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Wildlife introduction

It was a long time ago and I was 16. My father had been assigned to a US Air Force base near Spokane, Washington. I remember sitting in the base library looking at a book about African wildlife and thought it would be nice to do some photography of wild animals myself. Back then it was all film, 35mm, and it seemed a good idea to get a chunk of Hickory wood, shape it like a rifle stock and make a trigger to take a photo. Cameras had a special cable which you could put in your hand and push a small plunger instead of pushing the button, thus eliminating any jerky motion which would blur the image. All kinds of wildlife were in Washington State; bears, moose, mountain lions and the like. However, me being out alone in wild was forbidden by my father because it was a national security risk, until he was retired. So the wood went in the trash and I did other things—until now.

I'd been using an old Leica/Lumix camera that looked like the kind of thing no thief would even think about stealing and it took perfect photographs. During a season off the road, I bought another same brand one, but it was a DMC-FZ18 bridge camera and I began using it locally until a year before the pandemic. I don't like huge, heavy telephoto lenses because I tend to travel very light and the FZ18 takes very good shots on the right settings. I recently got a good deal on another camera (DMC-TZ70) which fits into my pocket and if set right can get the equivelent of around 900 zoom. I refuse to buy a camera unless the lens says Leica or Zeiss.

I am not a birdwatcher (birds have feathers and fly or float so I could care less) but once in a great while there is something very unusual.
My first outing with the bridge camera was in Spring at a nearby nature park. This Coot chick was way off and what followed turned out to be a one in gazillion thing. A sequence of the chick obtaining food from it's mother, who was very near me as I stood on a viewing stand next to the lake.
A few years later, at in the same lake, there was an abundance of offspring of the water fowl in the lake, like I mean a huge amount. It was quite abnormal for the park and this drake had worn himself out breeding and taking a well earned rest on the log. I even shouted and hit the log, the creature barely opened an eye and went back to sleep. They never rest this close to people.
During the pandemic this Cormorant was, like the coot chick, a long way off on a little island in the middle of the lake. I used my new TZ70 for the shot and it's come out fine. I had never seen one of these things before.

My images are now 535 x 403 pixels. That's because when computers count, they do not begin at 1, but 0. So 0,1,2,3 equals 4. The result is the system does not have to calculate the difference and so my photo's load faster.

But I want something more.

A long hike, with me not planning to photograph anything, the only thing I had was my smartphone's camera. A young stag was in some thick bush on the left and the wind was well in my favor as I walked along a rarely used trail (you could hardly see in the ground). The stag suddenly jumped out at arms length in front of me and a tick landed on my forearm. Instantly I attacked the insect severely before it got its worm into me and had myself checked at the local hospital later for Lyme Desease (I was clear). The animal ran off into a field and stopped for a moment, allowing me to catch this shot.

Where is it all going to go?

I want to get out and begin the wildlife photography which I was not allowed to do around 60 years ago. There will be no 'rifle stock', just my camera and a Gorillapod.
Having spent over 11 years as a travel writer, on the road to this place and that, patience is a virtue that does not come easy. I will have to learn to be very patient and endure sitting or standing still for ages—which is quite difficult for me as I want to do one deal then get on with something else quickly.

A lot of thought has gone into what I carry. If the camera settings are done correctly, I do not need some massive telefoto lens (though the weight does help with stability). My camera can be set at higher megapixels and the zoom will be the equivelant of 100's.

Living in England, there are not a lot of wild animals. Oh yeah there are: deers, rodents (rats are everywhere) and the like, but anything serious means other countries.

Now it is time to get on with all this and see what creatures appear (long enough) to grace the lens of my camera.

So the journey begins...
May 02, 2023

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