On the ride home from Sams that day, I could hardly wait to take my shiny new camera from the box and give it a whirl. It wasn’t long before the box and it’s contents were strewn across the office and the battery was charging.
The kit lens with its short but usable 18–55 zoom range worked great for landscapes and general photography, but in those first days with my DSLR I figured out that Florida is never going to be as satisfying to photograph as say the Grand Tetons or Yosemite Valley. I started wishing for more. More focal length, and new subjects.
On our outings across the state, my poor wife was often forced to sit on the ground, reading kindle or playing on Facebook. Wanting to make her experience better, I offered to get her some binoculars so she could look at birds and bugs and stuff. Pretty soon she was learning all about birds, and I couldn’t help but begin to wonder if bird photography might be the subject I’d been searching for.
My 30th birthday was quickly approaching and I knew I wanted a long lens. A trip to Best Buy later I, requested my most expensive camera accessory yet. The Nikon 70–300VR. I couldn’t wait for 30, envisioning myself becoming the next National Geographic photographer. On location with my trusty D3100 and 70–300 lens.
That night Mary and my Mom planned an amazing party with all of my friends and family. Among the memorable gifts that evening was my much-hoped-for lens. I remember that evening, walking out of the hall there was a Great Horned Owl just perched outside the venue. I drew my trusty Nikon, complete with 70–300 and proceeded to take shot after shot.
These first few photographs, lit by only the streetlights, were total garbage. Nonetheless I was now a wildlife photographer, it it would only be a matter of time before I was published and traveling the globe.
Over the next few weeks we traveled to countless locations, and I took thousands of pictures. All of them terrible.
The honeymoon with my D3100 and 2 lenses lasted nearly 4 months before the slow autofocus, and slow frame rate began to really frustrate me. That Black Friday Best Buy had the newly launched D7000 on sale. I begged and pleaded my case to Mary. I even clearly remember telling her that this was it, that after this camera was an upgrade to “full frame” and I would never want to do that.
The amazing and supportive woman she is, she begrudgingly agreed. This was my Christmas present.