Updates & Visiting Mud Lake

This week is reading week at University of Ottawa, so there are no classes for undergraduate students, which also means a less hectic week for me.  One thing I was planning on doing this week was looking for Snowy Owls.  The approximate location of the Snowy Owls is not very close to where I live and public transportation does not even come close to the area, so I have been waiting for some free time and good weather in order to make this thing happen.  And today is finally the day!

Another thing that happened this week was that I came across an ad of someone selling one of the lenses that I have been waiting for a while now - the Olympus 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens.  After some online negotiation and postponing the transaction because of Tuesday's record-breaking snowfall, I finally received this lens yesterday, and it is beautiful!  Because of the two above things, I set some goals for myself today - find Snowy Owls and test the lens.

Long story short, the first goal was unsuccessful because the road where I thought the owls may be found was not the right one and walking along a busy rural road (during wintertime) without sidewalks does not make me feel very safe (just like the time when I tried to bike to Bridgenorth).  After feeling a bit bummed and tired out, I decided to visit Mud Lake and photograph some birds (and macro shots too) instead.

Mud Lake is completely snow-covered now.  I took this photo with my new lens.  It is so much fun shooting with a sharp prime lens (not really the case for my OM 50mm f/1.8 lens).

While taking some close-up photos of snow and dead vegetation, I saw this beautiful red feather (belonging to a Northern Cardinal?) on the snow.

Cardinal feather?
Beautiful red feather.

A cropped image of the above photo to show the amount of detail this lens can capture.

A part of a winged achene.

Reading about how sharp this lens is when wide open (i.e., when the aperture number is set to the smallest in the given lens - in this case f/2.8) , one thing I want to try is taking pictures of birds, especially of ones that are not shy around people (e.g., most of the birds at Mud Lake).  And I was right, this lens can be used for situations such as this.  What a gem!

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

However, for shy birds that tend to hide in the vegetation and stay far away from you, using a telephoto lens is the easiest method.

Switching to my 70-300mm f/4-5.6 lens for the shy Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis).
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
Handsome but very shy.

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