Who am I?

My photo
An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Friday, 21 February 2020

Images and advances

It was during the autumn of 2003 that I fist became involved with digital image capture, via the digi-scoping revolution. A two million pixel Nikon "Coolpix" pressed against the eyepiece (30x magnification) of my trusty Kowa TSN 823 and off I went. Happily clicking away at any birds that were prepared to sit still long enough for me to get the, tripod mounted, scope focused and the camera in position. It was ground breaking stuff back then and something which really assisted my enjoyment of birding wherever I found myself.

Bev and I were on our honeymoon - she'd married a birder!
Digi-scoping kit came as essential items in the hand luggage, tripod in my suitcase.
It wasn't too long, however, before I started to recognise the limitations of digi-scoping as numbers of my fellow Kent birders began to explore the image stabilised benefits of the new fangled d-SLR camera and lens combinations. It is without doubt that there remain certain situations, even in 2020, where digi-scoping can have an edge but, as technology rapidly advances, they are becoming ever more uncommon. Indeed, some of the top end bridge cameras are absolutely incredible when used by someone who knows what they're doing?  Let's get this said, here and now, a top end camera and lens combo doesn't automatically make a good photographer just as an expensive pen won't produce a better writer. No; both are skills which require time and effort to become anything more than very ordinary.

Even without image stabilisation my camera kit has the capability to
record very pleasing images. It's the idiot holding it that is the
major fly in the ointment!
Me? I'm perfectly content to stick with the camera kit which has been the mainstay of my blogging since I purchased that first Canon EOS 400d and Sigma 150 - 500 mm lens combo around 2008. Working for Fuji, as I now do, I'd have to be an Ostrich not to realise how far digital image technology has advanced since I started out but have no need, or desire, to upgrade my gear; happy that this kit is well capable of suffering the mistreatment it's frequently subjected to without ill effect. To put it another way - it's bloody bomb proof! The other major difference between digi-scoping and d-SLR type image capture is the obvious ease of recording flight photography. If it had not been the case then, I'm sure, I'd still be pressing the "Coolpix" on the Kowa eyepiece, although it might now have been replaced by my phone?

My first split cane caught "twenty" from the Royal Military Canal - happy days!
Photos are not why I venture out into the field, with rods or binoculars, but I can't deny that a camera has the ability to ensure a memory is captured, thus enhance the experience whatever it might have been? I think what I'm trying to say is that photography is not a hobby in itself, but a very nice bi-product of my obsession with aspects of outdoor pursuits. I certainly cherish those moments when I'm posing with a decent fish, although it is the capture, not the image, from which I derive the greatest pleasure. A spinning centrepin, creaking cane and adrenaline rushes are not capable of being captured in an image, yet instantly recalled when looking at a photo of by-gone successes.

Saoulas sun-set. Kefalonia magic
Although I've never sought to pursue image capture as a reason for going outside, having the gear to hand has lead me to experiment with many aspects of photography purely because I can. Doesn't matter if it's scenery or macro stuff. I screw it up, can't get upset because it's not why I'm outdoors in the first place? However, the more I practice the luckier I seem to get, and have been very fortunate to have taken some very pleasing images during my wanderings. What must be recognised is that the digital camera technology/computer software is far more talented than I'll ever be and, as such, even an idiot will get lucky some times.

Got absolutely no idea what it is? Doesn't stop me enjoying the image.
Every now and then I will point the kit in the direction of a subject and fire away, completely oblivious to camera settings and the like, not downloading the results til some while later. Only then will I start to think "what the f*ck is that?" The recent run of bad weather has resulted in several such moments, one hailing back to June 2017! I've been poncing about for many years attempting to photograph the local Common Swifts which nest in the roof spaces of some of the older buildings around St. Luke's. I'd not had much success, so was happy to continue the project when Bev and I spent a week on Tenerife. It was Plain, not Common, Swifts that provided the subject matter and I clicked away merrily whenever the opportunity arose. Although we enjoyed the break, it wasn't a "good" holiday and certainly have no intentions of going back. I blogged about the event at the time and left it at that. Last Saturday I started to revisit some old files and came upon an image which had me totally bemused.

Not quite up to the standard of my Alpine Swift opener, these record images
do enough to allow an appreciation of the subtle differences between
Plain Swift and its' more familiar Common cousin?

I'd certainly managed to capture some record images of the Plain Swifts which frequented the resort, but had completely overlooked this!

What the f*ck? Further scrutiny revealed the obvious white cheek patch to be a small feather - destined for a nest site?


  1. (allow the capital P)

    'Photography is not a hobby in itself, but a very nice bi-product of my obsession with aspects of outdoor pursuits'.

    Dyl, many of those we see wandering around with camera kit didn't actually have any reason to buy the stuff beyond the fact that they could. My own brother in law did. They are just bored consumers buying toys and once armed with those toys now go looking for something to do with them.

    More money than sense comes to mind.

    1. That seems a bit harsh but, as I'm very much a loner, don't have any experience of these type of camera wielding "togs" who cause such negative reactions due to lack of fieldcraft/respect. As for "more money than sense" - I'd only need a fiver!