A change of place

Cooper's Hawk - Panaxonic Lumix GX1 w/ 100-300mm lens.I’ve had cabin fever. I blame it on this never-ending winter. I get out for a walk as much as I can and don’t mind the cold as long as the wind is reasonable. But for a while there I was doing more shoveling than walking.

More often than not I take a camera with me. Sometimes just my iPhone. But I had been taking the same routes over and over. And while they take me by Lake Erie, or a feeder creek, or some woods, it has become a bit repetitive. To break that routine I went to some of the parks that have trails in the adjacent county.

My walks pair well with my newish hobby of birding. On the first visit on a new trail I photographed a Cooper’s Hawk in flight (with my new used camera). That same day I just missed an owl. I saw it, heard it, and discovered it’s nest but couldn’t get a photo. Today I went back just as the snow passed through. I took camera and lens with a little more reach. When I got to the area I slowed and scanned the trees. To my left I saw a Barred Owl, about 40 feet from the path. I spent about 45 minutes trying to get the best image. It only moved once, to a new limb about 10 feet deeper in the woods.

Oh, and I scared the crap out of a jogger, who never saw me, my monopod or my ginormous lens until she was five feet from me. She actually did a little jump dance. Sorry.

So take your camera out for a walk. You never know what you’ll see.

Barred Owl - Nikon D7000 w/ 300mm lens and 1.4 extender.


When I drew the line between "real" camera photos and my iPhone photos on this blog I didn't think the line would blur so quickly.

Last weekend I was out puttering about in my manly yard duties when I saw a squirrel hustle up to a recent cut in a Maple tree. I didn't know that Red Squirrels found the sap very tasty. I learned that in my extensive Goog, err, research, it's not uncommon for them to cut the bark to feed on the sap. That also explains the various spots on my driveway. Personally, I found the sap tasteless.

So here was a virtual fountain of sap provided unwittingly by me when I trimmed the maple earlier in the season.

But that's not the point.

When I saw the squirrel the only camera equipment I had with me was my iPhone (4). So, I grabbed my cheap 8x power binoculars (always handy for birding) and tried to it steady on the phone while I braced against the garage and made a few frames. See photo above.

The squirrel didn't seem to be stopping any time soon so I went inside and grabbed by Nikon P7700 and managed to sneak to within about 10 feet at 200mm. See photo below.

So what's the difference? The tools, yes. The light, no. The time of day, not really. Focal length, OK, maybe an edge to the P7700.

The only difference is that I found the iPhone photo to be more voyeuristic, primarily because of the hard vignetting on the image.

What do you think?