15 March, 2013

Middle Class Dilemmas

With the prospect of an Ecology course at University fast approaching, I've had to come to the realisation that I don't have a lot of money, and that, even with a full time job, I'm going to be left absolutely skint by the end of a degree. Unfortunately, photography is not the cheapest hobby in the world to pursue at Uni, and as much as I love my current lens, its a real bitch to carry around, let alone insure. After a lot of umming and arring, I recently decided to put her up for sale (or will do when I get round to it), and 'downgrade'- if you could call it that- to a more realistic, easily transportable lens... Nikon's flawless 'classic' 300mm f4.

All this talk about University got me wondering for a second about what it really is I want to get out of it all. As you might have guessed, I'm currently on a gap year, partly because I had no idea what I wanted to do with myself, and partly because I'm lazy. Somehow, last October, I managed to confirm myself a place at Worcester Uni, starting September this year, to study a three year course combining two of my favourite subjects, Ecology and Geography, into one 'Joint Honours' degree. In an ideal world, at the end of this, I would supposedly be set up with as equal chance as any at grabbing a paid environmental based job, but is this a realistic hope? With the huge amount of competition about today, it seems vital to have that extra experience/qualification on your C.V. Perhaps it helps to start at the grass-roots after a degree, gaining contacts and volunteering your way up to a full position; I know of a few people who have managed this through the Natural History Musem. Would be interested to find out if anyone has any experiences of this...

Anyway, back on the subject of lenses, I gave the 300mm f4 a little test run in Bushy Park yesterday with a Mistle Thrush, and was pleasantly surprised at its performance, even with a teleconverter, in low light. There was barely any noticable drop off in IQ or sharpness at all, and size-wise, the lens is ideal for hand-holding (although the lack of VR might take some getting used to), whilst at the same time retaining a good solid feel in the hand. Dare I say it even rivals the ridiculously priced super-telephoto primes...





At around mid-day, the female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker made itself visible in the Canal Plantations, and showed ridiculously well in the overhanging trees by the path, before flying further back into the Plantation to spend a good part of an hour drumming the hell out of a single piece of tree trunk. No sign of the male in recent weeks, which is a shame.


Right, I'm off to drive my Ford Fiesta to Waitrose; we've run out of their organic grissini breadsticks.

2 comments:

Steve Gale said...

Love the Northern Wheatear header shot Bill...

Bill said...

Just for you, Steve ;-)