Avian Antics 1

There is photography in my formative years.  My father was an avid photographer, and would develop his own black and white prints.  We didn’t have a darkroom, so I remember sitting with him in the blacked out bathroom, with the trays of chemicals in the bathtub, the  enlarger set up on the wooden laundry hamper, processing prints, then hanging them above the tub on a makeshift clothesline, a homemade red light on the toilet.  I wonder what he would think of digital cameras today, where you can take as many shots as you want for pennies.

One of the first things I trained the Nikon D3000 on was the birds that come to the feeder outside the sunroom window.  I think that was the impetus for my husband to buy the camera in the first place, as he would find me crouched behind the sunroom windows holding the old Olympus tight to the glass and being as still as possible…so the Flicker wouldn’t see me.  I did get a few good pictures that way, but they were through the glass, and often had reflections that we didn’t like.

Tom the Seventh

My bird photography evolved to sitting on the deck with the camera on my father’s tripod, being very still and hoping the birds wouldn’t notice me; or at least wouldn’t perceive me as a threat.  (This, in a house where a hunter cat of no small prowess lives.)

In an effort to make myself even less of a presence I bought a length of camouflage mesh.  It serves the dual purpose of breaking up my outline, and protecting against the black flies and mosquitoes that tend to find you if you sit still around here.  I have endured some major teasing when friends and neighbours visit and find me hunkered down under my camouflage veils!  You can surely imagine.

I was so very out of my depth when I started.  My shutter speeds were too slow, my apertures too large, and the exposures too low.

It’s taken quite a bit of reading, and experimentation, to get any shots that would be considered acceptable.

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And then, last Christmas, hubby gave me a new zoom 55 – 200 mm lens.  I can almost see:

“the wing on the tick on the feather on the wing on the bird in the nest on the twig on the branch on the limb on the tree in the hole in the ground”.

Husband also made me a birdhouse from which I can remove the roof, to give birds open access and decrease shading.  So the next Avian Antics post will explore some of those shots.