It is sometimes hard for me to keep up a steady pace of blogs, so I am going to revise and repost older blogs, including all new photos. Here's one:
I believe nature is worth the effort to make better nature photographs. And nature is definitely worth the effort to spend time there. Some of the most memorable times in my life outside of my incredible wife and kids come from time in nature.
Since I travel quite a bit, I often get asked, what is my favorite place to photograph. I am not being facetious when I say it is the place I am in at the moment. I love places like Acadia National Park and the Everglades (more than just the national park), but I can't go there all the time, so I am just as happy to be in the Santa Monica Mountains (low mountains northwest of Los Angeles) where I can be in less than an hour photographing the chaparral there. One spring, I spent a couple of days videotaping digger bees there –non-aggressive bees, but what an amazing experience to be with them. If you think there is adrenaline flowing when you are photographing big animals in Africa, try holding a video camera as you move it among swarming female bees above their nests! And no, I never got stung. They are not like honey bees.
I have to say that one of the most impressive places I ever visited was the front of a cave near Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. I was there during a gray bat swarm (a mating behavior of many cave bats), and the experience along with the photography, literally being in a bat swarm, was amazing.
Even closer to home – when the terrible events of 9/11 occurred, I spent the afternoon connecting with nature by photographing in a local natural area. I did close ups of a native sunflower. That was so helpful and really helped me understand that there was still much beauty in our world.
Even closer. I planted most of my yard to native plants. This is an incredible place for me. Since I am in the Los Angeles area, the garden has something in bloom all year round, plus it attracts a lot of interesting insects (including butterflies and native bees) and birds (especially bushtits and hummingbirds). Not only do I have terrific subject matter right outside my door, but also, I feel a real connection to the natural world of California. So many yards and gardens are planted to exotic species that may be pretty, but they keep people separated from nature, rather than connected. Plus, they require a lot of water in an area that is naturally dry, so my garden is also drought tolerant.
Finally, last spring, my wife and I got a small place up in the mountains near Lake Isabella, California. This is in the Southern Sierra Nevada. I am loving being able to observe one large and beautiful natural area constantly over the year.