Carrying Some Weight

It was 33° F and cloudy last Sunday when we started our walk at Whites Ferry. It is the time of year when we are looking forward to the coming of Spring, but the weekend was certainly a step back in the wrong direction in this waiting process. The fact that it was a cloudy day did not help in any way.

I took my new toy out on the trail for the second time!

My explorations of the A/V world have now taken a back step to my newer hobby – photography. Just like with the A/V stuff, photography can be an expensive undertaking – depending on how much you are drawn into the inner workings and details of the craft. In fact, the instantaneous and somewhat spiky impact on expenses that one can encounter in this hobby can be quite significant when compared to the any of the financial impacts that my A/V interests used to have.

Having graduated through the many years from point-and-shoot cameras to mirrorless cameras, I now have the ability to experiment with lenses of different capabilities. Thus it was that I finally gave in to temptation and bought myself a 400mm zoom lens (equivalent of 800mm zoom on a regular 35mm camera). It put us back a pretty penny – but at this time of ones life, this is more of a psychological barrier to its purchase rather than a practical one. The psychological barrier was also overcome by the offer of a free extender lens that when added on to the lens that I was purchasing could double its zoom capability.

The new lens is big and heavy, but it is manageable when one is walking. It is not practical to carry it when one is running. It has got a big enough circumference that the body of the camera has to be supported by the lens when it is attached to it. It is also unwieldy enough that swapping out lens when one is walking is going to take some practice. There might also have to be an investigation of easier ways to carry the lenses while traveling. And unless I get a better backpack, I am going to have to limit the number of lenses that I carry with me on certain expeditions.

But, for the moment, I am enjoying some of the early samples of the pictures that I am able to get. The resolution that I am achieving and the details I am seeing in some of the pictures I have taken so far is something I am enjoying.

When we were walking along the canal last weekend, an older gentleman, who we had first noticed staring at us it a curious manner when we first passed each other, stopped to talk to us on our way back to Whites Ferry (from Dickerson). He had probably been drawn to the huge lens hanging around my neck. He asked us if we had seen the bald eagle and its nest. He pointed us to the culvert from which we would be able to see the nest. Since we were familiar with the area, we were able to locate it when we stopped to look for it. With the help of my lens, I could zoom in on the location and get a snapshot. It was a Sycamore tree on an island in the river.I could barely make out some movement in the nest through the lens. Perhaps if we had waited long enough, we would have seen some more action. We will have to return some time. Bald eagles are monogamous, and they tend to return to the same nesting spots year after year.

I should also note that the presence of the new lens seems to catch some people’s attention as we are walking. It identifies me as a birder, even though any serious birder would probably laugh at my abilities and skills in this regard. The weekend earlier, a gentleman had noticed the lens and told me where I could see peregrine falcons. This is a heavily cropped version of the picture I got.

It was as if the bird was keeping an eye on me from across the river. In fact, I could see its eye!

The Sycamore Trees

I know I have already mentioned this – perhaps too many times – but the sight of the Sycamore trees in winter never ceases to generate a sense of wonder no matter how many times we see them during our walks along the river. Every time we visit the park it is as if we are experiencing the sight of these trees for the first time once again. They are majestic! They catch your attention. These trees tend to dominate the treeline wherever they are present, whether you are looking straight up, or whether you are looking at them along the shorelines of the river. The trees are very distinctive with their white trunks and branches in their upper reaches. The body of the tree looks robust, and the tree itself appears to tower over all others.

I tend to spend a lot of time during our walks looking around for stuff – birds mainly. Last weekend I spent a significant amount of time just trying to enjoy the sight of the Sycamore trees. I do not think I am able to take the kind of pictures that will do them full justice, but I tried anyway.