Waters & words : a celebration of flyfishing

Posts tagged “Black Shouldered Kite

You Bastards!

Black Shouldered Kite

I was making my way past Marinodale on the way to the river. I craned my neck to look out of the window of my vehicle into the sky alongside the road. Yes, it was a white stork!

Suddenly I felt deeply emotional. Nostalgic.

My ears were filled with the incessant springtime call of Guinea Fowl, the mid-summer afternoons with the haunting call of the Ground Hornbill. My vision was blurred by the memory of those bug soiled windscreens we used to get,  as much as it was by tears now  literally welling up. The Storks. The common Storks. The Storks by their hundreds down on the vlei below the dam. The Red Footed Kestrels lining the telephone lines, the Black Shouldered Kites.

All gone. Or rare enough to be an interesting sighting in these valleys.

What I took for granted as a kid is now gone.  In less than a lifetime we have almost completed our act of wiping them from the face of the earth. I was angry.

“Wake up, you bastards!” I said out loud in the cab.

No one was listening.

I pulled myself together. Even doing this alone can feel embarrassing.

The rains had been good. The veld looked magnificent. There were Swallows starting to collect on the old telephone lines where the wire hadn’t been stolen. I did spot a Black Shouldered Kite.

There was plenty worth saving. Aldo Leopold’s entire ethos of a land ethic washed over me. It left its heavy burden all over again. I could feel it on my shoulders. My meeting with the ranger was important.

At my destination, the river ran full. Too full to fish. After my meeting I tried for an hour, but somehow the quietest water was always on the far side, and I decided not to risk crossing. Instead I packed away the rod, and lowered the tailgate for a seat. I pulled off my wet wading boots and sat down  with my bare feet drying in the sun. I ate my simple meal of boiled eggs and slices of cold beef.

The ranger had just told me of the size of the Eland herd, and his successes in thwarting poachers. The fishing, while a non-event that day, had been fantastic in weeks and months past. The water was beautifully clean. A storm was brewing over the high berg, and clouds drifted by, shading the landscape in random patterns and heightening the contrast of the hills. I reached for my phone, strolled barefoot to the river bank and took a picture.

There is still a lot to enjoy, right?

It will still be here for the next generation right?

Everyone is listening now, right?


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Photo of the moment (29)

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Zoom. You gotta love it!

My Friend Neil and I were out the other day roving around between some Trout waters that were not looking all that promising.

Neil asked me to stop, and asked if he could borrow my camera. I had been boasting about just how fantastic these bridging cameras are nowadays.

On optical zoom only, shot from the passenger seat, this is what he got:

On no zoom:

Canon SX50 (1 of 4)

1200mm equivalent, optical zoom only! 

Canon SX50 (2 of 4)

And in the photo editor back home, effectively using digital zoom:

Canon SX50 (3 of 4)

And a bit more, just to show where you can go with this thing:

 

Canon SX50 (4 of 4)

These were taken on auto setting, as J-pegs (not in RAW), and with the camera hand held. (I did switch the motor off for Neil). The images have not been manipulated at all other than the cropping of the lower two.

When I was buying the camera, many of my colleagues tried to point me in the direction of another Canon, (The Powershot G12 or G15) that is more compact, and for which you can buy a waterproof housing. But when I learned that Canon’s SX30 had been upgraded to the SX50, that now shoots in Raw format, and with the zoom extended from 850mm to 1200mm (35mm camera equivalent), as well as a better “frames per second” in continuous shooting mode, I was sold.

Without having to familiarise myself with new controls, the upgrade from the SX30 to the SX50 was a breeze.

One could argue that you don’t need zoom for landscape and fly-fishing situations.  Maybe you would be right.

 

Canon SX50 (1 of 4)

Canon SX50 (3 of 4)

Canon SX50 (4 of 4)

Or maybe not.

 

But here are some review links for you to make your own choice:

http://snapsort.com/compare/Canon-PowerShot-SX50-HS-vs-Canon_PowerShot_G12

http://snapsort.com/compare/Canon-PowerShot-G15-vs-Canon-PowerShot-SX50-HS

http://www.digitalversus.com/digital-camera/face-off/9931-14373-versus-table.html

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/42551664

http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/canon_powershot_sx50_hs_review/comments/P100

http://compareindia.in.com/comparison/290772-canon-powershot-sx50-hs-vs-172492-canon-powershot-g12/62

http://www.digicamdb.com/compare/canon_powershot-g12-vs-canon_powershot-sx50-hs/