Joy of Nature and Photography Podcast 009 Sample

Here’s a chance to check out my nature photography podcast without listening to the whole thing. This is a short bit about using a telephoto lens for close ups.

This photo of an anole was shot with a 300mm lens and extension tubes on my MFT camera, the Panasonic GH3.

Mounts Botanic Garden, West Palm Beach, Florida

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009 Choices in Photography to Give You Control

Mounts Botanic Garden, West Palm Beach, FloridaChoice is what it is all about when it comes to the craft of photography. How you make those choices affects how you control the image. Always remember that the camera does not see the world the way we do and must be controlled in order to create images you want. In this podcast, I talk a bit about choices, including one very important one that many photographers don’t make.

In the craft section, I offer some ideas on why and how to use a strong telephoto lens for close-up work. You will need either extension tubes or an achromatic close-up lens (Canon makes a good one that will fit any lens – these accessories screw into the filter ring of your lens). The photo of the anole displaying above is shot with a 300mm lens with extension tubes on my Panasonic GH3. In the nature section, I give a little overview of the chaparral, an important landscape and ecosystem of California that people don’t know.

Some links:

Santa Monica Mountains

Edward Steichen

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008 Florida Nature and Photography

J. W. Corbett Wildlife Area, West Palm Beach, FloridaI just got back from Florida. I was at FotoFusion at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre in West Palm Beach doing some presentations, then I was doing a bit of nature photography there and up by Orlando with some friends. In this podcast, I talk a bit about nature and photography in Florida. It really is a great place for nature photographers and worth a visit at some point.

I will be back at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre in March for some classes in Lightroom and close-up and macro work. You can see them at

Locations noted in the podcast include:

  • Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
  • Grassy Waters Nature Preserve
  • J.W. Corbett Wildlife Area (photo above)
  • Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
  • Canaveral National Seashore
  • Anastasia State Park
  • Highway A1A north of Jacksonville
  • Apalachicola National Forest
  • Blue Spring State Park.

I forgot to mention a really excellent bird photography area, the Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach – I didn’t get there this time. And the Highlands Hammock State Park (photo below) which I did visit for the first time.

FL 2I looked up the proportion of the Everglades National Park to the Everglades as a whole. The park includes about 20% of the southernmost parts of the Everglades. If you are interested in learning more about the Everglades as a whole, I highly recommend the book, The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise, by Michael Grunwald.

I mentioned Niall Benvie’s new book, You Are Not a Photocopier (a very nice book on better photography). And also for photo classes.

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007 Complete Picture of a Location

Podcast 007 2 Podcast 007 1When I am out photographing nature, I like to work for a complete picture of a location. These two photos from the same area of Great Basin National Park give a more complete view of the location than either image alone. 

For me, this approach brings a deeper connection to place – visually, emotionally and personally. I know from experience as editor and teacher, this is not the norm. Nature photography that is reduced to trophy hunting doesn’t interest me. That doesn’t connect me to a place or even to nature, and it doesn’t connect others either.

When I look to photograph a complete picture of a place, I find more to photograp. Looking for both variety of subject matter and variety of photography also helps when conditions are challenging for the area.

For the craft section of this podcast, I offer some ideas on getting sharper photos when you don’t have a tripod with you. And winter and some of its photo opps are in the nature section. 

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006 – 10 Big Things I Learned in 2014

Joy JONAPSince it is the beginning of a new year, I thought it would be interesting to share 10 things I learned in 2014 that will definitely influence what I do in 2015. I hope this might give you some ideas about what has been important to you as well as offer some insights that might be useful to you as well. Here’s what I talk about in the podcast along with some people and links I reference during it.

  1. Meditation – I finally learned what meditation can really do to help me stay focused. My approach is very simple, but I have stayed with it. 10 Percent Happier by Dan Harris had a big influence on me seriously meditating as well as Success Through Stillness by Russell Simmons
  2. Multiple callings over time seem to make more sense now than thinking you just have one calling. Playing Big by Tara Sophia Mohr was a big influence.
  3. “It’s not for you” – Seth Godin got me thinking about the importance of this phrase.
  4. Good enough/great enough – Pat Flynn from the podcast Smart Passive Income helped me understand this.
  5. Surroundings are important – Art Wolfe started me thinking about this as we worked on the book, The Art of the Photograph, and in 2014, I worked to do something about it.

In a short break, I mention Bill Fortney’s book, A User’s Guide to Fuji’s X-System. Check it out at

  1. Power of the introvert – Influences: Quiet by Susan Cain, and Introvert Powe, by Laurie Helgoe.
  2. Amy Purdy and ParaOlympics – You have to check out Amy Purdy’s talk, Living Beyond Limits, at Ted Talks. Very inspirational.
  3. George Washington Carver – I was blown away by a visit to the George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond, Missouri. What an amazing man, very spiritual with a deep connection to nature. A quote: I recall when just a boy just starting up to do art work that I longed to paint flowers so that they would speak to the beholder, and inspire and enthuse them to do great things.
  4. Bats – while my interest in bats started before 2014 in Austin, I have really gotten into them this past year. Hard to deal with photographically, but still quite interesting. Bats are a high proportion of all mammal species. Their echo location is amazing. Like a fish finder but magnified exponentially.
  5. Joy is important to life, photography and nature
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005 Story, LED Light, Mistletoe

StoryIn this episode, I talk about the importance of story to nature and photography and to ourselves. Story is important. It helps us make sense of the world. The photo above is from the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge in the middle of the Nevada desert. The story of this place comes from the contrast of the cottonwood and water with the desert landscape in the background. This gives all important context for the photo.

Stories affect our photography and our connection in three key ways:

  1. Create stories about our connection to nature through photography and words.
  2. Stories we tell ourselves about nature and what it is. Is it scary? What about night? Spiders? Bats?
  3. Stories we tell ourselves and “know” about who we are.

I find story pretty interesting and it can have a big impact on what, why and how we photograph. This is all in the podcast.

Here is the link to my class, Photographing Intimate Landscapes, that I mention in the podcast.

The podcast also includes a section on a new LED light, the F&V R300 (R300 is correct), I purchased and why an LED light might be useful to you. Plus, in keeping with the holidays just past, a bit about the natural history of mistletoe and why you might look for it this winter.

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004 Special Places – Overlooked Places for Photography

Yucca in chaparral, Santa Monica Mountains, CaliforniaIn this podcast, I talk about special places that we all can find near us that need us. They can connect us and others to such places through our photography. I love going places, seeing new things. But I also want to connect to the place where I live.

Of course, California has a lot and you might think that makes it easy. But I am not talking about the spectacular places that are some distance away. I am talking about locations near me, places that aren’t always seen by others. In fact, I have found stunning locations literally within driving distance of millions of people, yet I rarely see another serious photographer. My example is the chaparral, but everyone can give examples of nature near them that is under-photographed, under or even unappreciated, places others don’t “see”, yet our photography can help them see the nature there.

In the craft section, I give some tips for dealing with exposure challenges. And in the nature section, I talk about what connection to nature can mean and how that relates to us as photographers.

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003 Gear – How I Came to the Gear I Use Now

In this episode, I talk a bit about my history with digital camera gear. A lot of times we hear about the gear a photographer uses now, but rarely do you get a perspective of the gear he or she has used over the years and why they made the choices they did. While my gear is not necessarily the gear you might use, I am sharing my journey through gear to give photographers some ideas about why one would choose or not choose certain types of gear. I believe it always should relate to your needs and how you photograph nature, and my story is about how I have found my way through the maze of gear available to photographers today.

In the second section on craft, I offer some ideas on why a macro lens should not be the only lens you use for close ups. A macro lens is only one focal length and that can limit you. Most of us are not going to deal with the pain of carrying multiple focal lengths of macro lenses or the expense, so there has to be a better way. For me, that means one macro lens and extension tubes and achromatic close-up lenses. You’ll learn more about this in the podcast.

Finally, for the nature section, I want to let you know how important you are as a nature photographer.

I do mention the University of Washington Conservation Magazine. You can learn more from their website. This is a terrific publication.

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002 Winter – Don’t Let Your Camera Hibernate

Winter has its challenges, but it is also a good time for unique photos of nature. In this podcast, I want to help you get great shots in winter by offering some ideas on how to deal with winter’s challenges to photographers. You’ll learn how to deal with the cold to keep your camera gear functioning well, as well as you, the photographer! Plus, discover good ways of dealing with exposure when everything is white and also how to use white balance more effectively.

A side note: The blue cast I talk about for AWB is not the normal, natural blue cast you see in shadows when they are contrasting with sunlit areas. AWB has a tendency to deviously add a blue cast to outdoor images that can strongly affect neutral tones (of which there are many in winter) and warmer tones. It “looks okay” on the computer because our eyes adapt, yet the colors are then compromised.

Finally, a section on trees and why you might focus on them this winter.

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001 Introduction – Setting the Course

Podcast 001bHi, everybody! Well, here it is, my first podcast! This show is an introduction to the podcast and some discussion about what joy of nature and photography means. It includes a feature section about the joy of nature and photography, plus a section on the craft of photography, then finally a section about nature as related to photography. In the future, each podcast will be structured similarly unless I find out something works better!

I do refer to Ansel Adams and Andreas Feininger in the podcast. Ansel Adams did a series of books that are still in print, Camera and Lens, The Negative and The Print. All are still in print and some of the best books about the craft of photography you can find (just ignore the old info about gear and darkroom chemistry). Andreas Feininger was a LIFE magazine photographer and did a lot of books about the craft of photography throughout his career. I particularly recommend his books, The Creative Photographer and Total Picture Control (though all of them are very good). You can get the Feininger books from a used book site like or check your library.

If you want to learn more about spiders and their webs, check out this site from BBC Nature.

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