Date: 7/20/17 9:22 am
From: Wayne Hoffman <whoffman...>
Subject: [obol] Re: teaching with bad photos
Good idea, Robert.

I can contribute a photo i took years ago at Ramsey Canyon of a White-eared Hummingbird that was departing the feeder as I pressed the shutter.  The image is pretty well smooshed across the frame, but the prominent white streak on the head and the red smear of the bill make it still (just barely) identifiable.  At the time I considered starting a contest for the worst still-identifiable bird photo.

On 7/20/2017 6:53:50 AM, Robert O'Brien <baro...> wrote:
What about a bad bird guide?  It could have a combination of fuzzy photos and illustrations with questionable proportions and colors that are a little too garish.  These could include little arrows pointing to random spots on the bird.  The descriptions could have occasipnal misspellings (sic) and lots of apostrophies.  I'd be happy to write the first draft if  there is sufficient interest. I already have lots of appropriate photos and I'm a terrible artist so I'll use stick figures whenever possible. I'd be doing the photo IDs for the first draft myself so naturally there would be lots of latitude there. It could be priced low and sold at Walmart.
Bob obrien    (Just an idea, and now it's time to get some coffee.)

On Wednesday, July 19, 2017, Tom Crabtree <tc...> [mailto:<tc...>]> wrote:
> And, of course, Paul, you never have bad looks at birds when you are out in
> the field.  And never have fleeting glances.  And the birds always look
> perfect like the best images in the best books.  (And things were always
> better in the good ol' days, but that's another story).
> Unfortunately, that isn't reality for most of us.  We learn more pushing the
> envelope, challenging us to go beyond our comfort level and having things so
> they aren't wrapped up in a box with a little bow on top.  That's why some
> people study empids and come up with ways of separating them.  Or sub-adult
> gulls.  It's why we don't have only "confusing fall warblers" anymore.  A
> recent Birding photo quiz showed the underwing patterns of some birds with
> their heads chopped off.  They point was these are similar looking birds,
> can you ID them without the obvious advantage of seeing the whole bird.
> Bad photos are good challenges and separate those willing to stretch their
> ID skills rather than have the answers handed to them on a plate.
> My 2 cents worth, with all due respect.
> Tom Crabtree
> -----Original Message-----
> From: <obol-bounce...> [mailto:<obol-bounce...>] [mailto:<obol-bounce...> [mailto:<obol-bounce...>]] On Behalf
> Of Paul Sullivan
> Sent: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 10:07 PM
> To: <obol...> [mailto:<obol...>]
> Cc: <larmcqueen...> [mailto:<larmcqueen...>]
> Subject: [obol] teaching with bad photos
> Larry, with all due respect,
> I am strongly against teaching with bad photos.  If you want to educate
> people on what birds look like, I think it best to marshal the best images
> you can.  Isn’t that why we make field guides?  Don’t artists aim to capture
> the true color, shape, jizz, etc of each species – at various seasons and
> ages?  If you want to teach mathematics you don’t begin with insoluble
> puzzles.
> I’ve been to presentations where marginal photos are offered as examples of
> what a rare species looks like.  I’ve been to birders’ nights where quiz
> birds are offered up.  People talk about “challenge” and some folks enjoy
> the back-and-forth.  It is a place for the people who already know a lot to
> show off, to get (or guess) the right answer.  It is a place for the
> presenter to say, “I know the answer, bet you can’t guess what this is.”  I
> think these kind of experiences intimidate or confuse people more than
> teach.
> I don’t think such sessions really educate people.  I think if you are going
> to take someone and lead them along, you need to move in an organized
> progression, showing field marks, explaining habitat and behavior,
> illustrating your lesson with the best images you can muster.   Echoing your
> comment, I believe the living bird on a field trip can teach in a few
> minutes more than can be captured in any series of photos.
> That’s my two cents.
> Paul Sullivan
> ----------------------
> Subject: Re: digest non-attachments
> Date: Wed Jul 19 2017 22:32 pm
> From: larmcqueen AT []
> Joel and all,
> This is of course, another lesson on the difficulties of photo IDs, and this
> was an especially challenge one, due to limitations.  Most aspects of the
> field are not present in photos, and these were reduced to nearly minimal.
> The fun of it is the challenge, and we could be playing more with the
> challenge.  How about others deliberately posting bad photos on this list,
> as a teaching exercise?
> Larry
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