Are birders having an identity crisis

To: Laurie Knight <>
Subject: Are birders having an identity crisis
From: Iain Campbell <>
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2018 10:29:00 +0000
Hi Laurie,

I am right in your camp. There is no distinction for me either. When I
guide list oriented trips, I tend not to do much photography, and when I am
guiding a photography tour, I tend to ignore (or pretend to) distant birds
with no chance of a photo for the clients. But on my own time and dime, I
am always doing both, and never head out without both bins and camera,
scope is optional.


On Fri, Jan 19, 2018 at 3:02 AM, Laurie Knight <>

> 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.
> >
> >
> >
> having-an-identity-crisis/
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Iain
> > --
> >
> >
> > Iain Campbell
> > Tropical Birding Tours
> >
> > <HR>
> > <BR> Birding-Aus mailing list
> > <BR> 
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> > <BR>
> > </HR>


Iain Campbell
Tropical Birding Tours
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