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.

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14 thoughts on “Ruby-crowned Kinglet

  1. hi Bob I was disconnected for a few days-hit the wrong button-thanks for the tip on the “noodle” and it was neat to find another site. Great shot of the Kinglet and appreciate the description of the equipment. I have been goingto new locations and the birds are so FAR away hard to get a shot.

  2. Loved reading about your history with photography Bob. Wonderful shot of an incredibly hyper subject too. Hope you like the Noodle as much as I do (by the way, the idea was originally Mia’s).

  3. You’re bringing back a lot of memories with this one, Bob. I started with my mom’s hand me down brownie, moved up to an Instamatic, the ones that took a film cartridge. My dad had a Kodack Retina SLR that I got to learn on before I bought my Pentax Spotmatic.

    Muskegon was a regular stop for us on Sunday drives, my dad liked to “surf” the waves on Lake Michigan on an old army surplus air matress he had. I learned to swim in Lake Michigan there at Muskegon State Park.

    If I end up in Texas, I’m going to blame you. 😉

  4. Wonderful shot as these little guys are busy and don’t sit still long. Love your story about your first camera. One of my daughters still has my grandma’s old box camera. What a treasure. I voted.(:

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