Photography, including both the art and the science of, has become an integral part of my life over the past 42 years.
The world of nature photography and photojournalism has opened an entire new chapter in my life. It has rekindled the “fun and intrigue” in what can sometimes become a repetitive craft. You seldom can anticipate what might be waiting around the next curve of the road or bend in the path. The subject matter is diverse but seldom restrictive and can create a test of ones patience, knowledge and photographic skills all while set within the wonder of our natural world. Mother Earth can throw you a few curves here and there, but at the same time provide limitless opportunities and endless adventure.
I have always been an explorer of the great outdoors and an aspiring naturalist with a curious interest into the biology and behavior of the many species of flora and fauna that inhabit our surroundings. Every eco-system holds a treasure trove of life and fascination to explore and discover. And now as an “aspiring” nature photographer, capturing images and documenting my exploration with the camera and lens has become a wonderful obsession and I have since developed an exceptional fascination and love for birds and blooms. My techniques of avian photography tend to differ from my colleagues and peers somewhat in that I prefer to capture my subjects in their natural surroundings without the use of props, setups and any artificial or “clean” backgrounds that so many prefer. However, I try to add an “artistic touch” through the control of the lens itself.
Another passion is to explore the history and culture of our great country through creative photojournalism. Our nation is a rich and diverse melting pot of cultures and human characteristics. One of my favorite cultures is that of the Pennsylvania Dutch (Amish) with their plain and hard-working lifestyles.
“In the beginning”
I had developed an interest in this craft since my childhood and playing with the family camera. My sincere fascination started in the early 1970’s while on a tour of duty with the military in Germany. There I purchased my first film SLR camera and began a hobby that would soon turn into a fabulous trade. I would spend hours upon hours photographing anything of interest with a passion for candid and expressive captures of unsuspecting people. I became quite the hobbyist “street” photographer during my extended stay in Europe.
After returning to the US and a settling back to my home town of Houston Texas, I began to further my experience and education through photographic and art studies with the local university. Not just in the “behind the camera” practices and photojournalism, but the science and technical end of photography, including developing and printing, chemical process controls and lab operations. I would also graduate from the 35mm film SLR to medium and large format professional cameras, lighting and equipment.
I would begin my photographic career and an eventual partnership with Frederick Boswell Photographers in Spring BranchTexas, a suburb of Houston. There I would specialize in Family, Corporate, Commercial and Industrial photography and would co-found and manage Accu-Color Photographic Laboratories with a few employees. Fred Boswell was a leading “carriage-trade” wedding and portrait photographer in the Houston area. The years with Boswell and Accu-Color were a virtual stepping stone and a vital development time of my photographic skills. After over 12 years, Fred decided to retire and relocate to California. Shortly after we dissolved the company, I would move to Washington DC and begin a 16 year career with the National Geographic Society and its wonderful magazine.
I began with National Geographic in the photographic lab and eventually moved into Digital Imaging. I received more advanced training and education through RIT, DuPont, Lyno-Type Hell and Heidelberg Graphics to include the many aspects of the digital-imaging, prepress and the printing world from image manipulation, color separations, proofing to full magazine production. My position with the magazine was diverse and would include “hands on” in many areas of production from working with photographers, cartography, layout and design and printing and engraving. One of the most rewarding points of my time at National Geographic was the ability to work side by side with wonderful talented people and the finest photojournalist in the world. “Not to mention being associated with such an outstanding and well known organization.”
Leaving the “hustle-bustle” of Washington DC and the pressures and deadlines of magazine production, I would semi-retire here in rural south-central Pennsylvania and return to my love of “behind the camera” and photojournalism by founding my small business, Arts N Images and beginning a “laid back” approach to the world of photography and art.
I still love and will continue photographing the human form to capture those wonderful poses and expressions. “I may even return to the street once in a while.”
I have since “somewhat” returned to the magazine world, although without the pressure and deadlines. I have joined “WildlifeSouth”, an online publication as a forums moderator, photojournalist and writer. Wildlife South is dedicated to the mid Atlantic and southern United States and has become a wonderful opportunity to share my love and knowledge of both nature and photography with others.
I have now switched to the digital world of photography and look forward to many more years of loving and sharing this craft!
Past and Present Affiliations
Photo Marketing Association, Professional Photographers of America, Professional Photographers Guild of Houston, North American Nature Photographers Association, National Association of Photoshop Professionals, National Geographic Society, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ducks Unlimited, Nature Scapes. Net, The Nature Conservancy
I’m an environmental artist living and working in Gettysburg. I found this site while researching Cerulean Warblers. Question for you: when is the last time you saw a CW in Michaux? Thanks so much —your photos are gorgeous.
Thanks Jennifer and I sent you an email.
Jim, my post should have read “four-petaled”
Jim, so enjoyable strolling through your wonderful images. Your Shenk’s Ferry album reminded me of a red our-petalled trillium that we once spotted on a NARGS outing, just uphill from the trail. I was told it was of the ‘Susquehanna Complex’, probably involving erectum.
Thanks Bob. I’ve seen some rather curious colors of Trillium in that complex. There are several other locations within the same vicinity as well.
I enjoy your photographs.
I would like information about hiking the Hanover Watershed.
the best place to park and hike. there seems to be a lot of private property signs.
Thanks David and hiking the actual watershed is not permitted, but there are a few off the beaten path roads where if you want, you can “walk” them. I do all of my photography from these roads and mostly from my vehicle (Jeep) as a hide. Part of the watershed )in Maryland) is a WMA but a permit is needed for entry! I think it would be wonderful if there was a small established trail system, but keeping the public out is beneficial to the wildlife as well.
•Hanover Watershed CWMA is open to hiking, nature photography and bird watching outside the hunting season and on Sundays, year-round.
Hi, Thank you for responding. Tthe above caption comes from the Maryland hanover watershed website. It does not say anything about permit.
I tried to call the office but no one answered. There is a parking lot off of Bankard Road that I saw on the map. Looks like nice area.
Yes it is a nice area and I am familiar with that parking area. I usually just use the roads as they follow streams and the water attracts the birds and wildlife plus the area understory is rich in feeding habitats.
Hey Jim, Nice to find you again. I hope everything is going fine. If you are on instagram I am kodachromekid71. Look me up Brian Green
Jim, would you please send me your Birds & Blooms article about Louisiana etc via email as my phone is no longer able to function well in FB and keeps kicking me out… firstname.lastname@example.org. Many thanks — Meri
Meri, you can view my blog directly on the site at birdsandblooms.me
Hi Jim, I was recently looking through websites documenting the bountiful beauty that can await one at the Shenk’s Ferry Wild Flower preserve in Lancaster County, PA and found your pictures which are truly wonderful. Thank you for noticing and documenting this splendor through photograph and writing. As you may be aware a pipeline has been proposed to etch its way across this preserve which will very likely erode this wonderful glen. Initially, the pipeline was routed through the preserve and then, with public outcry was routed away from it. Since that time a local group of private landowners affected by the new route have banned together to distribute petitions among local residents to have the route returned to the original route through the Shenk’s Ferry preserve. The local state representative Brett Miller has apparently agreed to act as an advocate for this group with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. I have worked to stop this pipeline since I first knew about it and firmly believe that these spaces, ever dwindling as they are in our area, need to be protected as places for the general public to access and enjoy in an effort to build connection to the beauty of nature. Given your documentation of this beauty, I thought you might be interested to know the challenge that is mounting. Kevin Hurst
Thanks Kevin and I am very familiar with this issue and pray it can be avoided. There is NO good reason for this pipeline to invade these spaces..
Hi Jim, Thanks for showing me your blog. Is that a Better Beamer on your signature photo??? Maybe it’s time to update that photo???
Yep Karl, The old “Bitter Beamer” which now is deceased and resting in peace…..
So happy to have discovered your beautiful blog!!
I was glad to find your blog. I really like your Canvasbacks, Prothonotary Warblers and grassland birds in Adams County!
Jim – what is the name of the blue flower on your cover photo (next to Birds and Blooms)? I recognize it as a very small, low growing flower that grows in my yard.