Saturday, November 27, 2010

Why I Don't Usually Carry a Camera

Everyone who freaked out at the actual winter weather this week woke up this morning and looked out the window with relief. Most of the snow was gone -- certainly here in Cadboro Bay it was. The weather was great for walking from the library back to the bay... I stopped at St George's Christmas Fair and saw Steph's family trooping out from the tearoom.
Down to the beach then with my little inflatable. This time I brought along the waterproof camera John handed down a couple months ago. I got some shots while paddling my usual route along the shore to Flower Island.
Well, I tried to get some shots. You might notice that there are no photos displayed on this post. That's because so far all the photos I take are kind of tippy, with interesting things in the distance or just flying out of frame. Like the photo I took on the far side of Flower of a beautiful Great Blue Heron.
Sure, the heron was beautifully posed as I came around the little island. But by the time I back-paddled, pulled out the camera, found and pushed the ON button (which chimes MUCH LOUDER on the water than it does onshore) the heron startled, glared at my yellow-and-blue inflatable, and started flapping its wings. Eventually I pushed the shutter hard enough not just to make the picture freeze, but to take a photo. I think it may show one heron foot dangling down into view.
I'm not anti-camera. Lord knows, I like the photos that other people take and post on Kayak Yak. I may even take photos while paddling and post some someday. But not today!
Even with some sucky quality photos, the real focus of the time on the water was the weather. Nicely chill, slight breeze. As long as I kept paddling, I didn't feel cold. There were several little sailboats out for lessons again, but many more birds.
Birds! The Canada geese were sitting on rocks looking like they were reconsidering the decision not to migrate. Sure, this week's snow had melted, but would there be any more snow? There were floating gangs of bufflehead ducks, and some loons, and little black coots, and pipers checking out the shoreline rocks.
Best of all (I thought) were the oystercatchers. Bright bright red beaks and eyes, standing out sharply against their black feathers. Drab little legs poking out like pallid sticks. Loud squeaking clearly audible as I paddled away. Not as loud, though, as the two birds that were even more striking -- two kingfishers darting and scolding each other.
I like paddling in winter. The water's so clear, even though it's cold. And the beach is less crowded. Bring on winter! And soon in December, we'll have an evening paddle on the Gorge to look at Christmas lights.

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