Photos and gear

Today was entirely taken up with work – catching up on emails, planning various concerts for later this year, and sourcing music for some upcoming string trio performances – and, in the afternoon, a birthday party for my 92 year old mother-in-law. So I realised at about 11.50pm that I hadn’t written a blog!

I am a technophile whereas Brenda tends to be somewhat of the opposite! So in wondering what to write I started thinking about the changes in camera gear that I’ve lived through. My first camera as a child was, I think, some sort of Kodak film camera – very basic. I did, at one point, also have a Polaroid that did those instant prints. When I was a student in London in the early 1980s I got my first really decent camera, an Olympus OM1n. This allowed me to have a variety of lenses and it was great a few years later – when I was visiting Australia with my quartet – to buy my first telephoto lens and take some bird photos over there. Of course it wasn’t a particularly good setup, but I got some reasonable photos.

The obvious biggest change was the move from film to digital. I started on the digital path with a couple of different compact cameras but it wasn’t until I got my first DSLR, in about 2014, that I was able to start getting better bird photos by adding to it a Sigma telephoto lens. I’ve stayed with the same camera make – Canon – since then, and currently use a 5DSR body with a Sigma 150-600mm lens. The lens doesn’t quite have either the optical quality or the speed of the top Canon lenses….but then again they can cost about 10 times more! For me it’s a good setup which allows me to take photos that I’m pleased with.

And the beauty of digital is that one can take as many photos as one likes without the cost of film developing: The only issue is the time it takes to go through them all and delete the out of focus ones, decide which of the good ones deserve saving, and trying to remember to log them with keywords so that I can find them later! I think my digital photo library currently runs to about 20,000 photos – probably time I had a clear out!

When you mange to get an unexpected photo of an animal or bird it makes lugging all the gear round absolutely worthwhile! (photo taken in 2015)

So when I’m out and about birdwatching I end up carrying my binoculars round my neck, my telescope on a tripod with a backpack on my back, and my camera and long lens over my shoulder. Sometimes I think it’s too much, but if I decide to leave something behind, not take the telescope, or leave the camera at home, I invariably regret it. So nowadays I tend to just carry it all so I don’t miss anything. Plus sometimes I’ll have the thermal camera with me, and a compact Panasonic with an adaptor that can take photos and video through the telescope, and there’s always the smartphone in my pocket, and my bat detector in the summer, and……whoops, I appear to have a lot of gear.

But it’s fun!

No new species for February 25th:

Birds = 130
Moths = 5
Wildflowers = 19