I love to see the birds up close for a few reasons. First, I love birds and I think they are all fascinating. Second, I love to take photos of birds. Third, even if you study all of the photos in field guides, it doesn't compare to studying a live bird up close.
When you're banding birds, the setting and photography may not be ideal, but you really get to examine the bird. You learn the markings, character, and feel of the bird like no other setting can provide. You connect with the bird on a more personal level. I think participating in a banding program helps you become a better birder and a better steward of nature.
If you have the opportunity to participate in a bird banding program, I highly recommend that you do it. It will change the way you look at birds forever.