I was off for two weeks over Christmas and spent most every day at Ridgefield, arriving near sunrise and leaving near sunset. I hadn’t originally planned to spend all my time there, but each day brought something new and I had great fun taking advantage of the fog, frost, wind, sun, rain, and even a little snow.
It was also a good time to better learn my Canon 7D, which until now I had been shooting mostly like my dear departed 20D. I brought the camera manual with me each day so I could read it during slow times or bad light and ended up reading it cover-to-cover and started playing with the new features.
When not at the refuge, I started some upgrades necessitated by the new camera. First up was a large and fast memory card which makes the camera a lot more fun to use. Next up was a large external hard drive to deal with the camera’s huge files. Finally I got a portable hard drive for off-site backups. An unanticipated upgrade was a new wireless router, the old one started needing daily reboots, but it also has many nice new features which we are enjoying.
Sadly there is another unanticipated upgrade to come, during my daily Ridgefield trips I realized my 1.4X teleconverter is not working right, optically it’s OK but I have to underexpose by a stop. And then I usually forget to reset the exposure when I take the converter off, meaning I end up with a lot of severely underexposed pictures. So replacing that will bump some other upgrades down the priority scale.
The teleconverter is one of my oldest pieces of camera equipment still in use as it goes back to my early photography days. My camera bag is also of a similar vintage and is still going strong despite some problems. These two pieces of gear have been with me on every trip and every hike for the past fifteen years so I’m a little attached to them. Another piece of old gear, my telephoto zoom, still works but will need to go in for servicing sometime soon.
But I had a relaxing two weeks at the refuge and saw otters just about every day for the first week but rarely got off a picture. On this day I had seen them further up and waited in the car in a spot where I had a good view into the water and people had plenty of room to go by. But right as they swam into view, another photographer came speeding up, left their noisy car running, and jumped out to take pictures. Before the otters fled I got off some quick pictures as they surfaced to eat the fish they had caught, but they remain one of my white whales.