Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sunny Day Macro!

This morning and early afternoon was just grand. Sunshine and warmer temps.
Went looking for some moreals, but only found one. Just a bit to early yet...a few more days. The best thing about this morning was...I found a blooming wildflower. This species of flower is a new flower for me. The Carolina Spring-beauty is one I have over looked. They look so much like the common spring beauty that I just never paid attention to them. The Spring Beauty has narrow leaves and the Carolina broader leaves. Another thing about today is my Mom and I spent a few hours together. We both enjoyed the morning and she spotted the first Mourning Cloak Butterfly. Than this afternoon I photographed the Bloodroot before it blooms. A few more days and it will be in bloom. Yellow Trout Lilies are not far behind.
 Carolina Spring-beauty
 Bloodroot Flower Bud
Bloodroot Close Up

Friday, April 29, 2011

Just one of those days!

I worked in the yard all day and when I was done for the day I tried to take some photos. At the time it was a good idea, but I was and am so tired and wore out I could not really focus on what I was doing. I did however get a few shots, but not really what I was after. It was a really nice day out and just being able to take some images of green leaf buds was enough for me. This morning I was able to get a few shots of water drops before they all fell off. I do think our spring is finally here. The Bloodroot and Spring Beauties are close to blooming. Tomorrow my Mom and I are going in search of Moreal mushrooms and I will also be searching for subjects to shoot. If we find any I will pick and take photos, but most likely will take photos.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tired of Rain!

I'm so tired of all the rain, but we do need it. The grass is really green now and the leaf buds are just waiting to explode. The weather forecast is calling for warmer at least that is good news. I was just going through some image files from last summer and I keep going back to this image. It is my favorite sunset photo from last year. This was taken near the overlook on the Mio Pond. The locals call it the is part of the AuSable River. The pond is held by the Mio is the first dam on the AuSable River. There are 5 dams on the AuSable River...Mio, Alcona, Loud, Five Channels and Cooke. The river is a great fisheries and really enjoyable to float down. I will be doing some canoe camping trips this summer on the upper part of the river. I should say above the backwaters. This part of the river is truly beautiful.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More rain!

Well another day of heavy rains, but now the sun is out and breezy.
I was able to get out and try to find that perfect drop, but no luck yet. I have been playing with my extension tubes. They are always fun to see those things we over look. Anyways, today I took the two images you see below. Everything is really greening up and it looks so nice. 


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rain and Macro!

Been raining most of the day, but when it stopped I went out in the yard and did some macro shooting.
The lawn is turning green and buds on the lilacs are close to opening. I checked on the Bloodroot and it is growing quickly. Should have some blossoms next week. I really tried to find the perfect drop of water today, but none that I was happy with. Preparing the hummingbird feeders and putting them out in a few days. Been planting seeds  in containers and getting ready for spring planting.

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Life

It is starting to green up and life is starting to show.
Buds are opening and the green of new leaves are peaking out for the first time this year. I seen a jumping spider today...another good sign things are coming to life. The bloodroot is growing quickly and should be almost ready to bloom by late next week. It sure has been a long winter and I'm ready for spring.
 Rose Leaf Buds

Gooseberry Leaf

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Save or Delete

Sometimes I keep all images I take...bad or good.
 Like today I took 3 quick shots of a fast moving Brown Creeper. I see why they have that name...around and around the tree went the creeper. This little bird gave me a challenge, but I was only able to get 3 shots before it flew. Some days things work out and some today it is a total flop. I had my settings on the camera set for macro shooting and forgot to change the settings. So I quickly changed lens and took the shot. I was so excited seeing a creeper that I did not even realize what my settings were. This don't happen very often, but when it does it can either be a good thing or like today... a bad thing. So I have decided to keep this image until I get a better one. I will file this image under.... (Not so good shots.)
I only see creepers a few times a year and each time they seem to elude me in getting any good shots. I noticed that  the spring beauties and bloodroots are peaking through the ground. I also found some trailing arbutus with flower buds on them. It won't be long and the woods will come to life with flowers.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lost and Found

Sometimes I amaze myself...
I was going through some old image files from years ago. When I found this image of morning dew drops on some grass. It was my first attempt at shooting this kind of shot. Plus I was just getting used to a digital camera. The switch from slide to digital was easy, but learning all the buttons took some time. I remember this morning...I had just woke up and took the canoe out on the pond. I was paddling slowly along the shore when I found this image. I have also found many other images I have forgotten about.
Wishing everyone a Happy Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wildflowers and Bumblebees.

I'm waiting for that day when I can sit down and look at wildflowers again. It has been a long winter and I need that refreshing sight. A forest full of flowers and the scent they produce is so calming. Most of the snow we got the other day is gone and I am happy about that. The feeders are full of birds again and I have filled the feeders twice today. Another thing I enjoy is watching the bumblebees work the flowers. I am really interested in finding the hive of the orange marked bumblebees that I have in my yard each year. Most bumblebees are marked with Yellow and Black. Rarely are they marked with you can see in the blended image of two bumblebees. 
I'm also dreaming of the day the forests are filled with wildflowers again.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Sunny Day!

It has been a sunny and warm day...46 degrees and the snow is melting.
Not only has it been a nice day, but the feeders have been busy all day. Seen the first Eastern Towhee this morning. Also had a Brown Thrasher again today. It won't be long and I will be out there looking for the long awaited wildflowers. I'm so tired of this snow and now that it seems to be warming up I am getting excited.
 Eastern Towhee
Fox Squirrel
I am also changing my watermark...since my web site and all my other photo pages are connected I thought this would be better. I hope everyone has a great day and get out and enjoy the great outdoors.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Full Bird Feeders

Ever since daybreak the feeders have been busy.
As soon as it got light enough I was shooting some photos of the feeding birds.
My favorite of the day was the Fox Sparrow.
Fox Sparrow
This lone Fox Sparrow was a challenge to shot...he stayed under the snow covered Mock Orange bush. Since it was still a bit dark out and heavy cloud cover I had to use a high ISO. Plus I only had one clear opening to get any shots. Now that all the snow is off the bush they have moved to another spot in the yard.
The Slate-colored Juncos were everywhere and are always fun to watch. The Juncos are fixed in membership and have a hierarchy. Aggression at feeders is expression of dominance. They also return to the same areas each winter. So, now that the snow is done falling and a warm up is on the way I hope to start seeing more spring migrants.
 Slate-colored Junco
Slate-colored Junco

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More Snow!


 I wish it would make up it's mind...Spring or Winter.

 I have had so many species of birds here today. Well over 100 species of blackbirds. Grackles, Cowbirds, Red-wing Blackbirds plus all the Juncos and other Sparrows. Even a Brown thrasher stopped by to get in on the smorgasbord of free food. It started snowing a few minutes past 3 pm. The light was fading as I sat at the open window trying to get a few shots of the feeding birds. I did get a few decent shots, but I will be up early in the morning trying again.
 American Tree Sparrow
 Slate-colored Junco
 American Tree Sparrow
Slate-colored Junco

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fox Squirrel

I just found out that a Fox Squirrel has a nest in my eves. She has young ones too! I found the hole she gets in and now as soon as the little ones leave I have to plug it. In the meantime I can enjoy the little ones and try to get some photos of them. lots of birds feeding at the feeders today....right now I see a big plump Fox Sparrow scratching for food. They are such a beautiful bird.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Well I have not been very active with my camera today. I watched movies and did a little shooting of woodpeckers at the feeder today. It has been really windy and cold with snow falling all day. I guess it is spring in Michigan. Last year I was out shooting wildflowers already. I guess things will be a little slower this spring, but once it does warm up things will grow fast. Many species of birds at feeders today.

 Juncos, American Tree Sparrows, House Sparrows, Blue Jays, Redwing Blackbirds, Common Grackle, Tuffted Titmouse, Black-capped Chickadees, American Goldfinches, Robin, Mourning Doves, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Starlings and many squirrels.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rainy Day Blues!

It has been raining most of the day. I did get out between rain showers and took some shots of raindrops. We really need this will bring out the green and help things grow. I am looking forward to getting out and shooting more. Raindrops give me a challenge...most times you have to work quick and try not to bump the plant. Mostly it just takes a little skill to move in close. A few times today I was just about to take the shot and the drop fell I just moved on and looked for another drop.

Over the winter I learned some tricks on how to get good reflections inn the drops. So when the flowers start to bloom going to give it a try. When this happens I will share it with you. Hope everyone is having a great weekend. I know I am even if it is wet.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Nodding Trillium

Each day it gets closer to warmer weather. The Trout Lilies, Bloodroot, and Spring Beauties are peeking up through the ground. The Nodding Trillium is one flower I am going to seek out again this spring. It really gave me a tough time trying to get a good shot. The flower hangs under the leaves and is hard to get a clear shot. So, I am going to try a different approach to shooting this not so common flower.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Waiting for the forests to green up and wildflowers to start. In the meantime I have been shooting some other subjects. I had a huge dead oak tree cut down last fall and left the stump. Some of the bark fell of this winter and exposed the wood of the tree. Insects left there marks and the cracks turned into a great subject to shoot. There is so much to shoot in your back yard and garden when you get down low and look. I have had many strange looks from my neighbors as I'm laying on the lawn and crawling around the yard.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Unexpected Visitor

This afternoon I made a temporary bird bath until I put in the small pond for the birds. Anyways, I had just filled it with water and went inside. I sat down and looked out the window and spotted a yellow spot in the bush. I watched as a yellow warbler flew down to check out the water. I grabbed my camera, but was to late. Later on around 6:50 pm I looked out the window and was watching American Tree Sparrows when the warbler flew in. This time I was able to get a few images. 
No matter where I go I have my camera next to never know. 
I am designing this bird bath so I can get photos of birds at the local yard watering hole. 
A little digging and cement and rocks in the right place I will have a nice set up. 

I hope the birds don't mind me spying on them taking baths.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jumping Spider

Today was another beautiful spring day. The high reached 55 degrees and it brought out a few spiders. This jumping spider made his appearance on a rock next to my pond. I was only able to get one quick shot. Jumping spiders don't hold still long, but once in awhile I find one that will hold still for some shots. Jumping spiders are one of the first species to come out in the spring followed by the wolf spider. Every year I search for them and enjoy watching them. They fascinate me and the closer I get to them the better. Going to do a little more spider photography this year than I have done in the past. The season has just begun and I'm loving every minute of it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spending Time

I have watched many photographers set up there tripod. Compose the shot and take only one shot and leave. I don't understand how one shot would be enough. I have always taken at least 6 shots when I was shooting slide film. Now that I shoot digital I take many and I still don't think I have enough. One day I found some Pink Pyrola growing along the pond. I had never seen it grow anywhere else where you could count plant after plant. Before I even took any shots I looked over each flower searching for the right one. So I have often wondered how many shots is enough. No one flower is the same and each year they may look the same, but they differ a little. The way the light hits them or dew on how many is enough? I think for most it is an easy question. 
For me one shot is never enough.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rain Drop

Been stormy right after it rained this morning I went out in the yard to see if I could get a few shots of raindrops. I had to work quick with a light breeze starting. Finding a subject this early in spring is easy to do, but I had to look at each drop to find what I wanted. Finding the right subject is something that should be done. No matter what it is...always take the time to look and when the right is right one must work faster. That is why it is good to know your camera functions and what settings would work best.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sunsets of my all time favorite subjects to shoot. The color, light, and the many changes that can happen in a few minutes. When the light is right and you have clouds you can take some great shots. I just don't shoot the landscape at sunset, but the clouds. The two images you see here were taken just before a storm and the light was great. I used my 300mm to isolate a small section of clouds and took a number of shots as the light changed. So next time you are out shooting sunsets, take a look at the clouds. They hold magic and sometimes better than the whole grand sunset shot.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Researching your Subject.

I always research my subject first before I go on a shoot...unless I know the subject well enough to pass the research up. Like the Bloodroot It is a very unique flower. I have went out many times on a cloudy day so I would not have harsh light, but found out these flowers only bloom when the sun is shinning.

Bloodroot is a variable species growing from 6-12 inches tall, normally with one large, sheath-like basal multi-lobed leaf. The flowers are produced from March to May, with 8-12 delicate white petals and yellow reproductive parts. The flowers appear over clasping leaves while blooming. Plants are variable in leaf and flower shape and have in the past been separated out as different subspecies due to these variable shapes; currently most taxonomic treatments lump these different forms into one highly variable species. Bloodroot stores sap in an orange colored rhizome, that grows shallowly under or at the soil surface. Over many years of growth, the branching rhizome can grow into a large colony. Plants start to bloom before the foliage unfolds in early spring and after blooming the leaves expand to their full size and go summer dormant in mid to late summer. Plants are found growing in moist to dry woods and thickets, often on flood plains and near shores or streams on slopes, they grow less frequently in clearings and meadows or on dunes, and are rarely found in disturbed sites. The flowers are pollinated by small bees and flies, seeds develop in elongated green pods and ripen before the foliage goes dormant. The seeds are round in shape and when ripe are black to orange-red in color. Deer will feed on the plants in early spring.

So if your not sure about a subject try doing some research on it. You might be surprised how much you don't know of the subject you are going in search of. The Bloodroot will be blooming in a few weeks and it is one of my favorite spring flowers.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Learning Patience

When I was younger my Dad taught me patience. He took me flyfishing and taught me to wait for the right time to move in on a fish that was feeding. He taught me to sit on the river bank and watch the waters surface for a trout to rise. I still flyfish and still have the patience he taught me. Now I use that patience while I'm out taking photographs. The hummingbird moth is a swift and fast flyer and don't hold still long. They move in on a flower and feed quickly form one blossom to another. So I sit and wait and wait for one to come to the flower I'm sitting by. It don't always work, but when it does it is a joy to be close to one of these small creatures. So patience is a big part of my photography. Waiting for the right light...the right sunset or flower to bloom.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Isolating Details

The two images you see here were taken along the South-branch of the AuSable River.
I had stopped on a sandbar to take a break from sitting in my canoe and I noticed this leaf and
bird tracks. So I set up my tripod and composed the first image, but I wanted more detail so I framed just the leaf and a smaller part of the sand and river. When I'm shooting subjects like this I always try to get a more detailed shot of the scene. Sometimes a more detailed shot is better, but in this case I like both images. The same goes for wildflowers and other subjects. I always move in for a more detailed shot. So next time your out shooting...move in for a closer and more detailed shot. You might be surprised at the outcome.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Showing Life in an Image

The two images you see here are of the same Running Crab Spider. They were taken in the midday time to find these fast little spiders. When I shoot spiders, insects...etc. I try to show some kind of life (movement) in the subject. The first image is simple and straight forward. The second one gives the spider a sense of life. What I mean by this...the spider is on the edge of the lily leaf about to go underneath it. Instead of showing a plain and simple shot of a spider I chose to give the subject a sense of life by waiting for it to move into a more interesting place. Sometimes I wait for a spider to move into the right spot to give it a sense of life. Not all spiders are easy to do this with, so I look for a way to give the spider a sense of belonging to it's surroundings. Like a spider feeding on an insect or spinning a web. Jumping spiders are a real challenge. They don't like to hold still long, so you must be quick like them. The world of the spider is interesting so get out there and take a closer look.