Bits & Pieces

Over the past six months it appears that I have offended a few people with some of my comments on the subject of e-books.  Those comments travel two different roads.  In one instance I led a person to believe that I thought that creating e-books was a meaningless exercise in comparison to “real books”.  What I meant was that e-books” and paper books that are self-published, (in other words you foot the bill and a publisher/printer makes a lot of money), are things that anyone with some money can do. They are not a sign of either great work on your part, or acceptance and respect in the publishing world.  They can however be a nice form of advertising much like a website or a business card.  My other comments concerned the act of buying e-book guides of geographic areas.  Many photographers are producing them today.  I certainly have no argument with any photographer producing an “e-guide”.  If there is a market for them, why wouldn’t you want to produce them.  From the buyer’s perspective if you are traveling somewhere and you respect a photographer who you know has made a life out of going to an area, it might also make perfect sense for you to purchase one.  Otherwise it is as simple as pie to learn an area for free via the internet and free brochures.  When you go that route you even get the pleasure of exploring and discovering for yourself instead of following what someone has done before you. A fresh view of a location can produce fresh imagery.  Also you will find many photographers write these books after one trip to a location.  I guess that means that after you return from your two days of photographing a location, your new e-book will be coming out shortly.  It takes a long time to become intimate with a place. With all of my travels and photo trips, I would say the only nationally known locations I feel really qualified to write an e-guide about, would be the Badlands of South Dakota and Horicon Marsh NWR in Wisconsin.   I have been going to the Badlands since the age of 10 and have worked it with a camera many times.  I have driven all of, and hiked a good portion of this park. I have been going to Horicon since I was 8 or so, and have made pictures here hundreds of times.

To sum up.  I have absolutely no problem with a photographer producing a self published e-book or a paper book.  Under the right circumstances (in my opinion), they can be an excellent idea for a photographer.  I am only saying that let’s be realistic as to what they mean.  Comparing these things with a paper book published by a major manufacturer, that is distributed nationally/internationally and paid for by the publisher, would be dishonest.  I also think newer photographers should think carefully about whether purchasing an e-guide is really the direction that you want to go.  Of course I have always been a bit cheap when it comes to those sorts of things.

We definitely live in a world today where many people immediately “grab a hold” of whatever is the latest thing dangled in front of them. Of course I may not be the one to give advice as I still suspect that this “whole internet thing” is just a phase.

Came across this shot of a yearling moose chomping down on lunch.  This image was made on a trip with Ron, and the location is The Grand Tetons N.P. in Wyoming.   What you don’t see is the calves’ mother on the other side of these trees.  You also don’t see the 100 or so photographers lined up all the way around the small pond that the trees live next to.  Over and over again the park rangers had to tell several of those photographers ( they’re certainly not rocket scientists) to stop trying to get close enough to the animals to photograph the hair in their nose with a macro lens.  I must admit there were a few times that I was cheering for the moose to charge.  Come on now……just a good scare.

When I first traveled to Yellowstone N.P. with my parents, the park service had not yet stopped tourists from feeding the bears.  We drove in on our first morning at YS and found dozens of Black Bears lined up along the road begging for food.  My first photos ever were that of my Mother screaming as a bear put its paws on our front window.  A mile or so down the road ( no bears to be seen) we stopped to get out and eat our breakfast at a picnic table and a family from the other side of the road suddenly ran for their car as a mother Black Bear and her cub decided that the family breakfast looked good to them. Why wouldn’t they, all they knew about people is that they always have food, and they love sharing it with bears.  As tourists began to stop their cars and get out to make pictures, one (rocket scientist?) asked his wife to take their approximately three-year old son and cozy up to mother bear for a picture.  They did as he asked. Apparently mom was also not into rocket science.  Thank God they picked mother bear to pose with and not the cub because mother bears are considerably more protective of their young than these humans were.  She was in fact a better all around parent.  Dad got his pictures and they all lived to tell about it, but I have always been thankful that the park service finally put a stop to that insanity.

Whew!!  I feel better now.  I appreciate you allowing me to vent.

The time for many baby animals including some birds is already here in the Northland.  For three years I enjoyed visiting this Great-blue Heron rookery.  Wonderful opportunities to photograph parent/chick interaction were to be had. I understand that the nests and maybe the trees have blown down at this Illinois location.

There is nothing more fun than photographing hummingbirds. I have a favorite location at Wyalusing State Park in western Wisconsin.  At one time the preferred way to capture images of these busy little “flying jewels” was to use a series of high-speed strobes.  Stopping the blindingly fast wing movement dead still in mid-air was the norm and that was really never what I wanted.  I always settled for some sunlight (for shutter speed) and blurred wings to show the movement.  Both styles are valid and can be beautiful.  This male Ruby-throated Hummer was photographed at Wyalusing on a morning that had hundreds of this species flying both at the feeding station and the near-by prairie.

When it comes to wildlife I think we humans relate  best to mammals.  It makes sense to feel closer to our cousins… to speak.  The mammal that I think most humans are closest to, is the dog.  That makes it natural for us to enjoy viewing photos of wild dogs.  All  three coyote images below were made on one morning in Yellowstone.  The fox pictures were made at three different locations in Illinois and Wisconsin.


Red Fox

If at all possible do what you love,  if not, then love what you do.

Thank you.

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2 Responses to Bits & Pieces

  1. Excellent rookery photo, Wayne. I haven’t been out there this year yet but last spring there were several trees down and a platform had been erected to add needed nesting space. That was before the storms hit so I don’t know what to expect to find now. In other locations I found that with the IL budget in such bad shape many trails closed after the July storm still hadn’t been cleared and opened by winter. Hopefully this spring or summer they will be hikable again.

    Always happy to read your posts, old photos or new, and whatever you decide to share with us that day. Take care.


  2. Thanks for updating us on the rookery and for your kind words Cindy. Bong has platforms now but my only trip to check them has not shown any activity.

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