I went to Norwich Cathedral to photograph some war memorials with Robert Maguire, my editorial consultant. While walking in one of the cloisters, I spotted a perspective where the spire was sort of enclosed in a decorative window. As I positioned myself to take a shot, a man and a woman came and stood close by taking photos of the same subject as mine, well at least that’s what I thought. Their lenses didn’t escape my attention, Canon 400mm. Somewhat irritated at the [unsubstantiated] insinuation, I walked away, and as soon as I had gained some distance, I whispered to Robert that “I hate their lenses.”
This wasn’t the first time I felt embarrassed with my kit. When I went to Sheringham last spring, I almost wanted to bury my camera in the sand when a man with a 600mm lens approached while I was focusing on a turnstone bird. There were other birds on the shore, and it was a long shore. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t go somewhere else, or at least waited until I had finished. Why get near me and photograph the same bird? To show off his massive lens? Well, it looks ugly, to be honest!
As Robert and I walked to the back of the cathedral to see Edith Cavell’s grave, I saw the man and the woman with the 400mm lenses again! There were other people there, all with “ugly lenses” and looking up at the spire. Only then did I realize that they were photographing the Norwich Peregrines, who came to breed at the nest prepared by the Hawk and Owl Trust, on top of the Norwich Cathedral spire. Jealousy gripped me one more time as I recalled how poor the photos of the falcon looked, which I took with my lens. As if to add insult to the injury, another photographer came, and he had a massive 600mm lens. They are getting uglier!
Unable to contain my jealousy anymore, I begged Robert we leave the place at once. We walked over to the tent where the Trust set up about five or six telescopes for people to watch the male falcon. The female and the chicks were in the nest and they could only be seen through the trust’s website’s live streaming. I peeked through one of the telescopes and couldn’t contain my admiration at the bird. He looked so beautiful. As much as I wanted to photograph him, my lens isn’t good enough.
I really wish I could have one of these birding lenses, but they are too expensive. The 400mm ones cost around a thousand pounds, while the 600mm ones are £10,000. Yes, that’s how expensive they are and that’s why I call them ugly! They are a sore to my eyes.