Wednesday, October 21, 2009

An Interview with Robert & Linda Scarth: Part 2

What advice would you give to younger nature photographers?
Move slowly, walk quietly, look up, look down, and look underneath. It becomes a meditation exercise and you will begin to see more. Use the equipment you currently own in as many ways as you can find or imagine. To paraphrase what Yogi Berra is reputed to have said: “You can see a lot by looking.”

What are your favorite natural areas in Iowa and the Midwest?

Whichever was the last one we visited, especially if we are happy with our images. We keep The Guide to Iowa’s State Preserves book by Ruth Herzberg and John Pearson in our map bag, along with the Iowa County Conservation Board Guide, the Iowa Sportman’s Atlas, and an assortment of notes -- just in case we are in the neighborhood. We have similar notes for nearby states and gazetteers for almost all states.

What areas do you return to regularly?

Locally we often visit the Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center and other Linn County Conservation Board properties. Our yard and garden provide many subjects. We think that we should bloom where we are planted. Rochester Cemetery in Cedar County is another regular site.

What's your favorite newly visited area?
Last spring we visited the River Terrace Prairie Scientific and Natural Area near Cannon Falls, Minnesota, and were amazed at the number of pasqueflowers on this gravel mound deposited during the last ice age.

What are the particular challenges of photographing plants and animals?
Controlling light and dealing with wind are the two biggest challenges for us. We often use square white umbrellas to diffuse light and block wind. The next challenge is working to produce nondistracting out-of-focus backgrounds for portraits.

Robert and Linda Scarth are the photographers of Deep Nature: Photographs from Iowa

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