Q: What camera do you use? Is it fancy?
A: I started with a not-very-fancy Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR 16-megapixel digital camera, which debuted in 2013, with a nice 42x (24-1000mm) manually-operated optical zoom, automatic focus, and image stabilization. It is in a category described as superzoom, and one nice feature is that it can be silent.
The Fuji FinePix worked great for over a year, and I took at least 20,000 pictures on it, but I was a little disappointed in the first owl pictures, so I finally upgraded to a Fujifilm X-T4 with a Fujinon XF100-400mm F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens. It took me a few weeks to get the hang of it, but I’m much happier with the pictures from the second owl encounter, and I still have plenty to learn.
Q: How do you find all this stuff? Do you always go to the same spots?
A: There are a few spots that either attract critters, such as the pond, of course, or give me a good view of them, especially the top of the bluff and the staircases. When it is cold and windy up by the soccer fields, it may be warm and still down by the river.
Q: Do you always go at the same time?
A: No, I mix it up. Some things are easier to find in the morning, and some things aren’t out in the morning.
Q: How do you know what all these things are?
A: I definitely do not know what all these things are and am constantly looking them up instead. I’ve found a few websites handy for this:
- The allaboutbirds.org by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- The Wildflowers of Lake Park booklet by Lake Park Friends.
- The Wisconsin Dragonfly Society website.
- I sometimes resort to the image search capability on www.google.com
Q: Do you stay in one place and wait for the birds to come to you, or do you go looking for them?
A: I am just about always walking, when not taking pictures, and have not yet had anybody interesting fly or hop into my field of view when I was just sitting still and waiting. It is completely possible that I have simply not been patient enough.
Q: Are all these pictures really from Estabrook Park?
A: Yes, unless I state otherwise, as with the owls or reader photos, for example. I do count the Milwaukee River and the Oakleaf Trail, between Capital and Hampton as parts of the park.
Q: What’s your revenue model? How are you monetizing this?
A: I have no revenue model, and I am not monetizing this. Monetization sounds stressful, and this whole project is supposed to be a stress-relieving hobby. Instead, I loose a little with every report but make it all up with volume.