Saturday, January 31, 2015

Taking a Break?

“Go out! Enjoy yourself,” Rita said although she—and I guess all my siblings—are aware that I’m housebound. Go out while Mr. Hubby looks after the Princess at home? I can’t. I’d imagine all kinds of calamities happening at home. I’ve tried taking the baby out with me but ended up tearing my hair and vowing to never go out again.

So I stay at home and to keep my sanity—this toddler can drive one up the wall with “Baby want play-doh.Baby want play-doh. Baby want play-doh. Baby want…” or “Some more bread-some more bread-some more bread some more…”  to keep my sanity I do simple craft projects and I take photographs.

Now that the baby can walk—leaving me with both my hands free—I’m happy to be able to pick up the camera again. Even with two hands holding the camera, taking good bird pictures can be quite challenging. I get so excited especially if a rarely seen bird comes to visit and I’m all thumbs as I fumble with the camera while trying not to lose sight of the bird and at the same time shouting instructions to the Princess: don’t stand up on that chair; sit down; don’t put the play-doh into your mouth!

The birds seldom sit still in one place unless they’re grooming. I often get unsatisfactory shots because I take the pictures quickly and leave everything to luck—resulting in out-of-focus-birds or they’re so tiny you’d need a magnifying glass to see them. Quite often the birds act as though they’re camera shy and hide their heads behind leaves or they suddenly turn and show me their backsides. And sometimes I get shots of only the plant because the birds have flown away when I was still fiddling with the camera.

However, luck has been on my side several times too. These occasions had everything right: the sun wasn’t too bright; the birds didn’t move too much and weren’t hiding behind leaves or branches; the background wasn’t distracting; and my camera was within reach. (Countless times after spotting an interesting bird I had to run up the stairs for the camera and by the time I was downstairs, huffing and puffing, the bird has disappeared.)

I find that the best time to take bird photos is in the morning when the sun is up and the birds are visiting the just-bloomed flowers in search of nectar. Unfortunately, this also happens to be the busiest part of the day for me so I steal moments and grab my camera when I hear the familiar sounds of the Sunbirds, the Flower Peckers or the Tailor Birds. The Bul-Buls and the pigeons are always around so I don’t bother about them as much. On a few occasions I was lucky to notice a male pink-necked green pigeon browsing on a berry-producing tree outside my bedroom window. It is always a joy to see these beautiful feathered creatures.

Taking pictures of birds helps me from going crazy. It provides respite from the common and ugly which is what the house is turning into, thanks to the once-a-week maid who is now my ‘interior decorator’.  I guess it is something not everyone could understand—the need to escape from drudgery, even for a short while, and see beauty and appreciate it—and get away feeling refreshed.

Some people run or go for long, lazy walks or they go to parties or the movies or they shop or lose themselves in books. I take pictures of birds. What do you do if you need to take a break from reality? 

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