Redhead blogSevere winter weather, babysitting chores (tough to say no to my darn cute grandkids), and a weird sinus condition have hampered my photo outings this year. On second thought, the term hampered is too weak; obstructed is a better description. Reading all the blog reports and seeing the online photos I believe I am the only photographer in the Mid-Atlantic who missed the snowy owl invasion. Geez and pshaw already, a lady ahead of me at the grocery the other day showed the cashier the snowy owl she shot with her (expletive deleted) smartphone.

Thus, when the weather forecast for this past weekend called for sunny skies and balmy temperatures (low 30s), I grabbed my camera bag and left the house in the wee hours Saturday morning. I drove south and spent the morning shooting snow geese, American widgeons, canvasbacks, redheads, mallards, lesser scaup, tundra swans, and other migratory waterfowl in Dorchester County. Next destination was a local state park where I captured images of a gorgeous ring-necked duck and a red-necked grebe. I even managed to squeeze in a visit to Fort McHenry, a prime birding spot here in Baltimore City.

I felt invigorated being out in the field again. I was looking forward to processing all these bird images, especially the several new species I captured. When I uploaded the memory cards on Sunday I discovered the vast majority of images were unacceptable. It seems Brunhilde, my 200-400mm lens, had developed a serious back focus problem. I shipped her off immediately and am now waiting for the authorized Nikon service center to work its magic on her.

Pessimistic folks would say this was a weekend for the birds. However, I say again it was a revitalizing weekend. My photo tip for the month has two parts. First, enjoy your encounter with Mother Nature. It is a remarkable experience simply being in close proximity to her critters. Second, when your camera gear develops a problem, send it to an authorized service center for repair.

I will let you know how Brunhilde performs after she returns from her spa treatment.