird

…then I should use the 7D for its reach.

Northern mockingbird

By the way, after searching for the mockingbird for a month, it has made itself visible to me on my last three trips.

Northern mockingbird

However, if I’m close to a small bird that’s under the leaf canopy on a bright, sunny day…

Female yellow warbler

…then I should use the 5D for its low noise at higher ISO settings and wider dynamic range.

Common yellowthroat

The 5D works just fine if I do see a bird in good light!

Female rose-breasted grosbeak

This next photo reminds me, I didn’t install the free battery grip that I received with the 5D until I got home from my second day of using the new camera.

Male downy woodpecker

On the evening that I picked up the camera, I didn’t have time to fool around installing the grip. After using the camera without it the first day, I loved how light the 5D was to carry compared to my 7D which I do have the grip installed on.

The battery grips for both bodies weigh far more than it looks like they would, given how small they are. It isn’t the weight of the batteries, I’ve removed one of the batteries from the 7D in the past in an attempt to lighten the camera up a little, and even the removal of the battery didn’t seem to help. However, I do like using the battery grip a lot, both when shooting in either landscape or portrait orientation, and for just carrying the camera around. I’ll live with the extra weight of the grips to make use of how much better I can hold the cameras with them installed.

Female downy woodpecker

In either orientation, I’m able to get a better grip on the camera, which I believe leads to sharper images because I can hold the camera steadier with the grip on it. They are called grips for a reason, and the ones that Canon designed for both bodies do give me a much better feel and hold on the camera while I’m using it.

That brings me to one other thing that I should mention, both bodies can use the same batteries and memory cards.  That meant that I could use my spare batteries and cards in the new body when it arrived to save myself a little money for the time being. I will add a battery or two, and a couple of more memory cards to my kit, but I can get by with what I have for the time being. And, I don’t have to worry about making sure that I have the right spare stuff for each camera with me, what fits one fits the other.

Anyway, back to choosing which came I should use. For insects shot with the longer lenses, it doesn’t seem to matter which body I use…

Monarch butterfly

…both bodies perform well in good light…


…although, I can tell which body I used for each of these images…


…I doubt that the average reader of my blog can, or if they even care which body I used.

For landscapes, it’s the 5D hands down!

Dunes at Muskegon State Park

That one was shot at 20 mm, the next one at 35 mm, as I play with the newer 16-35 mm lens and learn to use it. I did shoot one at 16 mm, but that was too wide of a focal length for a good portrayal of the scene. But, that helped me to realize how wide that lens will go on the full frame body.

Dunes at Muskegon State Park

Just for comparison, here’s about the same scene shot with the same lens but on the 7D from earlier this spring, and at 16 mm.

Muskegon State Park sand dunes

Sorry, I’m sure that most of you don’t care which camera, lens, and focal length that I shot the photo with, but that’s very useful to me for future reference.

Since I tend to be a nerd when it comes to figuring things out, I can think of a number of ways to compare the 7D to the 5D in images, but it doesn’t really matter. The 7D is a 20 MP crop sensor body and the 5D is a 30 MP full frame sensor body, so theoretically, the 7D should have slightly higher resolution due to the smaller pixels packed into the smaller sensor. I do see that to some degree in the few images that I’ve shot with the 5D, however, the overall quality of the images shot with the 5D is much better. It’s almost as if some one raised the clarity slider in Lightroom a good deal in the images shot with the 5D. That, along with more accurate color reproduction and increased dynamic range are the reasons for the differences in image quality that I see, I believe. Again, it doesn’t really matter, they are the two camera bodies that I have to work with, although the more I learn, the better my images will be, no matter which camera I use at the time. And, since I don’t want to end this post with that image shot before the trees leafed out, here’s one more from the new 5D.

Pickerel weed flowers

Like I said, it doesn’t matter why the image quality is better, as long as it is, and I’m happy with what I see, which I am. Much more than I thought that I would, as I thought that the only real difference would be less noise at higher ISO settings.

If it doesn’t cool off around here, and the weather forecast isn’t looking good for that to happen, I may have to try out the new camera doing some night photography to help escape the heat.

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


21 responses

  1. The new camera obviously doesn’t have trouble with macros!
    That flower is definitely in the rose family. If it was the size of a half dollar with large, maple like leaves it might have been a flowering raspberry.
    Great shots of the flowers, birds and bugs but my favorites are the dunes. We never see anything like that here. Those shots make me wish I had a wide angle lens.
    It’s been hot here too. It’s 98 right now with a 70 degree dew point. I hiked around a pond this morning and by the time I was done I was wondering if I was going to make it. That’s a first.
    Stay cool and have fun!

    July 1, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    • Thank you very much Allen! The camera doesn’t have trouble with macros, but I did the first day. That’s what I get for trying a suggested camera setting.

      The flower in question was about 3 inches across, which makes it too large to be a flowering raspberry I believe. It’s beautiful, whatever it is.

      Since I grew up spending a lot of time near the dunes, I tend to forget how special and unique they are. I’d like to photograph them more often in the summer, but you wouldn’t believe the lines of traffic headed towards the shores of Lake Michigan when it’s as hot as it has been. That 16-35 mm lens is a winner, and works great on the new fun frame camera body. I’ll be looking to use that combo a lot over the coming months and years.

      Last time that I checked, it was in the mid-nineties here with a similar dew point, and I have to work today, I’m not looking forward to it. I’m glad that you survived the heat.

      July 1, 2018 at 5:14 pm

      • There is a rose called the wild prairie rose that might fit, but I would think it would be scented.

        July 1, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      • I should have stuck my nose in it, it was too windy and the wind from the wrong direction when I shot the photo. I did look for typically shaped rose leaves, but they were either under the other leaves, or not present.

        July 1, 2018 at 6:03 pm

      • I had a chance to look up the wild prairie rose, and I believe it is the correct ID, so thanks yet again!

        July 2, 2018 at 4:45 am

  2. Too technical for me but I loved all your close ups of the small birds.

    July 1, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    • Thank you very much Susan! As long as you enjoy the photos you can skip the words in many of my posts.

      July 1, 2018 at 5:34 pm

  3. Very nice captures. Especially like the dunes. Can’t wait to see them and all that that area has to offer when we are there at the end of July!

    July 1, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    • Thank you very much! Michigan has the longest coast with freshwater dunes of any place in the world, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding them. There are plenty of other things to see and do here as well, so I hope that you enjoy your visit here!

      July 2, 2018 at 6:51 am

  4. Looks like you are having fun with the new camera, and your new photos on this post are awesome.

    Just think what Canon could do if it made a 5D with the crop factor (1.6) of the 7D, a high fps, while preserving all the other features.

    July 1, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    • Thank you very much Hien! I am having fun with the new camera, I wish that I had more time to play with it than I do.

      I’m not sure that the camera you describe is even possible with today’s technology, some one will have to invent a new type of sensor for it to work they way we’d all like.

      July 2, 2018 at 6:54 am

  5. What a joy to start a Monday morning with a new post from you and all those wonderful photos. Fantastic close up shots of all the flowers and insects. My favourite photos are the sand dunes…brings back happy memories of childhood playing in the sand dunes on holiday and digging tunnels…not allowed now due to health and safety! Love the little grasshopper sparrow too…a cheeky look in his eye!

    July 2, 2018 at 5:13 am

    • Thank you very much Marianne! We used to dig in the dunes also, but it really wasn’t a wise thing to do. Still, I miss it, and there’s another reason for us not to dig in the dunes, it’s illegal here in Michigan, for both safety reasons, and because it can cause significant changes to the dunes themselves because digging changes the way that the wind blows the sand around.

      I hope that you won’t mind more flower and insect photos in my next few posts, as I’ve been neglecting them this year in favor of birds.

      July 2, 2018 at 7:14 am

  6. I love how you were able to capture the little insects so crisply.

    July 2, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    • Thank you very much! I think that I’ll be able to do even better as I learn the ins and outs of the new camera.

      July 2, 2018 at 2:53 pm

  7. Your photos are getting better and better.
    Soon, I will have no words to write because I think it is boring for you to read all the time: “great, nice, beautiful, amazing, stunning, wow and so on”.

    July 2, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    • Thank you very much Cornell! I do appreciate your comments, but they aren’t required, as long as you enjoy the images, that’s all that matters.

      July 2, 2018 at 4:35 pm

  8. Excellent captures and variety with as hot as it is for us all! I’ll be interested in seeing your night photos, something I need to better learn! 🙂

    July 2, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    • Thank you very much Donna! My plans may change because I found out that I have an extra half a day off from work. But, I will get around to night photography soon now that I have a camera better suited for it.

      July 3, 2018 at 7:05 am

  9. Yes, those flower photos are wonderful! I love the insects too, especially the beautiful green bee! Very nice landscape shots of the sand dunes and the bird shots are excellent.

    July 3, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    • Thank you very much Clare! I do enjoy shooting such a wide variety of subjects, and I plan to expand that this weekend.

      July 4, 2018 at 7:59 am

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