2014 – Scoping Above My Insanity

I followed Jose into the tall, dense jungle of the rainforest. The symphony of bird calls and distant moan of howler monkeys brought a smile to my face. I was not concerned about insect bites or keeping up with him; but rather if my old beat-up camera, with the  cheapest 300 mm lens, would be able to capture any distant birds in the dark shadows of a multi-layered canopy. Bird photos were the primary goal of this trip. I kept trying to get a sharp picture with the same old equipment in the same old way: automatic fast shutter speed and no tripod! Though it worked in good light, it continued to be only a hope in shadows. Was this hope my insanity? My Panamanian birding guide for the next 3 days was determined to give me a successful experience. He noticed every difficulty. Quickly observing my dark and blurry images in the shadowy forest, Jose made a suggestion.

“Do you have a small pocket camera?” he asked. I quickly pulled from my cargo pocket a little Canon PowerShot. It’s a simple “point-and-shoot” like what most people use today. Jose promptly placed it against the 25-75X zoom eye-piece of his Nikon 82mm Fieldscope. The colorful trogon that I could hardly see through my camera was full frame on this little camera and in better focus than any of my shots! At half the distance! And on a camera costing less than half the other. It was truly a “eureka moment!” My eyes popped when seeing the bird in the viewfinder. “A keeper for sure” I thought! This was repeated again and again! “Aha! Jose is my friend!” I thought.

And thus by listening and humbly accepting help from someone I barely knew, I began the best part of my collection of Panama bird photos. Oh sure! I would like to have a spotting scope now. But I have also learned an important lesson by experiencing Albert Einstein’s often quoted statement: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Plus the lesson of listening to other’s ideas. There is always something new to learn!
Thanks to Jose Tjada for helping me do something in a new and different way to get better results! Hopefully, my new year will be filled with many better results!

Charlie Doggett
January 11, 2014

For More About this Panama Trip:

And Gallery + Book for More Recent Panama Trip

Or Go to my Panama Travel Page

Which includes the above + A Panama Canal Cruise with stops in Panama.