Monday, January 18, 2010

Camera batteries ... dead

First, I should just start with the disappointment of the day. Get it over with. Put it behind me. Move on. Since I'm a little late in posting this, the disappointment occurred on Sunday, the 17th, at Crosswinds Marsh.

Just as I was entering the boardwalk area from the Woodpecker Trail, an adult Bald Eagle flew in and landed on the tall dead tree just to the right of the boardwalk. I couldn't believe it. What a photo op for me and my challenged little camera. The eagle perched comfortably on the treetop and appeared to have no concern about my presence. I turned on my camera watching the bird more than paying attention to my camera. Hey, what's the matter here? My non-functioning camera forces me to pay attention - DEAD BATTERIES!

I couldn't believe it, but I don't know why ... it has happened to me before with other excellent photo ops. Honestly, you would think I'd learn. I continued walking along the boardwalk and soon my back was to the eagle. I turned around once briefly. The eagle was still there surveying its surroundings.

So what did I expend my camera batteries on?

As with many winter days in southeastern Michigan, yesterday was deep gray and overcast. But, it was not too cold. I picked up my brother's family dog and headed for Crosswinds Marsh, hoping that it would not be too muddy. It wasn't too muddy and, in fact, it turned out to be a beautiful day for a walk. Anything to be out of the house in winter, no matter how gray the sky.

This is the best shot of several of this Song Sparrow amongst some scrubby branches.

I clicked a few of this White-breasted Nuthatch.

But, the biggest battery waste came when I tried to photograph several Tree Sparrows feeding along the snowy/dirt track trail. I took several photos of snow and dirt - that contained no birds at all. The white against the dark made it essentially impossible to find the birds in the viewfinder.

I use rechargeable batteries and these are more finicky than the lithium batteries that the pros use in their big, power cameras. I could use lithium but I don't like the idea of throwing so many batteries away. This set of rechargeable batteries are new so I was overconfident that they would be fine for a two hour walk in cold weather and I did not take along a spare set, which I usually do. But, I had not recharged them before going out. Obvious mistake. Also, I'm wondering if cold weather has an impact on lessening the life of rechargeable batteries?

It will probably be awhile before I am offered such a photo opportunity by a Bald Eagle again. I live in a world of live and learn - always the hard way.


"Dr. Bob" said...

It always amazes me that the best photo ops I have had were accompanied by something I could have done, but did not. My "favorite" mistake is inadvertently turning the settings knob on the top of my camera when I pick it up. I wind up shooting "once in a lifetime" stuff at the wrong setting - often unsalvageable. After a year of doing this, I try to be sure I have it set right, but I just get too excited when I get out of the car and forget to look sometimes! - "Dr. Bob"

Jerry Jourdan said...

I'll concur w/ Dr. Bob, Cathy! It happens to all of us. I missed a great Pileated Woodpecker opp when I had to stop to change memory cards. I make sure to carry extra batteries after running into dead battery syndrome... I'm using NiCad rechargeables - Eneloope's - and love them. They'll hold a charge for a year and last a long time. You might need to go to B&H Photo to get some, though, since nooone around here carries them. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cathy Carroll said...

If interested, for an explanation on why the third comment has been removed, go to my 1/31/2010 blog entry, "A most interesting comment and a hard lesson learned."

Laurent said...

A trick I use sometimes with rechargeable batteriess is to keep them inside my clothes (actually directly against my skin), so they keep very warm......

That can save the day sometimes.....