Influences by SJ


Sue profile_pp This Post by S. J. Brown

All of us are Influenced by the people in our daily lives, our parents most of all. They taught us right from wrong, our work ethics and how to treat others. My parents taught me all of these things and more, but not my love of nature. I think that just came naturally and evolved over the years.

Photo 1 Family

Let’s not forget about our siblings and friends their influence stays with us all our lives as well.

A high school English teacher (Mr Campbell) influenced my perspective on writing. His influence was combined with that of fellow authors. This led me to write articles, books, and even this blog.

My husband Jay has influenced me greatly. Thanks to him I am much more at hPhoto 2 Jayome in nature, and a bit more outgoing. Traveling, climbing trees or rock faces, and wandering through the forest were not things I did before I met him. I am still not crazy about boats, but I will get in them now.


I was influenced by a world famous photographer when I heard him speak years ago. No, I don’t remember his name, but I remember his words, “As photographers our job is to observe and record, not interfere.” I let his influence guide me when I encountered a mother bear in distress over being separated from her cub. I could see the cub, but she could not. I did not interfere, instead I left the area and let the two of them reunite on their own. Of course I took a few pictures with a telephoto lens before I left.

Photo 3 Bear

I kept his words in mind, but chose to side step them then I encounterPhoto 4 Ducked a duck in distress. It had lost a large portion of it’s beak, most likely from a snapper turtle attack. I couldn’t see how it could possibly survive. But this was a wild creature,not a pet. I am not qualified to care for wild animals. So I contacted someone who was.


I have noticed my influence in the writings of others when more natural elements become part of their stories. My presentations to school groups had influenced some students to be more aware of the natural world and it’s residents.


While recently obsePhoto 5 Scenicrving a polar plunge I wondered what influences persuaded them to brave the icy cold waters of the Potomac River.



Photo 6 Mom




Often those we influence, return the favor. When I was raising my daughter I tried to influence her to be more independent than I was. She has influenced me to be more confident and less inhibited. My sisters and I influenced Mom to be a bit more outgoing and a little less lady like from time to time.


Who has influenced your life?

Have you influenced others?

Keep up with S. J. Brown on Facebook

Read about her experiences in the field in Close Ups & Close Encounters

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S. J. Browns picture books for children are available on her website.

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21 thoughts on “Influences by SJ

  1. Love your “record but don’t interfere” although that must be really hard to do. I know you must love nature or you wouldn’t want to photograph it. Admire your pictures. And I’m sure we don’t even realize all the ways and how we are influenced by circumstances and people. Many phobias take a lot of digging to discover their source. Thinking about what influenced us to be writers might take a while for some. Loved the little girl trying to hold the bat. Lots of emotion in that picture. Enjoyed your post.


  2. I always look forward to your posts and your amazing photography. I felt so sorry for the little duck who lost its beak. I hope someone was able to rescue and rehabilitate it. I had a lot of influences growing up, and even now. I had a fourth grade teacher who taught me to love and use our language properly, a seventh grade teacher who taught me to look at the writing, not the story, a junior teacher who taught me to love history, and my mentor, Mrs. Livingston, my High School English, Latin, and English Literature teacher. Oh, and how could I forget the librarian in our small town. She opened up a whole new world for me in books. I have been very lucky. I believe I have also been an influence in other writer’s work because I am a good cheerleader. Thanks for the post – loved it!


    1. It was really hard to not grab up the duck and take it home. It is amazing once we stop and take time to reflect there are a lot of people that help to shape our lives. My daughter is a teacher and I know she takes her role quite seriously. Glad you are enjoying my posts. Being a member of this group has helped me connect with a great group of people and I enjoy being part of it.


  3. Wise words that photographer shared. In this digital age, we can correct anything we choose, but I do prefer the untouched. Your work is a wonderful homage to your influences and I for one am glad you followed those influences.

    My whole life is just one influence from all that is around me. It is just taking the time to see and recognize it. Continue being the wonderful photographer you are. I love your work. Doris


  4. I was very influenced as a teenager by the positive things around me like excellent teachers and adults who were responsible but also fun – as in my ‘Girl Guide’ group. My parents and near relatives were a great source of influence and also inspiration – very positive and encouraging but none of the above in a domineering or authoratitive way.


      1. I knew there had to be a number of positive adults in your life when you were young, it shows even now. Glad you liked the photos. Obviously I didn’t take the first one, but I enjoyed getting the others.


  5. A refreshing blog. Photos are excellent, but the stories that you have included makes them so much more interesting. That poor little duck, I was glad that you called someone to take care of it. I enjoyed your blog and will visit again.


  6. Lovely post, SJ! I did a double-take when I saw the duck photo; like Linda, I hope someone was able to rescue/save it. Influences can be positive or negative … I prefer to try to be a positive one when I visit classrooms and through my writings. Continued best to you in your endeavors!


  7. A number of teachers influenced me. As an adult, I was influenced by a woman I worked with who became my dearest friend. We were different in so many ways, but somehow we hit it off. As we got to know each other better, I realized we were very much alike in many ways. Thanks to her, I’m more confident and assertive than before, and I think I showed her something about being calmer and a little less driven. She passed away a year ago this month, and I wish every day I could have her counsel and hear her laugh.

    Your photos are lovely. It must be wonderful to see nature–especially the animals–close up. I’m glad you helped the duck.


    1. Teachers can be a great influence on so many of us. I am proud to say there are a number of teachers in my family.
      Being close to wild animals is why I am a wildlife photographer. For me it is as much about the experiences as it is about the photographs.


  8. Like others have commented, I did a double-take with the duck photo too, and hurried to read the paragraph beside it to see what you had to say. I’m glad you interfered there. I’ve been influenced by so many–family members, teachers, friends. Some of those influences were really positive, some not so much so. I’m learning to focus on those that help me be my best self. 🙂


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