When I was a child, I spent no small amount of time exploring and learning about nature. I thought I knew a lot about the subject. Then in the mid 1980s I made nature my primary photographic subject. I then realized how little I knew. I was aware of about 10 0r 12 bird species. I had no idea how many dozens of kinds of gulls there were. To me they were all just Seagulls. I knew a dandelion from a rose and that was the extent of my flower knowledge. I was well read and quite informed about wild mammals but then that is the easiest of nature subjects to learn. I called dragonflies Sewing Needles ( a regional thing) and to me most butterflies were Monarchs. I was familiar only with our two most common snakes, The Common Garter and the Green (Grass) Snake. There are many who might say that my outdoor education has still not come very far, especially with flowers and dragonflies/damselflies, but I learned enough to speak about birds, herps and some insects and spiders. I have even picked up a few facts about geology through my landscape work.
Nature photography is about a lot more than prize-winning photos, or just being a hero for a day with your pals. It is a series of lessons learned. It provides you with an outdoor education that would be expensive elsewhere. It is about experiencing “the learning tree” in the real world. It is why I always encourage children (and parents) to use nature photography as a learning hobby.
I came to wildlife photography via a different path than most men. In my youth I have indeed walked the fields and forests with a gun in my hand, but it would be an enormous stretch to call me a hunter. It just wasn’t in me. That fact is why as a photographer, when I went to photograph Whitetail and Mule Deer, a doe, fawn, young buck or buck in velvet has always been just as important to me as a “trophy buck”
As autumn closes behind us, I must say that there is a touch of genuine sadness in my heart. My favorite season is just too short.
I have been fortunate in recent weeks to catch a ride with my sister to our childhood family camping site of Devil’s Lake State Park, and my old home away from home Horicon Marsh NWR, both here in Wisconsin. It was a wonderful experience and that return to my first camping location in the peak of autumn was very special.
Life is a series of crossroads and I surely have had many in the past six years. Quitting my day job to return to full-time photography was certainly a major crossroad. Walking away from photography was one of the most difficult decisions of my life. Starting this blog after I shut down my website has been a blessing amongst all of those crossroads. It has kept my hand in the world of nature photography, and gave me a platform for other subjects. It started with no readers and went through an amazing period of growth. That growth has stopped, and in fact readers have been leaving on a regular basis. I think that is because I have said all that I had to say. I certainly expect to close the Earth Images Blog at the beginning of 2012. The majority of all of the pictures that I display were made some time ago and there is less joy for me and you, when I have so few new images to show. Much like my old newsletter of days gone by, I think I have reached the point where the only purpose to continue would be to stroke my own ego and that is a bad reason to do anything.
The images below were all made in 2011. I always appreciate your stopping by at Earth Images