Birder's Guide

NOV 2016

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

Issue link: http://bg.aba.org/i/753549

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American Robin Photo © Ted Floyd Say's Phoebe Photo © Ted Floyd Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 8 Birder's Guide to Gear | November 2016 belaboring the point, but I took these photos as a birder, not as a photographer. Point and Shoot • American Robin This species is one of the great constants across much of the ABA Area. Go out, look around, and you'll probably see a robin—like this one, in early evening light at the preserve. The bird is a re- cently fledged juvenile, and it's a rather sorry-looking one at that: knock-kneed, droopy-winged, skew-tailed. It's an un- remarkable bird, I think you'll agree, and an unremarkable photo. Actually, I don't agree on that latter point. This photo would have been in- conceivable in the early 1980s, when I started birding. Back in the 1980s, you couldn't walk down the trail while bird- ing—binoculars in hand, notepad in pocket—and get a point-and-shoot pho- to of this quality. No, you'd need a big- ger and better camera, one with settings for aperture, shutter speed, and f-stop. I have a vague idea of what is meant by aperture and shutter speed but no idea at all what an f-stop is. [To learn about these terms, check out Sherrie Duris's article in the 2013 issue of Birder's Guide. —Ed.] If the Canon SX50 has settings for those things, I don't know about it. Remember, I'm not a photographer. And I've never, ever read an owner's manual. I whipped out the camera, pointed-and-shot, and got this photo. If this had been Colora - do's first Fieldfare, a four-second wonder, I'd have gotten the bird. (With my point- and-shoot from the 1980s, I could have passed it off as a Fieldfare, haha.) Point and Shoot... and Edit • Say's Phoebe You've gotten your photo. Now what? In the 1980s, I would have extracted the film from my camera, biked to Rite Aid, filled out the paperwork, stuffed the folder–cum–film in the slot, biked back home, biked back to Rite Aid a few days later, picked up the prints, paid the clerk, biked back home again, opened the folder, looked at the prints, and prayed for one or two decent ones. No

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