Wednesday, May 28, 2014

If you look carefully

These photographs were taken in Sipoonkorpi National Park on May 17th.

I commuted by bicycle on three days this week, making the total 448 km in May. I felt rather tired today, maybe I'm getting the flu, or maybe it is due to lack of sleep.

The rest of the week is vacation. I'm planning to go for long walks. Tomorrow will be rainy and cold, +6 °C, but that is quite all right for a long walk, provided that one uses the right clothing.

I visited Vaakkoi twice in May, and observed a pair of Gavia arctica diving at a lake. Or I thought that they were Gavia arctica. I had some doubts the last time I visited Vaakkoi. When I compared the size of them to a pair of Branta canadensis nearby, they seemed so small. Today I finally had a look at the photographs I took, and using the Loupe tool in Aperture at 100% I realized that the throat is brown-red instead of black.

So, the birds were Gavia stellata, which I should have known. I discussed this with a friend who knows nature from birds to flowers and rocks to trees, and the advice was that I should have observed the shape of the bill to recognize the species.

I must admit once again that I'm a poor observer of nature. One explanation for this is that I'm wearing my old eyeglasses when walking in forests and swamps, to avoid making scratches to the new ones. The drawback is that the old eyeglasses are full of scratches and I don't see details especially well with them.

Also, I don't carry binoculars with me, and the LX5 is far from good in taking photographs of remote objects such as birds. The photographs of the birds were taken at 90 mm equiv., and at 100% magnification there were only a dozen pixels showing the red color in the throat. As nature photographs they are no good, but at least they allowed me to identify the bird species.

I should invest more effort in knowing what species I'm observing in nature. However, as a photographer I'm interested mainly in the landscape - the shapes, colors, and the underlying structure - not so much in the biological or geological details. Probably I'm missing a lot, recognizing the surface only. However, even though a photograph shows just the surface, I feel it can go deep.

(Posting title is from the poem Endangered Species by Phillip Carroll Morgan.)

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