In recent weeks I’ve started looking much closer at the wildlife around my neighbourhood than ever before and it’s surprising to see what’s right there in front of you, sometimes right on your doorstep. This has happened because I picked up a used Sigma 100-400 lens that I originally bought for hiking. I’ve used it in the mountains too but it is currently getting far more use early mornings walking along the river and around the neighbourhood.
Within one-hundred metres or so of my house I’ve photographed birds, beavers, butterflies, and while they are still around, the occasional dragonfly. There’s even a kingfisher that lives and scouts the river just around the corner that is proving a real challenge to get any good photos of.
I’ve owned a lot of lenses in the past but nothing has had such an impact so quickly as this lens has. I’ve noticed four main benefits so far with using it, none of them technical.
I’m up and about more and earlier in the day and walking more as dawn breaks. I’m more active during the day too because I can’t stand to stay at home knowing that there are so many photo opportunities happening right around the corner all day long.
I’m photographing new things that I would never have tried before. Bird photography and macro photography are both completely new to me. I don’t know what I’m doing but that’s fine.
I’m learning about animals in both English and Japanese and about their habitats, routines, and varieties in species etc. I know the three spots the kingfisher likes to watch the river from, I know where the beaver’s den is and when it likes to do its early morning rounds. I can see the egret and heron high in the sky at sunrise and can (roughly) estimate where they are heading an where they’ll land. All of this learnt within only a couple of weeks.
Peace of mind.
Standing around in silence waiting for wildlife to pass by has a therapeutic quality to it that must have some similarities to meditation (although I’ve never tried meditation). It’s becoming addictive.
And this is all done in Kasugai, your average boring urban environment just north of Nagoya.
So get out there and have a look around. You never know what’s on your doorstep.
I’m on Twitter again after being away for 11 years (?) or so. I’m still not sure whether it was a good idea to return but you can find me here. However as of now I’ve also started a Vero and Glass account and prefer them both a lot more to Twitter. You can find here on Vero and here on Glass.