Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Middle Creek Part III A Day Of Mixed Weather

Mixed precipitation was in the forecast for Tuesday March 25th, but as I drove toward Middle Creek the stars were shining in spots and as it grew lighter one could see a few patches of clear sky scattered here and there.  As it turned out I was rewarded with a stunning sunrise, but soon after that the sun vanished to be seen no more that day.

Middle Creek Dawn: Canon 70D-Canon 70-200mm f2.8 II L @ 115 mm-ISO 400-1/640 Sec. F 10.0
Soon a light snow began. I spent the day watching the lake and potholes and periodically driving the tour road around the upper end of the lake.   One one of these trips I saw a male ring-necked peasant and on most of the trips I saw small groups of  Canada Geese in the fields alongside the road.

Male Ring-necked Pheasant: Canon 70D-Canon 100-400mm f 5.6I L @ 100 mm-ISO 400-1/500 Sec. F 5.0
I didn't feel sufficiently motivated  to get the 500mm or the 600mm into action so I shot out of the window with the old 100-400mm IS L lens. I use this lens quite a bit for video, but seldom use it for still photography anymore.  Some criticize it for being on the soft side and I agree that it isn't as sharp as the big primes or the 70-200mm L lens, but it is very versatile and is much easier to get into action than the 500mm or 600mm.  I usually use the primes when possible, but today's experience proved the 100-400mm is still a very useful lens that provides acceptable sharpness in most cases.

Canada Geese: Canon 70D-Canon 100-400mm f 5.6I L @ 190 mm-ISO 400-1/320 Sec. F 7.1
Many of the Tundra Swans left Middle Creek on Sunday and Monday, but a few remained, either swimming in the water, or resting on the patches of ice that remained.

Tundra Swans: Canon 70D-Canon 100-400mm f 5.6I L @ 400 mm-ISO 400-1/500 Sec. F 8.0
 In mid-afternoon I was watching a pothole while seated in the vehicle with the 600mm resting on the window sill, in hopes of getting some close-up photos of ducks when a man approached me and told me that two mature bald eagles were perched in trees along the edge  of the lake behind me.  It was a bit far for even the 600mm and the 2x extender, but I was still happy to have the opportunity and wish to thank the gentleman for informing me of their presence.

Mature Bald Eagles: Canon 70D-Canon 600mm F4 L IS + 2x extender-ISO 400-1/320 Sec. F 11.0
I made a final circle around the lake just after 4:30 and found turkeys feeding in a cornfield along the tour road.

Eastern Wild Turkeys : Canon 5D MK III-Canon 500mm F4 L IS + 1.4x extender-ISO 400-1/640 Sec. F 7.1
I spent the remainder of the day filming Tundra Swans and Canada Geese as they landed on the lake to spend the night.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.