My early days of digi-scoping was in full bloom. My scope was a highly engineered Bushnell Scope with a retail value of $89. Yes indeed, engineered to perfection with solid glass. I couldn't even tell you what my camera was but it was an 'early digital'... the scope and camera fit like two awkward teens on a first date.
Remind you, that digiscoping didn't come about as a 'formal thing to do' until 1999 when 'someone' coined the term. But I, was ahead of the curve being a few years prior. After-all, I was a birder and having a scope, I can remember my creativity was just flowing. Could the camera and scope 'go together?" Yes, an illicit affair for those times. Not overly risqué, as I played by the rules of the time, but certainly creative.
So my love affair....my illicit chance to play with life began. Like many things that one might do 'once or twice' or have as skeletons locked deep within their closets, I had little struggles with this. No moral grounds to contend with, no ethical issues, nor was I bound by marriage at that time to any person, so my affair was not so much illicit as it might be called, just daring.... Creative, wild, rash, on the spunky side....boldly audacious if not more.
So I set off one day to Bennington Lake, in southeast WA state. The shoreline of the lake would take me a few hours to circuit, all the while carrying my Bushnell, camera and some wobbly tri-pod. Often enough I would stop and kneel...listen, hoping for my eyes to perch upon a bird. And yes, I found them. Maybe a robin? ...a duck ..all immaterial now. But the time came to put those two awkward teens together and see what came from that 'first date', and as I recall, little fruit bearing images appeared. A bit dark, ..fuzzy... not much to view.
As I walked back to the car, I can recall seeing other people around the lake. No one in particular, just people straying here and there. Sprinkled amongst the grass and perhaps one or two fishing. Again, no real recollection.
Arriving back at my car after a disappointing first date, my illicit affair was little to brag at when I returned to my usual watering hole for a drink with the guys. And odd as it might be, that illicit affair with scope and camera did turn into an illicit affair, of sorts that is.
You see, if you can....... that there I was sitting in my car when a man around 30 or so approached me. He was wearing flannel, as after all, this is the Pacific Northwest. "Hey, you taking pictures of us? Are you some private investigator? We weren't doing nothing, just talking. You taking pics of us? '....
Well as you can imagine, there I was.... a bit lost as to a 'comeback'. I must have mumbled out something such as 'what you say?" or mildly to that effect.
'We aren't doing nothing man, just friends....'
Dawn became to come to light, .....oh, I began to see now. Here I was with my scope and camera and here was 'this guy' ...right here, with 'that woman' ...over there. Ah....an illicit affair. Ah....right.
Well what could I say? ...this guy wasn't taking 'no' for an answer. At the time I was working as a Ranger for the National Park Service and had my badge and uniform in the car with me, so I showed it to him and merely said I was on an official wildlife count. or again, something to that effect, to borrow that phrase once more.
That quieted him down and he left....went back to the grass I suppose with 'that woman' ...her, over there. All told, I ended up with an illicit affair, while I started with one as well. True story, cross my heart.