Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Musings on Birding Burn-Out

I go through this every now and then, it becomes easier and easier to think of reasons not to go out shooting/birding.

There has been some stress in my life this past year (2 more like) but that's something that i can deal with, often going out has been the reward for putting in the hours at work and i have been loathe to miss any mornings i could be out shooting.
Being put back on a 4 day work week has helped immensely as friday's have become my favourite day for shooting, something about everybody else being at work makes me want to work it all that more, shooting-wise.

Last little while though, i've let myself down and come up with excuses for not going out, sleeping in on a weekend etc.

I've been going out because of birds for 7 years now and when i look at the flickr page and let the slideshow play backwards i'm proud of what i've accomplished, for sure, thousands of pictures of birds, and good memories of each picture in my mind.
Birds are good, the pursuit has even tamed me somewhat, for the better.
It's almost meditative and one of the reasons i don't mind going solo, although i do think that sharing the experience with others is a good thing, and helps keep the hunger alive, when you give each other a little push every now and then - "hey, lets go out shooting", i'm open to it, more so than before.

Something that has driven my shooting on in the past is the competitive aspect of the pursuit, come on, admit it, everyone has a little bit of that in them, right? you see someone else's great shots and you want to do the same, it's what makes some of us strive to truly become "pro", at least in our minds, and our peers eyes anyways.
It becomes all about quality of shot, pose, composition, nice BG, lighting, habitat and on and on and it's all good, but not everyone values that and that's cool too, i can appreciate a shot by a rank amatuer as much as a pro's shot because in the end, i know the feeling one gets when they "nail a shot" - the common equalizer (we are all capable of it, sometimes it's just luck) and it's all about the birds anyways, and we love birds.

I let myself get too competitive sometimes and maybe this current "burn-out" is really just a way of reminding me to rememeber that it's supposed to be fun, and if it's not fun, then don't do it.
I can't compete with the pros, i'll never be able to quit my job to really put the time and effort into acheiving those shots that you really have to work for (but i do the best i can).
Those shots don't come easy all too often and i give much respect to the guys i've tried to emulate on the way up, they don't need shout-outs, everyone knows who they are already.
I give mad respect as well to the working guys and gals who work the craft when they can and never fail to amaze with the quality of shots,.
I'm just a working stiff like them too, dreaming of an eary retirement that (for me) will never happen.

All the regular posters to the Photography section of Birding in BC i find inspiring as well, watching people's work progress throught the years (i know, 7 years is nothing to some of you) and building relationships via constantly meeting up in the same spots to shoot has been very rewarding

I guess the cure to Birding Burn-Out is really to just take a break and a breather, discover the fun again, shoot for yourself and expect nothing in return.

Just writing all this down has got me thinking about shooting again and i think that's a good thing.

I've got 3 weeks to go until a 2 week shooting (and family wedding) excursion to Bangkok, i'm going to take it easy though, after 3 serious birding trips to the region already, getting mass species for the World List is of little concern, i'm going to focus on quality over quantity this time, going to try and have some fun doing it too.


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The Waiting Area

The Waiting Area