Tuesday, July 6, 2010

An Interview with Ann Johnson: Part 2

Tell us about the challenges of photographing dragonflies. How about the challenges of creating a laminated guide?
I really don’t consider myself a great photographer, so the images I have captured have been pure luck in getting good lighting and good composition. For the most part, success depends on just getting outdoors and making the most of your opportunities. With the advent of digital cameras, you can afford to just keep shooting and hope you have something when you get home. The greatest challenge in doing a laminated guide is to succinctly summarize the most important information. Those people I have managed to capture into the world of looking more seriously at dragonflies will no doubt find a need for more comprehensive information, but my intent in creating the laminated guide was to create an interest in these winged jewels.

What has changed in the outdoor world since your first days of enjoying and protecting it? What’s better, what’s worse?
Over the past twenty years or so, I have seen so much more activity in protecting natural areas for future generations by both the public and the private sectors. Wetlands have been restored, and grasslands and woodlands have been protected and managed for species diversity. Soil and water conservation has moved further forward in the general consciousness. But what has happened to the birds? When I was a kid, migration was a real natural phenomenon with trees full of warblers and vireos. Today the numbers of individuals seem to have dropped dramatically. Did we wait too long?

Ann Johnson, Dragonflies and Damselflies in Your Pocket: A Guide to the Odonates of the Upper Midwest

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