Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Day Hike

It has been way too long since Morris and I took a long hike through our woods and through the neighbor's woods.

Yesterday afternoon I grabbed some water, my pistol [hubby had watched a coyote run through our pasture yesterday morning, ... thus the pistol], Morris, his leash, and my camera back pack.

I took along my micro/macro lens, and the 35mm lens. Now one would say those two lenses are too close to do me any good but, I ended up making good use of each lens.

My trusted camera assistant was able to find our trails even though they were hidden by fallen leaves and a bit overgrown.
Of course he has travelled these trails with me since he was a pup.  Good Morris, you are a fabulous navigator.

One of the first very cool things we found was several trees that were surrounded by fungi!  I kept expecting a woodland faerie to appear.

Silly me, I didn't check to see if the dead trees were all the same kind of trees.

Anyway, we finally made onto the ridge on PeeWee's Land.  This area has been not been pastured now for 10 years and it is becoming quite the chore to get through certain areas.

But the view of the East hillside was pretty beautiful.  I used a polarized lens in this shot to bring out the color and to keep the sky from washing out.

The meadow was so overgrown that Morris and I had to fight our way through the weeds on what used to be an old cow trail.  
The area is now choked with Wild Parsnip and the Golden Rod is taller than I am.

We used the snow mobile trail to get around because cutting through the woods is no longer possible.

The creek crossing was hidden in lush weeds.

I heard Morris plop into the water and take a long cool drink.

Eventually we made it out of the woods and onto the crop land.  The walking was easier.  I can see by this corn, it looks ready to harvest.

Morris and I made it back home after hiking about 2 1/2 miles of hills.  I was tired and so was Morris.
He went into his crate and literally looked as though he were dripping out of it.

Today is our rest day, tomorrow Morris visits the vet to get a shot and check up.  I think he needs his teeth cleaned also...his breath is pretty foul.

After our appointment Morris and I are going to head over to Duck Egg Park and see if we can't get some shots of the dam and the Bad Axe River.

So today, we rest.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fun with Infared

Getting a Hoya IR72 filter was something I considered for quite a while.  I was pretty sure though that I wouldn't be able to figure out the processing part of it.

With many hours of experimentation, I am getting some fun results.

Some are quite stunning and of course others are quite the flop.  The flops go into the digital trash bin and I learn from the mistakes.

I forgot one day and shot in .jpeg, but still was able to get some interesting results.

For the above shot I had to rely on Topaz Adjust tones to help out.

This shot was red and I thought I would not be able to save it in any way.
I did shoot in RAW so was able to work with colors and tones.

Finally, something I could live with. It is still somewhat a 'flop' as it has a slight white area in the middle of the shot.
I think that may have been some reflection on the lens.
With some deft dodging and burning I could have it cleaned up in no time.

My newest thing is to try a long exposure with water.  This was a bit trickier because the leaves are turning colors and it makes for a very different result.

However, I like it as an 'almost black and white' shot.  The greens are white and the other colors are varies shades of the selenium tone I chose.

Happy Shooting!  Fall is here.  It is one of the happiest times of the year for me and my cameras.

Silliness abounds on the Farm

Really?  What IS the hold up?

Mustang Sally

So you've got a camera and I want to be a star!

Is this my better side?

Or perhaps you want a face on?

As you can see none of the other herd members are interested in getting portraits done!

There is of course...that lazy no good Jack Russell...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

35mm Prime Nikon Lens

I went ahead and did it.  I ordered a new Prime lens for my Nikon cameras.
I received it yesterday, a 35mm lens.

I ran a quick test on it when I got home, shooting in very low light in the house.

Here is my test subject wrapped in camouflage.  I couldn't get a good shot in anything other than an f stop of 1.8 but the hairs on his nose came out crystal clear and I was rather close to him.

Morris really wasn't too excited about having a camera lens shoved in his face.  But he allowed me to wrap him up in the sheet for the photo.
Good dog.

So this morning I decided to take the lens for a test run on my Nikon D3200.  

I was not disappointed.
However since I didn't check the status of the camera's battery before I left, I had to pick and choose my shots very carefully.
Reminder to self.  Check your battery!  I thought two bars was good enough but very quickly it became one bar.

Here is a shot that is cropped shot at f4, 320, ISO 100. The colors came out wonderfully accurate and very little noise for shooting predawn.

With a slight edit, I was able to pull out some more detail.

So I did a few more shots.  These are cropped a bit specifically to take out a bit of the foreground.
I did purchase the lens for both portraits and landscapes.

[The horizon is not crooked this is a hilly area!]

I'm perfectly happy with this lens.  For landscapes it gives me a broader view.  This of course leaves me in a quandary.  
I have a harder time deciding which lens to put on the camera for taking a hike.

Thank goodness for my new little sling backpack, I can pack two lenses along with the camera and change them easily.

The colors are beginning to look bright in the trees so I guess you can figure out what I am going to try and do today.

Yep, laundry, house cleaning, and ... a field trip to look for cool fall things.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Dawn of Autumn, Pink Foggy Sunrise

I grabbed a to go cup of coffee, slung the camera bag over my shoulder and grabbed my FujiFilm point and shoot camera.  It does so well in a pinch and can offer up some incredible shots.

The sky and the fog was pink!  And the fog was heavy even in places on the ridge.

I drove down to Black Bottom Creek to see if the fog indeed shrouded the valleys.

I found ducks in pink fog.

I didn't want to miss day break so I drove back up on top of the ridge to try and find a great spot to 'catch' the first day of Autumn.

Indeed it was worth waiting for.  I leaned up against the Subaru and kept thinking...'Wow, Wow...Wow!'

Time literally flew by and by 7am, the sun made its appearance.

Welcome fall.  I look forward to your cooler temperatures and wild brilliant colors.
I think someone equated Fall as Spring in reverse.

We ended the day by going out to Jersey Valley to do some fishing.  Well hubby fished, I took some photos and then sat on the bank with him while he fished.

It was a beautiful way to end the first day of Autumn.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Jersey Valley County Park, Vernon County

One of the most overlooked places to hike and enjoy is Jersey Valley County Park.

Yesterday afternoon Morris and I piled into the Subaru and took off to the Park.

We decided to explore the trail that runs around the shoreline halfway around the man made lake.  It is not a well used trail, but we sure enjoyed it.

Morris probably appreciated this trail a bit more as I was able to let him off leash to walk.  On the main trail I kept him leashed.  We actually had this trail to ourselves and while we were there we only saw a runner on the main trail.

The colors are not spectacular yet, but the sun was warm and the breeze was nice and cool.  Our hike turned out to be very enjoyable.

Morris and I found an old picnic table near the shore.  It has been there a long time, but it looked like an inviting place to stop and rest.
The picnic table served as a good place to also use my tripod to set up an infrared shot.

Infrared shot: See the patterns in the water?  That is the weeds on the surface of the lake floating about in the 30 second exposure.

We ended up taking the main trail back around on the west side of the lake instead of hiking all of the way around the lake.  I wanted to get home to cook a nice supper and still have plenty of time for helping with chores.

Before we left Morris and I ran into a farmer who brought his sons to the beach along with their golden retriever/mix named Josephine.  She was a beautiful dog and she and Morris exchanged pleasantries.

I went up onto the dam and found a brilliant spot of color along the shore.

While we were there more people began to show up to the park.  A few had dogs.  A woman tried to walk past Morris and I and her huge black lab was incredibly bad mannered and difficult for her to handle.

I picked up Morris and stepped further away from her as her dog growled and lunged nearly taking the owner off her feet.

My second worry was that her dog was going to get loose and knock my camera and tripod down in an effort to get at Morris.
I wanted to really ask her why she was taking such an ill mannered dog out in public?

I just watched and was thankful that I hadn't run into them on the trail.

By 5pm a lot of people were showing up to take walks and enjoy the nice September day.

I gathered my things and decided to return in the early morning to see if I could get some shots of steam rising off the lake at sunrise.

Well, that is for another post entirely, as it became one more adventure...

I want to get back to another beautiful county park, Duck Egg and see if I can't get down into the Bad Axe River and take some shots of the water running over the rocks.

Happy Trails!  Get out and enjoy!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Unexpected Things

I know that I may have let some of my fellow bloggers down by not writing about my fun and crazy adventures with mules.
This year I haven't ridden any mule since March.  Most of my free time is spent taking a little breather while hiking with my cameras.

I hadn't even been on PeeWee's most of the summer.  I went for a stroll last weekend and decided to try another 'corn tunnel' shot.  
I was happy to find just the right spot and take this shot.  
PeeWee's is now so horribly overgrown that it is very difficult to hike through. 
I've had to go elsewhere to get hiking in.

Thank goodness for our wonderful county parks and nearby state parks!

So yesterday I was doing chores when I came across several little surprises....

I found these little mushrooms popping up overnight after a 1 1/2" rainfall.  They lifted the acorn right off the ground.
I noticed these while feeding the hounds and went back to my house to grab my camera with the micro/macro lens.

I was fortunate enough to catch a couple of shots of the King Solomon's Seal after the rain, the berries are black under this graceful arched plant.

The bright morning light was diffused through the oak canopy and I couldn't resist squatting under the plant to catch a shot of the wet seeds.

I sort of wonder why I haven't noticed them before this spring.  Perhaps I was always too busy getting ready to go do something else and not really looking around at things behind the shed.
After all that portion of the property is pretty unexciting.
Well, until the other day!

This time of the year is fairly busy for unexpected guests in the form of ground bees and other interesting insects.  I found this guy pretty content to sit on the side of our trailer and let me try to get a decent shot of him.

However to get a look at the ground bees I used my long lens.  Normally I just avoid these aggressive bees, but they are occupying a hole in the dirt right under the south side door.

I guess one of the things I really dislike about September is these horrid little fellows.

If you leave them alone I guess they will eventually go away.  They are using a mole or vole burrough to build their nest deep underground.  These little nasties are yellow jackets and will sting you with a vengeance if you disturb their nest.

I was able to sit very quietly and adjust my camera to grab a few very quick shots of these going in and out of the hole.