The West Virginia 6 Pack

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Let me tell you about the West Virginia 6 Pack. No, I am not talking about a beverage or food of any kind. The WV 6 pack is what I am calling 6 people from WV who traveled to Delaware to visit the beaches along the bay and rescue some wild critters.
Our little group consisted of me, my hubby Jay, our Granddaughter, two former neighbors and their grandson. This was the first year we were able to include our granddaughter in this annual rescue mission. She is 13 and lives in the Parkersburg WV area so just getting her to our home was a 5 hour drive.
The following morning we were up before the sun for the 3 hour drive to Delaware. There we met up with the rest of our group. We were all anxious to get started despite the nasty weather that greeted us. We donned our rain gear and proceed to the beach to brave the wind and rain.

SJBrown BeachOne by one we approached the horseshoe crabs that were in distress. The motion of the waves they rode to shore on forced some of the horseshoe crabs onto their backs. Like turtles horseshoe crabs cannot always turn themselves over when they land on their backs. Some beckoned to us by waving their claws, while others chose to save their strength and remain motionless.

SJBrown Crab ClawThis annual journey to lay their eggs could leave numerous horseshoe crabs baking in the sun if people didn’t come to their rescue. Migrating shore birds also come to witness this yearly occurrence. They come to gorge themselves on horseshoe crab eggs before continuing on their journey to their summer homes.

SJBrown BirdsOur strategy is really quite simple we walk along the top of the waterline flipping horseshoe crabs as we go. On our return trip we venture along the water’s edge. Our little group saved dozens of Horseshoe crabs, a turtle and a blue crab, all before lunch.

SJBrown Horseshoe Crabs

SJBrown Crab 1On the long ride home we discussed our plans for next year. Yes my granddaughter wants to do this again, despite the hours of driving required. She does think we should pack our lunch next time.

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.

https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367
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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My Other Life

IMGP6487By S. J. Brown

All of my online friends know I am a wildlife photographer and Author. Hubby and I travel quite a lot and visit out of the way places to get close to critters.

SJBrown FoxWhat few people realize is I have a day job. For years hubby has asked me to quit my day job and write and photograph full time. I may just do that one day, but not yet. Wildlife photography is expensive. Yes when we travel I skimp on accommodations and meals, but I still have to put gas in the car and film in the cameras and replace equipment from time to time.

SJBrown FrogWhen we are on the road I promise hubby one decent meal a day and a bed to sleep in. That means Knights Inn instead of Marriot. Our breakfast id generally served through a drive thru window and lunch might be peanut butter and crackers. However dinner is generally a nice meal.

SJBrown JayThe income from wildlife photography and writing are sporadic at best. Yes I have sold a single image for $500 dollars. I have also sold an image for $25 which doesn’t cover the cost of getting the image. The latter is much more common and that is why I work part time.

SJBrown PelicanSo what does a wildlife photographer do when she is not out in the field? This wildlife photographer is a cosmetic merchandiser. Yep I play with makeup. That means I go into grocery stores and stock their makeup departments. Then I tell the computer what I want it to send to the store and what to stop sending because it isn’t selling.
This job allows me to be done work for the week at noon on Thursdays. This leaves me over 3 days a week, every afternoon and every evening to write, photograph and submit. On our longer trips my boss covers my territory and is very glad to see me when I return.

SJBrown with PoniesIt’s actually not a bad job, I have had worse. How about you what was your worst job? What was the best job you ever had? I will be back on the road again soon, but I look forward to reading your comments when I return.

Thanks for stopping by.

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, Clancys Cat Nap and two coloring books based on my images are all available through my website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com.

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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Join my E mail list and be the first to hear about my latest adventure. sjbrown.pictures@gmail.com

Visit my website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com to view more of my images

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The Best Books You Never Read

IMGP6507By S J Brown

The world is filled with unfinished manuscripts. They are stuffed in drawers, stored in a computer file, or sitting on a desktop waiting to be completed. Many years ago I joined a writers group. I admit some members were working on works that apparently weren’t that memorable since I don’t remember all of them.

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Then there are those few that stuck with me. One I know was a very well written manuscript. The text introduced me to another way of life among the pine trees of New Jersey. The author did a fabulous job setting the scene with few words.

Every word had a purpose and as a reader I felt I had been there with the little girls as they ran through the trees giggling. I could feel the fabric of their worn homemade cotton dresses. Their fear of the booming voice of their mother brought back memories from my childhood.
The author wasn’t sure she would ever publish it, but she was enjoying working on it. Sadly, “Ode to a Pine Tree” was never published, the author passed away before completing it.

SJ Brown 1Another member of our little group was working on a murder mystery set in 1965. As a retired lawyer he wanted input on the legal aspects of the manuscript. His attention to detail was astounding. Nothing and I mean nothing was included in book unless it was around in 1965. He researched everything from food, to cars, to hairstyles, to furniture and more.

SJ Brown 3One of the main characters was Native American and his beliefs played into the story. His lawyer was a down on his luck lawyer that believed his client was innocent. Proving that would be one of the biggest challenges of his career.
Within the story the author scattered tiny details. These details would come together in a surprise ending. Since the author moved out of the area before this book was published. I may never know if it was published. I do know it isn’t available on Amazon under the working title “The Crooked Knife”.

SJ Brown 4Unless you are a member of my family I am sure you have never read “Alice.” This is a book my mother worked on for years. Her chapters were hand written on a series of yellow legal pads. Mom passed away before her book was completed.
She wanted her manuscript to be a trip down memory lane for family. Although I did take on the task of placing Moms works on a typewritten page, and getting it printed, it has never been made public. My sisters and I decided to honor Moms wishes and print a limited number of copies for each of Moms siblings and of course a copy for each of her girls.

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Like many authors I have more than one manuscript in the works. Hopefully I will be releasing one of them in the near future. Meanwhile I am putting the finishing touches on another.

Do you have a project or two that has been percolating for a while? Maybe it is time to pull those pages out of the drawer, or open the file and make sure your book isn’t one that no one will ever read.

Thanks for stopping by.
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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Visit my website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com to view more of my images or purchase one of my books.

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Next Stop Home

IMGP6489By S. J. Brown

I hope everyone enjoyed their summer as much as I did. I was on the road a lot, but by choice not necessity. In early June I attended the WV Writers conference. As always it was an energizing three days. I attended a number of workshops, conversed with friends on the porch and ate a bit too much.

S J Brown 1 Conference

One event I did stay home for was to renew my wedding vows. We did this a little different than most people. We had a brief ceremony at home followed by a trip down river in canoes and kayaks. Then it was back to the house to celebrate with our guest that didn’t follow us down river. Several of our guests spent the night so we were up until the wee hours of the morning.

S J Brown 2 Canoes

Next I was off to Garrett County Maryland with family. This trip was filled with laughter, plenty of food, salamander hunts, and a visit from a skunk.

S J Brown 3 Salamander

Then it was time to unpack, repack and head to New Jersey. This trip wasn’t a photo trip it was a reunion trip. I was a bit nervous about my high school reunion, I wasn’t exactly an outgoing teen. Our reunion was at a place called the Funny Farm. Yes there were farm animals hanging out with us. I was delighted to spend time with my former classmates and the owner of the funny farm, also a photographer. The reunion turned out to be lots of fun and I am looking forward to meeting up with several people in the future.

S J Brown 5 Sunset

My next stop was the Philadelphia Pennsylvania area. There is a wildlife refuge close to the airport that I wanted to visit for a while. So Hubby and I packed up the car and drove north. We had a wonderful day at the refuge. There were a lot of birds to photograph and a loveable puppy that just wanted to give me kisses.

S J Brown 4 Bird

Before heading home Jay and I stopped for a Philadelphia cheese steak. But did we want a world famous cheese steak or did we want to get one from the king of cheese steaks? We just picked one and got our food from Genos. They were good, but not as good as the cheese steak subs I remember as a kid. We headed home with a cheese steak sub tucked in the cooler for a friend. Hey, it was on her bucket list.

After repacking my duffle bag, and checking my camera equipment I headed back to New Jersey. This trip was all about family. My sister Betty and I spent some time discussing “Sisters” our memoir.
Then we headed to our favorite sub shop from our childhood. Walking in the door the smell engulfs you and we were transported back in time. Yes, they are still as good as we remembered.

S J Brown 6 Sisters

Then it was over to see my uncle I hadn’t seen in decades. We laughed and talked and got reacquainted. My next stop was dinner then off to my little sister’s house in the Pine Barons for the night.

S J Brown 7 Pine Barons

I somehow found time to go to a baby shower before heading back home. My plan for September is to stay home. Okay I might fit in a day trip or two, but I am not packing my duffle bag until October when I head to North Carolina.
How was your summer? Do you have any plans for Fall?

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.


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

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

Sign up for S. J. Brown e mailing list to get updates on her latest work in progress

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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

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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

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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.

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

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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

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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.

 

 

 

 

Team Work

IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

 Like many writers I am a bit of a loner.  I can easily spend large blocks of time alone and be quite content.  I also find that being part of a team can be very rewarding.

SJBrown 1 Geese

I was recently part of a team of a few dozen people that gathered together on a gloomy Saturday morning.   Together we planted 200 trees.  I’m not talking little sprouts, but three or four foot tall trees.  I have had the privilege of working with this team for over a year now. It is a real thrill when I drive past one of the locations we have planted and see the trees thriving.

SJBrown 2 Trees

When I am out in the field photographing wildlife I am also part of a team.  My husband Jay is the other team member.  He is an excellent spotter.  He can tell what kind of bird is flying over head by the shape of its wings, or the size of its tail.   He does all the driving and watches my back, so I don’t get surprised by an angry bear or any critter.

SJBrown 3 Jay

I am also part of a team of volunteers that does littler clean up in the area.  It always amazes me how rude people can be.  They toss all kinds of things out their car windows without ever giving it a second thought.

SJBrown 4 Sparrow

Recently I became part of yet another team, Team Sisters.  “Team Sisters” is the name we gave the launch team for my next book, “Sisters”.  This team is made up of writers, interested readers, friends, and a few family members.  Since this book is a memoir written by two sisters most of the team is female.  There are a few brave men that have volunteered to be part of the team.  Since my last blog the team  members have assembled and we are ready to get down to work.

SJBRown 5 Sisters

As part of a team I can accomplish so much more than I can on my own.  Alone I would not be able to plant hundreds of trees, pick up bags full of trash or photograph nearly as many critters.  Team Sisters will be helping to add a little insight into the finishing touches for the book my sister and I collaborated on.

SJBrown 6 Butterflies

I have been part of teams that didn’t work out very well.  Sometime we need to try out a few teams before we find a good fit.  Have you joined a team and how did that work out for you?

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

 

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.

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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

 

The Image of Writing

imgp6507By S. J. Brown

Writers paint a picture with their words while photographers create pictures that are worth 1000 words.  Writers and photographers have a lot of things in common. Both share their passion with others, and both agonize over their craft.   

When putting together a proposal a writer looks for just the right words, while a photographer seeks out just the right image. 

Which one do you think would make a better magazine cover? 

Writers use descriptive words to place an image in the mind of the reader, while photographers use an image to place the observer in their shoes.

4-landscape 

When working with words there is a lot to consider characters, descriptions, subtle details, and how many words are just enough.  When working with images there are subjects, angles, lighting and locations to contemplate.

5-heron 

Research is another necessity for both professions.  If a writer is going to create a truly memorable piece of fiction they need to know all they can about the time period, place, or professions featured in their story.  As a wildlife photographer I need to know everything I can about my subjects before I can photograph them.  In order to capture a critter on film I need to know their habits, temperament, diet and their home range.  If I can’t find them I can’t photograph them.

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 The biggest challenge for both writers and photographers is marketing.  Marketing is a time consuming, confusing, necessary task. With proper marketing writers place their work in the reader’s hands and the reader in another world.   Meanwhile photographers strive to bring a glimpse of another world into people’s homes.

8-scenic The writing trade includes a number of categories like poetry, fiction and nonfiction.  Photographers tend to specialize as well.  Some of us photograph people, while others focus on landscapes or intimate floral settings, yet others like me prefer the challenge of capturing images of critters.    

9-osprey

Sometimes the collaboration of a writer and a photographer is vital.  Think about it, a greeting card needs the image on the front and the sentiment on the inside.  A book just wouldn’t be the same without the tantalizing words encased by the cover art and accented with the author’s portrait. 

 Whether you conjure up an image or click a shutter button always follow your passion.   

Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook , 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

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