Tag Archives: Nikon 70-200mm lens

Ooooooh! Aaaaaaah!!

Love the multicolored ones!

Love the multicolored ones!

Last night our master-planned community showcased its Fourth of July best with its annual fireworks show.

Looks like we’ve got a red theme going on.

Looks like we’ve got a red theme going on.

The Mister, our younger son, and I decided to watch from the bleachers at our nearby middle school with the kid’s pals, Jared and Ricky, and Ricky’s parents, Julie and Carlos (our trivia aces).

Glad I could capture all the pretty bursts

Lots of pretty bursts

I didn’t take long to consider my photographic options for a change. For past fireworks displays I’ve tried serious, point-and-shoot lazy, and embarrassingly sloppy.

Blue and green make for a nice color combination.

Blue and green make for a nice color combination.

This time I opted for my Nikon D700 and beloved Nikon 70-200mm lens. The fireworks were being blasted from about a half mile away, so I needed some focal length. I also eschewed a tripod totally due to laziness. So when my arms got tired from holding the heavy combo, I only had myself to blame (darn it!).

It’s the palm tree effect!

It’s the palm tree effect!

Due to some kind of glitch, the colorful show kept starting and stopping over a 25-minute time span, confusing the crowd. That made it hard to get the sort of rhythm you need to hopefully capture a half-dozen decent pix.

Fortunately, I managed to snap about a dozen photos that I thought best represented what we saw. Even though I appreciate the crisp, clear, multiburst shots, I must admit that one favorite stood out.


Electricity is in the air.

It looks like a science experiment gone awry! This is what happens when the camera’s shutter speed is way too slooooow.

It’s a great reminder of last night’s funky, fun fireworks extravaganza.

Coming Out Party

Not the clearest photo, but you can see the two moths around the opened cocoon.

Not the clearest photo, but you can see the two moths around the opened cocoon.

Since I mentioned those pesky asps in yesterday’s post, this seemed like the perfect opportunity for an update.

I’m happy to report that two or three of the cocoons have burst open, leading to the debut of four or six puss moths. Apparently, two (one big, one small) emerged from each one. Surprised the heck out of me.

When I checked on the chrysalis the first night it appeared, I could see that the cocoon on top of the arch near the caterpillar’s temporary home had opened. The next morning I used my Nikon 70-200mm lens with the 1.7x teleconverter to snap mediocre photos.

This doesn’t look promising.

This doesn’t look promising.

Then I examined the icky, disturbing cocoon on the front door jamb. It looked like I was going to be able to watch this moth emerge up close and personal, complete with clear, crisp photos. An apt reward for having to be careful not to harm the pupa for months. I was stoked!

However, nature gypped me! The moth never got beyond pushing part of his body out and remains in this still-life position. Darn it!

Where did they come from?

Where did they come from?

The next day when I was walking along the driveway, I noticed two southern flannel moths lounging together under the house’s overhang. But there was no cocoon nearby. Just the two critters. So I’m not sure if these were the same moths from the entryway or newbies.

Visitors who can’t quite reach the doorbell.

Visitors who can’t quite reach the doorbell.

Later that morning as I was going into the house, I saw two more little, furry beasts, this time near the front door.

They looks cute!

They look cute!

Moths are nocturnal, so I wasn’t surprised that none of the critters I saw moved an inch during the day. But at night it was their time to fly without saying bye.

We still have several cocoons high up on the front entry and around the house, so the asp Motel 6 still is, unfortunately, in business. We continue to leave the light on.

Nature Stinks!

That ain’t no cat!

That ain’t no cat!

What a wonderful Saturday I was looking forward to! The Mister and the kid would be gone most of the day at a disc golf tournament. The house was clean, and my stress level was low.

In other words, the Evil Eye had been tempted. Naturally, there were repercussions.

In the form of one of my worst nightmares: A wild animal in the backyard when I’m home alone.

Checking out a disc. Does he play?

Checking out a disc. Does he play?

And, of course, it would just have to be a skunk. I can’t even look at the photos without shuddering.

Let me take you back in time to when I had to remind myself to stay calm and not start contemplating moving. Last Saturday we had a tremendous rainstorm in the Houston area (we got at least five inches at our house). My car was out in the driveway in case I needed it, while my younger son’s Fuze was in the garage.

Around 6 p.m., the rain temporarily dissipated, so I backed the Pilot into its usual spot. As I exited the side door, something unusual at the end of the garage near the pool deck caught my eye. Something black and white. Yikes!

Yep, with my best Usain Bolt imitation, I ran into the house.

No need to come and say hi. Really.

No need to come and say hi. Really.

Immediately, I called the Mister and told him to come home. Of course, he couldn’t, and even if he did, he wouldn’t be there for at least an hour and a half. So I did what any rational person would’ve done in the same situation: Grabbed my Nikon D700 and Nikon 70-200mm lens and stood on the back porch a foot away from the back door to gather photographic proof.

After the little stinker finally left where he was digging under the deck, I had a sneaking suspicion that he might be in the garage (there’s a handy hole in the back for easy critter entry and exit). I called animal control, and before long one of our deputies from the constable’s department came out.

Fortunately, I had an extra garage-door opener in the house, so I let the deputy in that way and kept my distance. Soon he found the skunk hiding. I quickly moved the cars out of the garage, and then my hero shooed the intruder out along the fence, which it skedaddled under (sorry, neighbors!) and left its calling card (talk about your Pepé Le Pew!).

I was sooooooo relieved to be rid of it!

Of course, now I’m convinced that the beast might be back in the garage (just like that ornery possum), so I won’t be parking my car in there until we fix the back of the building and then find someone else to search it.

Any volunteers?

Metal Basket Mania

This close putt is easy for Mike.

This putt is easy for Mike.

Usually when it comes to action photography, I believe that close is best.

Randall hopes to make a par.

Randall hopes to make a par.

But last Tuesday’s Southwest Handicap Mini was at a “new” course, the First Colony Aquatic Center. The quote marks are necessary, because the disc golfers used to play tournaments there until the city decided to add some amenities for its residents. That addition meant a subtraction of certain baskets and a wait of several years until the course was slightly redesigned, including the installation of some new metal.

My younger son zips in a birdie putt.

My younger son zips in a birdie putt.

Now the Aquatic Center is back in the weekly rotation. I hadn’t shot there for a couple years, but I did remember that the baskets tend to be close to one another. So I opted for my beloved Nikon 70-200mm lens, which is equally adapt at delivering those close pics as well as ones that tell more of the disc golf story.

Nick sinks this.

Nick sinks this.

As much as the sport is about the drive and the upshot, a lot of the drama (and, unfortunately, often the trauma) is all about the chains. My Nikon 105mm lens usually is better at focusing on just the player, which is why it stayed home.

Daniel and his shadow putt.

Daniel and his shadow putt.

But this time my photography was all about the baskets.

Can you see the basket way off in the distance? Watch out for the lake!

Can you see the basket off in the distance on the left? Watch out for the lake!

Even the ones that were far away!

A Possum Tale

Trapped! Note the empty tuna can (aka the bait).

Trapped! Note the empty tuna can (aka the bait).

I have one simple rule around our house: If you don’t pay rent and aren’t a member of our family, you can’t live with us. We’ll do our best to evict you. This applies to all bugs and, for a couple months, a pesky possum in our garage.

My younger son spotted the little varmint one night in our backyard, resulting in it going through our open side garage door and hiding in the corner. The next day I watched it scurry through our front yard and hightail it under our next door neighbors’ fence. After I e-mailed them to warn them, Jim H. replied that he saw it going back to our side of the barrier.

“Tag, you’re it,” he wrote. Was that a chuckle squeezing through the bandwidth?

Ever since then, I set speed records getting into and out of my car in the garage. I did not want to come face to pointy face with that creature. Finally, I saw the marsupial running on the rafters one night, and that was enough. No pay, no stay!

My pal Kelly K. said she she could get her father’s trap. So last Saturday night, she and her husband, Jay, set it up with a can of tuna as the bait. Apparently, the creepy critter wasn’t hungry until last night or maybe it was busy ringing in the new year with friends in the ’hood. But this morning when I checked the trap . . . bingo, baby! There it was looking very dejected. Sorry, but I was not sorry.

My handsome knight rescues us!

A handsome knight rescues us!

I texted Kelly that the possum finally had landed. She and her son Mason (aka the icky-animal wrangler) came over to pick up the cage (not only didn’t I go near the trap, but I used my Nikon 70-200mm lens to take photos. Ick!). Then they were nice enough to release our unwanted guest into the woods far from our home.

Good riddance! A possum is not awesome!

Feathered Friends

Love those yellow feet!

As a reward for jogging eight miles the day before, I went on a photo walk through our neighboring master-planned community last Sunday. Armed with my Nikon D700 and Nikon 70-200mm lens extended by a 1.7x teleconverter, I spent a good 45 minutes or so looking for wildlife. Mainly birds, which love the lake system.

Sailing away above the water

First, I found a cute snowy egret enjoying life on a pier until people (mainly me) got too close to it.

As I walked around the lake, a flash of white followed by a splash of water caught my attention.

Searching for food

It was a Forster’s Tern (as ID’d by my wildlife expert, Jess), a bird I never had noticed before.

The tern closes in on the water.

This little guy hovers over the water looking for small fish.

Target sighted!

Suddenly, it dives into the lake!

The tern is on its way out of the water.

But not for long.

Off he goes.

Soon it exits the water, ready to start the pattern over. It was fascinating to watch!

See ya later!

After awhile, a pal or relative joined the action before they both flew away.

I guess one good tern deserves another!

Welcome Home, Monique!

Come on down!

Back on August 7, a couple chrysalises on our house erupted. One monarch butterfly already had flown the coop by the time I noticed, but another, who I dubbed Monique, hung around for awhile.

Attractive colors!

Yesterday I looked out my front door and saw some fluttering around our butterfly plant. It was a monarch! I grabbed my Nikon D700, attached the Nikon 70-200mm lens, and stood in the doorway snapping pix.

Hello, gorgeous!

Could it be that Monique had returned for a visit? Perhaps she had gotten homesick during her travels.

Whatever the reason, I hope we get to see her more often. She’s welcome to belly up to the Butterfly Buffet any time!

Rallying the Troops With Fireworks

So lovely!

The best part of this week’s high school pep rally in anticipation of tonight’s big homecoming football game?

So sparkly!

Great fireworks! Almost as good as after Friday night Sugar Land Skeeters‘ games.

So colorful!

It definitely excited the crowd. We’re ready to root on our boys as they try to add their third district victory against an undefeated foe.

So intriguing (thanks to a sloooow shutter speed)!

Go, Bulldogs, go!

An Action-Packed Disc Golf Season Ends

Sam flies a putt towards the basket.

Normally when I shoot disc golf, I’m all about the action. Well, that and any nature that happens to pop up along the way for my Nikon 105mm macro lens.

But with the six-month Southwest Handicap Mini disc golf series finally coming to a close last week, I made two key decisions: First, I opted to use my Nikon 70-200mm lens (while later lamenting that I hadn’t added my Nikon 1.4x teleconverter to it for more length, darn it) on my Nikon D700.

Marcus, Steve, the kid, and Randall

That gave me the flexibility I needed for that second decision: To take group shots during this final 18-hole round at Tom Bass Park.

Ace series director Eric, Sam, Ryan, Billy, and Cory

I rarely stop the guys to gather for my lens, because, well, I pride myself on being a sports photographer. It’s fairly easy for any point-and-shoot camera to snap decent smile-and-say-horseradish (guaranteed to make people laugh) pics. So me using the big equipment for those kinds of photos seems silly.

Adam, Daniel, and Hiral

Plus I hate breaking the players’ momentum during the round. After all, they’re shooting for money and pride.

Christian, Evan, Mike, and Casey

But I really wanted to fully document the season finale, and that meant stopping all those handsome guys (including my beloved baby boy) and asking them to smile for me. Only 19 players qualified for the finale out of 79 who threw round plastic at metal baskets during the series’ 28 weekly tournaments (a minimum of 12 showings was necessary).

Of those 19, 16 battled the wind, their nerves, and the setting sun to earn cash and the title of champion. That turned out to be . . .

Daniel putts from behind a tree.

. . . the vastly improved Daniel!

Glad I was able to capture it all!

Elvis Rocks the Fireworks

A lotta shaking going on . . . due to a slow shutter speed.

As I’ve mentioned before, our Sugar Land Skeeters put on a great fireworks show.

Red-dy or not!

Our minor-league baseball team decided to shake things up last Friday night by making that bright display Elvis-themed. It was the Skeeters’ first game with former major-league ace Roger Clemens in uniform.

These remind me of spiders . . . red spiders.

Kind of like the King meets the Rocket. With majestic rockets bursting in air!

More spiders

The colorful, post-game display almost made up for us not seeing Clemens pitch.

Green-gold lighted streamers silhouette the scoreboard.


More greenish fireworks hover around the scoreboard

What made these Elvis-related? The nostalgic music accompanying them.

Love the rockets’ red, gold, and white glare!

There were no King of Rock and Roll sightings at the game. Maybe he left the field early.

That hound dog!!