What advice would you give to younger nature photographers? What are the particular challenges of being a botanical photographer?
For beginning nature photographers—young or old—my standard advice is to “look at nature like a child!” Kids have a great curiosity and sense of wonder, which we sometimes lose as adults. If we look through the camera with a sense of amazement, perhaps we can capture that unique image, rather than just taking a “pretty picture.”
The biggest challenge for any photographer may be time. Equipment is getting better and better, and easier to use, but the photographer must spend the time to “make” a picture, rather than just “take” a picture. That means finding the subject, being there at a precise time in its blooming cycle, knowing when the light and weather are best, and getting to know the subject well enough to set the proper mood or tone for the photo.
What are your favorite natural areas in Iowa and the Midwest? What areas do you return to constantly, and what’s your favorite newly visited area?Like many photographers, I’m drawn to the Mississippi River, the Loess Hills, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and various parks and wildlife areas. But I often find that I do my most creative work close to home. It’s really satisfying to prowl around our woods or our reconstructed prairies to look for new images and moods.
Larry A. Stone, photographer, Wildflowers of Iowa Woodlands