Every once in a while, I discover one of the issues of autofocus and automated cameras. Normally, these are functions on which I depend. My eyes are not good enough to focus manually, so I’m obliged to depend on autofocus much of the time, especially for long distances.
In the old days, I would just focus the lens on whatever I wanted sharp. Those were the days when even with eyeglasses, I could see clearly. Not so much now. So normally, I’m very grateful for the automation. This was not one of those days.
I have discovered — repeatedly because I don’t give up easily — that it’s very hard to get a picture of a brown bird sitting on a brown branch in a beige or brown woods. And of course today, it’s not only all one color, but it’s also foggy and raining. I assure you that a Mourning Dove fits remarkably well into the overall brown of the trees and textures.
Autofocus was lost. Without a sharp edge on which to focus, it chose the closest “edge” it could find. Inevitably, it was a branch rather than the bird sitting on it.
Which doesn’t mean I didn’t get some good shots. I am determined. Overall, it was more frustrating than fun and I have given up. For now. Stymied by the brown of everything and the dripping of the trees. It’s a nasty day. Cold, rainy, foggy. A wet world with mud at the bottom and mist on top.
It wasn’t stopping the birds. They were eating up a storm, rain and mist and all. There were easily half a dozen doves that I could see and there were probably more of them. They blend so well with their natural habitat.
These are the ground feeders, like pigeons in cities. Actually, pigeons — city pigeons are doves. Rock doves that abandoned the stony ridges of mountain ledges and moved into town. You might say that pigeons are citified doves and Mourning Doves are their rural cousins.
I was ultimately frustrated enough that I put the camera down. It all began because I saw the big Red-headed Woodpecker on the feeder, but by the time I picked up the camera, he was gone. I hoped he’d come back, but he was gone. There was the usual flurry of Chickadees, Nuthatches, and Titmouses. Not all the same birds, even though the same kind of bird. There are at least two, maybe three nuthatches and half-a-dozen chickadees with various colors on their wings and breasts.
They were not stymied by the weather. For them, I guess, rain is part of life. Winter is cold and it’s nice to have food available. There are as many birds on the ground, cleaning up all the fallen food as on the feeders. That’s where the doves go. They like walking and pecking.
I keep looking out into the mist and sighing. It’s not really winter but it’s not anything else, either. Miserable weather.
Maybe I’ll try one more time. Just one more time.