The feature photo is something I saw while waiting for a traffic light the other day. It caught my eye because the day before I had dithered over buying this;
In this particular case it’s technology that’s driven me to drink. I discovered that my camera will let you take a ‘precapture’. So you focus on a bird and when the action happens you take the shot and half the time you get this;
If you use this new feature you half-press the shutter button while you find your shot, then when to do push the shutter button all the way it takes the photos from a half second before you pressed the shutter. Great, right? So I took a ton of pictures that way the other day. but my software doesn’t want to open them. So this morning I upgraded the software, upgraded the camera firmware, and added a new editing program. And everything fought me as I worked on it. It’s been a long morning and I still haven’t successfully created even one picture. I have wasted half the day, but certainly it must be close to 5 o’clock somewhere…
Cape Coral is a 3 hour trip from home, which explains why we have talked about driving there before, but we were trying to ensure the best timing to see the burrowing owls with their chicks. April through June is what we have seen in print, but seeing chicks turning up on photographers Facebook feeds sent us off on our journey. Ordinarily I’d have been perfectly happy to see one of the owls at all, but setting your heart on seeing a chick is asking for disappointment. Maybe it was bad luck, or maybe it’s just that we don’t have any ‘inside’ information on places to look.
We stopped at a park to eat our lunch and talked with a resident who was shooting hoops on the playground. I asked if he knew any good spots to see the owls and he said they are ‘everywhere’. And yes, the marked off nests for the burrows were easy to spot as we drove around, but we didn’t see any owls there. He said that Hurricane Ian had hit the area hard, and the burrows were abandoned because they were wet. But now, he said, they are starting to see the owls returning. He noticed two owls that had returned, one on each side of the road, on his dog walks. He said that after a while they had joined forces and were now at the same burrow. Maybe that is good news. And I have to hope that his observations hold true, that the owls are returning. And soon all the nesting sites will be occupied by these cute little birds.
Horse racing is back on the schedule for our photo group now that the weather is cooler. Saturday was our first photo walk to Tampa Bay Downs since last April. The weather was cloudy and cool, but eventually the sky cleared and the temperature began to rise. It’s always fun to shoot photos with friends, and make new friends also.
It’s so nice to see more and more photo shoots on the calendar with the nicer weather and the return to normalcy after covid. I used to go out for photos by myself, which meant that I never felt as trapped at home as most people did. But I’m enjoying being with friends, I’ll admit it.
Didn’t I just declare that I’d never borrow my friend’s very sturdy, and very heavy, tripod ever again? Well, today I decided that it was time to try the Tamron 150-600 lens on the new camera (Canon r7). So I loaded up the lens and tripod onto the basket of my trike and off I went to the little nearby pond. I wanted close ups of dragonflies that didn’t require me to crop away more of the photo than I kept. It was hot and I was on a slope, so it wasn’t easy. But I did assure myself that yes, I can use that lens with the new camera, it worked very well. I just need a Sherpa to carry it for me…
Next time I try this I’ll load up a camping chair also!
It was back to the pond to look for the dragonflies again yesterday, but this time with my 150-600mm lens. I haven’t used it in so long that it resisted me as I tried to extend it to the full 600mms. And it was just so heavy that I struggled to keep it still even with the tripod. Then there was the zoom that was almost too much, so that finding the dragonflies that were right in front of me wasn’t easy. I guess I’ve been spoiled by the smaller lens I use all the time. But the dragonflies cooperated this time also, and I have no idea how that shell wound up in the grass but it caught my eye.
The sun came out from behind a cloud after just a few minutes and that was enough to send me back to the house. No wonder the sunrises and sunsets are fun to do here in Florida. We do them in self defense.
Rushing Mother Nature rarely pays. At least when you are talking about nesting birds and stubbornly non-hatching eggs. You may arrive at a rookery, doesn’t matter which one, and find lots and lots of birds, looking like piles of feathers, just suspended in the shrubbery doing nothing. There may or may not be a mate standing beside them, but they are also doing nothing. Such was the situation the other day, and all this nothing-ness caused me to walk a little way down the block to a pond I knew of which sometimes has some birds visiting. That’s where I found this wood stork taking a bath. He splashed and he splashed, and then he dried himself off, only to start the process over again. Round two is what you are seeing in the profile picture. And I really don’t know if it was round two, how many more times did he do this before I took a peek?
There are many places you can go to take pictures, and usually it’s all up to Mother Nature whether the sunrise or sunset, or just the weather in general, will cooperate with you. But this time of year the rookeries are a sure bet. The birds will be there, possibly just sitting there, but they are there. Mother Nature sees to that. But one of these days we will hear the chicks calling out to be fed, and the real fun will begin. So we will keep going back.