Sometimes all the right elements just come together, and all you can do is watch the results.
A visual chronicle of suburban NJ
Well, even if I can’t give you recent photos, I can at least give you a few decent ones. Only every once in a while, though. Wouldn’t want to spoil you.
When I was driving my friend Kyle home after a somewhat disappointing hike, I nearly ran over some wild turkeys.
“WHAT!” I cried.
“They’re turkeys,” said Kyle.
I stopped the car in the middle of the road and grabbed my camera from the backseat.
“Are you serious,” Kyle deadpanned.
“They’re WILD TURKEYS!!! I’ve seen wild turkeys like three times!”
“Dude, they live in the woods. They’re as common as sparrows.”
“Not to me!”
Kyle sat there in patient disbelief as I kept shooting pictures of these stupid birds.
“…In the spring, they have babies, and they’re kind of cute,” he conceded.
Anyway— Happy Thanksgiving, if you’re in the U.S. and you celebrate. 🙂
I was also proud of myself for not overexposing the egret. Every time I’ve tried to take pictures of white birds, the scene overexposes, because exposure is taken from the AVERAGE of all tones in the frame. Since most of the frame is really dark, the camera is like “WHOAAAAA this is DAAAAARK I can’t see anything! OMG let’s brighten this up so we can see it!!!” and in so doing, the poor white bird, a tiny speck in the camera’s eye, is considered too insignificant for the camera to even CONSIDER, so it gets brightened up with the rest of the frame.
I spot-metered this time (so the camera’s exposure was only based on the average exposure within a tiny central spot, instead of the average exposure of the entire huge frame), and I think it came out okay. Hey photographers: is that how I’m s’posed to handle this situation?
Confession: this was photographed way outside of New Providence, because I’ve made it a current goal to see and photograph as much of New Jersey as possible, because why not. Are ya’ll okay with this?
I know you’re all like “Whaaaat! Didn’t you just cover the Stirling Street Fair? What’s this nonsense with Millburn?”
To which I reply: both Stirling and Millburn had their street fairs ON THE SAME DAY, and I went to both, because I’m nuts like that.
The top photo features Cookie! She’s a representative of the Arcadia Bird Sanctuary and Educational Center. They take pet birds that can’t be placed elsewhere for various reasons— some bite, some screech, some were abused, some were abandoned.
The sanctuary, located in Freehold, is currently home to ~300 birds. There are ~20 that they take on the road and show for educational purposes.
“‘Educational purposes?'” I asked. “Like what?”
“Well,” said Terri Jones, the director of the sanctuary (this is entirely paraphrased, so please don’t heed my quote marks), “a lot of people don’t realize what they’re getting into when they get a bird. They think it’s this cuddly pet— but they bite, they screech, they have different personalities, they may not be suited to your lifestyle.
“And even if they are, your lifestyle may change. We get a lot of birds because their owners got married and the spouse makes ’em get rid of it, or they had kids, and it just doesn’t work with their lives anymore. Some parrots outlive their owners. These birds live 40-60 years. We’ve had one who was 80. So you have to think— not just where your life is now, but will you still be able to care for this parrot in 50 years?”
Because it takes money to run a nonprofit sanctuary for 300 parrots, they were accepting donations. And because parrots are cool, they’d trained this guy to carefully take bills proffered from giving hands, fold them in half, and drop them into a box below.
For each dollar that he dropped into the box, each money-giver rewarded him with a seed.
(I’ll cover the less bird-based aspects of the fair tomorrow.)
We had an unexpected visitor at the New Providence train station this week! I think it’s an immature red-tailed hawk, based on the white breast and stripy belly, but honestly, pretty much every species of hawk juvenile is brown and white and speckle-y, so I am open to alternatives.
This guy seemed completely unfazed by the hundreds of commuters waiting at the platform not 20 feet away. Still, after a couple minutes, it got bored and flew up to the top of a telephone pole (where it remained as the train came and left).
How cool is that!
…Incidentally, this is why I’m hesitant to trade my megazoom for a more convenient camera phone. I’d never have gotten this unexpected shot without my camera’s powerful zoom. (But— if the idea behind Nikon’s newly-announced s800c gains momentum, and becomes more robustly developed in the future— I’d like an up-to-date version of Android, and a headphone jack, and maybe a phone— I am totally on that boat.)