East Texas Naturalist Blog

Information and photographs mainly about nature in east Texas. Our authors have widely diverse backgrounds and write on a variety of topics.

If you write about nature in east Texas and would like to join us here, please contact us.

Ecology of My Yard - Who Knew So Many Things Lived Here?

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Walking in the woods is always a lot of fun.  Observing nature in such an environment presents a myriad of potential subjects to view, examine, photograph and to enjoy.  The biodiversity in the mature hardwood pine community where I walk is tremendous.  There are so many possibilities whether your purpose is to observe species interaction in the community or to measure the biomass of the forest or to observe the species diversity of the bird population or just to enjoy your stroll and see how many interesting subjects you can find for your camera.  The forest presents a wealth of opportunities for your study or enjoyment.  

It is to the woods that I often head when I am wanting to get close and enjoy nature or as we old hippies used to say "commune with nature".  Isn't that a cool phrase?  "Commune with nature".  What does that really mean?

To commune with nature, you become one with nature and attain knowledge of the things about you.  In particular you gain knowledge of the terrain, bodies of water, the plants, animal populations, people, weather and the general state of the setting.  It is not necessarily a conscious effort.  When you enjoy nature and are in the woods it is what comes naturally as you walk through the woods.  There are many different levels of that, of course. You may start with just a nice walk and make some natural observations: flowers, birds, scenic views and the like. The more you go, the more you observe and slowly the community comes alive. No pun intended.  

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Yes, It's a Poor Workman Who Blames His Tools, But Better Tools Make the Work Easier and Allow More Options

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You can take good pictures with just about any decent camera but having nice equipment makes the process easier, adds more options, and generally produces better results.

I started off with a fixed lens Petri 35mm film camera, then later moved to a Asahi (Pentax) Spotmatic.  With both of those I was able to take nice pictures of people and scenic landscapes.  I tried very little real nature photography.  Neither camera was really suited to any kind of closeup work.  I added a 300mm lens which helped with some types of nature shots.  But it wasn't until many years later when circumstances changed and I was able to afford much better equipment and accessories.  My interest in photography and the results of my efforts made a major leap forward. 

Then after I got busy with so many other things (work), I slowly got rid of all that equipment.  

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Giant Wasp Spotted in Upshur County - The Time to Panic is NOW!

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I recently bought a macro ring flash for my cameras.  Naturally I have been playing with it.

I just wanted to share this picture that I took with it.  

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Animals Just Won't Say "Cheese" - Taking Better Nature Photos

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As should be apparent from this blog, I love taking pictures.  I always have.  At times I have gotten rather serious about it.  At one time I had a color darkroom and owned nearly a dozen nice cameras (mostly Nikons), lots of lenses and a mound of filters, flashes, battery drives, tripods, light meters, light umbrellas, etc.  

I am self-taught. Everything I know about photography I learned through trial and error while devouring book after book.  I have never had a photography class (although I have taught a few).  

At one point, I was very serious about photography, especially nature photography. I took hundreds and hundreds of pictures; reviewed my images critically; and used that self-criticism to get better.  

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About the Photographs In This Blog

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Unless credited otherwise, all photographic images on this website were taken by me.  (EDITOR'S NOTE: This was true until the summer of 2015 when others began joining me.  Photos are all from the galleries of featured photographers on this website unless otherwise noted.)

I began taking photos in a semi-serious fashion when I was in the army.  I bought my first 35mm camera at the PX in Frankfort Germany in 1967.  It was an Petri.  About a year later I purchased an Asahi (Pentax) Spotmatic.  I took LOTS of pictures.

Later, when I returned to school, I started taking a lot of photographs of nature, especially on field trips.  I took lots of photos and slides.  

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