01. Welcome to Nature Center Magazine. We are all anxious to learn a
little bit about you. Tell us what your blog is all about.
When I first started to blog, I wanted it to be one of humor and creative writing. I love to write. However, in being newly retired, I decided I wanted to start doing more nature photography and hiking out in the area where we live because it is a sportsman and nature-lover's paradise. I found a new passion in nature photography and found the blog a great way to show folks what we saw when we hiked out into the wilderness of the U.P. (Upper Peninsula of Michigan where we live). The photography has been the center of my hobbies now.
02. Everyone has their own unique story about what gave them the idea to
start blogging. What is yours?
My daughter had a blog and I started reading hers, and then she mentioned that it is really easy to set one up. I tried it and was hooked immediately and started making so many friends on line by reading their blogs. I have met many who have read my blog and came up to visit our area. It has been such fun! I had recently retired (I am an R.N.) and thought it would be a fun way to make a diary of my thoughts and hobbies since retiring so I named it "The Retirement Chronicles".
03. What do you enjoy about nature and what benefits do you derive from it?
Nature is the ultimate stress reducer and makes you appreciate life so much more when you go out and see it. I have almost come to tears over the emotional response I get when I see the beauty out there. It makes you convinced that this life of ours is no accident. The simple wonders and beauty of nature is hard to put into words...you feel it in every fiber of your body. Trying to capture it with my lens is the ultimate challenge and when I get close to evoking that gut reaction to its beauty, I feel so rewarded. And looking at the images again and being able to get the same emotional response as when you were there in person and other people getting to share that feeling is the best!
04. Each of us has our own way of being with nature. Some people hike,
some take pictures, and some climb trees. How do you experience nature?
I definitely experience nature by photographing it and capturing the moment to the best of my ability. Sharing it with others through the blog is a bonus. I am afraid of heights so climbing a tree is out for me, however I have done a few fearful things just to get "the shot" with my camera.
05. Tell us about the most exciting or scary nature related thing that
ever happened to you.
Seeing a moose in the wild unexpectantly is always a thrill for me. We see about 3 or 4 a year and each time it happens I am thrilled to the core. I never get close because I use my zoom lens, but they are so huge! The most exhilarating thing that ever happened to me personally is with a hummingbird. One hit our window at our lake and we have read how to save birds that get stunned....we "nursed" him back to health and off he went. The next day, I was in my garden and this little hummingbird was buzzing me, over and over. I finally stood up, froze still and he flew right at my eye level. He stayed there, buzzing in place, and we were eye to eye for over 3 minutes. If I turned my head, he would buzz over to that side and look me in the eye again. He just stayed at eye level looking at me in the eyes. I finally talked to him and said, "You must be the little guy we helped yesterday!". As soon as I said that he got really excited and buzzed a big circle completely around my head, chirping the whole time and came back and looked me in the eyes and chirped again. Then, he flew to an apple tree branch right beside the garden and watched me for another few minutes and left. It was one of the most spiritual connections I have ever had with another animal/creature. It literally gave me the chills.
I have a "wish list" of animals I'd love to capture with my lens, and every time we get to see one up close to photography it is exciting. My latest was a porcupine and before that, an owl. It is like a treasure hunt to look for, see and get the privilege of photographing.
06. If you were to take us on a nature tour of your area where would you take us first?
Describe what we would see.
If you came to the U.P., you would see gorgeous wilderness of forests, rivers, streams and lakes along with glorious Lake Superior. You'd see many waterfalls and wildlife. It really is a paradise here.
But winter is brutal with lots of snow and cold. You have to be able to love winter sports like snowshoeing, snowmobiling, skiing, etc. or just know that winter is long here and prepare for the fact that it is like that. The winter beauty of the snow on the trees and in nature is gorgeous. I just bundle up the best I can and still try to get outside for some nature shots on the sunny days that aren't below zero on the thermometer.
07. If you could visit any nature spot in the world, what would it be?
Almost any National Park.
Tell us why.
I haven't seen many mountains in my life, so one of my bucket list wishes is to go out west to see some and photograph them. I haven't been to the Grand Canyon yet, and that is also on my list.
I am happy in any nature spot in the world that I have not been to yet....there is so much beauty on this earth to capture with my camera. We went to Los Cabos last winter and I was thrilled with the Arch and huge rock formations coming out of the ocean floor. I want to see as many places as I can, even if they are only one county away from where I took my last pictures.
08. Each blogger has gained their own insight into writing a blog. What
have you learned that you would like to share with other bloggers?
Be yourself. Share your gifts and insights in a way that uplift people's spirits. If you have a knack for humor, share it. If it is photography, share it. You don't have to be a professional. When I started out, I was very much an amateur with my photography. But I keep taking classes and learning, and learning from other photography from my blogger friends. Don't complain or be a downer on your blogs. No one wants someone who is angry or bringing you down. I remember when I first starting reading blogs, one lady turned out to be a scam artist by saying she was almost homeless and soliciting money from sympathetic fellow bloggers reading her blog. That is unforgiveable in my opinion. Always make someone's day better for them having read your blog that day. Feel honored that someone took some minutes of their day to sit down and read your blog, as you should! The one thing I regret is that I used to read over 50 other blogger's blogs a day, and can no longer do that. I used to leave comments to let them know how much their blog and friendship meant to me. I no longer have the time to do that much reading due to time constraints as my photography has brought me to the point of selling them and attending sales and art shows related to that. I still try to randomly pick some each day to read and comment on, but I miss the daily contact with them all. The blogger world is really a wonderful community of people and it allows you to experience life in many parts of the world through their eyes. I am always amazed on how international these connections are. I have blogger friends in Ireland, England, Italy, Spain, the far east, all over the U.S. and Canada. The experience has been amazing!!
I also have learned that blogging has motivated me to become a better and better photographer through many of the kind and supportive comments of my readers.
09. Where can our readers find you? Give us the name and a link to your
blog. If you have more than one to share, we would all like that too.
My blog is called "The Retirement Chronicles" and the link is at:
I do blogposts 3-4 times a week on there and all of my photography can be purchased at a very reasonable price if anyone wants copies of any of the prints.
10. Is there anything we have not discussed that you would like to add?
I encourage anyone to start a blog. Not only do you discover things about yourself in this process, but you make wonderful friends. Whatever your passion, you will be more motivated to do it by the feedback and comments of blog readers.
As a side note, on behalf of all photographers (amateur and professional) if you like a photo from someone else's blog, don't "steal it"...write to that blogger and ask permission beforehand. Many times I allow someone to use mine for free for a desktop picture or a charitable cause, but one should ask first. Pinterest has become an international craze and it has caused some copyright problems. You can repost them there, (I do too) but always, always give credit to the photographer by listing their name as the photograph's creator. That photographer has taken great pains to get that particular beautiful shot and they deserve to "own it" in this way.
I'd like to thank you so much for the opportunity to share my thoughts and blog today with you. I feel very honored to have been approached to do this interview, and honored for each and every one of you that reads my blog! If you haven't stopped by The Retirement Chronicles yet, please do so, I would love to share my world with you!
Thank you, Joan, for taking a nature walk with us. It is easy to see why your followers are so devoted... you make us feel so comfortable. All that is left for us to do is to go look at your blog.
Do you write a nature related blog and you'd like to be interviewed by Nature Center Magazine? Click the link and let us know who you are and that you'd like to be featured in a Nature Walk: Interview Me.