Photos and writings by Andrea Kring
I have always been an observer of nature, curious about the things around me. One year ago, this month, my best friend passed away and I was completely heart broken. Shortly after that, I was searching for comfort in poetry and nature. I heard a poem by an Englishman named David Whyte who is a poet/essayist. His first job in his young life was as a nature guide in the Galapagos. The poem was called “Make a Nesting Now” about making a place for the birds to come. There were some lines that spoke to me.
“Make a nesting now, a place to which the birds can come…
and be the one, looking out from this place
who warms interior forms into light.
Above all, be alone with it all,
a hiving off, a corner of silence
amidst the noise, refuse to talk,
even to yourself, and stay in this place
until the current of the story
is strong enough to float you out.”
I was in a place where I didn’t want to talk about my loss. I realized that watching birds and being quiet in my small back yard brought me joy and it made me feel better in the midst of grief. Birds are a great example of how life goes on. They are delicate creatures that face the extremes of life and they continue to sing a beautiful song with every sunrise and sunset. It became a meditative and healing hobby for me. It brought me much needed joy during a very sad part of my life.
Finding a hobby that truly makes you happy and heals you at the same time is a gift.
Andrea’s Bird Watching Tips:
- Sit, be still, breathe, wait for something wonderful right in front of you. I typically see something wonderful and get a wonderful shot when I quiet myself to see it.
- Pay attention to repetitive behaviors in birds, those repetitive moments provide good photo opportunities.
- Look up a bird you see on Google, note the region, the color, the size, etc. It won’t take long to find out something new about the species you see in your own yard.
- I believe it isn’t so much the type of camera you have that makes good photos, it is knowing the camera you have and to keep trying to get the best shot you can with that camera. My current camera is a Panasonic Lumix Superzoom pocket camera that I bought at Costco for about $280.
- Pay attention to light and get very still to capture the clearest photos.
- Any good nature photographer knows that you have to take many, many photographs to get that one that makes your heart leap a little. Take a lot of photos and don’t be afraid to delete the ones that are not good. I try to be very “Marie Kondo” with my photos and only keep ones that “spark joy”. This is not easy, but it is worth it. A really good photo elicits an emotional response. I take hundreds of photos searching for that one good moment that makes me smile over and over again. Try to get that one shot that brings you joy for a long time, THAT is the goal. It is good for the soul.