There are many of us who have started wildlife/nature photography as a hobby to enjoy a weekend or a holiday a bit more meaningfully. That brought us little closer to the nature, helped us understand various animals and birds and their natural habitat, introduced us to many new friends and gradually became our daily talking point.
As the interest developed, we started planning a bit more to upgrade our gears and to visit new and distant places. We spread our wings in multiple online forums to share our works and started enjoying our presence through the likes and comments made by our known and unknown friends.
These surely have many advantages. If nothing else, one is occupied with self while going through the collection of images, processing some of them, posting few here and there, appreciating the likes and comments etc. So far so good.
But do you feel sometimes stressed out of all these ? Are you stressed out of your own interest ? Possibly yes. I myself felt the same at times and I am placing few pointers here.
I usually like to keep my Saturday little simple, avoid drinking in the evening and go to bed early so that I can wake up early next day morning and go for birding. But lot of times the reverse happen and the Saturday comes as a big day and I am dead tired by the end of the day. The thought of an early morning ride constantly harass me the whole day.
So why don’t I just say no to a Sunday walk? Will I lose anything if I just sit down at home and relax? I guess nothing and there are times I did say no but in most of the occasions I went out with my head heavy, eyes swollen and by the time I returned home in the evening, the only thing I could think of was an aspirin and sleep. Despite all that I planned for the subsequent weekend because of some silly reasons. I might see a dowitcher which someone has reported from the place or the regular bee-eater might give a chance to click a photograph holding a bee in its mouth or the grey heron might fly exactly the way I want. Nothing of such usually happens.
I gather almost 3-4 GB of images by the Sunday evening which one may refer as junk. On weekdays, after a regular day at office and driving those odd kilometers in Delhi’s traffic, I switch on my computer once again but this time not to do any office work but to process some images. For some stupid reasons, I forget that the whole day I was stretching my eyes replying those emails and instead of putting some cucumber slices, I stretch my eyes further to see those fine details in the images, increase sharpness, play with brightness. By the time I go to bed, I know that I have actually punished my eyes one more day.
What do I do with those processed images? Mostly I upload them in few forums and share with my friends although no one ask for it. If that is so, why do I work in such a hurry as if there is a deadline. Or is this because I want to post it first ? At times yes, but most of the times that is not true. Although I mostly do birding in group, my photos are usually different from others or vice-versa.
The fact is I work that extra bit to keep my own expectations and keep myself going and because it is not imposed by anyone else I don’t see it as stress. But recently on a Saturday evening while discussing with my friends about work-life-balance, tension and stress, I realized that at times I do feel stress out of my own self imposing interest. There is a constant ask runs in my head. A demand without any clear objective behind.
So shall I stop this ? I don’t think so. At least, through this I get a chance to escape those office stresses and enter a different world all together. At least no one reviews my work here other than my friend pointing towards a tilted horizon. I am happy to have those friends who appreciate my work, some of whom I have never met or spoken to. I am happy under stress and some stresses are good to carry to keep others away. Moreover, one might get stress out of anything and hence it is always better to have stress from something which one enjoys.
Meanwhile, I am already thinking where to go next and some birds are already started chirping in my mind. Stress ? Let it be.