"It's the poor workman who blames his tools," I've heard said, and I totally agree. There's a corollary to this, "With the right tools, you can do anything."
The image of the blackbirds on the wing illustrates the truth of that corollary. I stood at the edge of a cow pasture watching two flights of birds sweeping through the air in a shiny black arc that turns in my direction and in a few moments hundreds of birds fly past me.
I have rented a tool. An automatic focus telephoto lens with a fast 2.8 aperture. I set the tripod solidly, lock the head to point straight across into the space where the birds will buzz the cows. As the birds circle past, twenty feet away, I press the shutter button on the digital camera half down. The lens whirls and sharpens on the moving mass of wings and movement. I press all the way down and the shutter flies open to capture the moment at 1/2000th of a second. It's not a bad shot but must be viewed in large print size or scaled up on the computer. So it's not a good shot, either. It was the birds' fault for not spreading out.
That's OK. I can take that picture again. All I need is the time and the right tools.
The right tools are trop cher. This lens sells for more than $4000! Hence the wisdom of renting it for $150 a week. The camera body was over nine hundred a few years ago; now it's selling for seven with two lenses. Canon has several feature-laden cameras on the market that far surpass what I own now. Maybe I can rent the whole modern outfit next time out.
The Morro Bay birding weekend offers brisk hikes in rugged to easy strolls. The boatride is de rigueur, as is the drive up the cost to the Elephant Seal birthing beach north of San Simeon. I hope you'll take a look at this selection of bird images. I am going to use those that fit in an A to Z alphabet photo book featuring birds.
Absolutely--make that absochingaolutely--stunning that January 2008 nears its final days. I'll see you the 29th day thereof, a day which will be quite special. A ver.
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