Through A Viewfinder


In the early 1990’s the video viewfinder I used was a crystal clear black-and-white imager which allowed for very sharp focus.  It was great in low light but almost useless in the jungle where, absent movement, is was almost impossible to pick a bird out of the tangle - regardless of how brightly colored the bird was. Later, color viewfinders made it to the market and although not as sharp as the black-and-white viewfinders I could find a bird in the jungle by using them.  It was something akin to watching a brightly colored Northern Cardinal fly across a clearing and into the shadows.  How is it possible for something to be so obvious one moment and so obscure the next?


Like a black-and-white viewfinder, extremists view the world without the benefit of ambiguity and its nuances, they do not see the color. However, their focus is often very sharp and clear -- don’t bother me with the facts or the nuances seems to be their motto, whether they are from the left or the right.


    “Now those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth, and let me remind you they are the ones who always create the most hellish tyranny.”   --Senator Barry Goldwater

Thank you George W. Bush, Donald Trump, ISIS, and Osama bin Laden for the inspiration for this post.

But if you throw the people away, I am reminded of the wonderful landscapes which I have been able to see on my various journeys and how diverse they can be -- I have included two shots from Alberta and one from the Coronado Islands off of Baja Mexico as examples.


The photographs do not begin to capture the experience, off of Baja I was on a pitching fishing boat, the sun was hot, the smell of salt was everywhere. In Alberta it was sunny somedays, dark and Portland-like on others.  The air and the ground was wet, and the glacial lakes were jewels set in the mountains.


Of course, jungles, deserts, ice packs, swamps, even higher mountains, and cityscapes have made it through my life as well, I have been lucky.

Currawong, Forktail, Cacholote, Hawk-Cuckoo, Tapaculo, Reed-Warbler, Sunbird, Hoatzen, Fairy-Wren, Trogon, Sabrewing, Drongo, Woodswallow, Honeyeater, Kookaburra, Scrubfowl, Friarbird, Brilliant, Screamer, Honeycreeper, Whistler, Butcherbird, Wagtail, Myna, Lorikeet, Shrike-Thrush, Shrike-Vireo, Stone-Curlew, Thick-Knee, Dotterel, Lapwing, Spoonbill, Mannikin, Manakin, Magpie, Magpie-Robin, Magpie-lark, Magpie-Jay, Chachalaca, Yellow-Finch, Chat-Tyrant, Cisticola, Stonechat, Xenops, Cock-of-the-Rock, Umbrellabird, Waterhen, Chilia, Chiffchaff, Cinclodes, Chilia...

I have photographed them all -- as I post more bird species in the Galleries (and the spell checker goes crazy) I am impressed with the myriad names that are given to the earth’s creatures.

© Robert Barnes 2015-2020