Friday, June 10, 2022

Traveling Light

Fence Lizard Shows Off His Blue Belly

I couldn't have asked for a nicer day to ride my ebike up to Mt. Tam to try out the Panasonic FZ-80 point-and-shoot camera I just bought. Thursday was sunny but not too hot, and I headed north around 9 a.m. with a light tail wind, which thankfully hadn't turned into a raging headwind by the time I left the mountain a little after noon. I spent about an hour hiking a short distance to set up my trail camera, then poked around with the FZ-80.

The first digital camera I ever got was a Panasonic FZ-5 which I eventually lost at Carrizo Plain. It was so small it must have fallen out of the car or something without my noticing. The FZ-80 is bigger, but still quite small, and the electronic viewfinder is probably bigger and better, but it's still a major concession compared to a DSLR. I found it difficult to see small lepidopterans like blues and skippers in the viewfinder, and I hoped in vain that the camera was focusing on those subjects, but alas it focused on the backgrounds. I'm somewhat confident that I'll be able to sort that out with a little practice. Unfortunately I find the rear display too unwieldy for any kind of telephoto work.

The highlight was spotting a couple of juvenile California Giant Salamanders (Dicamptodon ensatus) lounging in a creek. I once stumbled on a huge adult down at Potrero Meadow without even knowing we had such monsters on Mt. Tam, but it escaped so fast I had no chance to photograph it. 

As always, you can click on the photos to see them larger.

Juvenile California Giant Salamander with Water Strider Shadow

Grappletail Dragonfly

High Noon at Rock Spring Meadow

* * *