If there was such a thing as a Super Bowl season for nature photography, it would have to be autumn. Perhaps the best thing about this time of year is that there are no bad days for a shoot. Fall foliage is one of the few subjects in nature that look good in virtually any type of lighting or weather condition.
Colorful foliage and bodies of water are a great combination. Look for reflections along the shorelines of lakes and rivers. I used to think that sunny days provided the best reflections, but as you can see from the images above, stunning results can be obtained in cloudy conditions as well. Although purely a personal choice, I prefer shooting fall foliage on overcast days. However, there is one important thing to keep in mind: a gloomy white sky won’t add much to your photos. In fact, it can be distracting. In the overcast shot, I zoomed in tight to crop it out—placing the emphasis on the multicolored tree line. Continue reading →
In April 2015, as I was getting organized for a ten-day raft trip through the Grand Canyon that was planned for September, American Rivers announced its 2015 America’s Most Endangered Rivers List. (See this year’s list, 2016, at: https://www.americanrivers.org/threats-solutions/endangered-rivers.) First on the 2015 list was 277 miles of the lower Colorado River that runs through the Grand Canyon. Three proposals that could impact the river were noted. Continue reading →
During my childhood living in the remote mountains of southern West Virginia, nature became my addiction. The only way to satisfy my craving was to spend more time outside. I learned about the importance of waiting, listening and observing. After all, I was, at age ten, a hardcore birder, and by simply doing these three things I was able to add more birds to my life list. The more time I spent in the mountains, the more adept I became at reading the landscape, the seasons and the critters.
When I couldn’t be in nature, I read every book I could find about nature and the men and women who made it their careers. I learned that these individuals—Roger Tory Peterson, Rachel Carson and John Burroughs, to name a few—possessed the same skills I was developing: waiting, listening and observing.
Today, through my life-long passion and career in wildlife conservation combined with 40 years of nature photography, I have developed a mantra that always holds true to form: Know when to anticipate and know when to chase a moment. It has worked well for me both as a wildlife ecologist and as a nature photographer.
Knowing when to wait—anticipate—for just the right time to photograph means having the ability to be patient and the intellectual curiosity to determine ahead of time how a moment might play out. I discovered in my early years that the more patient and observant I am, the more knowledge I gain that can be used to decipher, locate or identify an event in future situations. And, by knowing the species, its behavior and habitats, and by understanding the lay of a landscape, I gain an ability to anticipate a moment. Continue reading →
It was September of 2006 when I walked into a Tri-County Camera Club meeting in Nutley, New Jersey to judge my first photo competition. As a member of my own camera club, I had spent the previous six years listening attentively to other judges score and critique our own competition entries, some even offering suggestions on how to improve them. Not all judges are created equal and I didn’t always agree with what they had to say but I developed a thick skin and used many of their suggestions to help improve my own work. And now it was my turn in the hot seat. Continue reading →
I’ll let you in a little secret: I’m kind of an introvert. A life spent chasing bugs and toads doesn’t exactly translate to an explosive social life. So for the first few years of my career in nature photography, I avoided big photographic functions, preferring to put my head down and focus on the work that had a conservation impact in my home state of South Carolina.
It wasn’t until 2011 that I decided to take the plunge and attend my first NANPA Summit. I was a little over a year into Meet Your Neighbours, an international photo project that I co-founded in 2009, and I needed to recruit more photographers to join the effort. That year, the Summit was being held in McAllen, Texas, and as I rode the bus to the hotel—sweaty and disheveled from a day of flying—I wondered what I had gotten myself into. How could I know that moments later, a series of events would transpire that would alter the course of my life? Continue reading →