Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Leelanau Waterfowl

Before I had stumbled upon the dead birds on the rocky beach I had managed to take a few photos of some live waterfowl. I recognized these buffleheads, but the other birds, who were much farther out and already moving rapidly away, were a mystery.

A pair of bufflehead. What a great name, bufflehead.

There was a narrow rocky promontory to my right that would have afforded great views of the shoreline but I didn't feel like walking that far. Interesting, our desire to build things. These would have made good blinds, if I'd had time to sit a wait.

I decided I needed a somewhat more hidden position to photograph these birds from. I noticed a small bay to my left that had some vegetation closer to the water. I walked back to the trail and cut over to the bay, and squatted down in the dead grasses.

Lake Michigan and Leelanau Peninsula. Taken with my iPhone.

I was able to get a few shots of the mystery fowl. There's a common merganser on the left, and a bufflehead on the right, but what the heck were these other birds?

A few minutes later they took to the air. Good damn thing, as my legs were falling asleep!

I snapped away, hoping to get a photo or two I could use to ID them.

I am always excited when I manage to get photos of birds in flight in focus!

This image finally confirmed for me that these were common goldeneye. It's fuzzy but you can see the black wing bars in the white patch on the secondaries. Only the second time I'd seen these birds.

I walked back to the car along the path that took my past the lighthouse.  All decked out for the holidays it was resplendent in it's new whitewash.

Leelanau Lighthouse. Taken with my iPhone.

As I neared the parking lot I saw this sign:

Taken with my iPhone.

The cedar it referred to was this hulking giant of a tree, one of the most interestingly shaped trees I've ever seen. I think it looks like a woolly mammoth.

Giant white cedar. Taken with my iPhone.

I must say how very happy I am with the image quality I am getting from my iPhone. I upgraded a few months back from a 3s to a 4s, and I love it. The file sizes are bigger and the overall sharpness of the image is much better. I only had one SLR with a big lens on it with me, so I was taking snapshots with my phone. I was delighted to see how good they looked when I enlarged them on the computer--better than the Nikon point and shoot we have. By touching the phone's screen you can dictate where the camera focuses and meters, giving you some limited control over the exposure. It's been great for those times when I haven't felt like lugging two cameras around, or fussing with switching lenses on one camera. I may use it more extensively in the future.

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