Sunday, June 03, 2012

Better Half

My wife, Cynthia, and I have been doing bird photography for about seven years now. Throughout those years I was the primary photographer. She was the one who would take the responsibility of locating the birds using her super sharp hearing. It was our tacit agreement that if we would be targeting a particular species then it would be just me who will bring the camera. However, if we are to visit a place where we will be encountering a lot of birds then she would also bring her gear albeit with a shorter lens. That way we would have better coverage of the area. In cases such as this, she would, by and large, defer to me when we are shooting at the same bird. I have better equipment and more experience was her rationale for doing so. However, there were instances where she would produce much better pictures than those I have taken. One such instance happened last Saturday.

We were at Subic along with our friend, Ralf Nabong. It was a dark, gloomy morning. In-between rains, as it were. The parrots were quite active perhaps hoping for the sun to shine through the gray clouds. Most of these were Blue-napeds. Among these noisy crowd was a smaller, plainer bird perched on a bare branch. "Green Racquet-tail!" I informed my companions. Ralf and I fired away with our 500mm lenses. Cynthia, unbeknownst to me was also shooting with her 300mm. This would be a photolifer for us.

That evening when we got home and as I was processing the results of out photographic expedition I was pleasantly surprised to discover that her shots of the Racquet-tail were better than mine. Much better!

And that wasn't the end of it. While waiting for some Tarictic Hornbills, I was entranced by some movement behind a heavily vegetated area. I could tell it was huge and blackish, perhaps a Philippine Coucal. It was stealthily moving about yet not showing itself completely into view. Losing my patience, I joined Ralf in waiting for the hornbills. A few minutes later Cynthia walked towards us grinning from ear to ear. She just came from where I was standing before and now she was showing me the image of what she has just photographed. It was a Rough-crested Malkoha! For the past couple of years I have been wanting to take a picture of this lovely bird but had not been successful. Now because of my wife's patience we finally got one. Another photolifer!

Despite the inclement weather, we were able to see some nice birds, although none of what we were hoping for. I did add another lifer to our list, though, a Philippine Cuckoo-Dove last Friday. I even got a photo of that, too! Sadly, it was just a documentary shot, backlit and all. 

I should have let my better half take the picture.   Unfortunately she was performing her wifely duties, preparing for our lunch (along with Eve, Ralf's wife) back at the apartel.

Having been outshot, did I become the bitter half in our relationship? Of course not! I am always proud when my better half lives up to her role.

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