Web Site Of The Month
Grizzly Bear Nature Photography

The homepage of John and Cheryl Herbst's web site is a gateway to a cornucopia of information that wildlife and nature photographers will find invaluable. Don't miss the animated bear tracks that meander across the top of your screen.
Photos © John W. Herbst, 1999

To all the nature photographers don't feel neglected; this Web Site of the Month is just for you. Grizzly Bear Nature Photography features the images of John Herbst and is located at www.grizzlyjhphoto.com. You may already be familiar with some of John's work, since several of his photographs have appeared in Tokina ads during the past year or two. John and his wife Cheryl own Grizzly Bear Nature Photography, a stock agency which has 90,000 original nature and wildlife images on file. Their site is quite active, and John told me it averages between 8000 to 10,000 "hits" per month from more than 40 countries.

The Herbsts live in the Black Hills of South Dakota just 12 miles from Custer and Wind Cave Parks. They photograph bison, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, deer, and mountain goats on a daily basis. John told me that "next to Yellowstone Park, we probably have the richest variety of photographical wildlife in the country." They've established their web site to serve as a resource for nature photographers in general, but especially for those who venture out to South Dakota.

If you are planning on visiting South Dakota to do some nature and wildlife photography, be sure to visit Grizzly Bear Nature Photography. This screen from the "Image of the Month" section is full of seasonal tips on where to find wildlife to photograph and what scenic spots shouldn't be missed.

John and Cheryl understand that the way to create a useful web site is to update it frequently. They update the site every month, including such departments as Article of the Month, Image of the Month, Book Review of the Month, and Equipment Review of the Month. Also information on current wildlife and nature photo opportunities available in South Dakota. All of the previous months' information is placed in archive files for people to review whenever they wish. John told me that one visitor commented that their "web site is a virtual course on wildlife and nature photography" and I think that's a fair statement.

Follow The Paw Prints. The home-page provides a directory for all of the site's 18 different sections and an animated sequence of bear paw prints moving across the screen. The page includes links to many practical resources in Western South Dakota, such as a guide to South Dakota State Parks that features a listing of accommodations available in the area.

The "Article of the Month" section features a story about wildlife photography which, when I last visited, was the fourth in a series on photographing bighorn sheep. If you missed the first three parts, they have been archived and can still be accessed. The text for this article was accompanied by some great and one downright spectacular image of these critters.

Photographing Scenery, Wildlife and Birds is just one of the many instructional sections found at Grizzly Bear Nature Photography and contains location-specific information about wildlife and nature photography in South Dakota's Black Hills.

Grizzly Bear Nature Photography, has a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section like most well-designed sites. One difference is that, instead of providing information about the site or computer-related details, John shares his preferences for equipment and film. You'll also find some trivia like this tasty tidbit which answers the question, "Why did you name your company Grizzly Bear Nature Photography?" John's reply: "Because I wanted to," proving once again that Westerners are, by their nature, people of few words. In this case, the Webmaster lets his images speak for him.

In my book The Photographer's Internet Handbook I recommend that photographers creating web sites be sure to include an "Image of the Month." John's approach should really be called "Images of the Month" and includes many different photos including text that explains how, when, and where they were made. The Webmaster has also taken the trouble to create an archive of these images, their size being modest but viewable. If you click on one to copy it, a JavaScript application automatically runs displaying copyright information and contact--phone and e-mail--for purchasing the rights to use the image. Given that John has protected his online images so well, I wished he had made them just a little bit larger.

Those of you planning a trek to South Dakota shouldn't miss the sections on photographing scenery, wildlife, and birds. Landscape photographers will find tips for visiting "undiscovered" areas to create breathtaking landscape images. Specific areas, including Mount Rushmore, have links to park service and other sites that provide details on hours of operation, cost, and other information that a traveler might need. While it's easy to take a cliché photograph of Mount Rushmore, I urge anyone who's never been there to visit the park. Movie buffs will enjoys seeing the location where Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest was set, and all Americans will feel a sense of pride viewing the massive presidential sculptures. Devil's Tower, from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, although located in Wyoming is not so far away, either.

Bird photographers will also find tips here, but the Wildlife section is comprehensive and includes the where and when to photograph deer, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, bison, and pronghorn antelope. You will also find information on photographing smaller animals such as chipmunks, thirteen-lined ground squirrels, and black-tailed prairie dogs. Since I see most of this latter group of animals on my daily walk, they didn't interest me as much as they might some readers who live in big cities.

Grizzly Bear Nature Photography is the kind of site that has many nooks and crannies where you will be able to spend hours learning from John's work as well as what the state of South Dakota has to offer nature photographers. After spending some time with this site, I've already started planning a trip.

As you can see from this screen, the Photo Essays of Herman Krieger cover a wide variety of topics that comprise the human experience. Be sure to bookmark this site.

Bookmark Of The Month. This column has proved to be popular and I get many suggestions about web sites to feature. In addition to a Web site of the Month, I'll also be featuring a Bookmark of the Month to briefly highlight another noteworthy place to visit. This month I urge you to bookmark Photo Essays by Herman Krieger at www.efn.org/~hkrieger. Although he spent 30 years as a computer programmer, Krieger's black and white images exhibit a sense of humor that is too often lacking in contemporary photography. This wit combined with his obvious photojournalism skills produce images that will make you smile while you marvel at his technical and people skills.

The images on this site are large and beautifully digitized, although they can sometimes be slow to load. The topics of his essays vary from the panoramic imagery of "The Big Country," to the compassionate photojournalism of "A Day in the Life of a Mobile Veterinarian." Not to be missed in this latter series is his touching yet humorous image "CAT Scan." "Along West 11th Avenue" is a journey down the main thoroughfare of Eugene, Oregon, with periodic stops along the way to see a world that many people pass by but never notice. At a time when photojournalism seems limited to getting the one big picture that runs on page one, the essay appears to have gone out of favor. Krieger's web site should be in your bookmarks so you can see that it's alive and well and living in Eugene, Oregon.

If you'd like to see your web site featured in an upcoming column or would like to send me your favorite bookmark, drop me an e-mail care of editorial@shutterbug.net.