Welcome Spring

IMGP6487By S. J. Brown

Spring has finally arrived here in West Virginia. I no longer need to travel South to find warm weather and baby critters to photograph.

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No more hats gloves and 3 layers of clothes. Although my early morning excursions still include a hooded sweatshirt. Critters are more active this time of year that makes them easier to find. Birds are arriving in their summer home and building nests. Mammals are taking care of their newborns and reptiles are on the move heading for their mates and nesting sites.

SJBrown 1 Mama SquirrelHorseshoe crabs are waiting for the new moon in May to signal them to come ashore and lay their eggs. We also make the annual trip to the Delaware shore. This time we are taking our granddaughter with us to flip Horseshoe crabs. She loves the outdoors and has also been bitten by the photography bug. However this will be a new experience for her she will actually be touching wild critters.

SJBrown 3 Horseshoe CrabWhen you flip a horseshoe crab you get to immediately see that you have helped. Almost the instant their claws touch the sand they begin advancing toward the water. Although this is an annual event for us each year is a bit different. In addition to our original location we added another beach and a refuge to our Delaware trips.

SJBrown 4 Bald Eagle

In the coming weeks I will be visiting a favorite location in Maryland. I will be zooming in on waterfowl and their babies.

SJBrown 5 Duckling

I will also be out planting trees along watersheds in the area along with a number of other volunteers. I have begun planting my veggie garden and lots of flowers are popping up all over the yard. Yes I plan to add a few more.

Spring is my favorite time of year with fall coming in a close second. What is your favorite time of year?

As a wildlife photographer and author I have been traveling extensively throughout the United States for over 15 years. I am always accompanied by my husband and spotter in my pursuit of the next critter encounter.
My work has been published internationally in books, calendars, greeting cards, magazines and newspapers. Sharing my photographs and written words are a way to share my wildlife encounters with others and possibly inspire them to explore their creative side.
My books, Close Ups and Close Encounters, All the Birds I See, Clancy’s Cat Nap and two coloring books based on my images are all available through my website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com.

 

 

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Happy Friday the 13th

IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

Friday the 13th is touted to be the unluckiest day of the year. 2017 has two Friday the 13th’s, does that make it an unlucky year? Does Friday the 13th scare you? Since Halloween is just few weeks away is today the start of a spooky season? Are you superstitious?

1 SJ Brown Vulture

This ominous date has been used in movies and games for decades. The legends that surround this date go back centuries. However if you aren’t the superstitious type you can get a great rate on an airline flight, save thousands on your Wedding, or get a tattoo for a special price, so it’s not all bad.

2 SJ Brown OwlCrows, Snakes, Magpies, Owls and many other animals have been considered bad luck by a number of cultures. But animals are not the only things connected to bad luck. If you break a mirror you may be in for 7 years of bad luck. If you hang a horseshoe upside down the luck will run out. I haven’t had a black cat cross my path lately, but this black duck posed for my camera.

3 SJ Brown Duck

Like I have stated in a previous blog I am on the fence, a middle of the road type of person. If you missed that blog here is the link. ofhttps://writingwranglersandwarriors.wordpress.com/2016/06/26/the-middle-of-the-road/

4 SJ Brown CrowI am not sure if it is luck that allows me to find and photograph the critters I do. It could be research and timing along with a bit of practice.

5 SJ Brown SnakeIn closing I urge you to not open any umbrellas in the house, walk under any ladders, put your shoes on the table, step on a crack or put your hat on the bed.

Thanks for stopping by.

Naturally,

S. J. Brown

Connect with me on Facebook and be one of the first to see what I have been up and view my Sunday Shares.

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My coloring books feature sketches based on my photographs.

My children’s picture books are perfect for 3-5 year olds

Available at http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com

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Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon at

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=close+ups+%26+close+Encounters

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com

 

 

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Baby Steps

IMGP6481By S. J. Brown

Recently I gave some advice to friend about recovery after surgery, my advice, baby steps, lots and lots of baby steps. No one can recover from surgery overnight. It’s the little improvements, those baby steps that count.

The same can be said about writing. As a writer I didn’t start out writing a book. I began writing essays in school then stepped up to magazine articles before approaching a full length manuscript. Taking baby steps allowed me to improve my writing and my confidence.

As a photographer I didn’t start out photographing large animals in faraway places. I began with birds and squirrels in my backyard

After gaining a bit of confidence I stepped out of my comfort zone, and traveled further in my pursuit of critter photos. I ventured into Maryland and photographed ducks, geese, and swans at a nearby park.

SJ Brown MallardThen it was time for another road trip. This time I headed to Pennsylvania. There I had my first experience getting up close and personal with some captive critters.

SJ Brown LemursSome little critters in New Jersey reminded me that taking baby steps when working around water could have helped you me avoid sinking in mud up to my calves.

SJ Brown DragonflyIn Virginia I learned wild ponies don’t take baby steps.

SJ Brown PoniesIn Florida I learned taking baby steps backwards can get you safely away from an alligator.

SJ Brown AlligatorIn the 17 years I have been photographing wildlife I have traveled to 2 dozen states. Every time I encounter a new critter I have to remind myself baby steps. Take the shot and use baby steps to get a better angle or a closer vantage point of my subject.

SJ Brown BearWe all take baby steps to advance ourselves in various pursuits. Every once in a while a giant leap of faith may be necessary. The important thing to remember is to keep moving forward.

Thanks for stopping by.

Naturally,

S. J. Brown

Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook and be one of the first to see what she has been up and view her Sunday Shares.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367

S. J. Browns coloring books feature sketches based on her photographs.

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Available at http://www.sjbrown.50megs.comAcover

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Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon at

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=close+ups+%26+close+Encounters

Cover 3-26-23

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com

S. J. Brown’s children’s pictures books are only available through S. J. Brown.

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You can order your copies from her website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com874

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Picking Favorites

IMGP6489By S. J. Brown

We all have favorite things, that special gift from long ago, or a place with fond memories. Sometimes our favorite is a sentence that just glides off the tongue and completes a thought. After every photo trip Jay asks me what my favorite part of the trip was. Generally it is a brief moment when I am close to a critter and clicking the shutter button. After we arrive home when I am going through stacks of photographs he asks which image is my favorite.

My favorite moment doesn’t always yield a favorite photograph. On a recent trip to Michigan my favorite moment did yield my favorite image from the trip. I hung out with a raccoon while he enjoyed his lunch. Jay spotted him going into a trash can to retrieve the meal. He didn’t care how close I approached, he had a snack and I wasn’t a threat.

20 SJ Brown Raccoon

My favorite critter moment from a trip to Colorado was when we sat and watched a Coyote. We spotted him in the road pouncing on the hard surface. It took us a few minutes to figure out what he was doing. The road was covered with crickets; he would pounce on one, eat it and then move on to the next one.

32 Coyote

My favorite moment on a trip to Minnesota was when Jay and I helped out with a duck banning project. It was cold and very early in the morning, but it was an experience I will never forget. I was a bit busy so I didn’t get very many photos, so my favorite moment and my favorite image didn’t match on that trip.

Me Duck

Some photo trips have more than one favorite moment or image which makes it hard to choose. Hanging around in South Dakota we had several great experiences and came home with loads of great photos.

SJ Brown Deer

When we visited Maine my favorite moment was when we spotted a mother moose and her calf. It took days to find the pair and when we did it was cold and rainy, but I didn’t care. Mama was letting me get pictures of them both.

SJ Brown Moose

Sometimes it is hard to choose a favorite. I have two sisters, but I don’t have a favorite. They are very different people and each comes with their own special qualities. I have only one granddaughter, so of course she is my favorite. We share a love of critters and photography so we have many favorite moments together.
Do you have a favorite food? I have several. How about a favorite place, mine is generally wherever I happen to be. So what are some of your favorites?

Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook and be one of the first to see what she has been up and view her Sunday Shares.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367

S. J. Browns coloring books feature sketches based on her photographs.

CBCoverAvailable at http://www.sjbrown.50megs.comAcover

Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon at

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=close+ups+%26+close+Encounters

Cover 3-26-23

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com

S. J. Brown’s children’s pictures books are only available through S. J. Brown.

1078You can order your copies from her website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com874

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

Step Lightly

IMGP6484By S. J. Brown

Now that spring has finally arrived everyone is heading outdoors.  There are so many places to explore and discover.  Before you venture out there are a few things to remember. 

Don’t forget your bug spray.  There are hundreds of little critters out there that would like to take a ride on your clothes or boots. 

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Stay on paths and trails so you don’t trample on delicate plants and flowers or encounter a venomous snake. Watch where you step, many birds like puffins and killdeers make their nest on the ground.

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That little fawn you find laying in the weeds most likely wasn’t abandoned.  Mother deer will leave their young hidden in overgrown weeds when they go off to feed.  When predators are near the mother will try to lead the threat away from her baby, to a mama deer you are a threat.   

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One of the most important things to remember when you go for a hike or into any natural area is that Mothers will fiercely protect their babies.  A seemingly docile duck or goose can become very aggressive when you get just a little too close to their baby.

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You may be able to defend yourself against a single goose, but they tend to stick together. You are no match for an entire flock.   A single flap of a goose’s wing will leave a welt and will sting for quite a while.  They can cause some serious damage with their beaks as well.

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Many wild animals are deceptively quick.  That lethargic looking bear can charge suddenly and most likely will outrun you.

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Most of the dangers you may encounter in the wild can be avoided.  Simply be aware of your surroundings.  Observe wild creatures from a distance and respect their space.  Remember you are a visitor in their world.

I hope I have given you a few hints that will make your next wild excursion a pleasant one.  Thanks for stopping by.

 

Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook and be one of the first to see what she has been up and view her Sunday Shares.

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S. J. Browns coloring books feature sketches based on her photographs.

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Cover 3-26-23Back Cover 4-24-2013Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon  at

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=close+ups+%26+close+Encounters

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com

S. J. Brown’s children’s pictures books are only available through S. J. Brown.

You can order your copies from her website S.J. Brown

Cover All the Birds I See Cover

 

 

A Couple of Friends

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By S. J. Brown

 

 

Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner I thought I should write about romance.  However Hubby and I aren’t really romantic type people.  If he came home to find a candlelight dinner he would ask how long the power had been out. 

Still its a couple’s time of year so I decided to write about some wild couples I have photographed.  Photographing wild couples is not always easy.  Critters aren’t like people you can’t tell them stand close to one another and smile.  Well you can, but it won’t do you any good.

I thought I would start with a pair of Mallards I discovered along a riverbank.  Slowly I crept up on them and zoomed in for a shot of him.

s-j-brown1mallard

 She wasn’t quite close enough to get into the shot.  So I waited, and waited some more.  Finally she floated close enough to him I managed to get both of them in the lens and clicked the shutter button. 

As I stood up to walk away I heard someone behind me.  I turned to find a hunter.  He was clad in a combination of camouflage and bright orange.  In his arms was a large ominous looking gun.  This wasn’t the first time I had encountered hunters while out photographing critters and I am sure it won’t be the last.  He smiled and asked if I had seen any ducks.  I admit it I lied, and told him no. He thanked me and wandered down the path and around the bend.  

s-j-brown2mallards

Once he was a good distance away I walked closer to the water’s edge and explained to the Mallard couple they needed to go hang out somewhere else.  I took the opportunity to click the shutter button a few more times before they heeded my advice and flew off. 

It took me quite a while to photograph a pair of wood ducks I discovered floating in a pond.  They were hanging out with a group of other ducks that were happy to have their picture taken.  I was getting some nice shots of each of the wood ducks, but I couldn’t get them to hang out close enough together to share the shot until they were good and ready to pose for me. 

s-j-brown3woodducks

This next couple actually hangs out together a lot.  They are pretty easy to photograph because they live at my house.  They let me take their picture in exchange for munching on a few of my flowers. I am hoping they have babies in the spring and I get a chance to photograph them as well.

s-j-brown4rabbits Over the years I have captured a number of couples on film. These couples and I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day.  Even if you aren’t part of a couple you should be treated special on Valentine’s Day, and every day because you are. 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook , be one of the first to see what she has been up and view her Sunday Shares.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367

S. J. Browns coloring books feature sketches based on her photographs.

CBCover Acover

Cover 3-26-23Back Cover 4-24-2013Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon  at

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=close+ups+%26+close+Encounters

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com

S. J. Brown’s children’s pictures books are only available through S. J. Brown.

You can order your copies from her website S.J. Brown

Cover All the Birds I See Cover