Category Archives: New Perspectives

A potluck of musings: What else to do with insights on birding gained from parenting reminiscences?

Happy Birthday to Me

Today I turn, am, have, or complete 65, depending on your language (and those are just the few that I know). But whatever the verb, it’s an odd moment: long expected and yet totally surprising.  I cannot yet comment on the state itself but as I sit here, between the idea and the reality, I have a few random thoughts, as the aged often do.  Continue reading

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Travelling Light

I look at the pile on my bed.  When did it start, I wonder.  What was the first breach in the dam?  The first tumbling stone in the avalanche?  The first unheeding step down that slippery slope?  When exactly did I start travelling heavy?

Was it when I started carrying two kinds of toothbrush: an electric toothbrush and a proxabrush with two snap-in heads—each one matching only some of the gaps between my teeth—to keep my dental hygienist happy?  Continue reading

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Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia

It’s a joke, if such a casual name is appropriate for something that uses Ancient Greek roots:

  • Hexakosioi – six hundred
  • Hexekonta – sixty
  • Hexa – six
  • Phobia – irrational or persistent fear

Hence, hexakosioi-hexekonta-hexa-phobia: fear of 666.   Continue reading

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To Be or To Be Something Else

This post is not really about photography.

Well, not only.

I want to take wonderful freeze-frame photos of birds in flight.  You know the kind of thing, I’m sure.  I mean, how hard can it be?

Well, pretty hard.  Those pesky things are far away and/or moving fast.   Or both, dagnab it.  And so I have a large and growing category: fuzzy birds in flight. Continue reading

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Wanting It the Way I Want It

In the second week of February, the Big Guy and I drove 3 1/2 hours SE of Phoenix to Bisbee, to use it as a staging point for 3 visits to the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area, wintering grounds for about 15,000 sandhill cranes.  My photos of those birds weren’t what I’d hoped for.  I was able to get no closer than about 100 feet and maybe not that close.  In any case, I was much too far away to get good, high-resolution shots with my camera equipment, which gives me a maximum 300mm zoom.   I’m sure my skill level had nothing to do with it.

Flock of thousands of sandhill cranes

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area – No zoom

 

Sandhill crane drinking.

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area – Max zoom, max crop

 

Lone sandhill crane standing in water

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area – Max zoom, max crop

This past week, I visited the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary about 45 minutes SW of where I was staying in Vancouver.  The resident sandhill cranes are pretty habituated to humans, and I was able to get within 5 feet of them without causing them any distress.  The biggest challenge here was keeping the ducks and sanctuary infrastructure out of the backgrounds.

Close-up of sandhill crane

George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary – Max zoom, negligible crop

 

Close-up of sandhill crane, drinking

George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary – Max zoom, negligible crop

What I want, of course, is pictures with the quality of the close-ups possible in the bird sanctuary, but with the ambiance of the wildlife area – and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with getting a rare picture (even just rare-ish).  Like Sally in When Harry met Sally, I just want it the way I want it.  And, you know, without making it my full-time job.

I’m not sure what to take from these disparate experiences.  My first impulse is to devalue the wilderness shots on technical merit (lack of close-up clarity), and to devalue the sanctuary shots on artistic merit (lack of rarity).

On the other hand, I guess I could be happy with both sets, valuing what I managed to do in each case, while continuing to strive for better.  Which sounds like a good model for life, even if altogether too well-adjusted . . .

 

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Filed under New Perspectives, Photos of Fauna