“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)

DSC_0427 1

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?

DSC_0431 1



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?