Are birders having an identity crisis

To: Iain Campbell <>
Subject: Are birders having an identity crisis
From: Laurie Knight <>
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2018 08:02:21 +0000
G’day Iain,

I’m not sure that the distinction between birders and photographers holds up 
these days.  Perhaps there is sometimes some friction between telescope 
oriented birders and SLR oriented birders.  Both use nockers.

Back in the 35mm film era, very few birders would have routinely used an SLR on 
a regular basis.  Now that DSLRs and long lenses are relatively affordable, 
able to produce high quality pix and the incremental cost of a pic is 
negligible, birders are happy to blaze away.

Birding with a camera allows you to share your observations [in a different way 
to field book notes] and to examine the images in greater detail on a computer 
later on.  They are good for checking out groups of birds where you can pick up 
on details that you wouldn’t in real time.

The dynamics of birding with a camera vary with the situation - static waders 
in good light, pelagic birds in flight on a bumpy sea, hard to spot/focus on 
birds in dark forests, birds after dark ….  There are some contexts where 
birders are going to leave the DSLR at home [like heavy duty bushwalks, 
particularly in wet conditions].

These days cameras are part of every day life - they are embedded in the smart 
phones that most people carry around.  People are getting into the habit of 
recording stuff [some destined for 1.5 seconds of viewing on social media], so 
it is becoming second nature.  Perhaps people are becoming more dependent on 
pictures for their memories …

As for the dynamics of guided birding trips, perhaps DSLRs enable birders to 
get onto the birds without having to wait in a queue to view it through the 
guide’s scope …

The bottom line is that when I am going on a birding trip overseas, I will 
probably have the DSLR and make extensive use of it.  There is no distinction 
between birding and photography for me.

Regards, Laurie

> On 19 Jan 2018, at 8:50 am, Iain Campbell <> wrote:
> Hi guys,
> I wrote an article about the merging of photography and birding, and what
> it means to be  birder now. I used questionnaires for 230 birders to do
> this, and I analysed the results after also talking o a few participants
> with a please explain.  The article mentions new types of trips for the
> crossovers but is not a sales pitch. Take a look at the article on the link
> below and please tell me what you think, but read it first. We had 1800
> responses from facebook alone, but it was clear that some looked at the
> title and decided their view, ie "birders good, photographers evil" or
> "photographers good, birders jealous". Let's not do that here.
> Cheers,
> Iain
> -- 
> Iain Campbell
> Tropical Birding Tours
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