Friday, February 28, 2014

Can You Say Tired of Winter?

This seems to be like the winter that just won't end.  It was not too bad today but still cool.  Slowly but surely there are signs that hopefully winter is coming to an end.

The hawks were out flying there courtship dance today and seemed quite upset that a pair of owls were vocalizing to each other.   I kept trying to spot the owls but reached a point where I could go no farther in to the marshy area. I was really hoping to get a shot of one.

I only had a little over an hour to look around as I had a class later in the afternoon that I could not miss.  Sunday looks to be a promising weather day so hopefully some good action somewhere.

I sort of laughed at my desperation to see some color and flowers.  When I went by the local farm supply store to pick up a couple of bags of deer chow, I spotted this piece of equipment and thought how it reminded me of some type of strange mechanical flower or mushrooms.  I think a couple of passerby's thought I was a bit crazy out taking photos of this piece of equipment.  Maybe they were right but I liked the colors and the shapes.

As much as I like the color shot, I think it looks really cool in B&W.  A definite focus on form rather than color.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Lovey Dovey

My sister-in-law passed away on Thursday afternoon so I have not had time to get out.  We did a quick planning for a memorial service was yesterday which turned out nice and once it gets warm, we are planning a celebration of life pig-picking.  She wanted people to remember the good times and we will do our best to give her a blow out get together.

I really did not have much heart to go out today but walked around in the yard looking at all the daffodils starting to bloom.  At long last signs of spring are beginning to show.

A pair of doves that had been walking around under the feeder flew up to a near by limb.  They proceeded to groom both individually and as a pair.  They were definitely doing some bonding.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Morning with the Eagles

I had wanted to give the new lens a try on some flight shots so I went with my friend out to the lake.  It did not take long before I became very frustrated.

Finally I decided to increase the tracking sensitivity on the camera settings and began having more success.  I am not entirely happy with the performance of the lens for catching flight shots.  I am not going to make a final judgement without going out and giving it another try.

The the camera was tripod mounted so I had the vibration compensation turned to off.  I am going to give it another try with it turned on.  I am thinking that possibly with the constant panning to follow flight it possibly needed to be turned on.  I think that next time I will also try using the back AF.

We went fairly early and the light was on the wrong side of us.  We plan a visit back in the afternoon when the sun will be in a better position.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Trying a Distance Shot - Tamron 150-600

By mid morning blue skies were finally beginning to come out.  I wanted to take the new lens out just to try a long distance shot.  A friend who had a range finder met me so I could try to get a somewhat accurate estimate.  Since I was shooting across a body of water I had no way to physically measure with a tape.

The resolution of the full shot has been cut down to reduce file size.  According to the range finder, the shot of the Kingfisher is appx. 113.7 feet from where I was standing.

ISO 250
Shutter Speed: 1/640
Aperture:  F8
Focal length:  600mm
Lens:  Tamron 150-600
Camera:  Canon 5D Mk III

The image below was enlarged 50% and cropped to 8 X 10 size.  Not too bad.  The Kingfisher hangs out in these trees and with the 100-400 lens, I could never get a decent shot.  While this is still soft, it is not too bad. Shooting across the water and with the light trees behind, I think a polarizer filter would have helped quite a bit and bumping up the aperture a bit would have given me more depth of field.  It will take me some time to get the feel for this lens but so far I really like it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

New Lens Tryout - Tamron 150-600

My new lens (Tamron 150-600) arrived late Tuesday afternoon.  With the winter weather and precipitation over the last several days I had not been able to get outside and give it a try.  I had been taking some shots through the windows during the snow but decided that was not a fair assessment.  My shots today are also not a full assessment which I hope to really test out Sunday or the first part of next week.  Unfortunately rain is projected for tomorrow.  I hope it holds off!  

All in all, it is indeed a good bargain for the money.  The primary lens I had been using was a Canon 100-400.  It definitely has been a well used and loved lens but needs to go to the shop for a bit of refurbishing and a good cleaning.  With spring coming up, I did not want to be without a long lens for the migration season so I began looking around back in December.  I debated for some time before doing a pre-order but figured what the heck.  I could always have it for a back-up lens or sell if I was not happy with it.

While yes, it does have some weight to it, as one would expect, it is not so heavy that I could not easily take it off the tripod and whip out a few hand held chase shots of a hawk flying by.  I am not saying that I could hand hold it all day but if need arises, it is not a problem.
It is definitely a bright day lens without having to use a high ISO.  I found on mine, F8-F10 produces acceptable shots.  Tried some at F11 which turned out nice but I was then pushing up the ISO.  I am looking forward to going out and setting up some test shots to really give the lens a good testing.
It does tend to hunt a bit sometimes, but when I had it on the tripod, a quick manual adjustment and a half press of the shutter button it focused quickly.    I like the position and ease of the focus ring.  It really comes in handy.

While trying out the lens today, I began noticing that the Yellow-rumped Warblers are very definitely beginning to molt to their breeding colors.  I saw one whose mask was almost completely black.  A sure sign spring is on the way

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Dark-eyed Junco
Waiting for the next round of snow which should begin anytime now.  It is absolutely miserable outside and I am sooooo tired of the snow already.  Unfortunately we are supposed to get another couple of inches this afternoon.  Hopefully this is winter's last appearance.

Carolina Chickadee

To try and make something positive, hopefully all of the cold will help in decreasing the number of spring insects such as ticks and fleas.  The last couple of years have been tough since there was not much cold winter weather.

Tufted Titmouse

Against a background of white, even the most subtle of color stands out. While the brightly colored birds stand out, there is also an appreciation for the more subtle colored birds and objects.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

More Winter Weather

The past week has been busy with family issues so no time for photography.  My brother was seriously injured in a high fall and was hospitalized for four days.  The surgeon said he was lucky to be alive.  Recovery will be a long time coming.

My sister-in-law was moved to a hospice on Monday also so I have been trying to spend time with my nephew.With both of his parents in bad shape, he is having a hard go of it.  It is way more than a nine year old child should be having to deal with.

The last two days have been spent preparing for the winter storm.  Snow started a little after 11:00 and quickly has covered the ground.  I can deal with the snow but it is the high potential for freezing rain that worries me.  I just really hate the thought of losing power.  I spent the morning checking out the generator and hopefully making sure I am set if the power goes out.

My new lens (Tamron 150-600) came in late yesterday and I am anxious to give it a go.  I don't think a fair analysis of it can be made given the current weather conditions and gray sky.  I have always used Canon lenses so not sure how the 3rd party brand will stack up.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Ice Dancer

Swan Lake imitation