Observation And Spotting
The act of observation or spotting is a fantastic hobby that takes you through many different facets in life. Depending on what you love to watch or observe, you can find yourself in a hobby that takes you through extremely beautiful and vibrant parts of the country or the world as well as give you experiences that you wouldn't otherwise have. The idea of chasing something that fascinates you and the need to learn as much as there is, about it, is what observation or spotting is all about.
The most interesting thing about observation or spotting is that it varies vastly depending on the subject matter you are interested in. Not only do you get to choose anything from animals or birds to humans or fish, you get to even pick the kind of senses you wish to employ in making your observations. You can choose to simply observe sounds that come out of the garden behind your home or choose to observe the play of light between the trees at different times of the day. The field is extremely wide and extremely open and how you choose to pursue the hobby is completely unique to you.
The Basic Sensory Process
Most people tend to connect observation or spotting with birding - birdwatching. While birding is one of the forms of the hobby, it isn't the only one. The principles, however, remain the same no matter what kind of subject matter you pick and those are of observing the subject, noting down the characteristics associated with the subject and recording all the details in a systematic and detailed manner.
That means, you could be out sitting by the highway and observing the colour of the drivers' shirts on people who drive Fords. Something that specific even, could be a subject that interests you and all you need to do is go out there and set yourself up in a way that you can observe the drivers on the road. Once you collect all the information, you can record it right then or, as most people tend to do, go back home and start the documentation bit.
The kind of subject matter you choose also has a lot to do with the kind of tools you'll need for the job. In most cases, you should find everything in a hobby store but some specialist items might require you to go to a completely different kind of setup and find the exact things you need for the job.
Getting the Observation and Spotting Tools
If you are into, say, birding, you would require a nice set of binoculars as well as some camouflage gear to keep yourself conspicuous out there in the bush. You will need your very own bird-calls, depending on the kind of birds you are looking for and while you might even need some tapes or books to read about different birds, their habits, their habitats and also ways & means to get a glimpse of them. Instead of just a simple pair of binoculars, you can always choose a video camera that allows you to capture your bird on film for later viewing, something like what documentary film-makers do.
For something like butterfly spotting you need a butterfly net and some means of transport to go around chasing butterflies in the sun. It is one of the coolest hobbies where you catch the butterflies in your net and record their features before releasing them. In general, the purpose of your observation or spotting exercise will determine the kind of information you need from every situation and that will also dictate the kind of tools you will require for the job. You can get into things at an extremely deep level but that kind of in-depth observation is usually done by people who are studying certain subjects to learn something about them.
To enter into an observation or spotting hobby, you need to know exactly why you are getting into it. If in something like amateur astronomy or butterfly watching, you are trying to identify as many different subject matters as possible, then you don't need to go too deep into it. However, if you are interested in, say, trainspotting or cloud watching, but are only interested in knowing about one particular train or one particular cloud formation, then you are likely to go in-depth into that part of the entire hobby and nothing else. Later, you can probably pick another subject and go deep into that aspect before moving on.
The concept of an observation or spotting hobby is not always about research or in-depth study. It is, most of the time, just something that allows you to spend some time looking at something that fascinates you. Whether you are doing it to simply look at it or to learn more from it, it doesn't matter. You could be sitting in your home, looking at things under the microscope or you could out in the wild, camping with your family or friends, and looking for all things bird. The idea of observation or spotting is to keep your senses open and receptive to everything your subject says or shows you - that is where the fun lies!