Lessons from bird watching to improve your photography

Written by Daniel Gregory

I am a Whidbey Island, Wa based photographer and photographic educator. I am a core faculty member of the Photographic Center Northwest, regularly presents at online and national conferences, and have classes at KelbyOne and CreativeLive. I host of the weekly podcast The Perceptive Photographer which focuses on the challenges and day-to-day aspects of living as a photographer.

April 4, 2022

Episode 369

Photographers can learn a lot from bird watchers. Bird watchers don’t worry about what other birds someone has seen. Do you think a bird watcher says, “Oh well, someone has already seen a great flamingo? So there is no sense in me seeing one of those. That boat has sailed. No bird watchers watch birds because they love birds. Photographers should be more like bird watchers.


When we first start photography, we will try anything and do anything. Then we learn what a “good” photograph is and begin to replicate those ideas and only those ideas. We then learn to break the rules to be a good photographer. We start to look for new angles, content, subjects, and points of view, all to be unique. But maybe we should be more like bird watchers and just look at the birds and not worry about what it means to like one type of bird over another, but instead, just enjoy our bird watching.


This week’s podcast talks about some photographic lessons learned from listening to bird watchers. They reminded me that we find love in photography at the end of the photographic day because we love what we photograph. The way we see through the lens and not because it is a set of rules to follow or not follow. After all, just because you have seen one eagle doesn’t mean you have seen them all.


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Gear used in the podcast

One of the questions I get asked frequently is what sort of equipment do I use to record my podcast. I have used a variety of equipment in the years that I have been recording, but here is the current list of equipment that I am using. Also as an FYI and full disclosure, the links are affiliate links to Amazon.

Rode Procaster XLR microphone
Rode Boom Arm
Rode PSM Shockmount
All three Rode components a kit
Focusrite Scarlet 2i2
Adobe Audition (part of creative cloud subscription)
LogicPro X
Macbook Pro
OWC Thunderbolt 3 dock
Headphones

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