Saturday, November 23, 2013

Deer Getting Ready for Winter Too

For the last few weeks, I've focused my photography on the fall color season.  But the leaves haven't been the only thing changing during these fall months.  The deer have been changing too; their coats darkening to a deep brown and thickening for warmth through the winter.  These changes have made my "regulars" more difficult to recognize.  The fawns have also grown so much it's become hard to tell them apart from their mothers.  But they all continue to visit on a regular basis.  I've added a second feed block with the colder weather approaching.  Hopefully, the food will keep the deer close by, out of harm's way.

Some amble in singly, seeming to show little concern for their surroundings.

 Others are quite wary, checking out the scene from the safety and cover of the trees.

But they all come to get sustenance from the feed blocks.  One weekend I ran out of deer food and didn't have the time to drive to Traverse City to pick up more.  Instead, I went to a local feed store to get a block, but a different brand.  I hadn't expected the deer to be discriminating about what feed block they'd eat, but they were.  The rounded block in the foreground is the new brand.  They are beginning to eat from it, but, in contrast, they've eaten four "regular" feed blocks since I put out the new brand.

These two share the blocks in tandem.

In my years of photographing deer, I've only photographed one buck, and that was from such a distance that the picture lacked usable clarity.  One recent morning while working at my desk, this buck trotted by at a fast clip.  I immediately jumped to my camera, but he passed by the feed blocks and went into the woods so quickly that I couldn't photograph him.  But I kept my eye out in hopes that he'd return.  And that's what he did.  After heading into the woods, he came back around, just at the edge of my fence.  He was quite wary and raised his nose to sniff the area to see if it was safe.

In the end, he was just like all the does...hungry.  Perhaps I'll see more of him during the winter.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Seeing the Sun Set Again

It was late afternoon and I was driving back to Northport from Traverse City.  The sun had finally come out and I wondered whether it'd be a good night for photographing the sunset.  I had to hustle, though, because the sun was setting at 5:15 pm. 

 As I headed over to Peterson Park and  drove up Foxview Drive, I was just in time to capture the sweeping vista of the sun about to set over Lake Michigan.

For me, photography is about enjoying nature and being outdoors.  But I also try to improve my skills and learn to use my equipment in creative ways.  For example, I typically shoot sunsets with my wide angle lens.  I wondered what would happen if I switched to a zoom telephoto.  When I did, I was nearly blinded by the size and intensity of the sun as seen through the viewfinder.  I did like the effect I got from using a different lens.

Leaving Foxview and turning in to Peterson Park, I could see the color show continued over Lake Michigan.  Sometimes the best color occurs after the sun has set, and that was true for this day.

As I left the park, I could see the show wasn't just over the water.  The clouds above these stands of birch trees had taken on a pink glow too.

Wanting one more moment with the Lake, I turned into Christmas Cove.  The sky and water were quickly darkening, yet the horizon held onto the last remnants of another beautiful sunset.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood...

Despite fierce winds over the past three weeks, beautiful color still lingers in the North Country.  Most of the reds and oranges are gone, but brilliant yellows remain.  They remind me of Robert Frost's poem The Road Not Taken.