Although I sale 4 or 5 bird shots a year, I don't consider myself a pro. I am in a unique position in that regard because I sale to the same people, mostly collectors. I also donate lots of my images to our local Audubon Society and various birding groups for various purposes, which is kinda cool.
Anyway, I shoot a lot of birds on their migrations, so they aren't common to me. This causes me to do lots and lots of research to ID. them. I also shoot insects and flowers and I always feel compelled to give these subjects a name. I just can't submit or post an image and title it "Big Green Bug" or "Yellow Flower" even though that would be easier. That forces me to do scads of research to get a "common name" AND "scientific name", and usually, there are hundreds of species in a genus that ALL LOOK ALIKE. Drives me nutz. Now, it's just in my nature to be sidetracked by other information, say, while I'm figuring out what my big green bug is, I come across some other rabbit hole to travel down. I've learned some things that I wasn't initially interested in or ever thought I would be. I've had to become part ornithologist, part entomologist, and part botanist. What really drove me crazy were dragonflies and damselflies (Odenates). Lord have mercy... The male and female look different, then both sexes take on different colors as they mature, and on top of that several species are similar and can only be determined by a necropsy. I shot them exclusively for a little over a year. Fascinating creatures. I have so many books on all of these subjects it's crazy. The funny thing is, I hated reading and studying in school. Now I'm a sponge and it's all thanks to photography.
Photography hasa made me more aware of my surroundings. I now look at something and think of a "Kodak" moment. I missed a photo of a neighbor's odd looking flowers. Now they have gone dormant. My wife and I were in Western North Carolina about a week ago. We both took landscape, town, architecture photos. I want to build up a photo portfolio for possible sales and magazine articles.
Back when I was about 17 I learnt a big lesson... The father of one of my best, a dynamic, intelligent man who worked for the navy as a civilian was made redundant in his early 60's. The problem was he LIVED for his work, it was all he did and thought about and it totally devastated him. I did not see him for about 8 months and, when I did, he had aged dramatically. He sat, totally dejected in his garden, just staring at his feet, and his whole family were at their wits' end, trying to get him to show some of his old spark. Within another six months, I was attending his funeral.
That taught me a big lesson: what ever I did, I needed to find something to enage my mind and spirit when I retired. Over the years I got into photography professional - at first full-time, but later part time, as I got married. Through my many (8, so far) careers, I have kept that as a constant.
Now, I am retired and in my 70th year and I can clearly articulate what photography gives me:
1. It engages left and right brain as it encompasses both technical and artistic elements and that's good for mental balance
2. It makes me actively observe. From when I was a child my father (who was ex-military) drummed into me the mantra "always be aware of your surroundings" and when I served myself, it came up in the conversation early too... Photography gives us the gift of training ourselves to observe when others do not. As the great photographer Dorothea Lange said " a camera is a tool to teach us to see without a camera".
3. I makes me be active. To go out and get the images and to carry the (often substantial) gear that I use. By doing this it helps keep me young and healthy.
4. I gives me purpose and satisfies a desire to be creative.
Thanks. I sent a photo to a magazine that was from the Brand X (Nikon) but was rejected due to being too small. Setting was on the maximum. Sent one taken with the T7. Haven't heard so I'm hoping it is acceptable.
Tronhard, I have a close friend who is 85. When he was 81 he road a bike from coast to coast to raise money for a charity. His philosophy: "Life is like water skiing. If you slow down, you go down!"
Photography has made me realize how much of the world I was missing out on. Last year I started with a little powershot canon camera that became such an obsession of mine! Even though it wasn’t anything crazy I had a ball learning about new plants, animals, insects etc. I had no clue the things around me! Now that I’ve upgraded within recent months I’m having even more fun discovering new things about my surroundings and sharing it on with others.