I wasn't sure I would be up to a 7 mile hike today, but I was determined to try. To make it more difficult, I was determined to carry my 200-500 lens. I wanted to capture fall colors in smaller fields, rather than the wider angle shots from the 17-85 lens I've been using for my last couple of photo walks. I also hoped I'd have some chances for some real long range closeups. I only ended up actually using the high end of the zoom for a few shots. Perhaps it would have made more sense to carry the much lighter 75-300 lens. I got the big gun for bird photos and I wasn't expecting to have many opportunities to shoot birds in the middle of the day. I did get full use of the high zoom for a few shots, and if I'd been able to zoom out to 75, I might not have been as disciplined about taking the smaller field pictures I wanted to concentrate on. Most photographers don't think a 200mm lens (on a 1.6x digital body) is the right choice for fall colors; this is how I hope to get pictures that most photographers wouldn't take.
I made it all the way around the lake feeling pretty good, though my legs are a bit sore.
The Lake Mingo trail isn't actually that good for seeing the lake; in most places there are enough trees between the path and the lake that you can only partly see the lake. But there are some places where it opens up and the colors on the other shore are visible. This picture is representative of what the trees look like today.
Here's an interesting reflection in the lake.
I dunno what kind of a tree this is, but the insect chewed fall-colored leaves were attractive.
This pond is at the nominal beginning of the trail. I actually park down by the dam, so that the most boring part of the loop is at the start rather than the end.
I caught a fish (with my camera)!
Just some fall colors.
A turtle in the pond a little past mile 1. There were two turtles, but one of them departed before I could line up the shot.
A turkey vulture overhead from the bridge over the corner of the lake. This is the only one of this set that is cropped; this is about half of the full field.
Here's a stump in a backwater area.
Cattails that are starting to fray are one of the things I can't resist photographing. These are seen from the spot halfway around the loop where I saw the otters last year.
Spectacular colors in white oak leaves.
Milkweed, another perennial subject.
The few early turning trees make almost every view interesting.
A maple against the sky.
A dragonfly. Is this a green darner? I was using the long-distance lens today, but I still have to take a few bug pictures because I'm me, OK?
Here are some turkey vultures along the power line corridor.
Turning maple leaves with a hopefully artistic background.
(FYI, this is where the teaser goes in my day.)
This came out a little bit dark, but very pretty.
As I was crossing the dam, a pair of great blue herons took off together. If I were a better photographer, this would actually be in focus and I'd be submitting it to a national magazine.
The two herons didn't stay in such close formation, but as I tracked one of them I managed to get one of them in focus, though not against such a perfect background.