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I’m an amateur nature photographer who has been photographing the outdoors since 1982. I also consider myself an amateur naturalist since I tend to be project-oriented in my photography. Once my camera and I are focused on a particular subject, I try to learn everything I can about  its life, habits and behavior. These two passions, love of nature and photography, have brought me many hours of enjoyment over the years.

A third passion of mine (one that I’ve had much longer than the first two) is a love for reading. I consider books to be treasures—glimpses into the minds and hearts of others, both those alive and those long gone from this world. No matter what the subject, good writing often reveals as much about the author as it does his subject. We’ve all heard the saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” That saying is neither true nor false. It really depends upon the picture and the words that are being compared.  I’ve seen many wonderful, exciting, inspirational pictures that can’t easily be described with words, but I’ve also read many passages that create a mental imagery unmatched by any photo I’ve ever seen.  Composing a photograph has even been compared to writing. A great subject doesn’t automatically translate into a good image: its success depends on how well the elements of the scene are composed or structured within the frame.  Similarly a great thought is not so easily translated into good prose: it is dependent upon the choice of words and how well they are structured within the sentence or paragraph.

There will obviously be both pictures and words on this website. I’m a much better photographer than writer, but one of the aims of the website is to improve my writing skills as I share with you some of my favorite images and experiences. I’ll also discuss photographic techniques and share biological information about some of my favorite subjects.

Although strictly an amateur, I’ve had images published in National Wildlife, Southern Living, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Wildlife in North Carolina, Nature Photographer, Birds and Blooms as well as other regional magazines and newspapers. The use of some  images have also been donated to national, regional and local conservation organizations.

In 2010 my wife Sandy and I moved into a new home in Seven Springs, NC──on 25 acres of land that I am landscaping to attract wildlife. With one son married and another just graduated from college, we now share our home with four dogs (all strays that we have adopted over the years).  The pond featured in the home page slide show is on this property, and is the setting of my current project: documenting the beauty, life and fascinating behaviors of the wood ducks that feed daily on my pond and nest yearly in the four nest boxes on the pond.



  1. Dave Gurtcheff November 17, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

    Hi Ed: I did a search for the Tamron 150-600mm lens on Fred Miranda, and came upon your post. Like you, I am a devoted amateur; I sell enough to feed the habit. My specialty is LBI seascapes. I am 77 and retired, and STILL very active photographically. I have a Tamron 150-600 on order, it is supposed to arrive Thursday. I preordered one a while back and received it from B&H. I locked it down on a sturdy tripod, used mirror lock up and cable release, and it was not sharp at all at 600mm. I returned it….I guess I had a bad sample. Seeing your tests are VERY encouraging. Your work is fabulous, and I am book marking it. I only do a small amount of bird photography, but I do enjoy it. Again, your work is fabulous, and don’t let the rude people over on FM discourage you.
    Very best regards and good luck
    Dave Gurtcheff
    Beach Haven, NJ
    PS: when I worked I was an engineer…just out of curiosity, what do you do to pay the bills? Scientist? Naturalist? Not my business, but in the past, I have people with technical training are sometimes also artistic

    • Ed Erkes November 17, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

      Thanks for the kind words about my photos. I hope you will be pleased with the Tamron 150-600 you have on order. I have enjoyed mine. I use my Sigma 300-800 when shooting from a tripod and use the Tamron 150-600 for lighter work since it can be handheld. You might be interested in Brad Hill’s review of the lens. He is a very talented professional photographer who tests a lot of equipment. His blog, http://www.naturalart.ca/voice/blog.html , has several posts on the lens. You should start with his 29 Oct post and then read the more recent ones.
      Photography is an enjoyable hobby. I am a dentist by profession, but I enjoy getting out in nature whenever possible.

  2. Dave Gurtcheff November 21, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

    Hi again Ed: I received the Tamron 150-600mm lens. I will test it as best I can. I will try hand holding, monopod, and tripod, (with ball head loose and VC “ON”), because that is the way I tend to use longer lenses. I also prefer using a monopod if I can, because at 77 years I am not as steady as I used to be (but not complaining….I still go to the gym 3 days a week for weight training). I checked your link to Brad Hill’s web site and read his review. He also seems to think it is a great value, given it’s moderate price. His work is outstanding, as is yours. If you travel to southern NJ coast area, let me know. I can take you to all my favorite spots. My personal phone number is on my web site. You have my email address. Last year at the southern end of the island (Part of Forsythe Preserve) we had Snowy Owls, for the first time I can ever remember. They are reported to be back this year. Also, at the north end of the island, at Barnegat Light, later in the winter, we have a nationally known migration of Harlequin Ducks that are here for a while, along with other diving birds
    Best regards
    Dave in NJ

    • Ed Erkes November 24, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

      Hope you enjoy your new lens. I checked out your website and you have some really nice images. I especially like the Great Blue Heron taking off from the dock in a driving rain! I’ve never had the chance to photograph snowy owls. I’d appreciate it if you would keep me posted on their availability this year.

  3. Bradley Greene September 15, 2015 at 11:45 am #

    We would like to use the image of the Old Sautee Store in our holiday marketing i.e. Christmas flyer.
    Please inform as to how we obtain permission to use this image, and how to download it or obtain
    a digital copy.

    OSS management

    • Ed Erkes September 18, 2015 at 7:10 pm #

      You have a wonderful country store. I’d be happy to let you use the images. I already sent you an email message several days ago. Check your spam or junk folder.

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