by Kimberly A. Cook (Twitter@ WarriorTales)
On a recent backyard safari to another house, I brought along the Canon Powershot SX200 with the longest zoom I have, 15x. I was hunting baby robins.
The industrious pair of robins who built a nest in the crook of the patio cover really knew how to pick real estate. The location was covered with a yellow sunroof and surrounded by a clematis bush for camouflage. On top of that, the metal struts to hold the roof to the post were perfect underpinnings for the nest. These robins are engineers!
The goal was to try to get pictures of the small fry, since it was hard to tell from the occasional waving beaks we’d seen who was where and how many there were in the nest. The kids were growing up and we wanted to make sure we got a family portrait or two before they left for flight school.
Not to disturb Mom robin, over the course of a couple of hours I would pop out on the top step to the patio from the house and take pics. About forty shots later I had a few keeper photos.
Using the smaller point and shoot cameras required me to learn new techniques after using 35mm film cameras for so long. I now become a human tripod in order to steady the camera, finding someplace to lean against in order to prevent motion distortion. The sliding glass patio door and the door frame both worked great. I used to prop my left elbow against my chest while holding the bottom of the camera and lens to focus and snap the shutter button with the right finger.
The most important camera equipment to have is any kind of camera period. I’m still old school enough that I want the variety of focal and zooms length I can get from a camera, so I only use my cell phone camera as a last resort. Cell phones are hard to hold and I’m always losing a shot because I hit the wrong spot on the touchscreen at the wrong time. Simple is better.
So while summer is hard on us and the birds and bees are definitely out and about, grab your camera and venture out into the wilds.
Take a risk and explore away from your backyard and familiar surroundings and forge across the great unknown to an adventure of epic proportion – like you’re neighbor’s backyard.
When in doubt, zoom! You too might find some rock’in robins!
P.S. The birds left the nest two days later, so timing was perfect!