The ideal lens... a powerful story !!!

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by PJohnP, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    I was out among the Sangre de Christos mountains again, coming down from Lake Peak along Ravens' Ridge, when I was abruptly aware of being watched. Small rustling sounds were ahead of me, behind me, above me...

    ... swirling in almost every direction, I was dizzied by the need to see what was obviously looking on me as prey for its consumption (if not dizzied by the fact that I'd missed lunch and hiked for hours).

    In a flash, I knew the stalker's name - Whiskeyjack ! A legend in the mountains, known for stealing the vital sustenance even from a camper's mouth, capable of ruthlessly shredding open sealed bags to rob a hiker, swarming or attacking solo, but always, always, looking to take what is not his. Whiskeyjack !

    Relentless, unstoppable, capable of attacking from every direction, I had no hope of reaching shelter, succor, somebody with a great bloody big stick or something. Something that could repel this taloned terror and send it far from sight.

    Perhaps... maybe... possibly... there was a step open to me.

    Just one thing remained for me to do before the onslaught.

    I lifted my camera that I'd minutes before been using to shoot over an escarpment. There would be no time to change lenses, filters, settings, and only a bare instant before the merciless Whiskeyjack (a.k.a. Canada Jay, a.k.a. Grey Jay) would realise...

    ...would realise...

    ... that I had no food with me.


    And in that awful instant, confronted with my mortality made l'oiseau sauvage, I realised that I had the ideal birding lens on my camera, the lens I needed at just that moment ! I quickly shot as my nemesis circled me and stopped to menace me with its evil gaze. I shot and filled the buffer, then filled it once more.

    D100, uncropped, minimally processed in NC, and the silly copyright added in PS-CS

    Ah, the shooting was fast and sweet, and then it was over, leaving only a moment with a brief frisson of a photographic event now past. Then I realised that I now had to still hike for another half hour before I'd get to my vehicle.

    Oh, that day, I learned a powerful lesson, a lesson that could resound through the very halls of the Nikon Cafe !

    Well, maybe the hallway back near the bathrooms, at least.

    Always shoot with whatever damn' lens you have when the moment comes.

    John P.

    P.S. And those who are curious to see just what this "ideal" lens could be are invited to look at the EXIF data...

    P.P.S. And yes, I did spread out the story to keep the photo further down in the post. I may take my life in my hands amongst the wild creatures of the menacing mountains, but I still remember how to pace a story...
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2005
  2. There's a lot of those birds in the National park and you really must watch your lunch they are great robbers.
  3. Ha-ha; great story, perfectly told.

    I had an even funnier event. While eating a sandwich at a picnic table at Emerald Lake in BC a couple of weeks ago, this guy:


    came hopping up on the table. I quickly grabbed the camera and started focussing on him and shooting pictures. :biggrin:

    Inadvertently, I had set my sandwich down to shoot. You got it- while I was concentrating on the camera, the cheeky little bugger stole my lunch! :mad:
  4. Great story. Mine doesn't have such a happy ending.

    I live near a state forest and the Santa Cruz mountains here in south San Jose, CA. And every day I see, off in the distance, hawks of one kind or another.

    A few days ago I walked out of my garage, having just let a few cats out into the back yard. And both of them looked up and cringed. Hugged the ground for dear life.

    Sitting on my roof were TWO red tail hawks. Not ten feet from me.

    What lens did I have with me? NONE! :eek: :Depressed
  5. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Pa :

    Yup, that's Whiskeyjack all over !

    What was your "ideal" lens ?

    John P.
  6. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Beezle :

    Hurm. I say "always shoot", but without a camera ? Argh.

    John P.
  7. The Nikkor 28-200 f/3.5-5.6G. Not the sharpest lens in the bag, but not a bad choice for the subject and it's proximity. I should have gotten a shot of the thief in action, but he was too quick for me! :frown:
  8. WHISKEYJACK hillarious send him on, I will decide on the perfect lens when i see him(s)
  9. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Pa :

    <chuckle> That thief is fast, to be sure. Good work by you, nonetheless, although your sandwich did suffer in this effort.

    And have you ferreted out which lens I used by looking at the EXIF ? You'll be surprised, I'll wager.

    John P.
  10. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Dave :

    I think Whiskeyjack's more of a western kinda thing. But you have your own furtive or aggressive versions out there in the east. Not all of them have feathers.

    And the perfect lens is whatever you have on the camera at that moment when you must shoot or miss the photo... :rolleyes:

    John P.
  11. john
    to me whiskey is whiskey and that is why is said him(s) cause i spect id be seein double by the time i spied enuf of him(s) to raise the camera.
    Just havin fun with your great story.
  12. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Ah, Dave, Dave...

    Lad, there's scotch whisky (single malt, vatted, and blended), and Irish whisky (single cask and blended), and bourbon whiskey (cask strength and blended), and rye whiskey (but who drinks that godawful stuff ?)...

    ... and, noo that I think about it, there's a bit o'a nip in the air this even, and I'll ha' just a wee dram of the casked Laguvulin to take off the chill, mayhap a second as the temperature's bound to drop.

    < sounds of a bottle and glass clinking, followed by a long soulful gurgle of liquid >

    And there'll be no damn' bird gettin' the least drop o' the water o' life, ye can be sure o' that ! :Exclamati :Happy: :Exclamati

    < the sounds of solo piping echo through the high ridges of Santa Fe to the consternation (yet again) of the neighbours >

    John "Single Malts are a Passion" P.

    P.S. Moderator ! Is there no Tartan option for the colours on this board or have the Sassenachs taken them all away ? Aachh...

    P.P.S. "What's this ? Why.. why... it's green !" ~ Jimmy Doohan, 1920-2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2005
  13. LOL all I can say is LOL
  14. ...haven't figured out out to find your EXIF... :confused:
  15. Great story, John!!! Yes, I've heard of their exploits. A photog buddy of mine goes to Algonquin Park all the time and plenty of GrayJays there. He was holding out his hand with some raisins, etc as the grayjays perched and fed. One got fed up with the hand and flew straight over to the pocket in which he had his raisin stash!! They are cute little birds, but certainly pushy!!! LOL
  16. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Pa :

    You don't have Opanda iEXIF ? it's a free download, and if the EXIF data hasn't been deleted by subsequent processing/post-processing, is invaluable for looking at the settings for a photo. Have a look at , it's very much worth having available on your computer.

    And if you don't want to download and install that, I'll certainly tell you about the lens... :wink:

    John P.
  17. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Sandi :

    Heh. I've seen them go into tents, coming out pulling a bag of food one little hop at a time, then shred the bag to get at the food. My comment about taking food from the mouth of a hiker was an observation - one clung to the chest harness of his backpack, and then pecked the food away from his lips ! :eek:

    And what did you think of the lens used for that shot ?

    John P.
  18. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    A couple of people have PM'd me about not getting to the EXIF, so I'll kill any (non-existent, actually) suspense, and say that I shot this photo with the 12-24mm AFS lens at 24mm. Anyone who has the lens and shoots with it will quickly be able to discern that I shot at a really, really close distance. Any closer, and I'd have had to brush feathers off of the lens... :wink:

    But at that moment, it was truly the ideal lens ! After all, it was the lens on the camera at hand. :biggrin:

    John P.
  19. Great story and fine image.
  20. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Gordon :

    Thanks. I do sometimes wonder about how caught up we can get with the latest "stuff", and then neglect to shoot what's right in front of us.

    Which point you've very nicely refuted with action in those shots of your daughter and granddaughter tonight. Loveliness is a definite attribute in the women of your family - a great blessing displayed in the many photos you've posted - and I make no unkind remarks about the men, as you've never shown them to us ! :rolleyes:

    John P.
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