Adventures in the Wilds & No Camera!

Those who know me well may not believe that title – and, well – what is happening in this period of few blog posts is that I am totally absorbed in the re-reading the Lord of the Rings books, all in one volume for me on my Kindle, a much longer read than The Hobbit I just completed! Plus I am still mostly tired from the radiation treatments and just not doing much else or getting out much.

The Kindle Edition Cover

Frodo and his buddies are just beginning as they got out of “The Old Forest” terrors and the magical “House of Tom Bombadil” and head for “The Prancing Pony Inn” and more “Dark Rider” or “Strider” encounters (who has been following them).

Eventually I may report on the story with some of my nature photos or I just may give you a break! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

New Camera Lens, 150-600mm Zoom, Hand-held

Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD
On tripod on my terrace, but can be hand-held which is reason for choice.
Got on sale at B&H Photo, NY, NY, shipped here through Aeropost Miami.
Atenas, Costa Rica

The following photos were made with the new lens the day it arrived. Birds were hiding!  🙂

An Anole showing his colors on my terrace – Shot at 400mm
Atenas, Costa Rica

Red Ginger  at other end of my garden at 600mm focal length
Atenas, Costa Rica

Heliconia, shot at 600mm
Atenas, Costa Rica

Air Plant on powerline cable on road below my house, shot at 600mm
Atenas, Costa Rica

Tibouchina or Princess Flower zoomed in from behind at 600mm
Atenas, Costa Rica

Torch Ginger down the hill in my yard, shot at 552mm
Atenas, Costa Rica

I went to Alajuela this morning by bus to pick up the package with my new lens meaning it is early afternoon when I tried it out with above shots and only one bird this time of day and he was in shadows. But this will really help me in a lot of places I go birding because it is the only lens available at 600mm that can be used hand-held. I first saw one in use at Danta Corcovado that another visitor was using on a Canon camera similar to mine. I then did research online and found that it really works hand-held and has the equivalent of Canon Image Stabilizer called VC. And the cost is less than a third of Canon or other big brand 600mm telephoto lenses! It sells most places for around a thousand dollars while the others are 3 to 6 thousand dollars! The guy at Danta Corcovado paid $1,100 for his. I got mine on a sale for $779, but shipping and import taxes used up the other $300! But still a good deal and we will see if it really helps me on my coming trip to Arenal Observatory. The potential problem I am concerned about is that with more focal length you need more light and it the forest much is in the shadows. So Arenal will be a test!  If I really like it, I will get another camera body dedicated to it. That way I can easily switch back and forth with my faithful 300mm which has served me so well for so many years.

And you might remember that my Nashville friends gave me a “spotting scope” which is the birders’ name for a telescope. The box said you could use it on your camera as a lens, well, not on my camera! The scope is so old that they were talking about a specific kind of old film cameras. And it is not telephoto! (Unheard of today.) I looked it up and that model hasn’t been made in more than 25 years, is out of warranty, no parts available for it and no service. I can make it fit on my tripod to look at the single focal distance and might learn to photograph through it with my cell phone camera, though first efforts were not very good. It is something I will play with on my terrace but not take on trips. It is not the quality of spotting scopes that the guides here in Costa Rica use and I get to use theirs when on trips!  🙂  I started to kid Larry that he must have found that scope in his Grandfather’s closet.  🙂  But I will use it some around here, just not as much as I originally thought.
Well, I jumped the gun when I said that the Nashville visitors had brought the rainy season early since after that we had a week or more of no rain, Now it has started again, almost every afternoon and right now we are getting a “downpour.” Of course weather everywhere is impossible to forecast accurately, but we seem to be beginning our rainy season now for sure and still early! It is not May yet, when rainy season officially begins! At Arenal the first week of May I will expect rain every afternoon, but in the cloud forest it could be other times of the day too. Another adventure! 🙂

And by the way, I finished the photo gallery 2018 Oxcart ParadeIt was very good this year and many of my photos are different than in the previous 3 years. 
And because “haste makes waste” I left out three very important folders of photos on the mission trip from Nashville to Atenas, so check out the completed gallery:
¡Pura Vida!

An Atenas Miracle!

Ed’s Lost and Found Camera

This blog was originally for friends and family with hopes that a few who are considering retirement in Costa Rica might find it and learn a little bit. Well, one of those is Ed Fair, a professor of law at the University of Texas in Austin and a bigger birder than me. Thus we met through him reading the blog and contacting me and we have corresponded off and on. He wants to retire here maybe next year and do the same sort of things I do He is here now for 6 weeks with two week-long birding trips planned and checking out what it is like to live here. That’s interesting but not the miracle yet.

Tuesday I gave Ed a walking tour of Central Atenas and we had breakfast in a little Tico Soda. He was carrying his camera in his hands rather than his backpack and when he missed it later we both thought he left it in the little soda. But alas, when we went back it was not there. (He didn’t leave it there but on sidewalk wall in front of a shoe store we later learned.) Ed was numb and sad and the loss of his one camera was going to affect his birding experience and he wasn’t sure he wanted to buy one here. I of course told him about losing 3 cameras in Puntarenas.

We went our own ways yesterday (Wed) and had planned to ride a bus to the  beautiful vista restaurant La Casita del Cafe up a mountain outside Atenas. We missed one bus and after an hour and a half wait on another one we gave up and called a taxi, and were later getting there than intended (providential?).

Seated at the bar overlooking the vista was a young American couple we started talking with who lived nearby in Barrio Jesus and just came at this time to get away from their 10 & 15 year old boys for a cappuccino. Earlier we would have missed them. He works over the internet and can live anywhere and chose here. In all the things we talked about, somehow photos came up and Ed commented, “Well, since I just lost my camera, I won’t have many photos this trip.” And Walter casually responded, “Oh don’t worry Ed, I have your camera at my house.” Ed and I were stunned. Walter then asked Ed if he has a daughter or granddaughter named Ashley and of course he did. (Camera had folder of photos labeled Ashley) Then he asked Ed if he took a lot of bird photos? Bingo! It had to be Ed’s lost camera. Walter was advertising it as found on multiple Atenas Facebook groups, hoping he would find the owner. But none of us expected this little miracle meeting! Praise God!

We road in their car with them to their house and got his camera and admired their house with a big yard. Then walked down the highway to Jalapeno Restaurant for a taxi back to Atenas central. Now the chances that we would meet the way we did with the person who found his camera has to be a one in a million kind of miracle! Guardian angels? Sorry I can’t say it is an answer to my prayer because I did not pray for it to be returned. I even told him he would never see it again. Oh me of little faith!