I haven’t been photographing as much lately. This isn’t due to any lack of interest on my part, but directly due to the weather here in southwest Ohio. While the daily temperatures haven’t been horrible they are warmer and more humid than I prefer. As such, I have not been going outside and shooting like I should be. So I decided the other day that I should stash the camera kit in the car for a morning so that it might come up to temperature and would venture forth to take pictures and wow everyone at my Flickr site.
As usual, timing and Mother Nature incommoded me and I was left with little in the way of presentable results. I had passed over the local dam at the Englewood MetroPark (part of the Five Rivers MetroParks system here in the Dayton, Ohio area) and witnessed a large group of Canadian geese in the Stillwater River just south of the dam’s mouth and near the shore. Not a bad place to shoot some pics of them and with the sun being in the right location I was excited and motivated!
I got home, grabbed my kit (having come up to temp in the garage) and returned to the park. Mind you, it’s not a long hike from the parking area to where they were located, but between the humidity, the temperature (mid-80’s) and having to carry my somewhat heavy kit (including my big glass) and my tripod, it wasn’t exactly a leisurely stroll. So I made the ten minute hike only to find no geese. Nope. The geese were no longer in the river. WTF?
Sure. It had taken me about 40-minutes to get back with my kit and to hike to the spot, but jeez. I walked about and looked for the geese hoping that they may still be around, but just somewhere else, when I finally spotted them out in the fields along the bottom of the south side of the dam. Drat. This wasn’t anywhere near as picturesque as I had been hoping for. In the end I shot a handful of pics, but wasn’t really feeling it, if you know what I mean…..
As I didn’t see anything else that grabbed my attention I packed up my kit (but with my big glass still attached to the camera) and made my way, dejectedly, to the car. As I came to the parking area I happened to glance to my right and across the Stillwater River and what do I see?
Deer! My first instinct and response was “Great shit! Deer. Let’s get some photographs quickly!” I put down everything save my camera and lens, raised same and began shooting. Mind you, the deer was about 100-yards away and even with the lens’s Image Stabilization feature I simply couldn’t hold the camera/lens combination still enough to get off a good shot (the clouds had rolled in so I couldn’t push down the aperture and I didn’t want to shoot above 800 ISO). Well one’s first thought would be to break back out the tripod and get busy shooting, but this wasn’t the best answer for two reasons: (1) with the lens’s tripod mounting ring and the camera having on it the vertical grip it is difficult to affix the tripod mounting bracket to the tripod mounting ring and thus requires some extra time to fiddle with, and (2) time was of the essence. If I’ve learned nothing else about photography in the last seven months I have ascertained that timing is critical. If I spend the time to setup the tripod it is quite likely the deer will be gone before I’m done (as Mother Nature is a cruel bitch). So what does a lad do when confronted by this dilemma? Chance that the deer won’t be gone and start setting up the tripod? Shoot free-hand and hope for the best? Or look for an alternative source for a tripod? Let’s look at the latter, shall we?
The hole for the threads on the bottom of the lens’s tripod mounting ring fit quite nicely onto the peak of the sign’s support column! Granted, this isn’t the best solution, but it was quick, free and allowed me to snap pics right away, while the deer was still busy enjoying a late afternoon snack of vegetation. I absolutely love it when I find a solution to a vexing problem in such an immediate manner.
There is also a similar story in regards to my attempt to photograph a local frog in a local stream, but really. You already know how the story will run: (1) See frog and want to take it’s picture. (2) Grab kit and head to site. (3) Thanks to my own bumbling and stumbling I disturb frog who hides and doesn’t come back while I stand there, in the stream, for 20-minutes. But at least I got this out of it, which means it wasn’t a total waste.