I didn’t have my best camera and lens, and the temperature wasn’t a record high for the day. But on both scores it was close.
Since both my Canon 7D and my 100-400mm telephoto zoom lens are at the local camera store for cleaning, I had to rely on my backup equipment: a Canon 50D (which I recently bought to replace the one destroyed by water damage in the Galapagos) and a 300mm prime lens with a 1.4 teleconverter. The 7D takes more frames per second and the 100-400mm lens focuses faster, but the backup equipment will do in a pinch.
The temperature reached 72° here at 4:15 p.m. in the shade. I guessed that might be a record, but back in 1925 it had reached 76° on this date.
Anyway, I didn’t go out for the photos. The day was so unseasonably warm that I took my Kindle Touch, where I am reading Ron Chernow’s new biography of Alexander Hamilton, to a bench in Tantra Park where I sat and read.
One passerby asked if I had got any photos with my big lens. No, I replied, and I didn’t expect any. But if I didn’t take it, I continued, I would be sure to kick myself for a missed opportunity.
I didn’t have to kick myself when I heard a loud drumming off to my right. At first I dismissed it as some joker with a jackhammer. But then I recognized it for what it was — a woodpecker. A red-shafted Northern Flicker was announcing its presence, not to me but to others of his species.
Quickly stowing my Kindle in the back pocket of my jeans, I grabbed my camera and took off to the path at the right. But after a few steps the drumming started up again. Behind me. The flicker was at the top of the light fixture close to the bench where I had been sitting.
Taking pictures as fast as the 50D will work, I shot the flicker from all angles. Then, he stood up and I knew he was ready to fly. I was ready too.