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At family gatherings, I was the one handed the camera and told to take pictures — frankly I didn’t enjoy it. Still don’t. And yet, now I post weekly photos on a blog and enter photo competitions.

I’ve always loved nature. I have a degree in Zoology, taught science mostly bio or earth science for almost 2 decades and gardened. But never thought to pick up a camera and photograph nature.

The why I started to take photos of nature is easy. I became disabled with multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) and could no longer power walk around the bridges everyday after work due to exhaust from the cars. I had to find places in the woods where I wouldn’t run into people wearing toxic fragrances. I started a blog about this experience and read that bloggers like photos to break up all of the writing. And so I bought a camera.

MCS was like a volcano spewing lava across my landscape. My old life was obliterated and for a time a barren landscape existed. I decided during this time if I was going to re-seed my landscape it was going to be with people and things I loved. Nature photography was one of the things that rose to the top of the list of things I love.

For the most part, I think it is a good thing to experience love rather than analyzing it. But I’ve had some major shifts in my life this week and created a few new barren landscapes to re-seed and thought it might be fun to explore the WHY behind my passion.

tree swallow taking flight Oswego River

I love a challenge. These tiny tree swallows way up on a branch were very busy communicating their desires (or on her part lack there of). This was not any easy shot to get.

Great Blue Heron American Black Duck Oswego River Fulton

Surrender to the moment. I tend to like to control — well pretty much everything in my life. In nature photography, you have to let go and allow the scene to unfold. This heron was just walking. The duck took a different interpretation of his actions. I had no control over their actions. But a lot of fun watching the scene develop.

green heron Glimmerglass Lagoon Oswego

Seize the moment. So many of us have a blue print of what our day (heck our entire lives) will look like before we even get out of bed. And for most of my life, I forgot to put wonder on that list. This was the first green heron I had ever seen in the wild. After seeing this beauty, I’ve changed my blueprint to include the expectation of wondrous moments and gratitude when they appear.

black face deer Glimmerglass Lagoon Oswego

Sharing the joy. When I was a kid, 8 or 9 people died in like an 18 month period. This drastically affected the joy level in our family. A few in my family — including myself — lived lives with the belief if you loved to deeply that person would die. Nature doesn’t let you hold on to that belief. As I took the green heron photo, a lady walking her dog kept repeating, “You’re missing the shot”… I finally turned to see this deer watching me and very peacefully coming closer to me. I have noticed this more than once, that when I am filled with joy or love or wonder taking a photo — I will turn around and there will be another animal watching me — I can only assume feeling my love and joy.

mink Lake Neatahwanta

Patience. I don’t generally exhibit this trait. Nature doesn’t tolerate anything but harmony and balance and patience…. I’m finding I like my life a whole lot better with these traits in it.

Image4swan

Connection. This photo started a deeper friendship with one of my fellow bloggers. Photos connect me with all of you from around the world. People have bought some of the photos and each time they look at one, they share in that moment with me.

pine church Great Bear

Humility. Although, I love the ribbons I’ve won for my photos and I feel wonderful when people comment they enjoyed my postings — nature and nature photography especially gives the gift of humility. I’ve driven to a trail, walked to the best spot, listened to the bird song, spotted the bird, found it with my camera, focused, and a second before I pressed the button — off flies the rare bird not to be seen again.

snacking squirrel backyardExpansive wonder. You all have taught me to see the miracle, the beauty, the wonder in ALL of nature. I have photos I have endured much to capture and received not even a comment. When I asked one time what photos would you all like to see more of — the response was for two animals I often ignore on my nature walks because they are so “common” — the squirrel and robin. Looking for the rare unique perfect shot can be fun but it also tends to limit my world because I have closed off all the rest of the beauty and wonder that surrounds me every day.

Sunset Lake Ontario2

I find that my list could go on for a very long time. What do you love and why?

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