I took a little bit of a trip…


Elusive owl situations.

This was an exploration, and an attempt to find some owls. If you are a returning reader you will have come across the owl post a while back, if you are new or would like a refresher click here to read.

I took of this day in an attempt to try out a new lens. Which is a Tameron SP 200, a 200mm-500mm F/5.6 from the 1980’s. There is nothing auto about it, and with complete manual wpid-IMG_20140328_134807_086.jpgcontrol and no stabilization. This will be an interesting venture. However with my experience working with manual lenses, I do not expect many complications. The sole reason of obtaining this lens was to be able to reach out and capture distant subjects, and elusive critters such as owls. Mostly because of those damn owls. As you can see in the image to the left of this post, the lens is quite large. Also, yes that is a glove on the end of the lens. The only real protection that it has outside of the box it came in.  That is a standard keyboard…

So the adventure…

_GLP0018It started off as a chance to test out the new lens, and to possibly find some wildlife such as owls or ducks (both of which have been quite frustrating to capture) to attempt to shoot. So the day started off like most days in the local coffee shop where test images were shot out the window and around the occupancy itself. These proved to be all right, but an unsteady balance of my arm proved to cause some bluing. This is not usually an issue but with the low light conditions, and my lack of experience with such extreme telephoto optics both contributed to that. But not really caring because it was the blackboard on the wall 50 feet away and not a subject of interest. This was mostly just a show of optical power to myself of this new wonderful piece of gear. Shortly afterwards we were off on the road and looking for something to shoot. The first destination to visit was the Old Mission Peninsula north of Traverse City, Mi. The goal being to eventually end up out at the lighthouse at the point. There had been some rumours of an owl present there and I needed to check that out.


Heading up the peninsula there were many sights to see, many opportunities that went whizzing past the windows of the car. It is saddening to drive through like that, but time is a limited commodity, and on a fairly busy highway it is hard to stop and get out. All the shadows, lines, and orchards were quite a distraction. After the drive up we arrived at Lighthouse park. This would be the second or third time that I had visited this location. Seeing that it is a bit of a drive to get out there, I frequent it less than my other locations such as the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore area. I while ago I had visited here and shot the lighthouse, framing it in with a rock that was protruding through the frozen lake. This time I wanted to get a different angle, closer to shore and to the structure. This image was shot from a walkway that goes up to the front entrance of the lighthouse. I believe I was using the 50mm 1.4 Nikkor-S. The alternate points of interest being the footsteps in the snow and the lines generated by the fence. I really try to focus on different views, and do my best to avoid what I _GLP0040call “post-card” or “tourist” shots. These are when someone arrives at the destination and then snaps away an image of the subject, and there are millions and millions of the similar images out there. Accessing these areas have become a little more challenging because of the massive piles of snow that have formed this winter. The wind was whipping through the near shore area, and time of exposure the wind had to be minimized to prevent frostbite. As we were leaving the site I took a look at another structure in the park, an old cabin. According to some signage near the cabin it was relocated from another site near the lighthouse, and was home to some interesting folks including a few families, and a bull. I plan on returning here to work more on the lighthouse and this cabin when the light is at a better angle, which may be this summer when the sun is more in the north.


More driving, and distant locations…

We moved onward, back down the peninsula. This time we took the scenic route on the western shore. We went back through Traverse City, and out the western end. After a short stop for fuel we ventured out to Glen Arbor and the Sleeping Bear Lakeshore. I had to stop by the Crystal river, because I know that there are always ducks present somewhere in the open water. _GLP0050This was going to be a night to test the new lens out. With a little searching I found a few ducks sitting in the water about 500 feet away. I pulled out the lens, and the mono-pod to put under it and set up on the side of the road. I knew going into this that it would be more of a test of the lens and its capabilities. Using a higher ISO and a fast shutter I attempted to alleviate the blur that such a small angle of view creates. This lens captures only a five degree angle when it is at 500mm. The ducks to the right were captured as one flew into my frame, landed and proceeded to dry its wings out. _GLP0096Although this does not pass as that acceptable of a photograph, it does work to prove the worth of the lens.
We moved on through the small town and went southward toward out next lighthouse destination.

A very endeering night…

For some reason this warmer day was one of those nights that the deer were being very social. As we drove we saw at least one hundred deer near the roadway, laying out in fields, everywhere. We had to stop along the route between Glen Arbor, and Empire when we came across a yard that had several deer in it. These one on the ground was their originally and the standing one moved over when my presence disturbed them a little. I was a few hundred feet off at this point, but still a little too close for their comfort. These two were photographed with the telephoto lens as well. The original images had some optical noise that was generated from the snow, a purple haze that was just above where the white ended. This was easily removed in Lightroom. I have noticed this happening in images shot at 500mm where there was a strong reflective white object present. These deer were shot using a tripod to stabilize the lens. They allowed my presence for nearly 15 minutes before they moved off into a nearby brush cluster.


Setting up for the evening.

Setting up for the evening.

We continued down to the Point Betsie lighthouse, which is just north of Frankfort, Mi. This was again my second trip here, the first being a beautiful night that did light the structure very well. This night seemingly was going to fail to light it again. To our north the golden light from the setting sun seemed to be striking the dunes south of Empire, we were shaded by the cloud cover. Setting up the camera on a tripod I found use of an ice structure. I shot a few many times using the ice to cut the frame, and to add more of a depth. Surprisingly the clouds seemed to come to a break. And the image to the left was the capture of the evening. There seemed to be more possibilities but there were a few many other people drawn out to this lighthouse by the warm _GLP0160weather and the sunset. They had their tripods set up and scattered to the south side of the building pointed towards the setting sun. These shots were both taken with a wide-angle Sigma lens. When I had first seem the ice formation I was hoping that it would be translucent. This was our last stop of the evening, afterwards was a long drive back home while attempting to warm up from the chill we both suffered. A final image is attached below of a slightly different angle and a black and white rendering. I have been toying with the idea of going on a black and white spree for some time, and it may still happen._GLP0153

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