Merging Photography, Engineering and The Enjoyment of Nature

Dennis Miller

I am Dennis Miller. I worked for 45 years or so as an electrical engineer and engineering manager. There was a three year hiatus from engineering for the Army including Vietnam. My primary area of work was on the environmental control of large buildings. I ‘retired’ in 2007. Following retirement I got involved in teaching technology to grade and high school students, adults and engineers. In addition, I became a teaching naturalist at a nearby nature center and a Wisconsin Master Naturalist.

Following retirement I have spent many hours walking and, to make it more interesting, taking photographs of the fascinating things I found along the way. I generally walk through parks of the Milwaukee County (Wisconsin) Park System and particularly the Wehr Nature Center. The photographic opportunities range across White Tailed Deer, Coyotes, Great Horned Owls, Great Blue Heron, varieties of birds, and many, many types of bugs and plants.

As a part of my photographic activity I have looked at different ways of ‘seeing’ the natural world through study and purchases of equipment. As a result I have explored nature using visible light photography as well as near infrared, ultraviolet and thermal infrared photography. In addition I have acquired numbers of cameras and lenses which can be used to get a high level of detail as well as effective slow motion of animal actions. To compliment the physical process of taking pictures, I do a lot of post processing of photographs. As my areas of photography have expanded, I have found that the processes as well as the characteristics of my photographic subjects have many relationships back to engineering and physics.

Through the years of nature photography I have accumulated several thousand photographs as well as a good deal of experience in the processes of nature photography. After some review of options I determined that a blog would provide a focus for my continued photographic activities. Also, since I have spent a lot of time trying to find answers to many topic and process questions, I hope to provide some new insights for the readers and that the readers can provide improvements to my work.

My plan for blog topics ranges across the scope of my photographic activities. I plan to cover animal topics through photographs such as three years of closes encounters with a nesting Great Horned Owl. Other blog content may be simply the interesting photographs I took during a week or two of walking. As my wife and I have done a good deal nature related traveling, I will include some of the photographs from these adventures. I will periodically describe the photographic equipment and processes I’m using or have used. I am not by profession an expert on the creatures I photograph and, while I do periodically study some of them, I make marginal attempt to scientifically identify most of the obscure birds and bugs. With very few exceptions the photographs are taken in the ‘wild’ with wind, light, creature motion, creature position and camera motion as found. I don’t use a tripod as it generally isn’t very helpful … and is a walking hazard. Focus is always a challenge. I will show the ‘better’ photographs but some will be less than perfect as they are the best I can get for the subject.

This is my plan for the ‘Wonders of Nature’ blog. I hope readers will find the content interesting, informative and sufficiently stimulating to begin their own exploration of the Wonders of Nature.

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Great Blue Heron
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Wisconsin Bumble Bee … so far unidentified
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