Escape to the Cape

Over my birthday weekend, I hitched a ride (metaphorically speaking) on a JetBlue flight to Boston, to help a friend of mine celebrate his 50th birthday. It necessitated a predawn flight:

Upon arriving in Boston, we had some time before we were going to drive down to the Cape, so we ran around doing a few errands, some of which took us right by some beautiful areas. One was in/right near the town of Concord: Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. The entrance to this place resembles someone’s driveway, but once you get there, it opens out somewhat:

View from the observation tower, Great Meadows NWR, Sudbury, MA. September 29, 2017

Of course, since I hadn’t known that I was going to be going to a national wildlife refuge, all I had with me was my 35mm portrait lens. It made taking pictures of the local wildlife a bit of a challenge. (And the view from the tower above was from my iPhone, because of course.)

Nevertheless, I tried. I was able to get very close to a pair of mating meadowhawk dragonflies:

Mating dragonflies. Meadowhawks of some sort (Sympetrum sp.). September 29, 2017. Nikon DSLR with 35 mm “portrait” lens.

It might be possible for an expert in dragonflies of the Northeast to tell what species this is, but there are several similar-looking red species, and I’m not able to assign a name to this pair.

That afternoon, we drove down to Falmouth Harbor, which is one of those picturesque little Cape Cod spots:

Falmouth Harbor, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. September 30, 2017.

As I’ve started to discover, my photographic skills really depend on the subjects I choose. For insects and birds, there is no option–the macro lens on my Nikon for bugs, and the telephoto for birds. For landscapes or other subjects, though, where the composition and the lighting and the angle are crucial to getting an interesting photograph, my phone is the hands-down winner.

The main reason, I think, is because if I’m already lugging my macro and my telephoto into the field, I just don’t have the time or energy to lug a third lens, no matter how small or light it may be. Changing out bodies and lenses is just so much more cumbersome than whipping my phone out of my pocket, and the iPhone camera is just good enough and versatile enough that it does the job for me.

Here’s an example of a shot in dim, overcast light under a canopy of trees. My 500mm telephoto wasn’t very useful in that situation, but the iPhone did a pretty decent job. Not stunning, but at least it captured a mood:

Gnarly tree at the Knob, Woods Hole, MA. September 30, 2017.

Not to turn this post into a pitch for the iPhone, but it’s pretty impressive that they can make something easy enough to use that I can take good pictures with it. I actually work to take good shots with my big camera, and fail way more often than I succeed. The phone is amazing.

Shrimp in shell, found by eagle-eyed little lady. October 1, 2017.