A few weeks ago while I was at Teslin Lake Bird Observatory, we caught a Junco that was part Oregon (subspecies) in the Mist Nets. I snapped a shot of its head while Jukka Jantunen (the Bander-in-Charge) held it for me. I only got one shot before the moment I had been expecting for a year suddenly arrived. My poor, tattered camera, held together with duct tape, gave it’s last wheeze and died in my hands. It stopped seeing, and when I snapped photos with it they would be either pure black, pure white, or multicoloured with bars. I took out its batteries and retired it. It now hangs up in my room, on display.
I didn’t know what I would do without my camera. It had been hanging off my shoulder almost everyday, everywhere, for the past six years. I used my tiny pocket digital camera, but it wasn’t the same. Portraits were its specialty, and wildlife was out of the question. I began to gather up my money: change was rolled up, my hidden stashes gathered, my final paycheck was mailed to me from my employer at the Six-Mile River Resort. I found that I had enough for a new camera. I had done my research, and had some requirements in mind when I shopped. It had to be a Fujifilm Finepix. Just like my old camera. It had to be a regular digital camera. It had to be $500 or less. I ended up getting a Fujifilm Finepix HS30EXR, a fantastic camera! You can view and read about it here. I bought a new case and tripod to go with it as well. Now I’m fully equiped with a good camera, scope, and ‘bins’ 🙂
The morning after I bought the camera, I found my first subject. A male Spruce Grouse was taking a stroll down the boardwalk along the side of our house. He was very tame, and didn’t really mind that I was following him. He even stopped to pick at some weeds in a bare patch under a tree (It had snowed) with me in plain sight, and only a short distance away. I was thinking in that moment how true Spruce Grouse are to the name ‘Fool Hen’. Dad and his dog, Java came around the corner which startled the grouse, and he flew up into a tree behind the woodshed. After climbing up the back of the woodshed and standing on a fence post I was really able to test my new camera. I was very pleased with my results!
Today, I went to Tagish Bridge to bird and also to try out a special panorama setting on my camera. The setting works this way: you choose how wide you want your pan (120deg., 180deg., 360deg), choose the direction in which you will pan, then you choose your starting point, press the shutter button, and start slowly turning. The camera will keep taking photos with your finger off the button until it has panned the set distance. Then it stops. The camera automatically puts the panorama together for you. It was awesome, a lot of fun! Here are my results.
I was surprised at the number of waterfowl resting in the narrows when I got there. With my scope I counted 141 Buffleheads, 6 Greater Scaup, about 200 Greater/Lesser Scaups, 6 Common Mergansers, and 11 Common Goldeneye plus 2 Common Loons, all preparing for the long journey ahead of them. The wind was blowing, there was a slight drizzle, and heavy, low-lying clouds covered the sky. The weather was forcing them down. Only a few ducks braved the skies and flew low on their way south.
I have a feeling that my camera and I will have a lot of fun and capture some great moments together 🙂 I can hardly wait for the bird feeders to go up in November so I can practice with it!