STYMIED! Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Stymie

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.

A pair of Mourning Doves

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.

“I’ll take that seed to go, M’am.”

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.

Bottom end of a landing Nuthatch

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.

More doves

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.

Uninterrupted, the eating goes on!

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.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

8 thoughts on “STYMIED! Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. Perseverance pays off, eh? Great pics of our winged visitors. I think they’ll come a-callin’ often.

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  2. Those are excellent photos. Your camera has a really tight focus, and the birds are so round that the dof is less than the depth of the bird! In each shot, there is one or more section that seems in perfect focus — in the first, for example, the back feathers of the left hand bird, and the head and back of the right hand bird. A great series of shots!

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  3. I know you don’t much like them, but a tripod will help you maintain focus on those long shots where 5 point IS help is minimally effective. If you don’t have one, I would be more than glad to send you one of mine. After all I can only use one at a time. 🙂

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  4. I’ll trade ya, straight across. This weather for yours because mist and rain and warmer temperatures sound lovely. Even if they’re temporary. Here the snow banks are so high, Huny dog gets lost in them, literally. This morning as I took my garbage can to the curb, she was wandering up and down the sidewalk, looking for a place to go potty, but the snow banks are three times her height, and finally she piddled in the road. The look of frustration on her face was funny, but I doubt she thought it was amusing. And when ya gotta go, ya gotta go. I really enjoyed the pictures of birds…those doves came out brilliantly, even if to your eyes it was all a brown blur. They’re beautiful, so be proud!

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