I like to think I am a weekend warrior that would make a weekday warrior proud.
When I go out shooting I try my hardest to have real, natural, genuine encounters. I try my best to do this without disturbing others' encounters, and without bothering nature itself.
This weekend I was out and shooting along the coast of New Jersey. Lots of birders were out, you know the type, out for the experience, to see stuff, share spottings, and maybe take a photo. That's a relative of the way I shoot, but not a match really. Usually I like to shoot alone, find and record things on my own, and then share the results of those times.
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While on the beach I saw someone checking something out via a scope, I looked - but didn't see the prize. So, I chatted briefly with that group as I was wandering around, and they pointed out the piping plover. I chatted some more, and to myself acknowledged how much they seemed to buy in to the upside of birding - seeing, sharing, and being out in it all - having a good time.
I moved on a bit, wandered some more down the beach trying to follow but not follow the oyster-catcher and the photographer following them. I wanted to get some shots myself, but didn't want to creep up on either of them and make it end. I'd rather miss my own shots than influence the bird and make it fly away / be uncomfortable and leave. So, I put my head down a bit, and walked by- and then sat down on the beach and hoped that the two of them, the bird, the photographer, would wind up coming to me. It has worked before, but not this day.
On my way back up the beach, someone was watching the plover, and looked up and wanted to share the info / bird with me. Again, that sort of contrasts a bit with how I have learned to operate lately. If I see something, some endangered, something that's skittish, I will very often tend to hide the fact that I see it when other folks approach.
Maybe it is a touch of selfishness. Maybe it is a desire to not ruin the experience / moment / encounter. Maybe it is the result of a few encounters / sharing moments gone wrong. I don't know. But these birders just seemed to be open minded and defaulted to sharing info and encounters.
It makes me question some of why I think the way I do.
I know I can be wrong, and have been over the years. I don't think that just because someone's a birder that they are thoughtful in a superior way or walk the path without possibly doing harm - but, it seems quite the contrast to where I'm at right now.
Here's the PLOVER:
Sunday, May 23, 2010