Don’t leave home without it

I have learned the hard way from past experiences that the times you don’t carry a camera are the times when you will see something uncommon.  A handful of the times that this proved true in the past seemed to come during archery season.  I didn’t want to carry extra weight, or maybe there was even extra scent on a neck strap that a deer or elk may catch. The main problem was that if I had my camera out it seemed to either bump something and make noise or it felt like it was going to be in the way of a clear draw and shot .   If I had it put in a pack, it probably wouldn’t get out in time to matter.  So I would hunt without it. After seeing hawks, coyote and a very easy-to-photograph badger, I decided that unless it was raining or not possible, I would always carry a camera.
Now that I have my newer D7000, I have started to carry my old D60 with the 70-300 mm lens on it while hunting.  It can fit perfectly over 1 shoulder and on my back if I am not carrying a backpack, or snugged against my chest if I am.  While the camera does not handle contrast well, it still takes ok pictures and if something were to happen to it, it is my back-up (although it is also Ahnya’s main camera).

This Saturday, while crossing bolder fields hunting elk in the area of Rhineheart Lake, I was fortunate to have a long-tailed weasel make an appearance.  Image

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Once I lost sight of this one, I kept moving along, and at another boulder field ran into another one in a tree.  I couldn’t get a picture of it before it got down.  

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What actually caught my attention when I first got to the rocks with the second one was a chipmunk, which later returned to the area under the tree the weasel was in to eat some pine cones.  I wonder if the weasel had been hunting the chipmunk for food.

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The weasel never re-appeared from the boulders to allow me a closer shot, but I considered my self lucky to have seen 2 in one day.  While the quality was not as good as if I had carried my D7000 ( and the focus speed would have helped), I was glad that I have learned to always carry a camera.

While driving back out there was another opportunity for some photos.  Unfortunately, I did not put the D7000 into the car Saturday morning, so the pictures were taken with the lesser D60 again.  They really illustrate the main shortcoming of it.  With a subject such as moose, either the body is exposed near right and the antlers get washed out, or the antlers are ok but the body is dark and black.  This happy guy was right near the Cross Creek campground and there was both a young cow(moose) and another that was one of the largest cows I have seen in the area.

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Even if you are just running down the road to the store, it probably can’t hurt to grab your camera and have it in the vehicle with you.  It’s better to have it and not need it than to see something spectacular and end up wishing you had taken the time to bring it.

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