Sublime > Ridiculous (a camera + a lens both fail within 5 mins) > Sublime


Link Posted 14/01/2013 - 17:10
A 4 day birding trip to the amazing area of the huge Poyang Lake in Jiangxi Province, China, to see Oriental Cranes (90-95% of the world population winter here), Hooded Cranes, Common Cranes, White Naped Cranes and Oriental Storks went from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again. All target birds achieved (and 95-100 species in total, I'm still counting and IDing) but on Day 2 (when still shooting alone before my friends arrived that night) we (meaning with my taxi driver) had a puncture in the dark on the causeway, got stuck in mud on the massive mudflats, had my D800 refuse to recognise the Sigma 500mm, and Zeiss 21mm - my landscape lens, after a few shots on Day 2, then found the SDM on my backup, the Pentax DA*300 on a K5, had decided to surrender again leaving me with a 300 that wouldn't even MF focus and was stuck at infinity, the AFA x1.7 saved the day allowing AF shots at infinity and the next day at least the lens had started to permit MF again and that saved the trip - but have you ever had TWO lenses (or in this case a camera and a lens) break down within minutes of each other ? Never mind on the same day, same trip/holiday, same week or month even !!

My taxi driver (Thurs/Fri) was great and really got into birding once he saw what it was all about. His enthusiasm for this new found hobby inspired by this crazy foreigner, saw us stuck in mud on the mudflats though, when he decided he could ignore the advice of the nature reserve manager and get us closer in the taxi than I could on foot ! Surreal stuff to see the bright green and yellow taxi trapped in the middle of that vast expanse of mud, water and short tufted grass! I've a shot of us stuck in the mud I'll upload later.

It was lucky that it snowed in the Nanchang/Poyang Lake area last week because that encouraged my driver to buy himself a set of snow chains (well two - or his front tyres ) and that is what extracted us from this face-pack smooth mud, nothing else would have done as pure muscle was never going to be enough

A sad note was we found a 10M high illegal net set up to catch birds. We tore it down and freed the birds that were still alive - however I've no doubt it'll be up again next week.

All in all though it was an exhausting (up at 05.30 every day and birding for 12 hours before driving back to the hotel each evening) but very satisfying trip, topped off by a 1.5 flight delay back to Shanghai ! Pentax. Pentax DA*300/4, Cosina 55/1.2, Lens Baby Composer Pro & Edge 80, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.
Nikon. D800. D600. Sigma 500/4.5, Nikon 300/2.8 VRII, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 35/2.0, Sigma 50/1.4, Nikkor 85/1.8, Nikon TC20EIII, Nikon TC14EII, Kenko x1.4, Sigma 2.0
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