Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Day I Decided To Buy A Camera

One spring afternoon in 2005, I was walking along a path that follows the Connecticut River. It is only a few hundred yards from my house. I remember it being an extremely windy day, and was curious if the wind might have any effect on what birds might be around.

I was searching for birds in a small wooded patch about 5o feet from the river bank, when a very odd bird caught my attention. My first thought was, -What's that odd looking seagull doing in a tree?-Seagulls don't sit in trees do they?-Hmm- it doesn't have gull feet-. After a couple of minutes of observation, I reasoned that it definitely wasn't a seagull.

What the heck is it? Wow-It has red eyes, and look at that little wispy feather coming off of the back of the head.-Hey, wait a minute-I've think I've discovered a rare tropical bird!-It has to be.-At this point I started to take notes and tried to make a sketch. -(That is not a pretty sight.- I am a lefty who was converted to a righty by a second grade teacher. I had forgotten all about it, until my sister pointed it out to me a few years ago. She noticed I was writing with my right hand instead of my left.

Besides having poor penmanship, I also have a dyslexic tendency to flip flop letters in words. -I wonder why the teacher decided to do this?-any ideas?)

After I had made a sketch, I ran back to my house by cutting though a neighbor's yard. They must have thought there was something wrong by the way I was running. I grabbed a disposable camera -the only kind I'd ever used. I took pictures of it until the film ran out.

When I went back to the house, I started rifling through a field guide. My notes and sketches had paid off. There was no doubt that what I had seen was a Black-Crowned Night Heron. It was a very exciting find for me, but a fairly common bird. I went from being Roger Tory Peterson back to me in just a few seconds.

After having the pictures developed, I was in for another shock. The bird looked like the size of an ant! I couldn't even tell it was a bird by looking at the pictures.
-That was the day I decided to get a digital zoom camera.

6 comments:

LauraHinNJ said...

I don't know that teachers still do that *forced-rightie* thing, but I remember it. I do lots of stuff with my left hand and remember being discouraged from using it by my mom.

I'm always disappointed with my bird pics, even though I have a fairly good 200-400 mm lens - I have to crop them so much and then the quality goes down the drain.

Zoom point and shoot cameras or a digiscoping set-up seem to be the answer, but I have too much invested in the old-fashiioned way and I won't afford a bigger lens.

Larry said...

I don't think you can get very sharp pictures with my point and shoot zoom like you can with a dslr but it is easier.

Rob J. said...

Larry, I feel the same way. I'm afraid that if I upgrade, I'll end up bogged down with tons of gear. I've been digiscoping with a little Canon Powershot S50 and my 60MM Kowa scope. The lens and eye-piece are the same diameter so a home-made adapter was easy...$3 at the hardware store for a hose coupler. Check out the grebe photos in my latest blog posting as they were digiscoped with that rig:

http://citybirder.blogspot.com/2007/03/red-tailed-hawks-and-spring-changes-i.html

Larry said...

I haven't tried digiscoping yet-but I've seen your photos and they are excellent.

mon@rch said...

it is amazing how a camera can change your life! So glad to see schools are pushing photography classes in the schools. Hope your glad to have gone digital! Was very hard for me to do the switch over!

Larry said...

It was easy for me to go from no camera to a digital.-previous to that I only used a throw-away to take pictures.Half of the time, I never even got the pictures developed.