Photographing The Natural World: A Special All-Reader Edition

“A man’s interest in a single bluebird is worth more than a complete but dry list of the fauna and flora of a town.”—Henry David Thoreau

This month’s column marks a special anniversary since this column, originally called Website of the Month, was originally launched in July 1999. In a much more recent column, I mentioned not hearing from Shutterbug readers about their own websites and since then the dam burst and I’ve been flooded by e-mail. Thanks to all of you who took the time to write. Working through all those e-mail messages takes time but for this month I’ve selected four reader sites that are “submitted for your approval,” as the late Rod Serling often said. Look for more readers’ sites to appear on a regular basis as well as a photographer’s blog of the month, which started unofficially last month.
Jacqueline Slavney’s site is as much haiku as it is HTML and consists mostly of images of nature starting with photographs of flowers that began “as an easy project while learning some new equipment.” Yet looking at her images—usually captured in high or low key—the word “easy” does not come to mind. Instead, you’re whisked away to a special place where bits and pieces of nature become objets d’art. And while I would have liked to have seen larger images, it would be hard to quibble given the delicate space in which Slavney has decided to place these intimate photographs.

Take your time to browse and explore these flowers and, like me, I’m sure your response will likely be a whispered “wow!” Slavney exhibits the same care and craftsmanship in Weeds, Reeds, and Grasses, where even the lowly dandelion becomes an object of gracefulness. In Trees she steps outside the studio but still manages to create delicate images using the natural filtering agents of snow and fog. Dunes contains softly colored images that remind me of Edward Steichen’s famous “equivalents” series of cloud images but instead using rolling hills of sand. What you see is up to you. Slavney’s website is powered by VisualServer ( and sprinkled through her portfolio are collections that include images of cats, museums, travel, and figure studies. Nudity advisory: the Figure Studies collection has a few images featuring tasteful nudity and if that offends you, don’t click it.

© Jacqueline Slavney
Alexandra Nunes is a young photographer who is currently a student of Kinesiology: Exercise Science, and whose clever website designed by Colby Rabideau ( features a few nature and landscape-oriented galleries. Look in Landscapes first. Although there are only a few photographs right now, the seascapes, especially Boston, show a flare for composition, color, and drama. You’ll find the main thrust of her images in the Recent gallery, especially her dramatic photographs of small birds such as those of a cardinal taking off from a snow-covered fence. When I was a co-owner of a brick-and-mortar art gallery in Georgetown, Colorado, one of our best sellers was a photograph of a cardinal and if this image had been on the walls it would have been a big hit. You’ll also find somewhat abstract images of a shoreline that remind me of images from Solaris (the good Russian version) in its “eyes of the beholder” vagueness. Fun stuff. You’ll also find some very Facebook-style snapshots of friends and family that need their own gallery. Yet what all of Nunes’s photographs show is a fearless young person exploring the craft of photography, discovering just what’s around the next corner.

© Alexandra Nunes
Boston-based Angel Gerena is a portrait photographer whose elegantly designed website is worth a look because of how he sees the world. He told me, “For me, life is a canvas and the chapters of our lives are the paint brush; each stroke creates art rich with color, which in turn makes up the fabric of our everyday lives.” As a portrait photographer, his galleries include Weddings, Engagements, and Quinceñeras that are chock full of carefully crafted modern-day portraiture, but the gallery he calls Urban/Fashion Photography, which features images of attractive and ethnically diverse subjects captured in inventive poses and locations, fascinated me. Like all of his galleries, these photographs can be viewed as individual images or as a slide show (recommended) and form a clever and creative body of work that should be an inspiration for anyone who photographs high school seniors. There is also smooth jazz on the site but I know that some Shutterbug readers don’t care for music on a website and although you can turn it off, it restarts whenever you change the page. Gerena has another gallery called Artography that features striking before and after images, most of which have enhanced or replaced backgrounds and is well worth a look for Photoshop aficionados.

© Angel Gerena – ACG Photography
My Blog-of-the-Month for July is from Jack Jeffers, a fine art photographer who at age 76 thought it was time to hang up his heavy film camera and think more in terms of pixels than silver particles. But his view of the world has not changed: “I am still inspired by the gentle, the noble and dignified, and the beautiful unfolding of life as I see it.” This philosophy is expressed eloquently, yet in down-to-earth terms, in a blog filled with musings and images that Jeffers has made on trips all over the state of Colorado with some side trips to neighboring states, including Wyoming. His image of a snowy butte in Twin Creek, Wyoming, is simply not to be missed, especially because after looking at it you discover that it’s a silver print that he handcolored with transparent oils. So while Jeffers may now be shooting pixels his photography is still deeply old school.

And although he lives in Colorado—it’s a big state—I’ve never met him but would like to at some time. As is typical with many blogs, the images are kinda small but that only intensifies the intimate and homey feel that his blog, powered by Blogger (, offers. Before signing off be sure to visit Jeffers’s website,, where in addition to six galleries of his classically styled black-and-white photography there are colorful images of his wife Pat’s artistic basketry and fiber sculpture. You simply won’t believe your eyes.

© Jack Jeffers