3 Levels of Frustration in Bird Photography

When I’m not at the farm, I’m out taking pictures of birds. I love taking pictures of birds, especially Philippine birds. It’s incredibly fun and challenging. It can also be incredibly frustrating when you don’t get the shot you’re after.

How frustrating?

There are  3 Levels of Frustration in Bird Photography.


You saw the bird but didn’t get a photo.

Instead you got either a  leaf, a branch, the sky, unidentifiable bits of bird, or a blur because the bird moved away too quickly or was hiding behind some branches. This is particularly frustrating when the bird would have been a “photo lifer”. For non-birders that means that it would have been your first time to either see or photograph that bird. Photos where the bird can’t be identified don’t count. You need to have standards!

Commonly Heard Excuses for This:

  • my camera wouldn’t click
  • my camera wouldn’t focus
  • it moved
  • it flew away
  • there were too many branches
  • my settings were wrong

Pain Level: Argh

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 6.49.51 PM
No, not really.


You saw the bird but you didn’t have your camera with you.

Even more painful than missing the shot is not even having a chance at the shot because your camera was not with you. Bonus pain points if this happens during an actual bird photography trip and not just when you were our jogging or doing something not bird-related. I have a friend who bought a compact ultra-zoom just so she would never again be caught without a camera.

Commonly Heard Excuses for This:

  • I was taking a leak
  • I was taking a poop
  • I don’t know why I left my camera, I’m an idiot

Pain Level: Aaaaaaaaaargh!

wha — wha– whaaa?


You saw the bird, you took a photo, and then you lost the files.

This is the one that will haunt you for a long time or drive you to go back again and again to try to get another shot. Bonus pain points if it was a rare bird, a difficult to photograph bird, a bird at a difficult to access site, or all of the above.

Commonly Heard Excuses for This:

  • I lost my CF card
  • I thought I put my cf card in in my “safe” place
  • my CF card failed
  • my CF card got corrupted
  • I accidentally deleted the picture

Pain Level: Kill me now.

girl hu hu hu
Regrets, I’ve had a few .. la la la la

Of course when everything goes right, you are so happy even jumping up and down in the middle of a forest.

That’s bird photography for you!

4 thoughts on “3 Levels of Frustration in Bird Photography”

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