Photographing birds in their natural habitat is an incredibly enriching mindful photography activity. It cultivates a great sense of joy and delight – for me anyway.
I think it was 15 or so years ago that I discovered how truly rewarding photographing birds had become for me. I’m a lifelong learner who constantly seeks to develop my knowledge and awareness for the natural environment, native wildlife, and birds. So bird photography just seemed like a natural genre for me to engage in.
Why? Well, when it comes to our birds in the natural environment, I find myself captivated by the personalities and characteristics of different species. And the way they interact with each other and how their behaviour varies in different seasons and locations.
When I first started photographing birds, I had very little knowledge about different species of birds. Well, other than knowing what they were by common name, and that they inhabited the area where I lived, worked, or was visiting. Photographer first, birder second – that was me!
As the years have gone by, with my photographic techniques refined, observing birds more in detail as I photograph them, I have accumulated knowledge and understanding for an array of bird species, especially in Tasmania.
Bird photography is indeed a chance to connect with nature, while offering an abundance of enriching mindful experiences. And a chance to acquire a sense of joy, wonder, adventure, and achievement.
8 (+1) ways that your senses come alive with bird photography…
You’ll get outside, go for a walk and breath in fresh air
The benefits are numerous… including soak up a dose of Vitamin D, clear your thoughts, and exercise your body and mind.
It’s relatively easy to frequently engage in bird photography
You don’t necessarily need to venture too far from home to find birds to photograph. Explore your backyard, wander to a park down the road. Or when you have time, take a trip to a forest, lagoon, or national park a little further afield. Wherever you go, be as active or inactive as you like. When you’re there, cover more ground by walking, or stay in one place and wait for the birds to come nearer to you.
Bird photography is a very mindful activity
You can totally absorb yourself in photographing birds. You don’t always have to have your camera on your eye either. The challenges of bird photography stretch your mind as you aim to capture the best possible photo in the moment.
Curiosity, intrigue, and motivation
The process of identifying different bird species or seeing a ‘new’ one for you (a lifer in birding talk) is part of the overall experience – each time a fulfilling accomplishment that comes with curiosity, intrigue, and motivation to see more.
Birding and bird photography stimulates all your senses
You learn to listen more intently and to look higher, wider, and further for birds. You build a deeper awareness of, and familiarity with, the natural environment and habitats around you, not only the birds. There’s a certain buzz to be felt while photographing birds too. A bird will keep you guessing its next move or interaction as you go about trying to capture a unique photo.
Birds don’t care how they appear in your photos
Scruffy, pooping, funny pose or look, in the bath, preening themselves, or even with their bottom-end facing you – they’re just not bothered at all! Yes, I too have hundreds of photos of bird bottoms!
Bird photography is fun
Many a time I’ve found myself laughing at the antics I see. And talking to birds is fun too… especially when they seemingly sing back to you. And it’s a delightful moment when a bird seems to do just as you ask it to. OK, so the latter may be somewhat hopeful, but it does happen… occasionally! Well, that’s what I tell myself anyway.
Permission to take time out!
In anticipation for a bird to opportunely appear, bird photography offers all the permission you could ever want to stay in one place for as long as you wish. Even if it’s a couple of hours patiently waiting for a bird to perch on a superbly positioned branch. Now whether or not you return home with a good photo, or a photo at all, is not the point! I agree though, it’s is far more of an accomplishment if you have something to show for your efforts, just sometimes we all need to accept that it doesn’t always happen like that (a bit like a fishing trip isn’t it?!)
Your success is uniquely yours – and that’s a wonderful feeling to have
Whatever success means to you in a moment of time, there is much to gain from birding and bird photography. You may simply record and ID a new sighting or achieve a tack sharp photo of a bird in flight, feeding, singing, or interacting with other birds or animals. Your success is uniquely yours.
Make meaningful connections with nature and through bird photography. There’s just so much to be gained from the experience.
Coreena on a leisurely bird photography shoot, taking the opportunity to shoot from a bird hide on Bruny Island
Our individual reasons for engaging in bird photography may be different from one another, though we all share one thing the same … a passion for birds in their natural habitat and getting outdoors to enjoy them.
What inspires you to focus on photographing birds?
We welcome your contribution as a reply below…