Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Art and Instagram

Burrowing Owls Cuddling, Zanjero Park, Gilbert, Arizona

I’ll be honest with you. I’m sharing this image because I know it will do well on Instagram.

Even though I consider myself a nature photographer — I photograph wildlife and wilderness! — on social media, my wildlife images take priority. It’s the animals that get the digital hearts from my followers.

This image should hit all the right buttons. Owls are always cute. Burrowing owls are among the cutest. Two burrowing owls cuddling should be off the charts.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

First light on balsamroot

First Light on Balsamroot, Fawn Peak, Washington

Balsamroot is a member of the sunflower family, so it seemed only appropriate to photograph a hillside of the golden flowers in the first light of day. I also wanted to photograph the wildflowers in a way that illustrated how they can absolutely dominate the landscape for a couple of weeks in the early spring.

Monday, April 8, 2019

The stray dogs of Puerto Rico

Stray Dogs on Beach, Vieques, Puerto Rico

These dogs don’t look happy — and they’re not. While they’re on one of the most beautiful Caribbean beaches on the island of Vieques, they’re among the 200,000 dogs in Puerto Rico that were abandoned or abused and left to fend for themselves.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Vieques National Wildlife Refuge is full of life

Gulf Fritiallary Butterflies, Vieques, Puerto Rico

I like to use contrast in images. Often that contrast comes from light and dark. Other times it's from opposite colors.

In Puerto Rico, I had an opportunity to capture contrast in two butterflies — and the contrast was essentially the element of time.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The “new” thing for better photography

Winter Sun Through Snowy Forest

Photographers are conditioned to always need something new.

Often it’s equipment. We’re bombarded with ads for new cameras and lenses that somehow will immediately make our art better.

For nature and wildlife photographers, it’s also locations. There’s always some hot new location that promises incredible opportunities that are like none we’ve ever seen before.

But there’s one new thing that will make an even bigger difference in your photography. It’s attitude.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Remembering the monarchs

Cluster of Monarch Butterflies at Dawn, Pacific Grove, California

It was the spring of 1980 and one of our final kindergarten projects involved watching a pair of caterpillars transform into monarch butterflies. For weeks, we watched them feed on milkweed leaves and then disappear into their chrysalises. When they finally emerged as butterflies, we took them outside to the playground and set them free.

That experience in the classroom near Seattle, Washington, was one of my favorites in school and helped give me an even greater appreciation for nature. It took nearly 25 years, but I finally got a chance to photograph monarchs in their wintering grounds in Pacific Grove, California — butterflies that were perhaps 100 generations removed from the ones we helped raise.

That winter in California, I found clusters of monarchs so dense they somewhat resembled leaves. Since then, the numbers of butterflies have plummeted, each year reaching a new record low.