Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Long and Short of It

Days after our trip to Florida, I was afflicted by a certain amount of lassitude. These bouts with sluggishness have been happening with alarming frequency lately. Thank heavens my wife would, without fail, wake me up from these moments of languor by these loving words: Go out and bird!

Spurred by Cynthia's encouraging "suggestion" I prepared my camera gear, albeit a tad wearily, when a brilliant thought flashed in my stupefied brain. I have not been using my 500mm lens lately - it's weight a factor that more often than not precluded it from being used in the field - so why not take it out and give my flabs a much needed work-out.

Of course, my destination shouldn't be far and should not require extensive use of a pair of legs that had been in action for more than 60 years. I chose Eaton Canyon in Pasadena where there are birds within a hundred yards radius from the parking lot. I wasn't disappointed. By simply plopping my gear near the drips I was able to capture in digital media the private lives of some lovely birds. At home after processing my photos, I was amazed at the quality that my long lens produced. Like these Nashville Warbler and Black-headed Grosbeak photos:

That was a complete contrast to the pictures I took two days later from basically the same spot, but this time using my short (and light) 300mm lens. Although some of the pictures turned out well, the images were, of course, a lot smaller and needed more tweaking during post-processing. The California Quail was the look-out as its mate and progeny fed nearby, and Bewick's Wrens were always oblivious of people around them so I was able to get some close-up shots of this one.

Now it was as if two tiny "Bobs" were sitting on my shoulders: the one on the left, the tiny, aesthetic Bob whispers to me, "use the 500 more often and get better photos"; while the one on the right, the wee yet physical Bob says, "use the shorter lens, walk around a lot and get pictures of more species".

Life is full of dilemmas, isn't it?

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Emilio said...


Good Bloog my friend!! Congratulations!!

good luck!! See you!

mick said...

Nice birds. What a nice dilemma! To use the long lens or not! We birders never have enough reach.

Anonymous said...

Looks as if you provided the answer yourself. And it's the same that's written in my book. Quality trumps quantity. :)
Good shots - with the differences that are to be expected!

Cheers, Klaus

Larry Jordan said...

Great captures Bob. I must agree with Klaus on this one. If I had a 500mm lens, I would be using it most of the time. Like Mick also stated, we never have enough reach!

Neil said...

I really like the second photo but they are all nice.

Tabib said...

Beautiful pics.
Canon 500mm f4 IS has been my dream lenses for quite sometime.
I have to wait until current economic condition turn good to justified the purchase.
In the meantime I have to be contented with this 400mm f5.6 non IS. :)