Today I changed the display of our “Hikers Gallery,” which we try to do every now and then. I put up a display to advertise our new trail movie, The Sonoma Overlook Trail and Montini Preserve. I also created a Moo card advertising the movie, putting some of them in a small plastic dispenser at the main trailheads and at the Hikers Gallery.
My hope is that by showing the diversity of animal life, plant life, and trail moods, that hikers will be inspired to return again and again, and to bring family and friends. It can take years of hiking to see some of the insects and wildlife we can depict in a movie such as this, so the movie can condense those years into four minutes. We can also show dramatic moments that are rare, like when the creek on the Overlook Trail is high and the waterfall on the Montini is raging across the trail.
In the end, I hope our hikers enjoy the movie as much as I did making it, and will be inspired to hike the trail for as many years as it took to accumulate the photos that comprise it.
I’ve been an avid nature photographer for close to 45 years, and I’ve always been a fan of the zoom lens. Zoom lenses allow you to not only bring distant objects near, they can also provide a way to frame the shot the way you prefer instead of cropping it later with software.
Recently on the trail I was reminded about how important zoom capability can be when I spotted a hummingbird landing on a branch at the top of a tree. Despite the fact that the hummingbird was small (naturally) and the tree was some distance away (see photo), I was able to use the 30x zoom on my little point-and-shoot camera (at the moment the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS40), to zoom in on the little thing and get some shots that made it look like I could reach out and touch it (see second photo). Neither photograph has been cropped.
If you are interested in achieving this kind of capability, these kinds of cameras are referred to as “super zooms”. Super zoom cameras come in all kinds of configurations, from general consumer kinds of cameras to “prosumer” to expensive professional rigs. As a hiker, you will most likely want a compact “point-and-shoot” camera that you can slip into a back pocket. If you are in the market for such a camera, here is a good web site outlining some of your best options.