When I first was dragged started going out in the field birding with my husband I carried a Kodak point-and-shoot camera. Steve would point out a bird to me and “click!” I’d take the picture just like I’d do while on vacation, say to London, a national park, or the beach. It was easy peasy to use and I loved it.

Well, until I got home and loaded the photos onto my computer and realized that my little spec of a bird barely showed up.  Even cropping in didn’t help a whole lot.  You could see the bird and tell what it was, but it wasn’t very stunning.

Hummingbird in Costa Rica – taken with the Kodak point-and-shoot

So I decided to invest in a new Nikon DSLR.  It’s been so great that the recent onslaught of DSLRs have made it so much more affordable for the amateur photographer and enthusiast.  I love my Nikon.  I’m not a great photographer, but it certainly keeps me busy and interested in birding.  While my husband can look through binoculars and his scope for what seems like an eternity, I’ve found the photography a great challenge for me. I’m actually quite happy about my pictures that I get. And it keeps my interest in the field while birding.

Canada Geese at Bosque del Apache in New Mexico. Shot with Nikon D5000.

One Christmas we decided to do a road trip starting in Santa Fe, New Mexico, then south to Bosque del Apache and then to Las Cruces, New Mexico and finishing up in Tucson, Arizona.  I loved Bosque del Apache.  Well, that is until I saw this:

Birder with big ass lens.

Crap.  I felt my first pangs of lens envy.

Part of the problem with taking photographs at Bosque del Apache with a standard camera sans telephoto lens is that most of the birds are waders.  It’s not like you’re going to have the opportunity to get up close to them. I grew frustrated and impatient with myself and my camera.  But Socorro (the little town just outside of Bosque del Apache) didn’t have any camera equipment or lenses.  They did have a feed store that everyone seemed to congregate at.  Oh, and this lovely family restaurant with it’s retro sign that I adored:

Pretty much the only restaurant in Socorro, New Mexico.

Once we arrived in Las Cruces, New Mexico we located a store that sold Nikor lenses.  I grabbed up the last 300mm lens and since then I’ve been a happy photographer again.

Cactus wren in Tucson, Arizona. Shot with Nikon D5000 with 300mm lens.

But I still get lens envy out in the field. Look at these guys:

Yet another big ass lens.
I’ll never be able to keep up. (This was shot at Point Pelee in Ontario Canada.)