Faux Birders/Photographers

  • fred vermeulen
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4 years 7 months ago #85912 by fred vermeulen
fred vermeulen created the topic: Faux Birders/Photographers
Well, this isn't a topic that hasn't been discussed before between birders.

But I hadn't really experienced it until a recent birding trip. A man enters a hide with a good R30 000 worth of camera equipment and before sitting down his first question is, "how do I change my aperture". Fair enough I think, perhaps he is just a bird enthusiast who is new to cameras and used to using binocs instead.

Then after figuring out how to set his camera settings to basic levels, the birds start to show and he grabs a few shots.

A Blacksmith Lapwing shows up and he asks, "What is that bird?" - Confused, I provide an answer. A few seconds later, the same thing with a Lesser Swamp Warbler. It became very clear that this person has never bothered to spend any time learning or trying to learn about birds.

Now being a person who expands his photography to other areas too, I could understand if he were a photographer wanting to expand into wildlife - but from the first conversation it was clear that he was neither a photographer or a birder.

I suppose my irritation comes in, in that it seems to be an increasing thing where people see some pretty bird pictures online and go out and spend R30k on equipment and then rush in. It is petty, sure... But it still irks me. I feel as though one should either understand what it is you're shooting before you attempt to do it (at least on a base level), or you should understand how your camera works and work on your photography. Spend less time rushing out to grab some shots of a Malachite Kingfisher (which he was naming incorrectly too) and more time reading your field guide or spend more time reading your camera's manual.

Though a part of this irritation is no doubt due to the fact that when I started birding, I never had the money to afford such equipment and have slowly worked my way up - and believe that what one spends on equipment should be in relation to the dedication and passion of what you're doing - of which some people seem to have none, other than achieving a result to post on social media.

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  • wildtuinman
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4 years 7 months ago #85913 by wildtuinman
wildtuinman replied the topic: Re: Faux Birders/Photographers
I agree fully with you.

In fact, I wrote this, which pretty much relates to what you saying, on another forum not too long ago.

The last few months I have started to wonder if birders are still using bird guides. Are birders getting lazy? Is the social medium to blame?

Over the last few months I have seen numerous sites with species incorrectly id'ed. I mean really easy species at times, completely mis'id. Some of the sites, from reputable birders. Yes, we all make mistakes, but basic mistakes by reputable birders with high lists is just not on.

Facebook is ridden with groups where people ask for id's on birds. Has it become the norm? Snap a photo and get someone else to id it for you? As easy as that?

This afternoon I got a news letter with a photo labelled as a Booted Eagle with a heading bragging even that it constituted the 7th Eagle species at their premises. The photo clearly shows a Steppe Buzzard!!

What has become of birding? Back in my days I had to sit for days sometimes to try and id a bird. My SASOL was falling apart after 6months of birding and I had to glue it back together. There were no apps, no software, no calls to assist. You had your bird guide and you read it from back to front every night in bed or on the porcelain scooter. Many a times I didn't tick something because I just could not id it.

Many a time I didn't tick something because I just couldn't see it properly. If I couldn't make out the distinct features of the bird I left it till another time to tick it when I would see the features I was after.

After ticking the bird I would read up on it as much as I could find back then given the limited resources we had.

Then came SASOL multimedia and with that came GISS and calls. Many a computer was put through its paces at night working through it.

Back in the days we build a solid foundation as a birder.

Nowadays, it seems that everything has become a rush. A rush to build a big life list. A rush to chase a rarity. A rush to get an id from someone else without doing your homework upfront.

The ‘tick and move on’ genre.

Exactly what for? Where is the fun in birding that way?

I don't know. Maybe I am the only one feeling this way, but it irks me to no extend. Can you honestly even call yourself a birder nowadays with the social mediums and the new way of getting your birds id'ed for you and the competition on it amongst birders?

I feel that modern day birders are missing out on all the fun which birding is suppose to be. Yes, eventually you become experienced over the years and you lose that "honeymoon" feeling, but that is why I guess many of us take on other challenges such as frogging and butterflying and insecting. It brings back that "honeymoon" feeling and the joy that went with it. You learn all about new things all over again.

Try frogging for instance and see what I mean. I spend days paging through 144 species in my book sometimes to try and work out what frog I had seen. It is frustrating at times but more fun than anything else to learn something new about something you have encountered again for the first time in your life!

What are your thoughts on this?

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  • Josey
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4 years 7 months ago #85914 by Josey
Josey replied the topic: Re: Faux Birders/Photographers
Bryn,
Yes, I am afraid there are some people who are a bit impulsive and will spend thousands of rands in getting set up for their new hobby only to find that, actually, they don't enjoy it at all.
The only thing you can do is possibly score when they sell their expensive gear at a discount <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: -->

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  • arty
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4 years 7 months ago #85921 by arty
arty replied the topic: Re: Faux Birders/Photographers
Well it seems that we have all had a similar experience, my local spot is rondebult which is renowned for photographers. on numerous occasions folk with expensive equipment who have no idea.on other occasions folk who know photography but have the wrong equipment. My last run in was a chap who was trying to take pics with a 600mm lens handheld in a bird hide with restricted movement.
No clue, banging around and knocking that expensive piece of glass against the wall.blood was running cold. But in the true spirit of birding advice is given and i try not let it interfere with my enjoyment.Other times folk are really interested in increasing there knowledge and then it is a real pleasure to share your passion and folk who have more knowledge than me always seem willing to help me out.

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