About 18 months ago now I rediscovered my love of birdwatching. As I wasn't sure if this was just a temporary fad (of which I have had before) I didn't go crazy with kit. I decked myself out with some cheap binoculars, and a cheap scope and I set off in pursuit of all things feathered. As an amateur birder I wasn't 100% sure what I was looking at, so decided a camera would help me ID the birds I couldn't initially identify. After a bit of research I went for a cheap dSLR, a Sony. The kit lens with it wasn't so great, so I upgraded to a larger 75-300mm zoom lens. This was fine, until I decided to upgrade the body, which in turn broke the lens, so I upgraded the lens again to a 150-500mm zoom.
This new setup was rubbish, the body I now had (dSLT A55 and Sigma 150-500) was no good at all for what I now thought I wanted, so I eBayed the lot, and bought a Canon EOS 40d, 300mmLf4 prime lens, and after a while a 1.4x TC to give me an extra bit of reach. And here is where I have reached my crisis. What happened to the birding?
My initial use of a camera to help with ID'ing birds, has led to me being completely involved in the photography, and I've forgotten about the birding. Now I've never really fancied myself as a twitcher, but my skills as a birder have not developed at all. I read a tweet earlier from Dominic Mitchell of a Brambling being spotted in a finch flock, I wouldn't have seen it, and if I had I'd have been too busy getting my camera ready for a shot, and not actually looking at the birds. And where next with the kit? I'm not a millionaire, I'm not an award winning photographer, nor will I ever want to make a living taking photos so how can I justify that the next lens I want is £5000, or the next camera body over £1000. I've already spent loads on Cameras, lenses, bags, batteries, tripods, monopods, memory cards blah blah blah, when all I really need is a GOOD pair of binoculars, possibly a compact bridge camera with decent zoom, and a whole lot of practice.
So there's the crisis. I need to put some serious thought into it and decide if I want to be a birder, with a camera, or a photographer, with a penchant for shooting birds. I have a feeling I know the way it is heading, so you may want to start looking on eBay soon if you want some decent second hand photography gear.
On another note I will be going to the Ghosts of Gone Birds exhibition in Shoreditch tomorrow, followed by a trip to Hamleys with my 4 year old daughter. I am looking forward to one of these, I'll let you guess which.