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The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet. A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense his life. . . . The beautiful vagabonds, endowed with every grace, masters of all climes, and knowing no bounds -- how many human aspirations are realised in their free, holiday-lives -- and how many suggestions to the poet in their flight and song!
~John Burroughs, 'Birds and Poets,' 1887.
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2 March 2003
Have I mentioned how much I love digital photography?
Over the weekend, I read an article in our local paper about the return of shorebirds to our local marsh pond. The American avocet (which sounds like a winged attorney!), black-necked stilt and common snipe, the columnist reports.
Now, Im not a bird person. I can recognize a jay, a magpie, a crow, a cardinal (which we dont get around here), a robin and a host of Australian birds, but as far as the fine points between various species of water birds, all I know is that they have long legs and long beaks and are cool to watch. Oh yeah--and those pink flamingos are kind of nice, but I only see the plastic type around here.
But I decided that today would be a good day to go check out the new arrivals at the pond. The pond is on the bike path, but because of the wet streets and my intermittent nervousness about riding my bike on potentially slippery streets, I decided to drive to the far side of the pond and walk the rest of the way.
Its impossible to miss the pond. Even if you couldnt see the water beyond the bushes, there would be no missing the constant calls of the Canada geese. There were several pairs of geese preening for each other, following each other around, and obviously feeling that spring was in the air.
I began snapping photos.
I thought about how my life has changed with the advent of digital photography. I really love taking nature photographs. Im not "photographer" by a long shot, but I love trying to capture the right moment.
In the past, taking photos of something like unknown bird species in a pond on a grey afternoon would be something I would think twice about. With no telephoto lens, and with the high price of film and developing, I would probably sit there, wishing I had a better camera, maybe snap a photo or two and wait a week or so to find out whether I actually got anything worthwhile.
With digital under my fingertips, I can snap literally hundreds of photos, see them instantly, discard the bad ones on the spot, or take them home, run them through the computer, choose the handful that arent horrible, and just save the good ones. Ive spent no money at all, and know right away whether there is anything worthwhile in the group.
So I stood there, listening to the Canada Geese and snapping away. For a change I used the full 40x zoom on my camera. I know that digital zoom makes really crappy photos, when seen full size, but at the size I generally print them here on this journal page, theyre acceptable (to me, anyway). Not outstanding, but acceptable. It also allows me to see things up a lot closer than is visible to the naked eye.
Thus I was able to see these two cormorants...
The black stilts...
and whatever this is...
It was a terrific way to get out in the air and away from this computer, to get some walking in, and to have fun snapping pictures. This is nothing I would have done before my first digital camera. Just too expensive!
Tomorrow, if the weather is cooperative, I might try to get out and take some photos of blossoms before the rain washes them all away.
Winter must be on the way out. I'm starting to get an itchy camera button finger again!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
The new marble is up around the bath tub!
Weight Lost to date: 45.8 lbs