GOOD NEWS & BAD NEWS

I was going to throw the Sigma 150-500 mm lens out after my fall and Shattered lens a couple of weeks ago as it was totally useless and I couldn’t afford a replacement at around Aust$1400 now I’m not working – (actually some suppliers seem to quote $1600+).  I don’t think Sigma make the 150-500 mm lens any more, the new version is 150-600 mm.

The Good News in regard to my broken long telephoto ‘birding‘ lens is that it CAN be repaired (and IS being repaired as I speak).  That repair comes with a 90 day warranty.

Initially, I thought it was just the UV filter I have on all my lens to protect them. I took the broken filter off and turned the camera upside down and the glass fell out of the lens barrel.

Had to go into the city for an appointment and decided to take the lens to my camera shop hire/repair department and have a chat to the technician on duty.  He inspected it and said the barrel and remaining glass was in excellent condition and it would be a shame not to, “at least get it assessed”.  Another technician joined in the conversation and agreed.

So I paid out the $70 inspection fee and the hire/repair department sent it off to Sigma, (or wherever they send Sigma lenses).

The Good News was that it could be repaired – new ‘glass & recalibration etc’ – but was going to cost $760 (actually I guessed it would be $600-$700 at least, so I wasn’t far wrong).

I couldn’t afford that so I said just return the broken lens to me.

Of course that afternoon I saw some potential great Bird shots (just like I’d been seeing for some days prior to that).  I’ve missed that lens dreadfully since it broke.

I uhmmmmm and ahhhhhed.  The next day I emailed them and said go ahead and fix it!

Mind you I’ll have to reduce the food budget for the next 2-3 months, but, what else do I do but Photography (I thought to myself).  I don’t drink, smoke, go on holidays, buy clothes, socialize, go out partying, play sport or anything that normal healthy working folk do.

Sometimes in life you have to grit your teeth, make some concessions for the things you value in your life and do what makes you Happy.

Basically losing this lens was like losing my whole lifestyle. I might almost call it mandatory to my Lifestyle enjoyment, (but that would be a gross exaggeration I suppose). I’m no longer living near any gardens to do my much in the way of flower photography any more.  I don’t have a car, or the health, to travel out to the countryside or mountains (let alone interstate or overseas like I did in my youth).  It wasn’t just about my one and only hobby.  It was about losing something that had brought me so much joy and a constant distraction from daily pain and other health symptoms.  It was an important part of my health ‘treatment’.  This long lens gave me challenges or goals (in photographing birds).

The BAD NEWS is – it’s still hot in Melbourne and despite a heavy downpour from a thunderstorm last night which saved me having to water my potted plants, today has dawned hot and humid again.

With any luck, by the time the long ‘birding’ lens is repaired, the weather might have cooled down enough for a walk outdoors?

I mean to say, just how many ‘House Sparrow sitting on the Bird Bath’ shots can you really share online without boring your long-time followers to death.

(That’s a rhetorical question by the way) 😀

 

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R.I.P. – Sigma 150 – 500/5.6 – 6.3 APO DG OS and Promaster 86mm UV Digital Filter

THE GOOD NEWS…….yesterday was perfect weather….cool, light wind, overcast (clearing to sunny) and was the day I finally ended up going back to the Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve to try and get a decent photo of the Royal Spoonbills (Platalea regia) in the middle of one of the lakes..

“Once a highly degraded site, Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve has been transformed into an ecological haven and a place of beauty for the whole community. Stretching from the Westgate Bridge to Williamstown, Altona and down to the Cheethams Wetlands and Point Cook, the park consists of open grasslands, wetlands, a saltmarsh and mangrove conservation area, Wader Beach and the Kororoit Creek.

The Bay trail, popular with cyclists and walkers, runs through the north of the park.”

THE BAD NEWS……I…..ehrrr…..had a slight accident and killed the long telephoto ‘birding’ lens.  Initially, I thought it was just the $139.95 UV filter.

I took the UV filter off and turned the camera/lens upside down to look through the viewfinder and all the glass fell out of the lens barrel and on to the asphalt walking path.  (in hindsight, now why didn’t I turn it upside down over the grass)?

Not even worth taking it to the repair department in the city – even if the glass could be replaced it would probably cost hundreds of dollars (or half the price of a new lens or more).

THE GOOD NEWS……Yes, I got the shot!  

Not close-up, but good enough (and many more before the accident – these will come next week when I’ve reviewed the images and my wrist is less sore.  It’s just in a splint at the moment as I didn’t want a plaster slab on it for a week restricting everything I do).  I can type ok.

In the meantime, this morning the swelling on my knee has gone down, but very painful so maybe I should have had that X-rayed (as well as my hand).  Funny, how the worst of the pain comes out the next day.

THE BAD NEWS……by the time I picked up the pieces, finished the walk, sore in more than a few spots……..$1141.45 had gone down the plughole (as they say)……in taxi, lens, UV filter, bus……later that night, taxi, hospital E.R, taxi home.

THE GOOD NEWS……only a hairline fracture in my (X-rayed) wrist……..but my knee hurts like hell this morning…..lets hope it gets better with rest.

THE BAD NEWS…..I can’t afford a new lens & filter (at the moment), so this may be an end to any close-up bird shots in the future.

I didn’t even shed a tear over the loss of my beloved ‘birding’ lens – all I thought was ‘another one bites the dust’, kept walking and shooting with the other 2 lenses I had with me.

THE GOOD NEWS.….It was a glorious day and there were hundreds, if not thousands of birds to be seen.  I had a lovely chat to another photographer who told me some of the names of the other birds and showed me his photos taken further along the foreshore – (it was low tide).

Another couple of photographers (on bicycles) stopped to chat and tell me more about the whole Marine Sanctuary and Nature Reserve.

So, I’d say it was a good day 🙂

LAUGHING KOOKABURRA (Davelo novaeguineae)

Australia’s Kookaburra needs no introduction to most people the world over, but it’s actually called the Laughing Kookaburra (Davelo novaeguineae) to differentiate the bird from the Blue-winged Kookaburra (Davelo leachii).  From what I’ve seen on the internet, I suspect some people confuse it with our Kingfishers.  They seem to include the word Kingfisher in the title just as much an error (to my knowledge) as calling a Koala a Koala Bear (which is not a bear at all).

The Kookaburra’s beak is fuller and not as pointed as a Kingfisher.

I used to see and hear them regularly in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne Zoo or prior to that, when I still had a car and went bush walking, up in the country.  I’ve only heard a Kookaburra once in all the 2 years since I moved to the western suburbs (and never actually seen one here,  despite living next to a nature reserve and some 400 hectares of green space up and down the Maribyrnong River).

The Kookaburra has its own enclosure at Melbourne Zoo and despite the cage wire between the bird and my camera, this shot turned out pretty well.

Famous for its raucous accelerating laugh, increasing in volume then fading, this youtube , despite the bird being indoors, is a little more accurate than some other YouTubes I’ve heard.

It’s a large bird, much like a Kingfisher in appearance, with a white crown, smudges and streaked brown, with distinctive dark patch through the eye.

Its back and wings are brown, with bluish feather-edges on the shoulders,   Its rump and tail chestnut with black bars.

It’s actually one of the first birds I photographed in the Royal Botanic Gardens when I took up photography, as it landed on a park bench and later, could be seen pulling up worms in the tan bark mulch on a garden bed.

But the shot below is one of my favourites for the simple reason, that the bird was about 50 feet high up an enormous tree some distance away and all I could see was a white blob lit by a bright ray of sunshine in the dark foliage.

I made a hand-held shot with my 150-500mm lens trying to guess where the head might be near the top of the white blob and was amazed to see, on downloading the image to my 27″ screen,  that I’d actually captured a Kookaburra and it was in relatively sharp focus.  I must have been holding the heavy telephoto lens very stead that day.

….and another shot of a Kookaburra in the wild (below) – Dandenong Ranges National Park – located in the low range of hills overlooking the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne.  It’s a bit far away to see much detail, but I was glad to photograph it in the wild, as opposed to my local urban area.

WAITING…..

“If you learn to enjoy waiting, you don’t have to wait to enjoy”

Kabuki Tanahashi

Waiting for my Blueberry fruit to ripen has been one of the longest waits in recent years.

It has so many berries on such a small bush.

In the meantime, I’m still buying punnets of blueberries at the nearby supermarket which are cheap enough,  just not the same as growing your own 🙂 , especially as this is my first attempt at growing this plant on my west-facing apartment balcony.

I keep imagining going outdoors to pick some berries for my breakfast and can’t seem to get the image out of my head.

The photo below, made when I first bought the tiny plant, (when it was only a few inches high), was dated the 19th December, 2017, so I figure I have at least 3 more weeks to wait…..maybe less?   That tiny plant yielded about 20 berries in total, which surprised me at the time,  as Mr Google says most blueberries take 2 years to bear fruit.

1st sign of blueberries 19th December, 2017