After living over half a century, one presumes to know most of the pleasures life offers, but the passion for nature photography took me almost completely by surprise. It dates from the moment I bought my Nikon D7000 in May 2011 and discovered what a really good DSLR camera can do. (I'm not, by the way, on Nikon's payroll, nor is this an infomercial for the D7000. Probably any good DSLR camera would have the same effect, but the D7000 is simply the one I have.) How does one know that one is hooked as a photographer?when getting a good shot is often the high point of your day; when you can photograph all day long and still hunger for more; when you will take over 300 shots to get a single postable picture; when you will stand at a spot for hours or put up with swarming mosquitoes or with extremes of hot or cold to get the right effect; when you enjoy photo editing almost as much as shooting; when you discover that the practice of photography has honed your powers of observation and awareness of natural beauty; and when you find yourself (whether consciously or unconsciously) judging every scene in terms of its photographic possibilitieseven when you're not carrying a camera. (Did I leave anything out?)
I owe a great debt to many people. The first and foremost is Pinedrop, who, by the way, is not only a fine photographer (you can check out her work at pinedrop.deviantart.com/galler… but also happens to be my sister. After she bought a Nikon D90, I was intrigued by the quality of the shots she was getting, and when my old point-and-shoot camera jammed during a vacation on Sanibel Island, it was she who suggested that I consider getting the Nikon D7000. When I protested that I could hardly afford the princely sum of $1500 (not counting essential accessories), she said, "No problem. I'll loan it to you interest-free." Moreover, she has given me both a tripod and a Sigma 500 mm telephoto lens as Christmas gifts. Pinedrop is like that. And no one has more tirelessly encouraged me or provided helpful feedback for my work. She's also a great companion for photographic jaunts.
I likewise owe a great debt to my excellent niece leTournesol, Supreme Master of the art of Photoshopping and gifted artist, who has patiently taught me everything I know about photo-editing software.
I owe a similar debt to my deceased mother Myrna Martin, whose own passion for photography led her to take courses in it at Rochester Institute of Technology back in the 1960s, and who was the official (and generally unthanked) family photographer. Nevertheless, she stands vindicated now, and her spirit lives on in my work.
I likewise owe a great debt to my father Don Martin, who along with my mother, did so much to awaken my love of the wilderness by taking my sister and me on unforgettable camping trips to the Adirondacks and other places of great natural beauty when we were young, and who generously opens his home in Jackson WY to me every summer and even lends me his car for photographic excursions. I have also enjoyed his feedback on my pictures.
I would equally like to acknowledge my debt to Baldwin Wallace University Staff Photographer and photojournalist extraordinaire Stephanie Krell, who taught me so much, not only about how to use the manual settings on my camera but also how to use pictures to tell a story. (I'm still working on that one, since I tend to gravitate toward! what she calls my "calendar" shots of nature.)
Finally, last but by no means least, I want to acknowledge the gracious patience and support of my children Nikita and Ivan, who have often waited on hikes or in the car when the fit of seeing a great photo op was upon me, and who, at worst, good-naturedly wink and roll their eyes at their father's OCD habits. I have also benefited greatly from their thoughtful artistic advice on my pictures.
As for the rest, you, Dear Reader, must be the judge of my work. (And thank you for taking the time to look!)