Laura Macky Photography

Journey of a body on this earth


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Backyard Otter!

Amazingly there is an otter in the lake on our golf course right off our back deck!  I’ve seen him there before but I’ve never been able to take his picture because I have to cross the fairway and there have always been golfers at play.

The sun had just gone down, so my ISO was up pretty high.  I had to aggressively crop because even with my 28-300mm lens, I still couldn’t get a close enough shot of this little guy without cropping.

I was really excited when he hopped out of the water on the bank across the lake!  What luck.   He was checking out the ducks and the heron intently.  They weren’t too concerned about him…although maybe they were wondering if he was going to eat all their fish.   😉

The little guy seemed interested in me.  For his final act, he dove under the water and started swimming toward me!  I could see the air bubbles in the lake as they approached me.  Honestly I was so giddy I was trying to change the settings on my camera but really didn’t have time, so I snapped two pics of him as he surfaced and stared at me.

After his final appearance, he dove under never to be seen again that evening.  I’m thinking there must be an underground water tunnel of some sort.  River otters can walk a long way too.  There was one walking down our town’s main street not too long ago; and with all the rivers around, they seem to be adapting to us quite readily.

I love seeing him and I hope you enjoy the pics!

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Bird, Zoom, Crop!

I was wandering around our house a few days ago during the Golden Hour and came across this little cutie pie called a Black Phoebe.  I was not too far away, but even with my 300mm lens I couldn’t fill the frame.  It’s amazing how it seems there is never a long enough lens for bird photography lol.

Zoom lenses are usually not sharpest at the extremes of the zoom range.  For example, if you shoot a 28-300mm lens (which I used for this shot), you will get sharper photos at 280mm than 300mm.   Almost all lenses are sharper somewhere between the extremes of the zoom range.  This is especially important if you are shooting a less expensive zoom lens or a kit lens.  Spend just a minute and take a picture of a newspaper taped to the wall across from you at different focal lengths and apertures.  You’re likely to find quite a variation in sharpness levels depending on the focal length.

Backing off the full range of a zoom lens doesn’t cause much issue with presenting a close up image because it’s necessary to crop whether it’s shot at 300mm or 280mm.  I’ve included a screen shot of the original picture size so you can see how much I cropped it.

I hope you enjoy this little cutie pie!

Black Phoebe - Bird Photography

Black Phoebe – Bird Photography

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Tomales Point Trail

Why is it every time I type Tomales Point Trail it types Tamales!  lol   Silly auto correct.

The other day we went to Tomales Point Trail which goes through the Tule Elk Preserve at Point Reyes National Seashore.  I’d never been to this spot before usually opting for the more famous area of Point Reyes, the Lighthouse.   I’ve included a map so you can see the trail and where we hiked.

I couldn’t carry anything heavy like a zoom lens or even my Nikon because it’s a long hike out there for me, so I opted for my Sony A7 mirrorless with the cheap lens it came with, the 28-70.  As a side note, there is a HUGE HUGE difference between that cheap-o lens and my 16-35mm.  Just a confirmation that glass makes a huge difference!   But honestly, I didn’t really even care because my main excitement was to see the elk and accomplish the hike.  To some, the hike might not seem that much but for me it’s like climbing Mt. Everest given the health issues I have.  I’m paying for it two days later as it sort of wore me down but it was so worth it because…..

We saw two groups of elk!  The first one we came upon contained about 30 elk.  They were too far away for my lens but there were docents there with spotting scopes for people to see them up close.  Naturally we checked them out through the scope.  With our naked eye we could see them clearly though….bulls with huge racks on them on the ridge looking down at us, and activity up and down the hill.  The second grouping came much further along the hike….a pond just off the right side of the trail with maybe 10-15 elk sitting there relaxing.  The docent told us the old bulls come here and just chill and eat the grass around them.  They were spectacular to see so close!   Still couldn’t get a close picture with my lens but I was so thrilled to see them and have included a cropped photo here for you to see.

One thing that was amazing to me is that we could see Bodega Bay from the farthest point we were on the trail.  Also along the walk we saw red fox hunting, an occasional coyote (one crossed the trail right in front of us about 30′ away) and of course a variety of birds flying around.  The trail is 4.3 miles to the point and 4.3 miles back.  We didn’t go the whole way, it was probably another .5 miles out to the point which would’ve added another mile to the hike and it’s a hilly hike so we opted to turn around after seeing the elk.  I was a bit worried about being able to get back but having seen the second herd of elk, I felt so accomplished that it pushed me to succeed in my return.  I guess I wasn’t the only one who felt challenged out there because we saw an emergency ATV at one point on its way to rescue someone.

The wild feeling of Point Reyes is so incredible.  I guess I would describe it as a wild abandon feeling.  There is such freedom there.  What can I say…I love our California Coast!