I have supplemented my heavy Canon 80D DSLR and its 420 mm lens system (300mm L/4 with 1.4x extender) with a mirrorless Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II and an Olympic M.ZUIKO MSC ED-M 75-300mm II (f/ 4.8-6.7) zoom lens. It weighs only 2.05 pounds (0.97 Kg) compared to the 5.16 pounds (2.34 Kg) of my big rig. After experimenting with the rather complicated settings, I felt confident enough to leave the DSLR behind for a 10-day trip to Texas.
Here is a comparison of the two cameras, with lens hoods extended and then stowed:
For landscapes I switched to a tiny electronic zoom Olympus M.ZUKIO ED 14-42mm (f/3.5-5.6) EZ lens:
This was not a wildlife expedition. Indeed it was a wonderful family affair on the occasion of the marriage of our youngest grandson. The wedding took place in the Texas Panhandle south of Amarillo. They left the serious photography to a professional photographer, though I did take several hundred photos of the pre-wedding shower as well as the rehearsal and wedding ceremony.
The chapel at West Texas A&M University:
The groom with his bride, his parents and four siblings:
The reception was held at a good old country restaurant:
During the 5 days surrounding the wedding we went sightseeing in the nearby and very impressive Palo Duro Canyon. Flash floods the night before (when 15 members of our family attended the famous open-air Texas Musical which is held in the depths of the Canyon) caused all the trails to be closed. Even the paved road had to detour around an area of deep mud. We were rained out only about 10 minutes into the show and returned home soaked to the skin!
At the visitor center we saw this lizard:
Barn Swallows nested under the porch roof:
It was sunny and very hot. Photographic conditions were not favorable because of the glare and deep shadows. A wildlife blind was located near bird feeders and a small water source. House Finches outnumbered the other avian visitors. This male appears to have an eye infection:
Watching a Lark Sparrow as it fed a fledgling was a treat:
Later in the day we moved on to Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge. We have visited this refuge many times over more than twenty years that our son has worked as a meteorologist in Amarillo.
The lake has gradually dried up because of the combined effects of prolonged drought and the dramatic drop of the water table due to greatly increased agricultural demand. The last time I saw significant water was around 1998. Waterfowl and migratory wading birds abounded, and during the winter Bald Eagles gathered there to fish. In 2008 it was nearly dry but a small section recovered a bit in 2009. Now the entire lake is bone dry.
A small herd of "buffaloes" (American Bison) wallowed in the mud in a pasture near the entrance to the refuge:
I enjoy photographing small birds, so they were a test for my new camera. Given the conditions, the images were fairly good. This is a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher which is growing a new tail after molting:
Against the bright sky, this photo required a full stop of exposure compensation:
Even at some distance, the camera obtained fairly decent resolution of this back-lit immature Red-headed Woodpecker:
A female oriole posed nicely. I believe it is an Orchard Oriole:
A Swainson's Hawk wheeled overhead. Because of shutter lag I only had one opportunity to capture this image. I still need to learn more about how to obtain rapid bursts:
As I write this, a storm with the potential to bring heavy rains and possible hurricane-force winds is bearing down on Corpus Christi, where we vacationed until just four days ago. More about this in a future post, but here is a sunrise on our first morning on the beach at North Padre Island:
Back home in Florida the rain has kept us inside, but this photo of a back yard Tricolored Heron satisfied my desire to include a reflection of a neighbor's fence:
Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to FENCES AROUND THE WORLD by Gosia
Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James
Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni
Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart
Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue
Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh
Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display