I never felt more like singin’ the blues (BADly) ………

Just over a year ago I was fortunate enough to photograph a Verditer Flycatcher on my local patch. Not  a rare bird. We occasionally see them passing through the garden and I once had one that insisted on hopping so close that I couldn’t focus my lens. By and large though they keep their distance. I saw one last week but it was about 50′ up, perched on a tree top against the light. And no, I’m not embarrassing myself by showing that. Hence the dip back into December 2012.


Verditer-Flycatcher-FFThis is of course the same frame cropped and uncropped. My initial reaction is usually to try to show the bird in close up but when I originally posted these images I was surprised that many people preferred the full frame. The full frame shot has also been commercially published.

I have been back to the same spot regularly – 2 or 3 times last week but I have not been lucky. It is a good location but there is construction work going on nearby and I suspect there is simply too much disturbance. Hong Kong is awash with rare (in HK) birds at present and I have steadfastly declined to chase them. If they hang around and I am going their way I may drop by. If not, life will go on. I much prefer to find my own birds, rare or otherwise and sit quietly and watch and photograph. Indeed Mrs. Ha has allowed me to invest in a walkstool, so that I can plonk myself down anywhere and be comfortable. A fellow photographer introduced me to this product. Made in Sweden. The Walkstool not the photographer. He was made in Denmark. Allegedly. Quite expensive but I discovered its all about weight.

I visited any number of local fishing shops looking for a lightweight portable stool and they all had them. However most burst into fits of laughter when they discovered it was for me. It would never hold my weight, they said. Now just a dog gone minute. Billy Bunter I am not. No Fat Owl of the Remove, me. I am a sylph like 85kgs on a good day, 90 on a bad one. I blame the scales. But it seems local stools don’t cater for a standard gweilo build. The Swedes on the other hand are quite happy if I weigh 200kgs. Yes, kgs. 200 of them. That’s quite a lot. I don’t know a single Swede weighing 200kgs. I know a Macanese, who probably comes close. In fact I am seeing him on Tuesday. I shall ask.  But I can now sleep easily knowing that when I need to sit and contemplate the avifauna of Hong Kong and there is neither bench nor chair from which to photograph in comfort, I can turn to my Scandinavian Miracle and park myself down safely. All I need now is another Verditer Flycatcher. Roll on Wednesday.

Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 18.37.21



Oh and here’s the one that came too close.



19 thoughts on “I never felt more like singin’ the blues (BADly) ………

  1. Stunning, stunning shots. We have a stool that looks remarkably like yours (my husband’s around same weight I’m guessing), but I have to admit (at half that weight) that I don’e find it very comfortable for more than a few minutes. But very glad you are OK with it if we get more birds that way.

  2. Beautiful bird and the colour is amazing!
    I’m usually in favour of photos that show more of the animal’s habitat than close-ups with a uniform background but full frame shots or crops also have their place, for sure! There is no rule, eh…? 😉 Here, the bird is placed a bit too much in the middle for my taste (perhaps because of using the center AF point?) but a slight crop could easily “fix” it. I hate using the word “fix” here though but not sure which English word would be more appropriate 😦
    Anyway, no reason to fix anything as you have achieved a lovely shot of a very beautiful bird!

  3. That is one beauty of a blue bird…well, not a blue bird, but it is blue and a bird, so a blue bird. 🙂 It’s hard to not prefer the full framed shot, but the more distant image with the nice surrounds and lovely soft color from the oof fore and background bits is quite nice.
    I have a walkstool and am sure you will be quite pleased with it, Andrew. 200kgs/400 pounds….I doubt you are close to that. Our American Football players don’t come that large even. 😯

  4. I usually like wide-frame shots as they contain the contextual information that sometimes would be lost in a cropped image. I think the two photos of the Verditer Flycatcher are both good and highlight a different aspect of the bird and its relationship with its environment. I really like the close-up as it’s great to see the fine feathers in its steely coat and bright eye(s).

    90kg doesn’t seem like too much more than a regular southern Chinese man (think the average is around 72-75kg and it can be more nowadays as people consume more sugar and oil in their diet while moving less than before).

  5. Wow! That’s a beauty! what an incredible colour. It looks as though it should be very rare but you say it’s not. I’m excited about your Walkstool too. This is just what Prof Pete and I need for when we go out drawing/painting in the campo. P.s I wish I was your weight, I got on a friends scales last weekend and nearly fainted – I knew that I’d put on weight in Indo but hadn’t reckoned on it being 3 stone!! The Empress is on very slim pickings now 😀

  6. Great images Andrew, and I join the masses who like the full-frame, it really is a very special image. The cropped image is also excellent for enjoying the details of the beautiful blue.
    I have a walking seat that I purchased a few years ago when I developed severe pain when walking not very far. Mine has a handle and solid seat and it folds up like a tripod. One of the benefits on a casual walk is the handle stands up in front of where you sit, so it is somewhere to rest the hands or camera body when without a tripod.
    Had a laugh at the size restrictions available locally – I don’t think anything sold in North America would make it in the market with those limitations.

  7. I’ve just been trying to do a spot of catch up on the blogs I follow.
    Some excellent shots over the last couple of weeks, but not being in on the start, I couldn’t understand why everything was BAD 😳
    Bird a Day…….It all makes sense now.

  8. Who’d have thought the purchase of a walkstool could create so much mirth – I was so involved with this that I had to go back and check which bird I should be looking at. He’s a beauty. (The blue one, although I wouldn’t want to hurt the other one’s feelings).

  9. Oh me. The blue flycatcher is a real beauty. I can see how the full frame was used for publication. You have so many really top quality shots, Andrew. It makes me green with envy. Well, not actually but close. 🙂 The last shot of the bird on the rock is simply beautiful.. I hope that one is in Flickr and the flycather too. I want to make those favorites.

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