“A hobby is an activity, interest, enthusiasm, or pastime that is undertaken for pleasure or relaxation, typically done during one’s own time.”  -wikipedia

Just a common red winged black bird but it was singing and making such pretty sounds that I had to share the photo of it.  It stood on a slender branch and gracefully inched it’s way to the top of it.  It flew a short distance to a fence and then down to the edge of the stream, drinking and fluffing up it’s blackest of black feathers…….

I sat on a dry little hill of land by the stream, surrounded by old last year’s grasses and springtime wetness from the swampy wide stream.  I wore jeans, a tshirt, a flannel, and a vest with sunglasses in one pocket and my headphones and phone in the other.

I had my camera in my hands; a Nikon D3300 with a 55-200mm lens.  A very nice camera!

I’m generally very content with my camera and lenses.  How do you justify a hobby that uses costly equipment?  A bigger zoom lens would cost quite a bit.

I was sitting probably about 60-100 feet from the birds I was trying to photograph.  When I got home, I put them on the computer and cropped—and laughed at the horrible quality of images I took of this bird:


Yellow-Rumped Warbler (first sighting)

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It’s so beautiful, but not in these pictures!


I was on FB this morning and someone from my town had posted photos of a pileated woodpecker—stunning crystal clear close ups that took my breath away.  I asked what lens he used and found out that he had a much better zoom lens.

I have dreamed of a better zoom lens but now I REALLY want a better zoom lens!

But like I said, this is only a hobby.  I don’t sell my photos or use them for anything but my own blog and photo collections.   There is a little voice in my head that says “What is the POINT?  This photography pastime is a money pit!”

Of what value is a hobby?  To me, my hobbies (photography, reading, collecting Fiestaware) add priceless value to my daily life for a variety of reasons.  But to what extent do I maintain and invest in my hobbies, especially in photography?

The hobby itself is not a “thing”– it’s not a material possession.  However, regardless of the way it feeds my soul and gets me outside exploring nature, it can be costly as it takes money to purchase photography equipment and time to study the information so I can use it properly.

Part of these feelings about spending a “large” amount of money on a lens is due to my personal penny pinching ways.  Although I have no ethical issues with shopping, I am a thrifty shopper and like the challenge of looking for ways to “save money”–coupons, clearance, thrifting, free stuff, library, etc.

But then again, almost every adult I know has a hobby that costs money so why can’t I?

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Eastern Phoebe


While I was writing this post, I went ahead and researched and found a lens for a somewhat reasonable price and texted Rich all about it….his reply?


Stay tuned!  This is going to be a great summer of bird/nature watching!

What do you think?  Do you have a hobby?  What is it?  Is it easy for you to invest in or do you feel guilty?  How do you justify spending money on an “extra” expense in your hobby? Do you have ways of off setting the cost?  What are they?  Do you have a business online?  Do you use your hobby to give back to others?  How does your hobby make you feel?  Do your children have hobbies?  Does your partner have a hobby?  What are some of the values in a hobby?  

10 thoughts on “hobbies

  1. Oh Shanda, a hobby is so worthwhile even if it just stays a hobby. Your photos and writing however bless so many people. And who knows where it might take you someday when the little birds leave the nest? A photography exhibit about birds? A photography class? A book? Cards with bird photos? When my kids were growing up, I painted. Now I have fun painting with a wonderful group of ladies, make cards to send to people, give art as gifts, sell my art and use it to speak at churches. It has so enriched my life, worth every penny. Have fun!

    • Lois, reading this brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for understanding. And I love that you painted then and you paint now and how much it has enriched your life. It IS worth it.

  2. I have to agree with the poster above, your photos and writing I’m sure bless many people. I personally sooo enjoy looking at your beautiful photos and reading your blog. I look forward to it every weekday and am always disappointed on the days you don’t post 🙂 I also agree with the above poster that a hobby is worthwhile even if it only stays a hobby. I do think if you wanted to make money with your photos down the road you could easily do so as you are very talented! As for the guilt, hmm, I think guilt might come from a little voice we are better off not listening to. I think if we are wise with our spending habits, then we can also be wise in spending an extra amount of money on something that is special to us, and that will bring enjoyment to us and to others – all guilt free.

    I don’t really have a hobby. I recently joined Instagram (little.old.lady.online) so maybe you could call that a hobby lol, but it’s with an iPhone 6 and an extra macro lens lol. (I’d never be able to figure out a DSLR camera….) I joined mostly because I like taking amateur nature photos, and I enjoy looking at and following the nature photos of others. After first accidentally following a few non-nature Instagram feeds, mostly of people I know, I decided to only follow nature feeds, but I do visit other Instagram sites w/o following them. As for an online business, nope I don’t have one. I think I have written too much here 🙂 I shall look forward to seeing the photos with your new lens!

    • I did not realize YOU were little old lady online!! I’ve been enjoying your instagram very much. Thank you for taking the time to write here today, it really helped and encouraged me to hear from you and the others. I especially liked your remark about the voice of guilt not to be listened to!

  3. God made us to be like Him and He is the Great Creator, and we are made to create. You use your words and pictures to make beautiful creations. (Of course, your children are your most beautiful creations.) Your words and pictures bless others. I think my hobbies are reading, cooking, and jigsaw puzzles. I used to sew but that was a long time ago. I also like to take pictures, and enjoy Facebook.

  4. I have always considered my photography a hobby — I have no desire to sell my photos, or to create a business of my photography. I use the photos as I wish, and give away some, but they are not a money-maker. I have never worried about cost — once I purchased the equipment I needed to get started, the costs are very much less than they used to be (the cost of processing has completely disappeared, and been replaced by occasional need for new batteries, or paper, etc for printing. In some ways, it’s the least expensive hobby one could have, when the costs are amortized over the number of photos one can take without additional cost. You do a beautiful job with the equipment you have — a 300 lens will enhance your work and it will become spectacular!

  5. Look forward to seeing what you capture on your new lens. I am happy you got a “get it” and soon will have it! I think it will be fun and many will be blessed from your hobby. 😊 Now one request…
    Just no clear pictures of snakes and all will be well. 😉

    Unfortunately I can not answer any of your questions b/c I am a boring person with no hobbies 😜

  6. I’m so glad to read you are getting your new lens. As others have probably said above, your photos and writing bless us all. You inspire me to take time to notice the little things and to praise God for them. And to take a moment to capture the ordinary. To remind us it’s all extraordinary. I only have my smart phone, though. I could see your hobbies becoming something more as the littles grow up and out of the nest. My hobbies include reading and writing. I don’t spend an awful lot on reading…and sometimes feel guilty when I purchase an ebook for more than $10. 🙂 But it’s how I relax among the busy-ness. And someday…when the kids are grown, I will write more. I’m usually too tired to write much lately but every once in a while a gem comes out on Instagram or Facebook. One of these days I’ll gather them all and put them together. 🙂

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