Today I stopped off at Lake Springfield on my way home from work. Not thinking I was going to go too far from my car and planning on taking mostly cloud pictures, I opted to leave the full camera bag in the car and just take the camera and the basic lens with me. HUGE MISTAKE!!!!!! Here’s the shots that turned out sorta bla, that could have been awesome had I had the proper lens to shoot with.
Number 5: Bullfrog in the grass. Luckily, bullfrogs are not only huge but are also not known for quick reflexes. Though this guy was small for this species, it was still a huge and docile frog, so I was able to get some decent shots. But imagine how much better a shot I could have gotten, and how much more time to compose and play with ISO and shutter settings I would have had, if I didn’t have to get in this poor guy’s face.
Number 4: Water Turtles. There were tons of water turtles out today, but anytime they saw me within 50 feet, they went swimming. I have gotten good shots of assorted water turtles before, but using zoom lenses or taking shots of them in the water (they aren’t generally fast swimmers). But no luck today for the reptile shots.
Number 3: Skittish Deer. I was able to get maybe 50 yards from this gal, but predictably she bolted pretty quickly. White tail deer are so common around here that even with legal hunting, they are still considered a nuisance animal (between crop and property damage; not to mention hitting one of these bad boys as it tries to dart across a fog-covered highway at 3 a.m. is something you consider yourself lucky to survive even if the deer doesn’t.) But I have very bad luck getting photos of them. Maybe it is the fact that they seem to know that a human putting a cylinder up to their eye and pointing it at them is bad news, or its just a general fear of humans, but they don’t stand still for long (unless there is a likely risk of you hitting them with a car or they are eating your brand new tomato plants.) Unfortunately, I did not have a zoom lens while this doe and I had a three minute staring contest.
Number 2: Dragonflies. Again, millions of these babies flying around. Dragonflies hold special meaning to my wife and I (long story) and I try like HELL to get shots of them. But they move fast and sporadically when you want them to sit still or hover a second, and will perch on your head or fishing pole for hours when you don’t have a camera handy. I swear they do that on purpose. They know humans don’t generally mind them, but will go to exorbitant effort to ruin any attempted photograph of them. This is the best of 50 attempts to shoot maybe 20 different dragonflies and damselflies today.
Number 1: Flock of HUGE birds way WAY far away. White birds, probably water birds of some form (since they were flying in unison over a lake where the lake becomes a river) and WAY TOO BIG to be a hawk or goose or anything in that size range. My best guesses, Great Blue Heron http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/great-blue-heron or American White Pelican (which I didn’t know were in Missouri until researching what those could be, http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/american-white-pelican ) or, knowing my intense bad luck in situations like these, it could have been the EXTREMELY ENDANGERED, formerly indigenous to Missouri, Whooping Crane (which showed up on this depressing page http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/common-plants-and-animals/birds/uncommon-or-extinct-birds ) which if those are whooping cranes, then from my research that is about half of all the whooping crane in the entire Midwest.
In an attempt to get a better shot of this dancing flock, I ran a half a mile to the other end of the lake, only to find them gone by the time I got there. What I can say for sure is that they were white on the back side, black on the belly-side (probably due to being that high up, everything looks black on the belly-side when it’s way up, probably something to do with sun and shadows) and though they weren’t in a pattern like geese, they were flying as a flock, turning and gliding and changing directions more or less in unison. They were probably too big to be hawks, their bodies were to narrow and their necks to long to be buzzers, and I couldn’t get close enough to them to get a better look.
So to summarize, NEVER GO INTO A PARK, NATURE TRAIL, OR ANY OTHER WILD AREA WITHOUT YOUR ZOOM LENS!!!!!!!!!