Lee Hoy says his life’s journey has been full of adventure and change, but one thing has never wavered and that is his passion and love for wildlife and nature. “There is nothing greater than standing under the Milky Way in Big Bend National Park,” he says, “or watching sharp-tailed grouse on the lek in the Badlands.” Hoy’s first photographic subject was a bison at Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge. Hoy became serious about photography in 1989.
Hoy has a B.A. in Geography and a M.S. in Regional City & Planning from the University of Oklahoma; as well as a Master of Divinity with Biblical Languages from Southwestern Seminary, Texas. He has been a transportation planner in Rapid City, South Dakota, and a pastor for 13 years. In addition to being a serious photographer since 1989, Hoy currently works as supervisor of the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center in Langtry, Texas, about 60 miles from his residence in Sanderson. Continue reading
by Ray Pfortner
My first experience with the World Trade and Exchanges, Inc. (WTE) was a trip to China in September 2014, which I co-led with my photo stylist wife Nancy Wing. WTE specializes in connecting artists and art organizations, and that program focused on photographing UNESCO World Heritage sites and meeting with China’s stock photo agencies, nature photographers and gallery curators. It was a wonderful experience for us, and the resulting mixed-media show hung in classical Chinese gardens in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, throughout 2015.
When WTE asked us to lead a second artist exchange, this time to Cuba, there was no hesitation. I spent a great deal of time in the Caribbean when I worked for the United States’ Superfund program more than 20 years ago. I loved the Caribbean, especially Puerto Rico, where I met many Cubans who recalled the island they missed so much. Continue reading
Story and photo by Budd Titlow
Many years ago, I was walking through a lovely old-growth stand of northern hardwoods on a glacial moraine hillside in northeastern Connecticut, conducting a bird survey for a proposed residential subdivision. With each step, my mind slipped deeper into despair over sacrificing this beautiful woodland habitat for human housing. Continue reading
Story and photography by Jerry Ginsberg
In addition to my usual narrative on a particular park, this month I would like to make a special mention of the centennial celebration of the National Park Service. (See https://www.nps.gov/subjects/centennial/index.htm.) There is no time like the present to get out and spend some time in one of America’s most special places. So pack your gear and visit a national park! Or, two.
Now let’s jump into Shenandoah National Park.
Among the premier drives located east of the Mississippi, the 105-mile-long Skyline Drive is certainly one of them. This great road runs across the top of the Blue Ridge above the Shenandoah Valley. The views along its route are so majestic that many folks would be drawn here just for the ride, even if this were not Shenandoah National Park.
The northern end of the drive begins at Front Royal, Virginia, near the junction of Interstates 66 and 81. Its southern terminus connects with the north end of the famed 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway. In between are several entrances to the park and many scenic stops and trailheads. Continue reading
Story and photography by F.M. Kearney
How can I crop out the edge of that building?
Has the traffic completely cleared the scene yet?
Are those tourists ever going to move?
If you’ve ever tried to shoot nature photos within an urban environment, you’ve undoubtedly asked yourself questions like these at one time or another. I often write about the difficulties of pursuing a career as a nature photographer in a large metropolitan city. It’s not always economically or logistically possible to escape city limits and venture into the wild to capture true nature. You sometimes have no choice but to shoot nature wherever you can find it—amidst all the inherent distractions of a concrete jungle.
I used to go to great lengths to avoid any man-made objects in my nature photos, believing that any hint of urban artifacts would lessen the impact of the natural subject. This would be true if the objects were only in the shot due to careless oversight. However, it’s an entirely different story if their inclusion is deliberate and done for creative purposes.
Cities come alive with color in the spring. You probably won’t have to go far to find a beautiful flower display. Instead of attempting to isolate it from its surroundings, try to incorporate the natural and the artificial worlds.
In New York, colorful tulips adorn the median of Park Avenue for several miles. With the traffic zooming by just a few feet away, it’s amazing that they survive. Yet, not only do they survive in this inhospitable environment, they flourish. And for a couple of weeks during the season, they really put the “park” in Park Avenue. Countless tourists photograph these flowers each year, but very few hang around until twilight. That’s too bad (well, it’s great for me since I practically have the whole place to myself), because the city and traffic lights add a lot of vitality to the scene. Instead of waiting for the traffic to clear out of the shot in the photo above, I waited for it to enter. I wanted to use the light trails from passing vehicles as a dynamic framing element for the tulips, as well as a way to help draw the viewer’s eye into the shot. I chose this particular spot in between two glass towers for more symmetry and more colorful light reflecting off the windows. Lastly, I used a 16mm fisheye lens to emphasize the “tunnel” effect of the scene. Continue reading
Story and photography by Jim Clark
A few years ago I was invited by the Wood County Reading Association in West Virginia to speak at several elementary and middle-schools in the county. I jumped at the opportunity to speak to these young folks, especially since I’m a native son of West Virginia.
From the moment I arrived, I was treated like royalty, even being chauffeured from school to school. I visited eight schools, spoke to more than 1,000 kids, and although the facilities varied from school to school, we made it work each time. I also gave a program to the local community on my first night. While that was fun and well-attended, my time at the schools touched my heart. Continue reading