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.
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.