Cameras- Revelations

What the human eye doesn’t see…

Martin Garner and John Beaumont

In the next book in the Challenge Series: WINTER, I have included a section as part of the introduction about cameras. It’s really about the fact there is no substitute for watching a bird in the field. The camera can lie. I receive photos weekly, often daily, usually with the question,”What is this”, or “Is this one?”. Nearly always my reply includes a caveat, something along the lines: I can’t see all the information, and the photos may be an inaccurate representation.

Here’s the flip side.

Modern cameras can capture information which the eye cannot see, or which we miss in the field. Also in most chapters in the new Challenge Series book I will reference the usefulness of photos. They can capture nostril position on a bill, wing formula, patterns of white in the tail… and so on.

John Beaumont has noticed in a few of his recent photos details which he didn’t see in the field. I think they are very cool and informative! I especially like the owl- take a look:

P.S. This is John Beaumont’s post and pictures- just with little waffle from me (MG).

Swift J Beaumont (1 of 1)

Common Swift. Look closely. The wings are in an almost vertical pose. Yet the head remains in the horizontal plane. Didn’t know they did that! 

Long-eared Owl J Beaumont (1 of 1)

Long-eared Owl. Low evening sunlight is lighting one side of the bird. This has produced a camera artefact of  yellow iris in the right eye but also revealed a real feature of a less dilated pupil (in reaction to the light). Compare with the left eye which is normal orange with more dilated pupil. Didn’t know they did that!   

Common Tern  J Beaumont (1 of 1)

Common Tern. Not noticed in the field, this apparent adult has dark marks in the leading secondary and primary coverts. This suggest it may well be a second summer bird (3cy). And it’s breeding.

So cameras aren’t all bad!  Any similar revelations with your photos?

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