Ruby-crowned Kinglet

It was about nearly 70 years ago when I got my first camera.  I was just a kid, obviously, but it was a thrill to get it.  It was a little Brownie Hawkeye if I remember correctly.  A little box camera with a tiny window on top that you look down on to see the image you want to shoot.  My folks liked to take Sunday drives around the western part of Michigan.  I think one of my memories was to drive, (my parents did the driving), up along the Muskegon River.  It was always great scenery, and I loved to visit the different dams upstream.  But anyway, I always had my little Brownie with me.

Later on, I moved up a bit to one with an actual viewfinder.  I think it was an Ansco.  I forget what size film it used, but I don’t think it was 35mm.  I think it was some kind of roll film.  Later on when I was in the military and stationed in Turkey, near Istanbul, was I able to get my first 35mm camera.  It was a German-made Kodak Retina 3S, a rangefinder type,  that I bought in the Base Exchange.  It had interchangeable lenses, a standard 50mm, an 85mm and a 135mm.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

But to get along with story, there is no way that I could photograph birds the way I do today with any of that equipment.  Today I use state-of-the-art, top of the line Canon equipment.  For the photograph of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, (Regulus calendula, I used a Canon EOS 7D, Canon 500mm f4 lens with a 1.4 tele-converter.  The bird was tiny, about 4 1/2 inches,  approximately 20 feet away.  Using spot metering and only the center focusing point, I was able to nail the shot of the bird among the tree branches.  Exposure was 1/500 sec. @ f5.6 at an ISO of 100.  That set-up is rather heavy so I made the shot from the window of my car, using a Puffin’ Pad window support.

The image was taken in March of this year.  Since then, the Puffin’ Pad wore out from the weight of my equipment.  I now, with an idea from (click) Ron Dudley, use a Noodle.  That is one of those swim flotation thingees.  They come in length of about 4 feet.  Just cut it to size, slit it down the middle, and it fits over your partially opened window glass.

Say, before I forget, please remember to vote in the current (click) Bird ID.

Click on the image to see an enlargement.