A goose is a bird

On Friday night, I made up my mind to wake up early and take a walk at Huntley Meadows.  It’s been a while since I spent a few hours at Huntley.  Spring went quickly and the summer heat is oppressive.  The birds are most active in the early part of the day.

I’ve been using my Sony RX10IV for most of my photography lately.  This is a great camera.  It’s light enough to carry everywhere and it has an incredibly useful zoom range and good built in image stabilization.  Where I used to carry a tripod and a long zoom into Huntley, I just carry the RX10IV and shoot away.  It’s very liberating.

One thing about the setup that I find indispensable.  Without the tripod, you try out different angles on the same subject.  Not that you can’t do that with a tripod mounted camera, but it’s a much faster process when you use a handheld camera with a nice lens that you know can do what you want it to do.

What I really wanted to do is shoot bird pictures.  Alas, although I got up before daybreak, I hesitated long enough (about going out in the heat) that by the time I did get to Huntley, the sun had been out for almost an hour and a half.  Not great.  And so, the birds that I hoped to see were not in view (they were probably there, I just could not find them).  There were ospreys flying and diving, but they were never close enough to get good pictures of them diving.  There were herons that stood on the water, but they were just lounging around.  There were egrets, further still, also lounging around.  A bluebird sang then went into its nest.  Birds aplenty?  Yes.  The early bird gets the worm is a saying that applies to humans, especially bird photographers.  The early guy with the camera gets the birds.

Still, there was a goose that wandered into close proximity.  And with its partner, flew up into the sky in an opportune moment.  I was tracking an osprey, but saw the two large birds in the periphery of the scene, turned around and pressed the shutter button.  The RX10IV has a great AF system.  It focuses quickly and tracks the subject quite well.  Not quite as good as the top of the line Sony A9, but that’s a bigger camera and the lens I want to use with it won’t be out till next month.  And if someone wants to give me that lens, well, I’d take a picture for you.

And that’s how I managed to get a decent goose in flight picture.  Born of frustration, but given an opportunity to do something unplanned.  Sometimes (actually, most of the time), opportunity knocks.  You just need to listen for the sometime faint sound (or in this case, a momentary rush at the edge of the viewfinder).  You never know what’s out there.  And that’s a good thing.

And there were other things aside from birds.  I almost got sunburned staying out too long.  And didn’t bring enough water.  Still, it was a nice morning to sweat.  Take pictures.  And be inspired.

DSC02979_sDSC02914_sDSC03063_sDSC03187_sDSC03213_s

So go out there.  Take a walk.  Be surprised.  And let nature rejuvenate your mind and soul.

Advertisements

Mid Autumn Birding in Northern Virginia

I must admit that the russet, orange, yellow and green umbrella of leaves didn’t leave much room for finding birds and taking pictures of them on my walk at Huntley Meadows.  I must also admit that it doesn’t take that long to walk a three mile trail, unless you’re walking back and forth looking for birds (and not finding them).  As I entered the trail at Huntley Meadows, there were some forlorn photographers, with their long lenses and tripods leaving the park.  I didn’t want to ask how the birding was, but after ten minutes of walking, I could not resist to ask someone how their morning had gone.  Not a lot of interesting things, or something like that, was the verbal answer.  It was a confirmation of a supposition answered in the faces of many a photographer walking the trails at the park.  Not very promising, but at least there were leaves.

And a good thing that red, orange, yellow and green were in copious quantity.  Did it make up for a lack of birds?  No.  The lesser number of birds in the park, combined with the masking quality of the colors in the trees, combined with my inadequate skills at bird spotting really limited the number of opportunities for spotting a bird.  On a beautiful autumn day, the birds may have been there, but so where the leaves.  Still, it would have been nice to find more of our avian friends.  A lot more practice at bird spotting lies ahead.  A great way to enjoy the wonderful beauty that nature provides.