Monday, March 7 was a national holiday in Ghana, celebrating fifty-nine years of independence from Britain. Since the Area Office was closed for the day, Michelle and I took a nice morning hike in the University of Ghana botanical gardens just a few miles north of our apartment at daybreak to catch a few nature shots with the new camera we ordered and had our SLC auditing contact bring over last month when he came for a visit. Since Reid works in the camera division at Amazon, he has a lot of very good experience evaluating various cameras, I used him to help me pick a camera to use for various sightseeing and wildlife shots. I wanted something lightweight, moderately priced that would accommodate a novice but leave room to expand my skills. He recommended a sweet little Nikon Coolpix 610 compact digital with a 60X optical zoom. The reviews described it as best in class for what I was after so I ordered it, had it shipped to my SLC contact last month and he carried across the pond.
I am still getting the hang of it, but it has been a bunch of fun getting better close-up shots of several birds and the lizards that interact at Legon Gardens than I could even dream of the last time I visited there last fall (Forgotten Gardens) trying to capture wildlife shots armed with just an iPhone.
I borrowed a copy of Birds of Ghana from a friend and am looking to get my own copy (no easy feat in Ghana, it turns out) so I can do better identification on the species we encounter. I will likely need to have Sandra or Christie bring over a copy when they visit us here in May, along with the binoculars I ordered and had delivered to Sandra’s house a couple of weeks back. The end game is that we are tentatively planning on taking a safari to South Africa in about a year when we finish our mission, so it’s good to get in some practice with the local flora and fauna. Particularly with fauna that don’t eat you while you are trying to get them into focus.
Herewith, a few early attempts: