Scarlet Tanagers occupy a special in my heart. You see, it was one of the first two birds I ever photographed. I was 15 years old and bough my first big-boy camera. It was a Minolta XE-7. I had a 50mm normal lens and I wanted to go out and see what it would do.
I took a walk in the woods and saw a bright red bird and took a picture of it. Then I saw a dark blue bird and took a picture of that. Since I was about 100 feet away and I had that 50mm lens, I didn’t fill up much of the frame. But I learned one of my first valuable lessons of photography. The camera cannot keep up with the human mind, meaning what I visualized was beyond the technical capabilities of my gear.
Later in my very early twenties, we won’t go into how long ago that was, I reasoned that since Blue Jays, Robins and Hermit Thrushes (the Vermont State bird) all had names, the other birds must have names too. I discovered Peterson’s field guides and bought one.
With my new Peterson’s guide in my hand, I thought back on that day when I was walking in the woods and got curious about what those birds might have been. So I dug out the slides and projected them across the room. I got a magnifying glass out and squinted at microscopic images the birds on the wall. One turned out to be a Scarlet Tanager and the second was an Indigo Bunting. Blurry and faint but you just couldn’t confuse the colors with any other birds.
I’ve come a long way since that day. However, I have not seen both a Scarlet Tanager and an Indigo Bunting on the same day since! Many summers (and a few moons too) later, I present the image of the Scarlet Tanager as I envisioned it when I was a teenager.
This last photo is the female. Not that good, but still light years ahead of my formative days.
So I give you your second lesson in photography. You can envision your image and you can produce it. Never give up on you dreams, they are more real and obtainable than you may immediately believe.