Friday, February 17, 2012

My Birthday Treat

My birthday + Leaving Work Early + Baker Wetlands + One Camera + One Lens = A very enjoyable, low key birthday treat to myself!

Yes, gone are the days of tearing up the town with a huge birthday celebration - out all night drinking and headache in the morning. Well, maybe not completely gone as I'm sure I'll need a drink or ten when I hit 40 (yes, it's closer than I like to think). Anyway, this year, I managed to slip away from work a bit early and decided to explore the Baker Wetlands alone with my camera. It turned out to be a gorgeous evening and I had the entire area to myself as I didn't see another person for 3 hours. Yep, just me, my camera, and a single lens - my 70-300mm telephoto zoom. Obviously, with that lens my first line of thinking was figuring out how to get some wildlife photos.

This time of year Baker Wetlands is teeming with waterfowl, so my goal was to get near a pool and then wait to see if it became active.  But, geese and ducks obviously have better eyesight and hearing than I give them credit for because this plan never panned out.  I'm sure the fact that I wasn't wearing any camouflage probably didn't help my cause.  I managed a few pictures of some ducks that I spooked off one pool, but the results are nothing to write home about.  I did miss one really good opportunity when I quietly and meticulously duck walked (seems fitting) and crawled to within 15 feet of the edge of another pool that had a couple ducks in perfect position.  I made sure I stayed low behind the extremely thick cat tails and reeds with every move I made. Unfortunately, as I brought the camera to my eye, I had the stem of a cat tail right in line with the ducks. As I slowly reached forward to move it to the side the ducks busted me and that was the end of that.

After striking out with the ducks, I decided to slowly wander the area snapping photos of whatever caught my eye.  Having the 70-300 attached proved to be a nice challenge for getting interesting shots since it's not a lens I typically think of or use for landscapes.  It forced me to move a lot more with my feet to get the right positions for framing shots. Like anything else, photography takes practice and if you don't challenge yourself, then your shots become stale.  At least, that's how like to I think about it. As the evening's light quickly faded, I finally had to make the decision to head back to my truck.  It had been a truly enjoyable evening and during that walk back, I couldn't help thinking, "OK, 33 isn't that old!"

Bird Leaves (Red Winged Blackbirds)

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