Saturday, December 19, 2009

And still he sat

The day was overcast. I took the dogs and the new camera for a walk along the seawall. As we neared a private wharf, I spotted a heron perched atop one of the posts. The high tide covered the slight berm that leads to the wharf, making it impossible to get very close, but I took a few shots anyway.

The dogs and I continued our journey along the seawall, they sniffing the occasional smell and me snapping the occasional gull.

As we reversed direction and headed back to the wharf, the sun tried to break through the cloud to cast its feeble afternoon rays upon the water.

And on the post, at the end of the wharf, the heron still sat.

The tide had turned during our walk, and the berm could now be walked, and so cautiously I made my way toward the heron, camera clicking away furiously in my hand and dogs by my side.

And still the heron sat.

The wharf is high above the berm, and reached by climbing on craggy rocks. Sadie managed it with ease, while I hoisted myself up without too much difficulty, camera at the ready and one eye on the heron.

And still he sat.

Then Charley missed her footing and tumbled down, front paws on the edge of the sloping wharf, back paws dangling above the rocks and water, toes tapping stone as she scrambled for a foothold. She yelped in dismay.

And still the heron sat.

I clambered down, lifted Charley up and checked she was okay, hoisted myself back up. And heard my camera automatically shut off as it switched to power saver mode.

I restarted the camera, moved cautiously along the wharf, dropped the dogs’ leashes and signaled to them to lie down. Miraculously, they did.

The sun once again broke through the clouds and shone directly on the heron, now just five feet or so away from me, brilliant blues and blacks and whites illuminated by golden rays.

I focused, steadied the camera on the edge of the railing, breathed in deeply and said thanks for this amazing opportunity to photograph this beautiful bird, so close up and in such perfect lighting. I depressed the shutter release, and....

A big red battery-shaped light appeared on the LCD accompanied by the warning:


And the camera shut down.

And the heron flew away.

The fully charged, eighty-nine dollar battery had taken less than 20 photos that day, albeit most with the zoom. My five dollar AA batteries in my old camera lasted for 150 photos before needing recharging.

That was the last straw. The camera is going back today.


Black Jack's Carol said...

Aw, Jean, my heart goes out to you. How frustrating! Must say, though, that the last picture of the heron is very sharp. Also liked the seagull pics. But as one of your readers noted, do not accept anything except total satisfaction in your new camera.

Strange about the battery. Mine, fully charged today, took almost 600 photos, and there is still some juice left in it. No way should 20 shots empty a battery.

And a 3rd note, those herons can really sit, can't they? As always, your blog was a great read:)

Jean said...

Carol, I think the camera I got is just a lemon and not necessarily indicative of all Panasonics. There were just too many things that didn't seem "right" about it, given the reviews and price range.

Unfortunately, I am now camera-less again as they were too busy to spend the time with me that I wanted, and I had to go get a rescue dog out of doggy jail in Victoria and into foster so couldn't hang around.

I will continue to research cameras and see if there is a camera store in Nanaimo that has a bit more knowledge/time than London Drugs. I need a camera before January 9th as I've registered for a camera course that day! LOL

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you may indeed have had a lemon of a camera. My battery seems to go forever -- many 100s of photos -- before needing recharging. The LED screen is the largest drain on the batteries, but my camera has the option of the lens veiwfinder so I don't use the LED screen except to review photos taken. However to fail after only 20 photos? That's definitely not right!

The heron is indeed really lovely! But does your camera-less state mean no dog pictures over Christmas? Oh no!! However, I suppose we will cope if we have to. ;-D

Deb S.

Jean said...

Good news, Deb - my friend Karen (the Wednesday Walker with many dogs, including the beautiful Princess Pearl) today insisted I borrow her spare camera for as long as I need it - a nice little Kodak Easy-Share with a 3x zoom. So now I can postpone my search for the perfect camera until after the Crazy Christmas Crowds are gone.