A picture is worth a lot of words

Susan Manzke
Susan’s old Imperial Mark XII Flash camera.

My dad was always interested in gadgets. He had a Polaroid camera and a Super-8 movie camera when they were new, modern machines. Because of his interests, the gift I got from my parents when I was seven years old was a camera. It was an Imperial Mark XII Flash in Red—similar to a brownie camera, and I still have it.

It used 620 film which I had to carefully roll into the clips. I remember taking black and white snapshots in our backyard. Some were good. A lot of my photos were blurry, but I learned a great deal while working with my little red camera. One really important lesson was never to touch a flashbulb right after it flashed because it was very hot. OUCH!

Many years have passed since my first camera. Over that time I’ve had my own Polaroid and Instamatic. None were very expensive. I continue to enjoy working cameras today, one is even on my phone.

Fawn and Doe, taken on a digital camera by Susan Manzke.

I use my cell phone to catch images of Bob while he’s working in the yard. Bob has even turned the phone camera on me. His fingers were slow to click my photo. When I checked to see if there was an image of me in the gallery, I found that Bob had taken 23 shots in one try. I guess his finger was a little heavy.

These days our favorite camera is our critter cam which we set up next to our farm lane. We have to set it up in a special spot where crops are short or we wouldn’t capture any snaps of our neighborhood wildlife.

This camera was given to Bob on his 75th birthday last year. Our children gave him a perfect gift. We’ve captured photos of cats, raccoons, sandhill cranes, coyotes, and whitetail deer. Too bad we haven’t gotten the one animal Bob is yearning to see—a bear.

We know a single bear is in the area. There are photos of it on other people’s critter cams. Our neighbor to our north saw it cross the road right outside his house. Another close neighbor found footprints and scat in his yard. Bob is jealous.

I wouldn’t mind seeing a photo of a bear, but I don’t want to meet one face to face—at a distance is okay.

Bob’s Critter cam catches fawn scaring sandhill cranes, or did the cranes scare the fawn?

Every other day we grab our critter cam from its place by the woods. We bring it home so we can check out what we caught digitally.

When the camera’s card is put into my computer the beginning always shows a picture of us returning to the photo site. We are always bookends to a photoshoot.

We then search the photos in between. Some are only a part of an animal; a deer nose or back leg. Some are blurred as the animal jumped or moved at an inopportune time. When a good or unusual photo shows up, Bob and I are happy.

Today I’m sharing a few recent digital photos from our critter cam.

Bob had seen the fawn when he was driving through some tall grass in the spring and almost ran the little guy over. Now the creature shows off for our critter cam, investigating sandhill cranes.

Bob caught cutting grass so we can continue to use the critter cam without grass growing in the camera’s way.

The mounted camera also took a photo of Bob as he mowed the area. Most of our fields are covered with corn and tall grass. Leaving this spot open allows us to have some fun capturing neighborhood wildlife, even if the bear hasn’t shown up for his close-up.

Susan and Bob Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, Wi 54165;;