IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

Have you ever wondered what goes into a field trip for a wildlife photographer? January is when I plan out large portions of my year. As snow piles up outside Jay and I spread books, maps and the trusted atlas on the dining room table. We have notes from shows we have watched on the public broadcasting station and migration maps as well.

SJBrown1After reviewing all this we pick a direction and plan out one trip at the time. The desired destination dictates if we will be on the road for just a few days or 10. This year’s 10 day trip will have us zig zagging from state to state and spending extra time in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.
We budget for things like gas, food and places to stay. While we spend our days in refuges, parks and out of the way places. We need to plan to be in areas that offer food and lodging each night, but still close to the next day’s sunrise destination. I promise Jay one decent meal a day, and a bed to sleep in, anything beyond that is a bonus.

SJBrown2Before we hit the road we stock up on things like film and snacks. All the camera equipment needs to be ready to capture that magic moment when I encounter a critter. Over the years I have accumulated a number of camera bodies and lens’. This year my largest most expensive lens needed to be replaced before we hit the road. The only good thing about this is that it didn’t happen while I was on the road.
We plan out shorter trips as well. Two or three day trips include locations in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina. On each of these trips I load the car with two camera bags, a tripod, raincoats, hiking boots, water shoes, and a duffle bag. Jay packs his duffle bag and the cooler. Longer trips require us to find room for additional duffle bags and food. What I may need to grab in a hurry goes in the back seat for easy access.

SJBrown3Over the years we have learned to plan for anything. Weather, traffic accidents, and lack of critters can divert us from our planned route. On a trip to Tennessee we spent very little time in the state. Instead I captured most of my critter images in Kentucky.

SJBrown4While in Main we struck out at our planned destination and traveled another 3 hours north to get shots of a mama moose and her offspring. The rainy conditions in Georgia pushed us to spend an extra day in Florida on another trip.

SJBrown5Wildlife photography is so much more than having a camera and a love of critters. However this is something I am passionate about and I plan to keep doing it for many years to come. Our next trip is just a few weeks away.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you plan a few adventures of your own.

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, Clancys Cat Nap and two coloring books based on my images are all available through my website

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Life’s Little Distractions

IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

All of our lives are filled with distractions. However my world seems to have more than its share.  As I sat down to write this blog in my newly completed office I was distracted as a butterfly fluttered past my window.  Yes, I grabbed my camera and followed it.

1 Butterfly

My office has eight windows and a sliding glass door. These let in lots of light, provide cross ventilation and I enjoy an array of views.  I can watch the birds at the bird feeders, and get distracted.  I can see the bunny rabbits that hop around the yard.  When one of them heads for the vegetable garden I feel compelled to go out and give them a stern lecture about eating my veggies.

2 Rabbit

When Jay and I worked on the office on more than one occasion I stopped painting, grabbed my camera, and headed into the yard to photograph the latest distraction.3 Squirrel

It’s not just critters that distract me; it could be a phone call, a visit from a friend, the dryer buzzing, really just about anything distracts me. It is a wonder I get any work done at all.   Photographing critters is just the fun part of what I do.  I spend a good bit of time in my office.  Photos need to be scrutinized, sorted, and submitted on a regular basis.  Then there are book promotions, scheduling, and Facebook.

4 Baby Bird

When I began this blog it was about the consequences of the decisions we make, obviously I got distracted and came back to my desk with a new subject to write about.

Distractions when I am in the field tend to be a good thing. I can be focusing in on a bird and get distracted by a deer.5 Deer



Jay and I can be heading to dinner out and get distracted by a fox or a bear.

6 Fox

When we are in a boat and Jay gets distracted by a Bald eagle or two, I get very nervous. I can’t swim well and I am not comfortable in water.

7 Eagles

So distractions can be a good thing or a bad thing. When I am stressed I welcome a good distraction like a new book, or a dog with a ball in its mouth. So do you tend to welcome distractions or stress over them?

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.


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

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website

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












Finding Inspiration in Nature: Animals

Only to the white man was nature a wilderness and only to him was the land ‘infested’ with ‘wild’ animals and ‘savage’ people. To us it was tame, Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery.  ~ Black Elk


Yellowstone Sign_Gayle Mary_smallerThis post by Gayle M. Irwin

Last week I wrote about being inspired by nature with regard to landscapes. Whether mountains, valleys, fields, forests, oceans, lakes, streams, city parks, botanical gardens, or your own backyard, you can find refreshment, replenishment, inspiration, and creativity in nature. You can also find inspiration in the creatures which inhabit these spaces, lessons that can be applied to life, and even to writing, and so today is Part 2 — Finding Inspiration in Nature: Animals.

I recently spent more than four days in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, sharing time with my parents for their 56th wedding anniversary and for Father’s Day. Not only was the experience pleasant from the standpoint of being with family members I dearly love, but we were in special spaces that I truly love. Each park is unique: although both have mountains, the stark granite of the Tetons contrasts with the forested hillsides that ring the Yellowstone caldera. Water can be found in both parks, including deep lakes and fast rivers. However, Teton appears more lush and verdant, possibly due to the deep valley known as Jackson Hole, whereas Yellowstone is more rocky and dry – except for the sections that received vast amounts of snow this past winter – and sprung this spring with wildflowers galore!!

daisies_yellow with aspen

The wildlife species which reside in the parks, however, are nearly identical, including elk, bison, pronghorn, mule deer, chipmunks, ground squirrels, swans, and sandhill cranes. As I spent time observing these creatures and considered the harshness of the environment, especially during winter, I felt compelled to consider what lessons these animals can teach us, and therefore, how they can inspire us, whether we are writers or not.

ground squirrel

Learning and sharing lessons from nature is part of who I am as a writer and speaker. For years I’ve shared what I learned from my blind dog, Sage, even writing a book called Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog. When I visit schools, I talk with students about lessons dogs can teach us, things I’ve learned from my own dogs; I even created a library program on that topic, and I shared that last Friday at the Sheridan County Fulmer Library in Sheridan, Wyoming – and since Friday was Take Your Dog to Work Day, it was an appropriate topic.


So what lessons can we learn and how can we be inspired by animals? I believe there are many ways, but here are just a few:

bull buffalo and carBison – these massive creatures have exited for centuries and Native Americans believed the bison were sacred and valued. The species nearly became extinct thanks to European-Americans slaughter of them during the mid to late 1800s. To live in Yellowstone during winter, to survive a massive massacre upon their kind, these creatures must be hardy, so I believe endurance is great lesson the bison can teach us.

Sandhill Cranes – Tall and elegant, these beautiful birds fly thousands of miles to and from summer and winter habitats. They must pass by powerlines, hunters, and storms to reach their destination.  Like the bison, these creatures, too, can teach us perseverance.

Elk – these majestic animals are also resilient and they are adaptable. A creature that used to live on the plains, they moved to the mountains to escape the relentless hunting pressure of the 1800s. Yet they never lost their luster. I believe the elk teach us to adapt, to deal with the hand we are dealt and modify whatever needs to be changed, in ourselves, our life, our writing.

swansSwans – these magnificent birds almost became extinct due, again, to humankind’s (primarily European-Americans) slaughter of them. Downy, pluming feathers caught the eye of the fashion industry and swans, along with hundreds of other bird species, were killed for ladies’ hats and other fashion statements. Thankfully, places like our national parks provided protection and respite. Watching swans fly or swim gives glimpse into gracefulness — I believe the swans remind us to be graceful (as best we can!).

Wolves – another animal nearly exterminated from the landscape (is there a pattern here of human behavior??!), wolves were returned to Yellowstone in the mid-1990s (something that remains controversial and contentious to this day). However, to witness the dynamics within a pack of wolves is truly an amazing sight! These animals were also revered by Native Americans (again, another pattern and one that vastly contrasts with “white culture) and they saw the majesty of the pack, a unit that works together to survive. Wolves can teach us the importance of family relationships and the value of friendships.

Grizzly_YNPBears – whether grizzly or black, these animals conjure up images of fear and distrust. Bears have been the thorn in many a side of ranchers and farmers as they sometimes prey upon livestock and gardens. Hikers carry pepper spray in case of a bear encounter (or at least they are encouraged to do so). Grizzly bears in particular have been known to attack humans, especially when startled. Once again, however, the bear was revered by Native Americans for its confidence, courage, and power – lessons we can all learn, especially when it comes to facing difficulties in life and rejections (or fear thereof) in our writing.

Each of these amazing species of wildlife showcase a number of lessons we can apply to life and for we who are writers, to our craft. But, our companion animals also can provide insights:

Mary in Greg's officeDogs – I don’t know of many animals, or humans for that matter, who will wait by the door or in the window for their special person to come home, even if gone for only an hour or two. A dog’s devotion is an amazing, beloved quality, and I for one am thankful that my four-footed friend loves me no matter what kind of day I’ve had or what type of mood I’m in. A dog’s loyalty is almost unfathomable, and it’s something for which I’m grateful – and from which I can learn.

Bailey_sleepCats – my cats are much more independent, although they enjoy a bit of social time with my husband and me as well. Their ability, however, to take long times of rest and to remain somewhat independent are both great lessons for which to apply to life in general and to a writer’s life – having the confidence to pursue publishing, whether indie or traditional, and to remain strong in the face of adversity, asserting an independence-type of attitude or being part of a team whatever the need calls for at the time, are good qualities to have. And remembering to rest the body and the mind instead of constantly being on the “go, go, go!” is also a great lesson to learn from cats.

We can learn so much from the animal kingdom and be inspired by the different traits found in creatures, if we only take the time to observe, to learn, to apply, and to appreciate the lessons … and the animals themselves.

bison calf

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.  ~ Chief Seattle

Gayle and Mary_river walkGayle M. Irwin writes inspirational pet stories for children and adults. She is the author of seven different books and has three works in progress, including a humorous children’s story called BobCat Goes to School. She is also a contributing writer for six editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul, including the June release The Spirit of America, in which she has a short story titled “National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” Gayle also has a short story in the upcoming anthology Memories from Maple Street U.S.A.: Pawprints on My Heart, a collection of pet stories to be published in July by Prairie Rose Publications. Learn more about Gayle and her writing and speaking endeavors at

SageBigAdventureFront-small   Sage Finds Friends_front cover   Cody Cabin_New Book CoverImage   Walking_FrontCover_small   Dog Devotion Book_Cover_Final   Dog Devotions 2 Book Cover Sage Advice Cover   Blind Dog Ebook Cover_updatedMay2014   Chicken Soup_DogDidWhat_Cover   Spirit of America book

The Middle of the Road

IMGP6507by S. J. Brown

This past month, while catching up on blog posts it became obvious that I am really a middle of the road type of person. I became a middle child when I was 16. Maybe that plays a role in the type of person I am, maybe not.

I have seen lights in the sky I could not explain. UFO, well I don’t know. At the time I lived near an Air Force base. Perhaps it was an experimental plane.  But then again is it feasible that our planet is the only planet with intelligent life on it?  So like this Black Bear I am in the middle of the road on this one.


On the subject of ghosts, I waver back and forth. Having lived in an old Victorian house there were things that I couldn’t explain.  We had a persistent banging noise that could not be traced.   Also our dog at the time would sit next to the rocking chair, wagging his tail as if an old friend was sitting in the chair petting him. Things would disappear throughout the house, but eventually turn up.  So like this family of otters I have covered the left, right, and middle of the road on this subject as well.


It’s possible that I don’t have all the facts so I can’t make an informed decision on issues like these. It’s also possible I have other things on my mind. Some things people are adamant about simply don’t matter to me.  It doesn’t matter to me if the toilet paper roll is loaded so the paper rolls out or over, as long as it’s there when I need it.

When dining with friends some people want to split the check evenly, others want to pay for exactly what they ate. Since I am not a money oriented person either way works for me, again I’m in the middle of the road like this coyote.


Long ago I learned to pick my battles. Does it really matter in the grand scheme of things, if not, I let it go. When my mother in law helped me set up the kitchen at our house she insisted glasses needed to go in this cabinet, cups over here and pots had to be near the stove.  I know it was my house I should really have had an opinion on this.  But wherever the glasses ended up that is the cabinet I would go to when I needed a glass.  If the pots didn’t work out well where she wanted them I could always move them later and tell her they just didn’t work well for me since I’m left handed.  So even on things like my kitchen I am in the middle of the road like this white tailed deer.


I am not a middle of the road type of person about everything. I do have opinions on a lot of things and I am not shy about sharing them. I recycle, buy recycled products and reduce the amount of trash that goes to the curb whenever I can.  I think it is our duty to protect this planet we call home for future generations.  When I am in someone else’s home I will ask them if they recycle before placing an item in the trash.  This is a subtle hint that maybe they should.

I plant trees with a local group; I think everyone should plant trees.   Why? When you plant a tree it will live and grow for years, even generations after you are gone.  They provide shade, oxygen and are esthetically pleasing.

Being cruel to children and animals is wrong; there is no wiggle room on this. So as I travel down the dirt roads of life you will find me mostly in the middle of the road. However when something gets my attention I will firmly plant my feet on the shoulder.


So where do you stand? What issues do you take a stand on?  Do you waver on other issues?

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.


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

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website

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

By S. J. Brown

Have you ever had someone come into your home that just made you feel uncomfortable? Maybe it was a repair man, a delivery person, or a friend of a friend. That is how wild animals feel every time they encounter a person. They don’t speak your language and have no idea why you are there.

One thing that nearly everyone that has had a negative experience with a wild animal forgets is that you are in their home. Their house rules apply. Unfortunately many animals that have a negative experience with people don’t survive.


The Bison that have been attacking people in Yellowstone National Park aren’t mean, they are wild animals. People just get to close and apparently Bison don’t like posing for selfies with anyone. A man in Texas recently learned Rattlesnakes don’t like selfies either.


The sharks that have been attacking people along the east coast aren’t demon fish, they are sharks. Sharks swim in the ocean and eat. If you are in the ocean and you look like a meal, they bite. I think it really is that simple.

When you encounter a bear in the woods they react to your presence in their home. A bear will do one of 3 things, 1) run 2)attack 3) think about it for a minute before running or attacking That applies to almost every wild critter. There are rare exceptions, but they are rare.


Yes it is possible to visit their home and enjoy natures creatures, I do it all the time. I shoot wildlife with a camera, not a bow & arrow, or a gun. As I see it they are wild beings, not trophy’s.

When I visit their home I use a telephoto lens. I keep a safe distance between me and my subject. I pay attention to the animals behavior, and leave their home the way I found it. In other words I mind my manners.


A little over a year ago I moved to my new home. This summer I finally got around to doing some yard work. I quickly discovered the rabbits in the area liked the selection of flowers I selected. My solution is quite simple I will move those plants closer to the wooded area at the edge of the property and select another type of plant for the flowerbed. Then they can enjoy their home and I can enjoy mine.


A friend of mine decided to grow her own tomatoes, just a few plants. The deer in her area liked the idea and made a meal out of her plants. Her solution, get a few large flowerpots for next years tomato plants and place them on her porch.


More and more wild animals and people are encountering one another. We share the earth with the wildlife and we all need to find ways to co exist. Since humans are supposed to be the more evolved species I think it is up to us to find a middle ground, and respect all living creatures.


Thanks for stopping by.

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

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

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website

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


SJ New PhotoBy S. J. Brown

As a wildlife photographer I love what I do. Getting close to wild creatures and recording that moment is awesome. Spending time outdoors enjoying Mother Nature is also a great part of what I do. Another part of what I do that I love is Sharing. Sharing my images, sharing my knowledge, sharing my experiences with others.

A local high school teacher encouraged me to share with her students many years ago. This opened the door for me to share my love of nature with students of all ages. Elementary school children want to tell me their wildlife story as much as they want to hear mine Middle school and High school students want to hear scary stories like if I have ever been attacked by a bear.

1 Bear

One memorable high student was so inspired by my talk he ran home and located his mothers camera. He was excited about the prospect of connecting with wild critters and recording the image. He decided to start in his own back yard since he didn’t have a car.

2 Bluebird

He quickly discovered he was scared to death of wild animals. But he loved the feel of the camera in his hand and the idea of capturing an image to share. So when we met again at a book signing he was experimenting with photographing interesting flowers, colorful scenic shots and unusual people. Everyone has to experiment a bit before they find their nitch.

3 Deer

By sharing I helped that student discover a love of photography. I have peaked the interest in nature in more than one attendee at my presentations. I am able to introduce some to the local art word and the opportunities they pose. I share my images so others can get a close up view of critters they may never see in the wild.

4 Puffin

Hopefully I inspire others both young and old to to pursue what they love. It doesn’t matter if you write, photograph, paint, sketch or run a successful business we can all share a little of ourselves and help others along the way.

5 Ibis

My books are a way for me to share with those that can’t attend one of my talks. Images I sell to magazines and calendar companies also allow me to share my images and love of nature. Although I think I donate as many as I sell. I am not that business savvy, but I do manage to continue to do what I love and share that love with others.

What is your favorite thing to share?

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

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

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website

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

Conference By S. J. Brown


This Post by SJ Brown

Writers are generally solitary people. We spend endless hours at our computers, pace across the room and read out load to ourselves. However there are a few occasions when we all join together. Writers Conferences are one of those occasions. Every writer should take the time to attend at least one writers conference each year.

A conference is a place to re energize, socialize, learn and encourage one another. Recently I attended the West Virginia Writers Conference. For me this is a 5 hour drive. But once I am there I have 3 days with no phone, no internet, no television, workshops, and lots of old friends.

After registering I received my goody page filled with books, magazines, and a few surprises. Then it was off to my first workshop. Each workshop is unique, Some are serious with lots of note taking and facts to fill the class time. Others are more creative and aid us in exploring our imaginations. After each workshop I have new handouts and a lot to think about.

Between classes we gather in the porch at the assembly hall. There I had a chance to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen since last years convention. The porch is filled with poets, playwrights, graphic novelist, fiction writers and folks working on memoirs and other projects. There is always an exchange of ideas, information, notes and a chuckle or two. Everyone here has one thing in common, they all have something to say. We attend the conference to learn better ways to say it.

This year during one of my breaks on the porch a fellow author surprised me with the following statement.

“ Why do you come to a writers conference ? You’re a wildlife photographer?”

My answer is, I am wildlife photographer that writes. This leads me to believe I really need to work on promoting my written words. So here is an excerpt from “Close Ups & Close Encounters.”

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I never took my eyes off of that alligator; if he came at me, I wanted a chance to evade him. Crawling ever so slowly backward; thankful for each growing inch of distance between us, his menacing eyes watched my every move.

Then something grabbed the back of my sweatshirt! I had been so focused on putting space between that alligator and me, I had no idea what was behind me. With a quick jolt I was propelled backwards.

June Alligator

Now, back to the conference. The West Virginia Writers Conference also features an awards banquet on Saturday night. This years speaker focused on the lighter side of writing and kept all of us amused. Thanks once again to some great organizers and judges the banquet rewarded writers from all age groups and genres for their works.

It doesn’t matter what you write or your comfort level around crowds I highly recommend attending a writers conference. Conferences are a chance to socialize with like minded people, learn about your craft and marketing it. Also someone else does all the cooking and it’s a chance to get away from the real world for a few days.

June ButterflyJune Mallard

Yes, while I was there I spent some time with the dragonflies, butterflies, geese and ducks.

June GooseJune dragonfly

Have you ever attended a conference or convention? If not what are you waiting for?

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

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

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website

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

Thanks for stopping by.


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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Available through CreateSpace, Ingram, Baker & Taylor,,, and Everywhere Fine Books are Sold

Autographed Copies available at

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

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S J Brown Photo vertical Thanks for stopping by

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Sue profile_pp





This Post by S. J. Brown


Blog WaterfallThe world is filled with photographers each with their own specialty. Some enjoy  getting that perfect scenic shot that places the viewer at the location. The shape of a majestic mountain, the trickling liquid that cascades from a water fall, or the subtle shades that enhance a sunset is what prompts them to click the shutter button.

Blog FlowerOther shutterbugs frame in bright colorful flowers. Focusing in on the intricate lines what enhance the petals. Just the right amount of sunlight is needed before they click the shutter button.

Blog JaySome photographers enjoy images that evoke emotion as told by the expression on a person’s face. These expressions are fleeting and they need to click quickly to capture their desired image.

Architecture is another popular subject to record. The sleek subtle lines that piBlog Lighthouseerce the skyline or highlight the craftsmanship that goes into a building command some to click the shutter button again and again from varying angles.

As a wildlife photographer getting close to a wild animal and capturing it on film is my objective. This isn’t always an easy task. You can’t ask your subject to move a little to the left or look this way, can you? I can and do.

When I am in the field these types of comments evoke a chuckle from my spotter, but I chat with my subjects anyway. A calm reassuring voice lets my subject know I am there. This reduces the surprise factor and flight or fight response to my presence.

Blog HawkA raptor in hunting mode perched on a tree branch often has it’s back to me. A short conversation will prompt him to turn to see the source of the noise. Click , click goes my camera. Further chatter often turns him around to access the threat. That is when I click, click, click the shutter button.

Blog FoxFinding my subjects is also a challenge. They could be in the woods, along a river bank, along the edges of a field, or standing along the road. Some animals are use to seeing cars drive by. However when a vehicle stops that is totally foreign to them. Some stop and ponder the situation for just a moment. That is my opportunity to click away.

For me photography is as much about the experience as it is about the resulting image. The challenge of finding my subjects is something my spotter Jay takes very seriously. While I view our excursions as relaxing and fun he is serious and tense until I click the shutter button a few times. Then he relaxes a bit and enjoys his surroundings.

Blog TurtleMy endless quest for new subjects to photograph has led me to explore a variety of locations. I have met some charming people, and look into the eyes of fascinating creatures.

        When viewing a wildlife image do you consider what it took to get the shot? Do you simply enjoy the image? Do you have a preference for scenic shots over architecture, or are critters your favorite?

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Go into the field with S. J. Brown and see what develops.

Read Close Ups & Close Encounters.

S. J. Brown’s children’s picture books introduce children to wild critters with photographs, not illustrations.

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Jennifer FlatenThis blog post by Jennifer Flaten

This is a picture of persistence. 002

I know it looks like a picture of two cats, but really, it is a picture of persistence. The cat on the left is Pimento, our oldest cat and a former shelter cat. We got Pimento about 5 years ago from our local humane society.

He was from a cat hoarder’s house, one of 100 cats they removed. Due to the nature of the conditions Pimento lived in before we got him, it took a long time to integrate him into our household.

While he is warm and loving with immediate family, even tolerating our dog and then later our puppy Ginger, guests NEVER, see him. He disappears the minute the doorbell rings.

The cat on the left is Noodles; he is our “newer” cat. We also got him from a shelter. He is a former stray. Aside from being seriously underweight when we got him, there was nothing wrong with Noodles. He certainly wasn’t shy.

He had no problem integrating into our household. He loved us from the minute we brought him home. He even, dare I say it, likes the dog, but what Noodles really wanted was to be buddies with Pimento.

Pimento wanted nothing to do with him. In fact, Pimento ignored Noodles’ very existence for the first few weeks. When he couldn’t deny that Noodles was here to stay, he refused to let Noodles anywhere near him.

It was Noodles’ dearest wish that Pimento would be his friend. Noodles would try to eat next to Pimento at the food bowls and Pimento would bat him away. If Noodles tried to sit by him, Pimento would hiss. If Noodles walked by Pimento, Pimento would raise his paw in warning and Noodles would scurry away, but he always came back.

This went on for at least two months. Then one day, Pimento was napping on the couch and Noodles hopped up by him and settled in, there was no hissing and no raised paw. There was only two cats snuggled side-by-side on the couch. Persistence.

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