Bird Photography is an interesting and challenging hobby. Most of the time it is also fun! But sometimes there are certain factors that put a damper to this fascinating pursuit.
Ten Reasons Why Bird Photography is Not Always Fun (not necessarily in this order)
10. Equipment – Bird photography, for obvious reasons, need a better than just-ok camera body and long lenses to go with it (or a spotting scope if you're a digiscoper). Although it’s been said that it’s the photographer and not the equipment that is the one responsible for great photographs, still you would want to get the best camera gear that money can afford, right? Don’t forget the tripod. Did I mention that having a photo processing software is a tremendous help? And then there’s constant nagging in your mind to get an even better camera model or an even bigger lens…
9. Travel – Although birds can be found in the neighborhood, to really get more species, travel is necessary. Lucky are those that can go at a drop of a hat. For the vast majority of us, planning, logistics, staying at hotels, hiring a local guide are things to be considered especially for places that require extensive travelling. Are you working? Got a family with young children? Good luck!
8. Weather – Getting caught in the rain may be romantic to some, but definitely not for bird photographers. You don’ t want your expensive equipment (see reason #10) getting drenched, do you? Also being slowly cooked by the sweltering heat while waiting for that shy bird to appear sometimes had to be endured.
7. Danger – Being mugged, getting your car broken into, are some of the dangers that could happen. Losing your precious equipment and/or photographs to robbers, thieves, pirates and acts of God are also possibilities. Then there’s the chance of slippin’ n’ slidin’ on muddy trails and mossy boulders. A little far-fetched, but still probable, would be being attacked by a predator (Is that a lion creeping behind the bush?).
6. Internet – Or rather, the lack of it. One of the joys of bird photography is being able to share the results of your hard work via the internet. Also without an internet connection it would be difficult to do that research on that unidentified bird you just photographed.
5. Bugs – Why is it that when you are in the midst of photographing that rarity is also the time that thousands of mosquitoes discover how tasty your blood is? Or in my wife’s case, sweet lady that she is, a whole army of ants would invade her legs as soon as she lifts the camera to her eye. Of course, gnats, flies and other creepy crawlies would also do that to you.
4. Physical – The resulting fatigue after standing for half-a-day then carrying your equipment back to your car. The neck pain from forever looking up and the shoulder pain for carrying your cross, I mean camera gear.
3. Dip – You woke up before dawn, travelled a hundred kilometers, skipped breakfast and lunch to wait for that particular bird. And it never showed up!
2. Poof! – You saw the bird but it disappeared before you got the chance to photograph it.
1. Ooops! – You are firing away at that uncommon, sought after bird that showed up for only a few seconds. When you check the results you realized that the camera settings are wrong and all you got was a blur. Or an underexposed image. Or overexposed. Then there are the equipment breakdowns: the shutter won’t click, camera won’t autofocus, the lens would fall off – these are just some the things that could happen. Telling a tripod-carrying bird photographer to “break a leg” is NOT wishing him/her luck, okay?
There you have it. Let me assure you that the "hoorays!" about bird photography far outweigh the "boos!"