Monday, May 5, 2008
I promise I try not to get onto soap boxes too often, but recently something occurred on a visit to a State Park that really irritated me and I really need to share.
At South Llano River State Park (review pending), I was sitting in Blind #1 (my numbering) and I heard the birders talking about some guy who was "camping" in one of the other bird blinds. This sounded strange, but I didn't think much of it.
When I finally made my way to Blind #2 I saw what they were talking about. A photographer had set up a tent-style photographic blind inside the perimeter of the bird blind. This was causing reduced sight lines for the birders and the making the fence openings unusable.
Fortunately about 15 minutes after I got there a park ranger came by and scooted the "resident" out of the blind. By my best estimation, out came a pro-level Canon body with a 500mm lens attached. Meanwhile, as he removed his equipment, he managed to also damage a plant that was being protected by a chicken-wire style cage, adding to the level of disdain from both the ranger and the birders who were trying to enjoy the birds.
My point is this. As photographers we are theoretically on a level-playing field with the birders. We have no special rights. Toting around 4 digits worth of equipment does not mean we can impact the experience for others. Yes, we always want to get closer but we need to build a positive reputation with our more-established birder friends if we can hope to have our needs thought of as additional blinds get put up.
In short, play nice.
Image: Northern Cardinal (Female), San Angelo S.P., (c) 2008 Jim Miller