Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Swan Family

Monday morning I went over to the park to see if the swans were still there. To my surprise, they were. I don't know what they're eating as all the plant life is pretty much gone for the year. After the rain and snow yesterday I'd be surprised if they're still there today.

The young swan just finished searching the bottom for something to eat.

One of the parents.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

North Bay Park - November

Here are the pictures for November. They were taken on the 17th.

This tree still had a full mantle of color which surprised me as most of the trees were bare.

The swans were still in the park. One of the parents and the young one.

The golf course was busy removing the trees from the bank. I think this will not only give a nicer view from the golf course, but looks much better from the boardwalk.

The other adult swan.

Looking back along the trail. What surprised me even more than the tree with the colors was that there were still a fair number of plants with green leaves on them.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Port Huron

Last Sunday I headed up to Port Huron to the Great Lakes Maritime Center with a friend. This is also the headquarters for I took much more care in the pictures I shot and although I still shot a fair number of pictures, I was very conscious of setting up most of the shots and taking more time instead of just firing off pictures.

On the way up we pulled off at a little park as he'd noticed the American Century had passed our destination. We got there in time to see her just as she'd rounded a bend in the river.

This gull was riding the ridge along the front of the park. It would pass downriver into the wind very slowly, turn and zip back upriver and repeat the process.

The Saginaw downbound as she passes the Maritime Center.

The H. Lee White as she heads upbound. The Emile is docked on the Canadian side of the river.

This river empties into the St. Clair River just above the GLMC. An old railroad bridge still exists, though the rail lines are long gone. You can see the counterweight that is used to raise the bridge. It used to lead to a ferry that took rail cars across the river to Canada.

On the south side of the small waterway there is where the bridge used to go to. There are some park benches there so you can sit and watch the boats.

After leaving the GLMC we stopped by the lightship Huron. The Huron entered service in 1920 and was decommissioned in 1970. Lightships were in effect floating lighthouses and were stationed where it was too impractical to build a lighthouse. She was purchased by the city of Port Huron in 1972 and turned into a museum.

Just a short way upriver is the Blue Water Bridge connecting the United States with Canada. This was the only picture I got as the last set of batteries for my camera died.

We then stopped at the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse. I snagged the batteries out of my friend's GPS and took one picture. The lighthouse is undergoing repairs and repainting, which is understandable considering the structure was built built in 1829. This makes it the oldest lighthouse in Michigan and the second oldest on the Great Lakes. The light was automated in 1933. This is the second lighthouse in the area. The first was built in 1825, but collapsed in a storm in 1828. The current location makes it easier for ships entering the St. Clair River to spot.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

North Bay Park - October

Yes, you read that right. These photos are from October. It took me awhile to get caught up on my trips up north, then even longer getting them off my camera onto my computer. Most of these pictures were taken on either 10/17 or 10/18. The one of the swan was taken on the 22nd or so.

Sun shining through the storm clouds illuminates the colors of autumn.

Signs of fall.

A tree blew over in the high winds the night before.

Afternoon light catches the leaves.

Most of the green plant life is gone from the lake.

Here you can see the color of the baby swan has really started to change.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

My thoughts on my photography

I've noticed something lately, and it is bugging me quite a bit. If you read my profile, you see the way I approach photography. I like to get one or two good pictures instead of dozens and then sort through them looking for a gem.

At least that is how I took pictures in the past. Maybe it was because I was taking pictures with film, and film cost money to process and develop. In addition, I didn't see your results immediately so consequently I tried to make most every shot count.

I have a print on my wall of a picture I took one evening. It was an experimental composition and is the only picture I took of the subject. I didn't know how it would turn out so I didn't waste a lot of time on it. I set the tripod down, set up the shot, took the picture, and forgot about it until the film was developed. I wasn't terribly impressed with the 4x6, though a friend was. She asked for an enlarged copy. When it was done, I realized how much I liked the picture and had one blown up for myself.

In the past little bit, I've noticed a change in the way I'm taking pictures. When I went up to the U.P. at the end of September, I shot over 300 pictures. Three hundred pictures over a three day weekend. When I spent a week out west at the Grand Canyon, I shot about half that.

Another factor is the camera I use. I'm very familiar with how my FE2 works. Although rusty, I can still change the settings on the camera to get the image I see in my mind. The digital camera I use is a point and shoot. There is no way to control shutter or 'film' speed. I know you don't need a fancy, expensive camera to take quality pictures. What I'm lacking is the control I want. Photography isn't complicated, but I grew up doing more than 'point and shoot.'

I've also stopped using a tripod. Maybe because it looks silly to use one with the small digital camera I use, but using a tripod helps slow me down, which in turn helps me with composing my shot.

I've noticed my composition has gotten bad. I take shots that are poorly framed or in which the horizon isn't level. And I do this because I can simply delete the image and take another shot if I don't like the results. There is no accountability to myself to take a quality image.

And it really bugs me that I've started doing this. Anyone can take a hundred photographs and pull out a few that are good, which is what I feel that I've been doing lately.

I'd like a digital SLR camera. The camera body I want is about $1800 and I'd still need a lens. Given that I expect that there are going to be some big changes coming in the next year, I don't see it happening anytime soon.

So going forward, I'm going to slow down when I'm out taking pictures. I'm going to try to take fewer pictures. And I'm going to start using my tripod again.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The difference a week makes

This is the difference a week makes in the colors up at the Falls. I tried to post pictures from a similar angle covering the same subject. The first image of the pair were taken on either September 23rd or 24th, depending on the image. The second image was taken on October 2nd, so 8 or 9 days separates the two. The change is dramatic.

The basin below the lower falls.

Boats at the lower falls.

The leaves of autumn. This is the same tree.

Near the gift shop at the lower falls. The tree in the foreground had turned from green to yellow in a week.

The upper falls.

Blown over.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mackinac City

As we crossed over the Bridge we saw a freighter approaching so we zipped into the park at the base of the bridge for a quick picture.

The evening sun hits the Bridge.

Whitefish Bay Scenic Byway

We headed to Point Iroquois along the Whitefish Bay Scenic Byway. The colors had changed quite a bit.

Along the Byway.

A section that road where the colors hadn't quite reached peak color.

Shot through the sunroof of my car.

Fall colors.

Rivermouth Campground

We stopped by Rivermouth Campground as we were driving by. I was curious as to what had been done with the tree that had blown over the week before. This is the answer.

Looking upriver.

Looking downriver toward the entrance. The tree in the center is at the first campsite on the rustic side of the campground.

At the entrance to the campground.

M-123and Lower Tahquamenon Falls

The colors along M-123 were brilliant in the stretch between the Falls.

The area below the Lower Falls.

The boat launch.

A section of the Falls from the area of the boat launch.

Fall colors.

Outside the gift shop.

A tree holding on to the last greens of summer.

Fall colors.

The reds of autumn.