We’ve always loved watching birds. We have friends who give us bird houses and feeders. What is more natural then, than an ever increasing interest in the simple beauty they display and an increasing love of watching them. Of course we’re human and that naturally leads to the need to label everything. If we see a bird, we don’t want to tell friends that we saw a bird that was pretty. We want to be able to say we saw a swallow, or a swift. Ah, but then we have to be able to tell them apart!
So then the books and the web sites and a slow learning. Until you want to capture that image, that light flight, that glorious colour. and you see a smudge in the middle of your Mobile phone screen, or a bigger smudge in the snap from your “Point and shoot digital”. I want to be able to get a reasonable photograph.
When I was younger I dabbled in photography. I had a university friend who coached me through black and white photography until I could focus and expose a real camera shot. I learnt to use the different lenses. I bought an SLR. Somewhere are images of my daughter playing in the garden. Much better than the old “Instamatic” point and shoot! This expensive and very dusty camera adorns the bottom shelf of my office. Film is finished, but have you seen the price of digital SLR with a decent telephoto?
Back to the present
I was walking with the same friend along a Scottish beach when he took a photo of a shag with his “little” ordinary camera. Not a smudge in the background! – a crisp, clear, full frame image. Magic! What is that and can I have one?
The answer is a reasonably priced “Compact” camera. These can come with up to 50 times optical magnification. They are small and easy to carry. They have a point and click mode that you can start from and work your way up to more sophisticated things. The large aperture lenses collect more light giving you much brighter and distinct colours. They have a huge pixel capacity that allows the optical images to be zoomed digitally on your computer with excellent preservation of quality. They don’t need lots of lenses. Even better they’ll talk to your tablet or computer via the net, making the images instantly available.
I am delighted with the results I get. I hope you enjoy sharing my walk of exploration of the world of birds through the lens.