Saturday, July 22, 2017

Today's nutch

WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH, GREEN, MICHIGAN, JULY 22, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax F* 300mm f4.5 with Pentax 1.4x converter (420mm)
1/400 sec. f7.1
ISO 1600

Usually seen at our feeders as loners, this species has taken to visiting in pairs, and perhaps because of that tends to perch on the feeders for a longer time instead of quickly grabbing a sunflower seed and dashing away. That makes it easier to compose and snap a picture of the quicksilver little creatures.



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Thimbleberry

THIMBLEBERRY (RUBUS PARVIFLORUS), HOONAH, ALASKA, JUNE 19, 2017

iPhone 6s
4.15mm lens
1/120 sec. f2.2
ISO 25

I'd thought the thimbleberry was limited to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, but it's actually quite common from Alaska to the Great Lakes. Its soft, raspberry-like fruit doesn't keep well and hence is never seen in supermarkets, but makes excellent jam. The intricately veined leaves clearly are photogenic—and make excellent emergency TP.



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Red squirrel

RED SQUIRREL, GREEN, MICHIGAN, JULY 10, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5
1/400 sec. f5.6
ISO 1600

The red squirrel may be a pest, but it certainly is photogenic.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Black-legged Kittiwakes

BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES, HOMER, ALASKA, JUNE 27, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax 55-300 at 300mm
1/1600 sec. f8
ISO 1600

I shot this pair of gulls from the balcony of our high verandah stateroom aboard the Holland-America cruise liner Amsterdam, moored at the Alaskan port of Homer, where hundreds of thousands of the birds had converged on the docks to nest.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Merganserlings

COMMON MERGANSERS, GREEN, MICHIGAN, JUNE 8, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5
1/800 sec f4.5
ISO 400

It was a cloudy 8 a.m. when this train of merganserlings swam by our cabin in Mama's wake, not the best conditions for photography. But even with the lens wide open and with the image heavily cropped, an acceptable photograph resulted.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Today's chippie

CHIPPING SPARROW, GREEN, MICHIGAN, JUNE 7, 2017

Pentax K-5
Pentax 55-300 at 300mm
1/400 sec. f8
ISO 400

This finch-sized sparrow is common on our feeders in the Upper Peninsula. Only occasionally can I capture one calling to its comrades, as this one seems to be doing.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Today's red-bellied


RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, GREEN, MICHIGAN, JUNE 7, 2017

Both:
Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5 with Pentax HD 1.4x converter (420mm)
Top: 1/640 sec. Bottom: 1/1250 sec. Both at f6.7

I had been set up for bird-in-flight photography, hence the high ISO, but I wish I had dialed back to ISO 400 and f8 for these shots at rest on the feeders. The image quality would have been better. Still, they're OK, especially for Internet use.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Levitation

RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, GREEN, MICHIGAN, JUNE 6, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5
1/2500 sec. f5.6
ISO 1600

Continuing my experiments with on-the-fly bird photography, here's a red-breasted nuthatch launching itself into the air after snatching a peanut from one of our feeders. It's not easy to photograph these birds. They tend to land on a feeder for less than half a second before grabbing a tidbit and vamoosing into the woods. I just got lucky.


Short final to touchdown

GOLDFINCH, GREEN, MICHIGAN, JUNE 6, 2017

Both photos:
Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5
1/3200 sec. f4.5
ISO 1600

I've been experimenting with action bird photography in the last two days. The old film-era Pentax 300 is super-sharp from center to corner even wide open and makes a good lens for this kind of work. The trick is to nail the focus, which didn't quite happen in these two consecutive frames, but came acceptably close.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Chipping sparrow

CHIPPING SPARROW, GREEN, MICHIGAN, JUNE 5, 2017

Pentax K-5
Pentax 55-300 at 300mm
1/500 sec. f8
ISO 400

Cheerful little chipping sparrows hang around our feeders with the finches all day. Similarly colored tree sparrows also sport brown beanies but are distinguished by the black spots on their chests as well as their larger size.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Mr.and Ms. Purple Finch

MALE AND FEMALE PURPLE FINCHES, GREEN, MICHIGAN, JUNE 2, 2017

Both photos:
Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5
1/800 sec. f8
ISO 400

Within ten minutes, both finches posed atop a bird feeder standard in the back yard of our cabin on Lake Superior.

So far this wet early summer we have seen geese, mallards, crows, blue jays, mourning doves, goldfinches, indigo buntings, purple finches, pine siskins, downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, rose-breasted grosbeaks and ruby-throated hummingbirds.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Nigel feeding his fat little face

CHIPMUNK, GREEN, MICHIGAN, JUNE 1, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5
1/1000 sec. f6.3
ISO 400

People are always asking me how I know this is Nigel. It's easy. The score or more of chipmunks in our back yard are all named Nigel. Nigel One, Nigel Two, Nigel Here, Nigel There, Nigel Over There . . .

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Today's red-bellied

RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, GREEN, MICHIGAN, JUNE 1, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax F* 300mm f4.5
1/800 sec. f8
ISO 400

Perfect sunlight, perfect exposure, but a man-made stage. Still, it's not bad, and I'm happy with it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hummer in the sun

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD, GREEN, MICHIGAN, MAY 30, 2017

Pentax K-5
Pentax 55-300 at 200mm
1/1600 f8
ISO 1600

After three days of trying to get a hummingbird portrait in rainy and cloudy conditions, I just happened to be by the camera when the sun emerged briefly.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Jay in a huff


BLUE JAY, GREEN, MICHIGAN, MAY 27, 2017

Both photos:
Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5 with Pentax HD 1.4x converter (420mm)
1/200 sec. (above) and 1/250 sec. (below) f8
ISO 400

These two pictures of the same jay were taken seconds apart.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Today's grosbeak

ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, GREEN, MICHIGAN, MAY 27, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5 plus Pentax HD 1.4x converter
1/125 sec f9
ISO 400

Each day I try to take a better picture of the male grosbeaks that brighten up our feeders, and this is the latest effort. Ideally neither the feeder nor the fence in the background would be visible, but I'll take what I can get.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Male of the species

MALE GOLDFINCH, GREEN, MICHIGAN, MAY 20, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5 with Pentax HD 1.4x extender (420mm)
1/320 sec. f8
ISO 200

Our back yard feeders are assaulted by dozens of goldfinches of both sexes all the time, cheering up the recent gray, rainy and drab days a great deal.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Downy woodpecker

DOWNY WOODPECKER, GREEN, MICHIGAN, MAY 21, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5 with Pentax HD 1.4x converter (420mm)
1/200 sec. f6.3
ISO 1600

Not the best angle (from an open kitchen window) but at least it's a reasonable rendition of the female downy woodpecker that haunts our neck of the woods. We haven't seen the male yet.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Female goldfinch

FEMALE GOLDFINCH, GREEN, MICHIGAN, MAY 13, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5 plus Pentax HD 1.4x converter (420mm)
1/320 sec/ f8
ISO 400

Compared to the male of its species, the female goldfinch's coloring is dull and drab. Some individuals, however, are brighter than others, and this is one.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Purple Finch

PURPLE FINCH, GREEN, MICHIGAN, MAY 13, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5 with Pentax HD 1.4x converter (420mm)
1/500 sec. f8
ISO 400

In summers past we would see only one or two purple finches on our feeders, but this year at least half a dozen have taken up station in the woods nearby. They stand out among the hordes of goldfinches and pine siskins that jostle for birdseed.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, GREEN, MICHIGAN, MAY 13, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5 plus Pentax HD 1.4x converter (420mm)
1/320 sec. f8
ISO 400

Every year a few examples of this spectacularly colored species visit our feeders in the back yard of our cabin on Lake Superior, and the first one arrived May 15.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Red-bellied Woodpecker

RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, GREEN, MICHIGAN, MAY 13, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5 with Pentax HD 1.4x converter (420mm)
1/800 sec. f8
ISO 400

Why they call it "red-bellied" I have no idea. This gorgeous male of the species—the first one we've ever seen here—lives in the woods close to our cabin on the shore of Lake Superior and pays frequent visits to our feeders.



Saturday, May 13, 2017

Pine Siskin

PINE SISKIN, GREEN, MICHIGAN, MAY 12, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5 plus Pentax HD 1.4x converter (420mm)
1/160 sec. f8
ISO 200

These peppy little finches are swarming with their close cousins, goldfinches and purple finches, on our backyard feeders. In the past they seemed to be relatively rare but this summer almost outnumber the others.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Portrait of a heron

GREAT BLUE HERON, CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN, APRIL 23, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax 55-300 at 300mm
1/500 sec. f8
ISO 400

The garden's Great Blues are rarely where you want them—they tend to feed way across the lagoon out of effective photo range—but this one obligingly stalked through reeds just ten yards from a path along the western edge of Evening Island.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Red-winged Blackbird

RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN, APRIL 23, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax 55-300 at 300mm
1/1000 sec. f8
ISO 400

It's mating season, and the red flashes on the wings of the bird are at their brightest. These blackbirds are common all over the Botanic Garden and the trick is catching them when they're at rest, which is not often.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Great Blue Heron

GREAT BLUE HERON, CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN, APRIL 23, 2017

Pentax K-3
Pentax 55-300 at 170mm
1/400 sec. f8
ISO 400

Finally broke a long drought of good wildlife photos with this shot of a Great Blue along one of the Garden's lagoons. Only the obvious man-made edge of the lagoon, visible just beneath the surface of the water, spoils the picture, but not too much.