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

Welcome 2019, but time for a break

Well, so far January has been a little milder than an average year here in West Michigan, however, sunshine has been as rare as ever so far this winter. I’m also having difficulty in finding birds other than eagles to photograph, and I’m not entirely sure of why that’s the case. Some of the reasons are that I’m no longer shooting photos of birds that are really out of camera range, in dreadful light, or that refuse to pose for me. Also, I’ve made what for me is a huge investment in very good cameras and lenses, so I’ve been extra cautious with that gear to protect it all from the winter weather. I’m thinking of purchasing a good quality point and shoot camera that I can carry in a pocket to take with me while walking through the woods. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to afford one until next winter though, since my purchases of the Canon 5D Mk IV and the 24-70 mm lens have left my bank account drained.

I am, however, shooting plenty of images of eagles in action, which I’ll get to in a while here. First, I’m going to start with an image that I shot at sunset on one of the few sunny days that I can remember so far in the new year.

Icy sunset

I started with that one because it fits the header of my blog better than this version of the scene…

Icy sunset, my favorite view

…which I much prefer over the first version.

By the way, besides purchasing the full frame 5D Mk IV and the two wide-angle lenses that were upgrades over the crop sensor versions I used to use, I’ve also purchased a new backpack to hold all of my full frame gear, along with another holster bag that’s large enough to accept any of my camera bodies with the battery grips and tripod quick release plates attached to the cameras.

One of my 60D bodies was slightly damaged while I had it in the old backpack, and I didn’t want the same to happen to any of my newer gear. I searched long and hard to find the right bags for me this time, and I found ones that I really love. The backpack holds any of my cameras comfortably and safely, along with my lenses and other accessories needed. It’s also very convenient to access whatever body and lens combination that I choose to carry in the top of the backpack, it stands up on its own, and I only have to partially unzip the bag to get to the second set-up. If I need an item stored lower in the bag, all I have to do is lay the bag on its back and unzip the rest of it. It also has dividers that have padding on both sides of a rigid center so the backpack is much more resistant to being crushed and my gear damaged than the one that I use for my crop sensor gear.

The holster bag is large enough to comfortably and easily hold a second body with an attached lens, and a second lens if needed, or my flash unit and other accessories for the flash if I’m planning on shooting macro images. It is also stronger than the holster bag that I had been using, along with being large enough to hold the camera bodies that I use now with all the accessories attached to the bodies.

Toward the end of last summer, or possibly early fall, I showed a photo of a rig that I came up with to hold my flash unit in place while shooting macros.

Macro lighting rig

At the time that I shot that photo, I had to remove the tripod quick release plate from the camera body that I wanted to use the lighting rig on, then screw the rig to the camera body. That was a pain to do each time, so I purchased a quick release clamp that’s the same as on the head of my tripod, so now, I can quickly clamp the lighting rig to any of my camera bodies I choose to use, then just as quickly, remove the lighting rig from the body to shoot normally.

That has worked so well, that I’m planning on coming up with a similar set-up that will allow me to use any of my camera and lens combinations on both of the tripod heads that I use.

News flash:

But, rather than bore every one with what I have in mind, I have an announcement to make.

I think that it’s time for me to take a break from blogging for a while again. Over the years, I have taken several such breaks for several months each time, and they do me a world of good as far as content and motivation for continuing to blog.

There are several reasons why I’m choosing now as the time for a break, the weather and the lack of subjects to photograph, along with my computer.

First the weather and lack of subjects to photograph. It’s turned extremely cold here in Michigan, so cold that schools have been closing due to the wind chill on some days. I love the camera gear that I have now, and don’t want to risk damaging any of it by exposing it to cold that is well below Canon’s recommendations as far as temperature. Then, there’s the almost constant lake effect cloud cover that comes with the cold. We have one grey overcast dreary day after another when the weather pattern sets up as it is now, along with copious amounts of lake effect snow that makes driving a difficult task. I have to put up with it for work, I’d rather not have to do the same on my days off from work. And, I’d rather not go back to shooting poor photos just to fill my blog posts with after I’ve worked so hard to improve my skills to the level where I’m at now.

I’m also having trouble finding birds other than eagles to photograph, which I said earlier. I should include gulls and crows along with eagles, but frankly, I have enough photos of gulls already, the same with crows. For over a month, I’ve had trouble finding even the most common of smaller birds such as chickadees and cardinals to try to photograph, and I’m not sure why that is. I’ve gone to my favorite spots for smaller birds and not seen so much as a feather during this time, and I’ve seldom even heard a bird in the distance.

Then, there’s the situation with my computer, which is an iMac. About two weeks ago I decided that it was time for me to update the operating system to “Mohave”, Apple’s latest and supposedly greatest. When the upgrade was finally installed, it was like starting with a brand new computer, most of my settings had reverted back to the default settings. The upgrade also caused Keychain, the Apple app that stores passwords and the like so that you don’t have to remember them every time you sign on to a web site to have been emptied, so I had to go to every web site that requires a password and sign in as from scratch, then store those passwords in Keychain once again.

Fortunately, I save all my passwords in a text file, so that task wasn’t too bad, but then another problem popped up. I found that my Email was going to all different folders than the way that I had the system set-up to handle incoming Emails, they were going everywhere with no rhyme or reason to which folder they were going to. It took me a while to track them all down, and send them to the correct folders. I guess that’s what I get for trying to be organized.

Then, once I had all the Emails in their proper folders, another problem popped up, this one has to do with WordPress and my ability to comment on or like posts from other bloggers. This seems to be based on the themes that other bloggers use, there are some WordPress sites that I have not been able to successfully log into at all since I did the OS update. For other WordPress sites, I have to log in both to leave a comment and then log in again to like the post, and even then, the system doesn’t always work as it should. I could go on, but I’ll sum it up by saying that it’s been a mess.

Oh, and one other thing, since I did the upgrade, neither Lightroom or Photomatix work quite as they should, and they will not work together at all the way that they used to. This means that processing the few photos that I’ve shot lately has taken much more time than it should have. This is really problematic for me, as I’m using the standalone version of Lightroom which is no longer supported by Adobe. I doubt if Adobe will upgrade the version of Lightroom that I use, they want to push every one into their subscription version that requires a monthly fee to use.

I was planning on switching over the subscription version eventually, probably later this year, but it looks as if I’m going to be forced to do so ahead of my schedule. That version is affordable, but it was an expense that I was trying to put off until I had the entire hospital bill from two years ago paid off before I made the switch. I only have a few more payments to make, so the end is in sight as far as that bill is concerned, and by taking a break from blogging for a while, it will be helpful to my wallet as well.

Anyway, time for a few photos, these were all shot last week, when there was a rare sunny (for the most part) day.

Juvenile bald eagles in flight

This series shows an adult eagle chasing a juvenile…

Bald eagles in flight

 

Bald eagles in flight

…and the gyrations that the eagles can make in flight.

Bald eagles in flight

 

Bald eagles in flight

 

Bald eagles in flight

 

Bald eagles in flight

 

Bald eagles in flight

 

Adult bald eagle in flight

 

Adult bald eagle in flight

 

Juvenile bald eagle in flight

 

Juvenile bald eagle in flight

 

Juvenile bald eagle in flight

 

Juvenile bald eagle in flight

 

Juvenile bald eagle in flight

These next two show how cold and windy it’s been lately, cold enough for the ice to get quite thick, and windy enough that waves were able to break the ice up and throw it on shore.

Ice broken by the wind

 

Ice broken by the wind

 

Ice flow

These two show a small part of the flock of gulls that soar over the landfill looking for scraps of food to eat.

Gulls in flight

 

Gulls in flight

At least there was some sun before the lake effect clouds rolled back in. However, not even the 5D Mk IV captured the colors in the sky the way that I hoped that it would.

The clouds return

Going back to the day when I shot the sunset seen earlier, I shot these photos.

Testing my macro rig

 

Alder? catkins

 

Reflections of a sunny day

 

Reflections of a sunny day 2

 

Loved the colors

 

Sand patterns in black and white

 

Just a rare sunny winter day along Lake Michigan

I think that I made the most out of what little sun we’ve had around here.

Red squirrel eating rose hips

 

Red squirrel eating rose hips

 

Red squirrel eating rose hips

 

Driftwood in black and white

Since this will be my last post for a while, I may as well throw in a few more photos.

Up close with a juvenile bald eagle in flight

 

American crow taking flight

 

The demolition of the Cobb power plant continues

 

A shipwreck from the late 1800’s exposed by winter storms

 

A close-up of the construction of the ship

Okay, I think that’s enough for now, in fact, enough until I return from this short break in my blogging. Not only has the weather taken a turn for the worse, with bitterly cold temperatures forecast for over a week, but this will also give me time to catch up with other things in my life that I’ve been putting off.

I should be back to blogging on a regular basis again towards the end of March, at least I hope that it warms up by then. In the meantime, I’ll do a few more posts of individual species of birds in the My Photo Life List project, but I won’t publicize them, and they will be posted with no comments or likes allowed. Those posts have never been very popular anyway, so I doubt if any one will miss them or the ability to comment on them.

Oh, one more thing, I doubt if I will be commenting on other people’s post for the time being either, at least until there are software updates that allow me to do so without the hassles that I’m facing when I try now. Sorry!

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

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33 responses

  1. Oh, Jerry! What troubles you’ve had! I will miss your posts very much but I understand fully why you need a rest from blogging. Enjoy your time and I look forward to seeing your name in my inbox again.
    Your shots of the alder catkin and cones are wonderful and I love the squirrel eating the rosehips!

    Like

    January 31, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    • Thank you Clare! Not only do I need a short break from blogging, but the weather here is terrible. Yesterday, the temperature barely got above -22 C here, with wind and snow, not a day for shooting photos. also, birds and other wildlife don’t need a photographer trying to get close to them while they are struggling to survive this weather.

      Liked by 1 person

      February 1, 2019 at 8:31 am

      • I do understand! I have been reading about the terrible weather you’ve been having recently. Stay safe, Jerry and enjoy your rest from blogging πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        February 2, 2019 at 6:57 pm

  2. First, a wonderful series of photos showcasing nature, Jerry! Second, you will be missed until your return! And third, please do enjoy your break from blogging. Over my years, I’ve gone in spurts, then take breaks. Sometimes we have to catch up with life and reality, lol. Take care of yourself, stop by and say Hi when you get a chance. 😊

    Like

    January 28, 2019 at 7:49 pm

    • Thank you Donna! I think this is a good time for a break, as bad as the weather is around here, and it isn’t forecast to improve in the near future. I’ll get my spring cleaning done early, and be ready to go when the weather does improve.

      Liked by 1 person

      January 29, 2019 at 8:06 am

  3. Wonderful photo of an icy sunset is just the start of a post with a whole host of other amazing photos! I love the red squirrel, those ice blocks, the large feet on the bald eagle but the best for me is the American crow taking flight! Hope all the computer problems get sorted quickly and the weather doesn’t get too horrendous for you. Looking forward to the end of March already and hope the break from blogging gives you all that you wish for.

    Like

    January 26, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    • Thank you Marianne! It’s funny, I took the crow as a test shot with my older camera to see if what I’ve been learning with my newer camera would help the images from it, and it worked. I picked a good time to take a break, the weather forecast for next week calls for a day when the temperature will never get above -18C, and my next two days off nearly that cold, along with lots of snow. Not only don’t I want to risk my camera gear by subjecting it to that weather, but the birds are going to be struggling to survive, they don’t need photographers bothering them when it’s that cold.

      Liked by 1 person

      January 26, 2019 at 3:04 pm

  4. Awesome photos! Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    January 26, 2019 at 1:17 pm

  5. Enjoy your break, Jerry. I look forward to seeing your splendid pictures once again in the Spring.

    Like

    January 26, 2019 at 10:04 am

  6. It took me a while to understand that shooting birds that are out of camera range is useless. So often I returned home full of hope that at least some of them will be good enough to keep them but after that….delete, delete and again delete.

    I am curious of what point and shoot camera are you interested.

    About posting. If you don’t mind, have you considered searching in your data base for some photos you really enjoy and post from time to time just one photo and a few words? Or maybe you dislike the idea of posting just a single photo and a few words? Sure, I respect your decision, but I was just asking. πŸ™‚
    Anyway, a break is always welcomed, especially when you feel you need one. Take your time and I am sure there will be enough people waiting your posts, as I do.

    Like

    January 26, 2019 at 5:35 am

    • Thank you Cornell! You’re right, you have to be close to birds to get a good photo of them, which is another reason for me to take the break from blogging that I’m planning on. As cold as it’s going to be here, the birds will have a hard time surviving, they don’t need me trying to sneak up close to them in this bitter cold.

      Your question about a point and shoot camera gave me an idea, I should go with a smartphone instead. They are almost as good as a point and shoot, in some respects, better. I’ve been putting off purchasing a smartphone, but a good one would be the answer to shooting photos in the winter.

      I have plenty of unused photos left over from all the way back to the spring of 2018 that I could use in my blog, but I feel like it’s time for a short break, especially with the way that my computer is making everything blogging related difficult.

      Liked by 1 person

      January 26, 2019 at 6:17 am

      • For some landscapes (but not only) , I use my smartphone, too. But you know, I feel the need of zoom, especially when I spot a bird in a tree, next to me.
        I am sorry for all these problems with your computer.

        Like

        January 26, 2019 at 6:51 am

      • I’m still thinking about this, there are many adaptors on the market that will let you mount a smartphone to one side of a pair of binoculars, that would be as good as a point and shoot with a good zoom.

        Liked by 1 person

        January 26, 2019 at 7:11 am

      • Indeed, I have seen some on the Internet, I don’t know if they work fine.

        Like

        January 28, 2019 at 1:59 pm

      • Like anything else, it depends on the quality of the gear and the skill of the user.

        Liked by 1 person

        January 28, 2019 at 3:56 pm

  7. The photos are beautiful as always, Jerry. I particularly love the icy sunset and squirrel eating rosehips.

    Winter in my part of western Oregon has been milder than usual as well. No snow at all so far, this season, and I am glad to be living here instead of New England where the polar vortex went for a spin again recently.

    We will see you when you return. Have a good hiatus!

    Like

    January 25, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    • Thank you Lavinia! I’m happy that some one is having a mild winter, we may have high temperatures later this week that never make it above zero. And as long as it remains that cold, we’ll never see the sun here in Michigan because that cold air coming across the Great Lakes forms clouds that will blanket the state.

      This two month long break will be a good thing, and over with before any one knows it.

      Liked by 1 person

      January 26, 2019 at 6:06 am

      • Our “mild” winter ended in February. We have had several snows, and a couple of power outages. On the bright side, at least the fruit trees won’t bloom too early, as sometimes happens.

        Like

        March 8, 2019 at 12:53 pm

      • I’m happy to hear that some one is having a mild winter, ours has been anything but mild.

        Like

        March 8, 2019 at 9:39 pm

  8. Jerry, I will miss you very much will you take a break. I wholly understand your decision, having recently made the decision to discontinue my own blog, although I haven’t even had enough enthusiasm to write about that.

    Hope you find a way to revive your creative self with a hiatus.

    Love your opening icy shots. Having a bit of snow now makes everything much better, doesn’t it? (If we don’t freeze to death )

    On Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 2:46 PM Quiet Solo Pursuits quietsolopursuits posted: “Well, so far January has been a little milder > than an average year here in West Michigan, however, sunshine has been as > rare as ever so far this winter. I’m also having difficulty in finding > birds other than eagles to photograph, and I’m not entirely sure” >

    Like

    January 25, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    • Thanks Judy! My break will be a short one, just until the weather turns nice and there are more subjects for me to photograph again. With the forecast calling for high temperatures near zero for my next weekend, this seemed like a good time for a break and to catch up on other things.

      I’m sorry the hear that you’re ending your blog, as I did enjoy your adventures and hope to use some of your trips out west in past years as guides for when I visit the same areas.

      Like

      January 25, 2019 at 9:22 pm

  9. It’s too bad that you have to stop from blogging, even for a couple of months. What happened to you was a perfect storm of technical glitches that tend to affect all of us more and more these days. Anyway, please resume your blogging as soon as you can. Otherwise we will all miss images like those you are posting here, or those that I have been admiring for the past three years or more …

    Like

    January 25, 2019 at 8:21 pm

    • Thank you Hien! It isn’t that I have to stop blogging, I feel that it’s time to take a short break while the weather is poor to recharge my blogging battery again. March isn’t that far away, and by then, there should be some sunshine and good subjects to shoot.

      Like

      January 25, 2019 at 9:15 pm

  10. Stunning captures!

    Like

    January 25, 2019 at 6:44 pm

  11. The catkin shot was very good and a tribute to your set up. I liked the last landscape shot a lot.

    I am very sympathetic about having to pay off medical bills. It must make life very difficult.

    Have a good rest and as the others have said, remember that we will miss your posts so don’t stay away too long.

    Like

    January 25, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    • Thanks Tom! The two months will go by quickly and I’m not shooting many good photos this time of year anyway.

      Just 4 more payments and the medical bill is paid off, just in time for spring.

      Like

      January 25, 2019 at 7:05 pm

  12. I love the landscapes in this post and hope you’ll be able to shoot more of them in your time off.
    That’s too bad about the update problems, and that’s exactly why I turn off automatic updates for most of the programs I use.
    Those do look like alder catkins and that cute little squirrel is eating the hips of a multiflora rose, which is very invasive. So that’s how they spread so readily!
    I hope you enjoy your time away. Remember that you’ll be missed!

    Like

    January 25, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    • Thanks Allen! I had the day off from work today and ran errands in town rather than brave the cold, wind, and snow to shoot bad photos, and the forecast is only getting worse for the future.

      I did skip a few updates, and that may be why this one went so badly. But, I’m sure that Apple will get it sorted out after a while.

      I could use a break right now, too many irons on the fire, including getting my retirement accounts in order, and winter is as good of time as any for that.

      Liked by 1 person

      January 25, 2019 at 5:58 pm

  13. Oh dear, I will so miss your posts with all the variety of stunning photographs that you show us and eagerly look forward to the end of March when you will resume.

    Like

    January 25, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    • Thank you Susan! The way the weather is around here, the only photos you’ll miss would be off wind blown snow.

      Like

      January 25, 2019 at 5:35 pm