The Unexpected by SJ

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This Post by S. J. Brown

Recently I was reminded life rarely goes as planned. Sometimes you just have to go with it. Like the bride & groom that had an extra thousand or so people at their wedding reception. They waved to the crowd, toasted one another and smiled for the cameras. Like when Hubby and I bought a new house and couldn’t move in until six months after settlement. We did a little remodeling and relaxed on our new deck. Making plans are good, but you should always be prepared to tweak your plans just a bit when the unexpected happens and makes life a bit more interesting.

The unexpected is pure gold to a reader. The plot twist they didn’t see coming, the well laid path that leads them to a surprise destination, or the killer they never suspected.

As a wildlife photographer, I live for the unexpected when I am out in the field. A chance encounter with a surprise critter is always a plus.


These meetings can have a variety of results. Those results are what drive the stories I write. The seemingly simple photograph that took hours to get, the friendly looking critter that wasn’t all that friendly. Being close enough to a wild animals to hear their breathing. These situations are all part of the life of a wildlife photographer.

Bighorn Sheep

Weather and terrain are also factors when I am in the field. A cloudy day often is more photo friendly than bright sunshine. Rainy days are always a challenge. But if I am there and the critters are there, I cover the camera, put on a poncho and keep shooting. Did you know cold weather kills the camera batteries? They need to be kept warm between shots. Time in the field teaches most wildlife photographers how to deal with this issue and many more.


Standing ankle deep in muck to get just a bit closer to the subject isn’t uncommon, neither is climbing trees, over rocks or laying on the ground.


For me the ultimate shot is achieved when a critter pauses, and looks right into the  lens. When viewing a photograph do you consider the angle it was taken from? When reading a murder mystery story do you consider the amount of time and effort that goes into that unexpected ending?


Fiction writers test the limits of their imagination, while wildlife photographers test their limits of observation.

On November 29th I will be joining a number of fellow authors at the Berkeley Springs WV Book Festival. If you are in the area stop by the Ice House on Mercer Street between 10 am & 4 pm. I will be giving a presentation about wildlife photography. Also I will be sharing photographs and autographing copies of my books. I always enjoy chatting with people about their favorite wild critter. What’s yours?

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

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S. J. Browns Children’s books are available exclusively through S. J. Brown.  at

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