I’ve been a casual photographer for most of my life, starting with a Disc Camera when I was about 10. I got my first DSLR in about 2005, and it was a background hobby for a few years until lighter devices improved enough to take over and the DSLRs sat on the shelf for a while.
Roll forward to 2020, a relocation to Massachusetts and COVID precautions resulting in spending a lot of time indoors, watching migratory warblers in the maple tree outside our apartment window. Incredibly, the 15-year-old hobbyist DSLRs (Canon 350D and 400D, aka Digital Rebel XT and XTi) and cheap 70-300mm zoom still worked perfectly and got some decent shots (at all of 8 megapixels).
Then, just as the hobby was taking off again, I blew out the USB port, and got to remember the retro “joys” of downloading from a Compact Flash card through a card reader. This was the tipping point to getting a new device - and wow, had they improved in 15 years. Shooting with a new Canon EOS 90D, first with a Sigma 100-400mm zoom and then a 150-600mm, handheld, was getting some real results and soon my wife (equipped with an EOS Digital Rebal T8i) and I were out shooting around once a week - and finding just how close to home wildlife can be found in Massachusetts.
This has proven to be more than just a hobby now - it’s fresh air, it’s family time, but it’s also a great collection of images and memories that are incredibly calming and satisfying to browse in a difficult year.
In addition to taking photos, I’ve also given a talk on Photographing Local Wildlife and written up Some Notes on DSLR Wildlife Photography for new photographers which have proven popular.