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Author Topic: Whitefish Point and Raptors  (Read 332 times)

Michael Erlewine

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Whitefish Point and Raptors
« on: March 09, 2022, 01:01:16 pm »

As some readers may know, I am a nature photographer and have been since 1956. I have never turned pro because it was not the best way for me to make money and support my family. Instead, I have been a systems programmer, database engineer, and archivist of popular culture (music, film, rock concert posters, etc.). Yet close-up photography has been what I like to do when I have time. And since I am retired, I now have time. As spring begins to happen here in north-west Michigan, this year (at least I intend) to do more photography.

I have done some bird photography years ago. Here is a pretty shabby example, a Pileated Woodpecker leaving its nest taken years ago. As winter turns into spring this year, I am planning on upping my game on bird photography, or at least trying to. With that in mind, I am already packing my kit and readying my gear. It gives me something to do right now while the snow continues to pile up and the winds blow just outside my window. My wife likes to tease me and say that I start looking for spring around the winter solstice as the Sun starts to move northward.

One thing Margaret (my wife) and I intend to do in the next month is travel across the Mackinac Bridge into the U.P. (Upper Peninsula) of Michigan and on to the northern (and most eastern) tip of the state to a place called Whitefish Point. This is where many of the great raptors (eagles, etc.) plus hoards of other birds funnel up the coast, reached Whitefish Point, and pause before they head out across Lake Superior to nest in Canada and lands north.

Over a month or two, great flocks of birds narrow in on the point and dare to cross open water. As mentioned, sometimes they stop and rest before crossing. Iím sure I would!

Anyway, we plan to go up there, where they have official raptor and other birds countersÖcounting birds crossing over, and hang out for a day or two, just watching the great raptors passing over. Since I am a close-up photographer, I donít have many long telephoto lenses. I have one on order, but itís been back ordered already for a while. It if comes I will have a Nikon Z 100-400mm S lens, plus I have a 1.4 teleconverter giving me a 560mm lens, which is good enough for some bird work. I also have the NIkkor Z 70-200mm S lens, which takes the same 1.4 teleconverter, giving me a 280mm view. I will bring a gimbal and perhaps I can do something.

I also have a Nikon Z9 camera on order, but doubt it will show up either, so I can use my Nikon Z7 II or my D850. I may not get any photos, and instead just chat and hang out with the bird-counters who will have their own lenses, gimbals, and tripods. I mostly just want to see the golden and bald eagles, plus some of the hawks, in quantity, and enjoy that.

I will along bring close-up lenses because there may be a few spring flowers trying to poke through around then. These I can handle. If any of you are experienced raptor monitors or have been to Whitefish point, glad to hear any tips about the journey and what gear I need to have.
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Whitefish Point and Raptors
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2022, 05:12:51 pm »

I look forward to a fine display here when you get back.
Have a great time!
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Mark Nadler

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Re: Whitefish Point and Raptors
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2022, 08:40:24 pm »

Hey, Michael, don't forget that you can also shoot your 850 in DX mode (you do lose megapixels) that allows you to see your target a bit better.  I shoot an 850 with a 500 mm lens and a 1.4 teleconverter that gets me to 750 and when I put the 850 in DX mode I'm up to 1125 at f8.  Depth of field is crazy shallow.

mark
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Michael Erlewine

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Re: Whitefish Point and Raptors
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2022, 02:30:42 am »

Hey, Michael, don't forget that you can also shoot your 850 in DX mode (you do lose megapixels) that allows you to see your target a bit better.  I shoot an 850 with a 500 mm lens and a 1.4 teleconverter that gets me to 750 and when I put the 850 in DX mode I'm up to 1125 at f8.  Depth of field is crazy shallow.

mark

Good point!
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