Making it better

SJBROWN author picBy S J Brown

Each of us in our own way tries to make the world a little better. Writer’s help people escape their daily woes and immerse themselves in another place and time, making the world a little better.

SJBrown1I know a number of teachers that don’t end their connection with their students when the bell rings. They run after school programs, and tutor students. They go to work early and stay late with each student they guide they are making the world a better place.

Anyone who has met me, read one of my blogs or checked out my website site knows, like most wildlife photographers I feel a connection with nature. I try to do my part of make the world a little better. At home I grow my own veggies, compost, buy reusable products, and recycle.

SJBrown3 All of my paper and cardboard waste goes to a local nonprofit that recycles it and uses the money in local schools. I buy potted Christmas trees instead of a cut one and gladly share information on being more environmental friendly with friends and neighbors.

When I clean out my linen closet the sheets, towels, and blankets go to the local humane society. Once we were settled in our home Jay and I realized we had too much furniture. Instead of taking these items to the dump or selling them at a yard sale I listed them for free on a local website. When I remodeled my office I had several sliding glass doors that a gentleman from the area was thrilled to get. I am constantly finding ways to keep things out of the landfill.

SJBrown4Away from home I work with a number of other volunteers planting trees along stream beds. I do presentations for children and adults about wildlife, sharing my love of nature. I am a member of a local gardeners exchange group. There we exchange ideas, information and plants making our little corner of the world a better place.

Occasionally I will take friends or family members out into the field with me giving them a little different perspective on the natural world. I tag monarch Butterflies and take part in citizen science projects.

SJBrown2I buy books from fellow West Virginia writers whenever I can. My little purchase wouldn’t make a difference to Stephen King, but certainly counts to them. I have begun writing book reviews as a way of helping my fellow authors get a little more exposure.
There are so many ways each of us can make things a little better for another person, a critter, or even the world we all share. Take a minute or two and share with me how you accomplish this I am always open to new ideas.

Thanks for stopping by.

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 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.

SJ BRown 2

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.

SJ Brown 5

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.
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367
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 or purchase one of my books.

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My Year in Review

IMGP6507BY S. J. Brown

Since this is my last blog for 2017 I thought I would sum up my year. Once again it has been a busy year. Yes I was on the road a lot. But I love traveling and luckily Jay indulges me.
I managed to cross another state off my bucket list when Jay and I visited Michigan

We stayed by Lake Michigan and enjoyed some fantastic sunsets, some interesting critters, a working windmill and saw lots of tulips.

SJBrown3 SunsetMy travels within my home state of West Virginia included some familiar locations and some interesting critters.

My trip to Pennsylvania was all about the birds.& of course, Philly Cheese Steaks.

North Carolina is generally all about the bears. Yes I had a close up bear encounter this year. But I also got to hang out with some other critters as well.

I was in and out of NJ several times this year. Unfortunately my last trip was cancelled because of snow.

SJBrown9b SnowBack at home my veggie garden got off to a rough start. So we added a fence and by the end of summer I was canning and freezing veggies.

SJBrown9c RabbitWe did some work on the house again this year only a few more large projects to go. In 2018 we plan to demolish the ugly bathroom. Gone will be the doorway in the middle of the room, the tan and orange floor tiles, blue walls. We will remove the bathtub that was obviously used for something besides bathing.
I spent time with family in NJ, Maryland and WV this year as well. 2017 had some challenges but they were outweighed by all the good so it turned out to be a fun year.
I managed to do a bit of writing as well. My sister Betty and I have been tweaking our book and submitting to publishers while we wrestle over the idea of self publishing.

SJBrown9dSo how was your year? I hope 2017 brought you lots of fun adventures, quality time with family and friends, and granted you a few wishes.

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.

 

Southbond

IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

I borrowed the name for this month’s blog from a band. They are a country music band and although I am not a fan of country music I somehow ended up with one of their shirts. I have had it long enough it might be considered a vintage t-shirt. The shirt features a hillbilly with a guitar along with the name of the band.
There were no hillbillies or guitars on my latest photo trip. Jay and I headed south before the sun came up. We packed the car with drinks and snacks, hiking boots and water shoes tucked in with our duffle bags and of course camera equipment.

sjbrown1sunrise

Our destination was North Carolina. North Carolina offers sandy beaches, warmer temps, woodlands, and wild critters. I had visited this part of the state in the past and found black bears, otters, birds big and small, turtles, rabbits, and deer. The area also has a small population of Red Wolves. However they are very illusive.

Over the years I have learned that some animals don’t mind having their picture taken and will let me get close,

sjbrown2Egret

Then closer,

sjbrown3Egret

and even closer yet.

sjbrown4Egret

On these occasions I generally get my shots, thank the critter for being so co operative and leave them the way I found them. Every photo trip I strive for that special moment, the encounter that stays with me long after I leave the area.
However on this trip I had two of those moments. A very fat, very co operative Black Bear gave me my second encounter. She was hard to find, but it was so worth it.

sjbrown5Bear

Then she decided I was less of a threat than the other photographers that had made their way close to us.

sjbrown6bear

Yes I was using a telephoto lens, but I have never been within 5 feet of a black bear before. At one point she was too close to get a photograph. So I just stood still and let her pass by me on her way back into the woods.

sjbrown7bear

Encounters like this just encourage me to go out and do it again. I hope all your critter encounters are good ones. 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.

 

 

Enjoying the little things

IMGP6507 By S. J. Brown

Many wildlife photographers strive to photograph large critters. I admit Buffalo, bears, and moose are always on my wish list when I am visiting their homes.

SJ Brown Bear But the little critters that also live in those areas are often more of a challenge, that makes getting the shot even more enjoyable.. Their size allows them to hide more easily; it also makes them harder to find in the lens.

Dragonflies seem to zoom from one location to another stopping only for a brief second or two to pose.

SJ Brown DragonflyPreying Manaus don’t move quite as fast, however their coloring helps them blend in with their surroundings.

SJ Brown Preying Manaus

Ladybugs are a bit easier to spot due to their bright coloring. But their tiny size makes a macro lens necessary. With a macro lens I need to get very close to my subject.

SJ Brown LadybugSome critters that are a little larger are not easy to photograph, like snakes. Most of the time when I find a snake it is either on the ground or in the water. That means to get a decent image I need to either get on the ground or in the water with the snake.

SJ Brown Timber Rattlesnake

Birds are also challenging. Smaller birds tend to spook more easily. More often than not once they know I am close by they fly off. Since I can’t fly once they take flight I have lost the opportunity to get the image, even with a telephoto lens. However every now and then I get lucky and find a co operative one.

SJ Brown Red Winged BlackbirdThe little things in life can often be enjoyable. Every now and then when I am having a bad week I will treat myself to some chocolate. I also enjoy sitting on the porch and watching the fireflies in the yard.

What little things do you enjoy?

 

 

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.com87

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

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

Acover

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.

1078

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

 874

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

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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.

 

 

 

 

On the Road Again

IMGP6507

The car was fully loaded, leaving just enough room for Jay and me.  The back seat held a small cooler for drinks, 2 camera bags, 2 duffle bags, and a bag of snacks.  In the trunk was a large cooler with food for the next few days, linens, hiking boots, a tote loaded with plate’s cups and silverware, and our coats.

SJBrown1road

Jay and I were heading north on a 5 day excursion.  The trip began with torrential downpours and lots of traffic.  Our first stop made it all worth it when we got a chance to hang out with family and have pizza for dinner. 

The next morning we were up with the sun and back on the road.  Our destination, Michigan was still over 7 hours away.  We encountered more rain, more traffic and road construction.  Still we managed to arrive in Holland Michigan in time to cruise the downtown area, find an array of tulips and find our cabin before sunset.

sjbrown2sunset

Jay and I were heading north on a 5 day excursion.  The trip began with torrential downpours and lots of traffic.  Our first stop made it all worth it when we got a chance to hang out with family and have pizza for dinner. 

The next morning we were up with the sun and back on the road.  Our destination, Michigan was still over 7 hours away.  We encountered more rain, more traffic and road construction.  Still we managed to arrive in Holland Michigan in time to cruise the downtown area, find an array of tulips and find our cabin before we were encompassed by darkness.

sjbrown3coot

We were up were up with the sun and on the hunt for critters to photograph.  Thanks to some informative birdwatchers we had a new destination. Just 2 hours away there were Heron, Cranes and several other critters building nests and settling in for a while.   As usual local people had the best information and we found some very co operative cranes and their friends.

sjbrown4raccoon

We returned to our cabin in time to watch the sunset over lake Michigan accompanied by hundreds of people who had the same plan.  The following day was filled with black squirrels, geese, ducks, a muskrat, and a stop to tour a working windmill.  It was imported from Holland decades ago and they still grind flower there every week. 

sjbrown4windmill

Our last day was mostly driving toward home.  We did stop for a while to see the cranes, and Herons one more time to help break up the trip. 

sjbrown5crane

By the time we returned home we had traveled 1822 miles.  I had clicked off 17 rolls of film and captured 28 different types of critters.  Now I am ready to do it again.    

Thanks for stopping by. I hope your days are filled with one happy adventure after another.

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.

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

 

 

Getting Educated on Marketing

IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

As a writer there are two things I truly suck at, punctuation and marketing.  One of my New Year’s resolutions was to work on both.  So when an on line course I had been eyeing was offered for free for one week only I signed up.

sjbrown1butterfly 

This was my first experience with an on line class and how they work.  I knew each day of the Book Marketing Summit I would receive an email with links to the days segments.  On day one I learned there would be 4 or 5 segments each day.  Each link was accessible for 48 hours and then it disappeared.

  sjbrown2pony

The segments consisted of interviews with a knowledgeable professional about a specific aspect of marketing; most of them were an hour long.  That’s four or five hours a day, add in my part time job, laundry, meals, etc, etc.  I would not be spending any time with critters that week.

sjbrown6frog

At the end of the seven days I had worked 26 hours and traveled close to 400 miles to do it.  I had completed all 28 segments and had 40 pages of notes. 

I have now sorted my notes into categories and have a game plan.  The first order of business for me is to start building my list.  What list you ask, why my e mail list of course.  This list will consist of people who want to follow the progress of my publishing journey with my new book. 

On a bi-weekly, or possibly monthly basis I will e mail each of them an update on my progress, and offer a free look behind the scenes every now and then to keep them engaged.  Once the book is released they will get an e mail with a bonus if they purchase the book.   .  If this sounds like a journey you would like to take with me just E mail me sjbrown.pictures@gmail.com.   Feel free to share this blog with others that may also be interested.

sjbrown3emu 

The timing on this marketing summit couldn’t have been better. I am in the final stages of finishing a book my sister and I wrote together.  The working title of the book is simply “Sisters”.  It is a memoir that takes the reader through 12 years of our lives as we become adults.

sjbrown4sisters 

As I build my list I will also be putting together my launch team. What is a launch team?  It’s a group of people that are super interested in this process.  The launch team is my sounding board for decisions on things like the book description, the cover,  keywords, what freebees to offer (launch team members get all the freebies)   categories and more. The launch team members will have first access to the book and I am hoping most will write reviews. 

sjbrown5sisters

There is still a lot to do before we go to print, but I have learned a lot about on line marketing and I am hoping my new found education will serve me well in the future.  What are your marketing secrets? How will you apply them to your next project? 

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.

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 CoverHow will you apply them to your next project.