I walked alone
I stood alone
ghosts of trees
within my grasp but fading
Even though Irving Park is only a few blocks from our house, I never set foot in the park the first six years we lived here. But since adopting Ellie two years ago, I’ve visited daily during our walks. But during those two years I never took one picture. Not a single one!
A few weeks back while walking Ellie I was struck by the beauty of the old oak trees on a foggy fall night and wished I had brought along my camera. Then I remembered I had an always-with-you camera in my pocket and pulled out my iPhone. Its tiny sensor doesn’t do well in low light — which unfortunately is my favorite light to shoot in — but I’d rather have these pictures than none at all.
The next few posts will contain some pictures taken with the iPhone. It’s not good enough to make me forget about my big camera, but it has reignited my desire to take a camera with me more often. May be time to get a small camera bag to complement my shoulder bag. Maybe a small camera too.
When I came across this little sparrow singing next to the auto tour on a foggy spring morning, I knew I had a good chance at close-ups. I attached the tele-converter to the big lens to get as much magnification as I could, set the beanbag on the window, and brought the camera to my eye. All I saw was a big blurry blob in the viewfinder.
I was within the minimum focusing distance of the camera, so I quickly added an extension tube and my beautiful little friend came into sharp focus. Fortunately it was comfortable with my presence so despite my early mistakes I got the pictures I was looking for. The first batch of photos were taken with fog in the background so I let the background go white, later the fog cleared a bit and I had some soft blue skies as a backdrop.
In the first picture, the sparrow’s bulked up look comes from it fluffing out its feathers. In the others it is in various stages of the classical head-thrown-back pose that comes with the song.
I haven’t been to Ridgefield yet this spring and was going to make my triumphant return today, but I’ve been feeling pretty rundown this weekend and decided to stay home and rest instead. Late in the afternoon I heard some sad news, a couple was bird-watching on the auto tour at the refuge and drove off the road next to a shallow channel of water. They landed upside down and both drowned in a few feet of water, still buckled into their seatbelts.
Not many details have been released yet, although I know how easy it is to be watching wildlife and not pay enough attention to the narrow road, but the speeds are so slow I always assumed a mistake would be embarrassing rather than tragic.
Regardless of how it happened, my thoughts and prayers go out to their friends and family, such a sad end to what I’m sure had been a lovely day at the refuge.
After driving through the auto tour at Ridgefield early one winter morning, the refuge shrouded in heavy fog, I stopped at the start to use the restroom. When I returned to the car, the fingers of the rising sun started punching through the fog. I scrambled to change lenses and take a quick handheld picture as within seconds the effect was gone. I darkened it when processing, I liked how it looked more like the aurora borealis than a sunrise.