So you take a few thousand photos of something spending many days going back to maybe get a new view or a sharper image. All the time you are getting an education you probably didn't realize was happening. Forget about learning your equipment. You learn a lot about that subject you've been spending time with. Habits, mannerisms and day to day life. Did you ever think about sharing the experience with others who are not as fortunate to have the time or gear to do the same? Sharing a presentation or giving a talk about something you have documented can do many things for a photographer. It will show your photography to many people who would not have other wise known you or what you do. Your expertise and knowledge of any given subject will bring attention to something you are passionate about and maybe get a few followers who will buy your photography. Selling photography is why we do it, right? Sometimes you can actually get paid by groups wanting you to come and tell your story. You may even meet that person who can open that door to another career you never envisioned. What ever you make images for there is someone who wants to see them. SO SHOW THEM! And have fun doing it.
Side benefits include the practice of making better images, seeing new places, learning things not taught in the classroom and meeting new people. I have discovered I think more about my approach to photography and what I keep or let go on the hard drive. The Plight of the egret was more than five years of going back and taking photos of an egret rookery. I didn't start out thinking about putting a presentation together until I got a few photos of things like the way they feed their young. It made me watch closer of what they were really doing instead of just shooting flight shots or doing pretty portraits of their breeding plumage. I just wanted a great mating shot and went back over and over till my last trip when it finally happened.
BROAD WING CHICKS