[Tweeters] Not sharing information

Glenn Nelson gnbuzz at comcast.net
Wed Apr 3 14:02:54 PDT 2013

Hello Tweeters,

I¹ve heard tales, swapped at workshops I¹ve attended, about the dissonance
between birders and photographers, though I¹ve not experienced any first
hand. At least not in the field. I always tell my family and friends that
birders tend to be the friendliest, most forthcoming people I ever meet.
Collaboration in the field is essential. Birding, even for the most trained
and educated, would be like searching for a pine needle in a forest, if it
weren¹t for shared information.

Maybe I¹m naive, but it seemed almost to go without saying that people bird
watch because they feel a closer connection to nature and this planet and
that, with that connection, feel a broader sense of respect and
responsibility for what they observe. Holding a camera doesn¹t change the
equation. I birded for many years before bringing my photography into the
mix. I don¹t sell nature photos, but I post them for family, friends and
colleagues in hopes of fostering more awareness and respect for the
environment, as well as expose them to the delights and soul-slaking
experience that I so enjoy. I am a birder and a photographer and, oddly
enough, don¹t feel any inner conflict about it.

The assertion that the ³lumping of all photographers together is
unfortunate, but an inevitable consequence of a group with higher than
average dumb activities² is unfortunate and misguided. If you are going to
profile, at least apply some consistently demonstrable, broad behavioral
tendencies. I¹ve not encountered any Hollywood paparazzi in the field and am
not sure what celebrity species of wildlife would make it worth their while.
I also don¹t know of many, if any, who are getting rich as nature
photographers. But I know a real photographer when I see one ‹ and she or he
always has the utmost respect for her/his subject. I¹d not allow an
encounter with a day hiker, clumsily snapping away with a point-and-shoot,
cast any aspersions on an entire group of people.

I¹ve witnessed a lot of ³higher than average dumb activities² being
practiced in the wild by far more people without cameras than with. But I
only lump them as annoying or disrespectful and not representative of any
class of humans.

Most of us are just names on a list-serve. Anyone who claims stewardship
over some hallowed ground, or set of behaviors, is just a self-appointed and
self-aggrandizing sheriff. Your credentials are just as unknown to us as
ours are to you. No one here is in position to judge anyone else. The same
is largely true in the field. Besides, who even knows if you truly have a
secret, sacred discovery that you simply decided not to share with the rest
of us? At least photographers have the pictures to illustrate ‹ and prove ‹
their stories.

Glenn Nelson

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