Escape Clause

Image CC0 by Stefan Kunze
Image CC0 by Stefan Kunze

Even while the internet and its emerging subcultures continue to hint at newer, smarter modes of working and living, you may still be told it’s vain to insist on a station more fulfilling than a permanent stall in a well-reputed grid. According to my critics, even if you find your standard weekday boring, painful or unfulfilling, you ought to embrace it, simply because a third-world coal miner would kill for your benefits package. When so many have so little, attempting to escape a situation in which you can reliably feed yourself and fund a retirement could only be an act of the utmost ingratitude.

A minority of us believe the opposite is true — that escaping from an unfulfilling mainstream lifestyle isn’t a moral failing, but rather a moral imperative. It’s precisely because we have all the necessary freedoms at our fingertips (and because others don’t) that spending our lives in the stable isn’t just foolish, but wrong. To remain, voluntarily, in a life where your talents are wasted and your weekdays are obstacles is to be humble in all the wrong ways.David Cain


D&R Canal, West Windsor, NJ

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Khürt L. Williams © Khürt L. Williams  CORPORATION (600mm, f/6.3, 1/400 sec, ISO400)

Tomorrow I will attend a Meetup of the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park. The group plans to walk to a site to view some eagles that are nesting along the swamps near Bordentown. I rented a Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 SP Di VC USD super telephoto lens to help me capture images of the eagles. I have no experience using this kind of lens so I took it out on my walk on the D&R Canal near the border with Princeton, West Windsor and Lawrenceville.

The air was cool and the filled with the sounds of birds calling out to each other. I’m not experienced with this and didn’t know how to find the birds in the trees. But I hear a coo-coo noise and followed the sound. I thought the sound was an owl but I knew that most owls are nocturnal. It was pigeon. Focus was easy but keeping my hands still, especially with such a large lens, was difficult.

I didn’t walk too far. That’s typical for me on a photo walk. There is so much to see that I don’t walk more than a few metres without stopping to snap a picture with my camera.

What did I learn? I learned that using a super telephoto lenses requires a very steady hand or better yet a tripod. The Tamron 150-600 (35mm) is 225-900mm on my Nikon D5100 with an APS-C sensor. The slightest movement gives a blurred image. I found that it was necessary to hold my breath and stay as still as possible. I think cutting back on your caffeine also helps.

I learned that super telephoto lenses loses a lot of light even during bright daylight. Shooting as wide open as possible helps. I also had to shoot at ISO 400. ISO 100 was just too low to get a usable shutter speed.

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Khürt L. Williams © Khürt L. Williams  CORPORATION (600mm, f/6.3, 1/640 sec, ISO400)