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You are here > Science & Nature message boards > Deleted > Who Do You Hate Photographers?


Who Do You Hate Photographers?

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Message 1 - posted by Rob Ward (U5983255) , Nov 6, 2009

This is aimed at all the birders, walkers and other folk, who dislike wildlife and nature photographers.

Why is it that you could be stood next to someone with a spotting scope on your right and someone with a camera on your left, but you will choose to turn your back and ignore the photographer?
The only difference is that a photographer photographs what he is seeing, that's all!

I realise that some photographers can be a pain with their big lenses, but so can some twitchers.

Is it because you don't like the fact that some photographers can earn money from their photographs?
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Message 2 - posted by theSteB (U13982963) , Nov 6, 2009

I don't know Rob, it is weird and it doesn't have much to do with common sense or rationality. Yet I know it's real because I experience it all the time. The dirty looks, the probing and not very friendly questions and innuendo - it's all very real. Okay not everyone is like that and I meet many people that are genuinely interested in what I am doing. But others are never satisfied. Even when you explain what you are doing I still get probing questions about "why" am I doing it.

It is a bit odd to say the least. Often I am not doing anything more offensive than photographing a wildflower. It should be obvious that is what I am doing as my camera is on a tripod and the flower is smack bang in front of the lens. But still I get the sometimes unfriendly probing questions about what am I doing, why am I photographing that flower, is it rare - no - then why are you photographing it. Only those that have this attitude to nature photographers can really give some insight into what it is all about.

And yes you do sometimes experience this from none camera carrying birders who you think would know better.

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Message 3 - posted by Rob Ward (U5983255) , Nov 6, 2009

I hope those with this attitude will come forward and give an explanation, as I have wondered about this for quite a while.
If someone is rude to me while I am out, I will ask them what their problem is? With this they usually try and give me a filthy look or will disppear without saying anything.

What these people must realise is that when someone picks up a camera for the very first time, they can photograph whatever they want. Some photograph cars, some photograph aircraft, others buildings and some photograph wildlife and nature.
Why do we choose what to photograph? We choose out of passion and just because we have a camera in our hand, it does not mean that we have no respect for wildlife and nature.
We are probably more clued up on it than most, as we spend countless hours watching it, waiting for the right shot.

PS: If I could afford 6,500, I would be out there with a 600mm lens also, but this would not make me a bad person.

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Message 4 - posted by Chris Hodgson (U14188924) , Nov 6, 2009

Must admit I've never had it happen to me. In fact when I was at Fairburn Ings ( ), I was being advised by birders about what was in the area etc (I'm not a birder myself). Also had other togs pointing out areas of interest for macro shots etc. But I guess these things can be annoying, and may just be down to groups not understanding why the others do what they do?

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Message 5 - posted by poolwatchers (U14191461) , Nov 6, 2009

We are birders (not twitchers), well, wildlife watchers would be more accurate, including plant life and we have no problem at all with photographers, wish we had the skill, patience and equipment to do it ourselves.
On the other hand, we have been given the cold shoulder, by groups of twitchers who had travelled ridiculous distances to catch sight of some poor unfortunate bird miles off course (probably doomed). They all seemed to know each other and when we strolled over you could have cut the atmosphere with a knife, we did not feel welcome and we were the ones on our home patch!
So be comforted that you are in good company!

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Message 6 - posted by TheRealDerelict (U13667485) , Nov 6, 2009

Why is it that you could be stood next to someone with a spotting scope on your right and someone with a camera on your left, but you will choose to turn your back and ignore the photographer?

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It sounds like you're speaking from painful experience here...

It's often difficult to distinguish between wildlfe photographers and photographers taking pictures of wildlife. They're not quite the same thing and I don't particularly care for the animal-paps or photo clubs 'doing' wildlife. I tend to talk to people with binoculars because I feel they're looking at what's going on rather than composing images in a goal-oriented fashion i.e. not imposing their perception on what they see. Also they are likely to keep their distance (though that may be why you're talking about scopes!) too often you see photographers out on a one-off visit pushing the tolerance envelope and scaring off the animals and that doesn't make for popularity among other onlookers. It happens too often.

That said I do talk to photographers too :) and I suspect that the proportion of camouflaged canon-carrying enthusiasts who ever even pay for their kit with their photographs is not so big!

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Message 7 - posted by Rob Ward (U5983255) , Nov 6, 2009

Sorry for offending you by calling birders twitchers poolwatchers, I should have known better, sorry!

Just one point I would like to make is that you are obviously one who this thread was not aimed at, as I clearly stated that it is aimed at the birders, which do not like photographers.

PS: How much is a decent spotting scope these days?
I can remember looking at some once and had to pick my bottom jaw up from the ground.
I ended up buying one for 100. It might look like a prehistoric piece of junk to some, but I have had some very nice comments regarding its zoom and viewing quality.

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Message 8 - posted by theSteB (U13982963) , Nov 6, 2009

Yes never call a birder a twitcher.

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Message 9 - posted by Rob Ward (U5983255) , Nov 6, 2009


You mention about one off photographers?
Just last week I was sat in a hide deep in the forest. It was just off a deer path near a clearing and I had been sat in there for at least two hours when I heard something behind me, I stayed still and quiet for at least 10 min thinking it was a deer about to walk past, then I heard a beep!
I knew straight away what it was so I got out of my hide, (which was made of dead branches and so on).
There was a guy, stood there, dressed in red and blue with a camera in his hand, messing with the settings.
When he noticed me he looked startled, then asked if there were any boar around. I told him that it was a massive forest and they could be anywhere.
He looked out across the clearing and asked me what I was photographing? I told him that I had been in my hide for at least two hours to hopefully see some deer as they were rutting, he then asked where the deer were!!! I told him again that they can be anywhere in the forest as they keep moving around.

THEN he asked me if it was OK for him to walk through the clearing and into the trees on the other side! I didn't want to offend him, but I said, yes I do mind, I have been sat in here, quiet most of the morning and that time has now been wasted.
He just walked off without even realising what he had done.

I do understand what you are saying and it annoys me also, but after when I thought about it, he was obviously learning and we all have to start somewhere.

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Message 10 - posted by poolwatchers (U14191461) , Nov 6, 2009

Hi, bothrops, no offence taken, I did not consider that you had called us twitchers, I just take every opportunity to point out the difference because some folks don't understand the distinction, you obviously do. Just thought you would like to know we are on your side!
As to the spotting scope, we are not good people to ask as we live in a remote location where shopping opportunities are limited. We bought a
nikon 80A in a closing down sale 3 years ago for 275 (tripod extra) which we are quite happy with. Sounds like your 'relic' does the job well, so who cares what it looks like, I would stick with it.

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Message 11 - posted by Nic Davies (U13674697) , Nov 6, 2009

Hi Rob, that's a great title for your thread, and I hope you get some feedback that assists you in coming to a conclusion.

I'm a photographer but am the first to admit that photographers can be a pain. This was brought into sharp focus (soooorry!) last year when a photographer was prosecuted for distrubing nesting sea eagles here on Mull. It's idiots like this that give others a bad name.

But there is definitely a widespread problem with photographers who do push animals' comfort zones. This is particularly a problem in wildlife rich areas (eg Mull) where people have a limited time here and understand that there is huge potential to get cracking shots. The temptation is too much for some and I do see this unhelpful behaviour quite a lot.

I always think the best shoot to come home from is one where you know the animal you photographed had no idea you were there. For me, it's mostly otters and I'm fortunate that it's possible to get shots with animals looking directly at you whilst knowing that they don't perceive any threat whatsoever, clear from the way they continue doing what they were just doing. Inevitably you get the times when the otter will walk towards you from miles away, end up strolling across your legs, realise summat's up and dash to the water. But that's just Sod's Law.

I sell photos at Producer's Markets here and whilst trying to be helpful when asked "where can I find otters", I do try to be a little general in the answers I give. After all, surely the experience is enhanced when visitors have to do a BIT of their own work, similarly photographers - I'm sure most don't really want to end up just shooting fish in a barrel.

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Message 12 - posted by Father Goose (U8521361) , Nov 6, 2009

I've got to say Rob that twitchers are the real hazard to a good days birding for me.

Personally I find anyone inconsiderate to fellow wildlife watchers winds me up. I find beeping cameras irritating when I've been sat in a cold hide but as a trip to Titchwell often proves, the birds don't often give a monkeys! My own mobile has a mallard ringtone, just in case I forget to switch it off.

The flip side is that I have lots of video footage with other people talking over it! I've often got home to find a great shot accompanied by "oh, is that a raven? oh no, the little ones are ravens and that big one over there must be a rook. Do you know who I met the other day? Irene. She's only gone and bought a new car.."

Poor fieldcraft is a source of friction, whether it comes from twitchers, photographers, birders, dog walkers or even the occasional falconer (!) it all comes down to inconsiderate behaviour.

Don't get me wrong, I've often helped newbies see a bird they've missed, or given someone with bins a view through the scope. I'll greet anyone who I meet whilst out and about and once had a great chat with a fella who's son was prone to outbursts - no problem!

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Message 13 - posted by U14182329 (U14182329) , Nov 6, 2009

Give a group of people a collective noun ('twitchers') and then drive into them, hey?

When I was a kid, birdwatchers were called birdwatchers and this hideous prejudice did not exist.

I am a 'wildlife watcher', 'birdwatcher' and 'wildlife photographer' and, in a brave attempt to improve my wildlife knowledge and experience and to take wider ranging photos and meet new challenges, I do (dare I say it in anticipation of hatemail and horse heads in my bed) go out with the hope of seeing a rare bird. I have even been known to go out and look at a rare bird that someone else has found (this is what is now known as 'twitching').

From the reading the above, it seems I have now admitted to henous crimes that render me deserving of being totally ostracised on this messageboard.

Honestly, posters to this thread, read back through what you have written, but first put on some "prejudice detection spectacles" because if you had written such generalisations about any other group in society it would be viewed as the grotesque nonsense that it is.

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Message 14 - posted by Nic Davies (U13674697) , Nov 6, 2009

Hey Grant, I was about to post to question your opening suggestion but then realised you weren't being serious! It's a clever application of a collective noun though (I can think of some I could possibly consider!).

My query is about 'twitcher' and what exactly one is. In my ignorance, I thought it was someone obsessed, like a trainspotter, with simply ticking off as many bird species as possible. Though this still doesn't explain the etymology.

Anyone any thoughts?

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Message 15 - posted by Father Goose (U8521361) , Nov 6, 2009

OK Grant, what term should I use for a group of people who storm up a beach in a clump, shout through the door "is the black eared about?", tell an elderly gentleman to **** off when he asks them to keep the noise down and consider looking for it themselves and then run up the beach flushing several thousand waders and wildfowl?

Feel free to preach a PC mantra but please don't tell me what I should think about a group of selfish list-tickers!

We all go out with the hope of seeing a rare bird but I'd like to think that I'd never be blind to the charms of everyday birds like these "probably really charming people if you met them in diferent circumstances folk"

The twitchers to whom I refer had no regard for wildlife or other wildlife watchers and if that describes you, then feel free to chew on a healthy portion of offence! Given your posts elsewhere, I suspect not though..

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Message 16 - posted by poolwatchers (U14191461) , Nov 6, 2009

Hi, Nick, your understanding of twitchers is not far off the mark, but if they were train spotters they would only be interested in The Flying Scotsman or The Mallard,(not often seen).
They are constantly on the move trying to see a
bird ever rarer than the last one. We don't know whether this means they have already 'ticked' all the common british species or were never interested in them. Often the birds they are rushing off to see have been blown badly off course during migration and probably will not survive, so the game is to grab a look and tick the book before it keels over.
One other factor is that they are usually
men, it is well known that blokes like things to have a competitive edge to make it more interesting.

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Message 17 - posted by roger (U12099354) , Nov 6, 2009

Well Rob, if I was out and about, I would be asking the photographers what he was taking and all about his gear.

Then the one with a scope well why are you just watching and not taking photos as they would provide a record of what you are looking at.

If i have my gear up and someone did that to me well I would ask what was wrong.

But i am a wildlife watcher, the old school you might say.
if they is one on my local patch all well and good, but to go miles just to say well I saw this that and other this year, or 210 species, well they are not true wildlife watchers, but lunitics of the first class nature, helping to up they carbon footprint.
As for going looking for the out of the ordinary birds, no way for me,

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Message 18 - posted by poolwatchers (U14191461) , Nov 6, 2009

Grant, you do not sound as zealous as some true twitchers that we have come across, we all like to see the odd rarity, but not at any cost.

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Message 19 - posted by Jeannie (U14167325) , Nov 6, 2009

Oh dear, I hope I don't come into any of those categories. I'm afraid I usually take a camera and a cam-corder with me and I walk quite long distances (ave. 12 miles winter, 18 miles summer). If I didn't use all this equipment I wouldn't be able to identify half of the species I see. I've tried the bins and book approach, but not very good at it I'm afraid, plus it is difficult to do an on-the-spot book check in some of the weather I end up in. I would speak to anyone I met though, although this is quite rare in some of the great places I get lost in -sorry, visit. I've had very different experiences with other birders and photographers, but usually the birders are very helpful and excitable and the photographers have a spare cup of tea!

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Message 20 - posted by Rob Ward (U5983255) , Nov 6, 2009

Roger, I know how much you love wildlife and that's all that matters.

When I am photographing (anything) and say a "yellow wagtail" comes along (don't see them very ofter), I admit, I get excited and try my hardest to burn up my camera's motor drive, but what is wrong with that? Nothing, it's just a few (dozen) clicks of the shutter.
As for the rarest of rare, I would not have a clue what I was looking at anyway, so would just blast away on the off chance it was something unique and rare.

Back to my main question though... Why is it that some regard photographers as a menace? There are some good answers already, but not what I am looking for.

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