Saturday 30 May 2015

A new camera and a few minutes in the field

After I'd bought my first cheap digiscoping set-up a birder laughingly told me that I'd never be satisfied with it and one day I'd be hooked on taking bird photographs. Utter stuff and nonsense I told him, my digi-gear was purely for gulling and that was the limit of my photographic aspirations. However in 2008 I saw a Eurasian Crag Martin out on one of the islands during spring migration, I believe this would have been the first record for Japan if I'd had a camera to document its occurrence, so I felt investing in some hand-holdable photographic gear was necessary and I bought in a D40 and and Sigma lens. This in no way compromised my previous stand, it was a perfectly practical step. How else could I support claims of any future rares I might find? The recent upgrade to a 7Dii and Canon lens is less easy to justify, in fact I have to confess it's impossible. Ingo was right all along, that digiscoping set-up was no more than the top of a slippery and expensive slope.

I had hoped to get my hands on this kit before my Mishima trip at the end of April but it wasn't to be, even the major Japanese retailer I bought it from doesn't stock the gear. I finally got notification from the shop on Thursday the week before last and my hands on it the following day.

March and April had been pretty quiet months for me work-wise but from mid-May I hardly have a spare moment, nothing surprising about the timing of the camera's arrival I suppose. During the first two frustrating weeks of ownership the only free day I've had corresponded with the one and only day of serious rain, nothing surprising there either really. But I did manage to get out for a couple of hours at lunch time last Friday and along with a painfully sunburned head I got a few shots of the only summer visitor it's easy to see in Kyoto; Oriental Reed Warbler.

I have an awful long way to go getting the hang of this camera, of how to keep my glasses handy to change settings and of using unfamiliar processing software. But these are my first results...

Other shots I liked were of the Carrion Crow at the bottom and this Barn Swallow gathering mud, the rear flank patch is so bold and extensive that the underparts remind me of a White-bellied Storm Petrel!

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