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NPN Member Profile...

Terri Norris - NPN 0180

As with many other NPN photographers, my interest in photography originated at an early age. My father, the original “gadget meister,” had worked in a photography shop and had collected a selection of photography equipment and gadgets. One of my memories involved sneaking into his boxes of photography gear when he wasn’t around to see what I could find. It was there that I found my father’s Olympus Penn 35mm half-frame camera. I don’t think that I went anywhere without that camera in my pocket during my teen years.

I married my high-school sweetheart, David, and went on to college; majoring in science and obtaining a registered nursing degree. Photography continued to be a pastime for me, and my husband supported it by giving me a Vivitar SLR and a telephoto lens.

As we started our family, photography took a backseat. We are proud of our sons; Michael is a sergeant in the Cryogenics Division of the United States Marine Corps, and Justin is currently completing U.S. Army boot camp and will be training on communications. Both have great wives and children and I am thoroughly enjoying the “Mamaw” role!

Having inherited the “gadget meister” gene from my father, I was intrigued by the possibilities that digital photography offered. I purchased my first digital point & shoot and began attempting nature shots. It wasn’t long until I stepped up to the next generation digital (one whole megapixel), and began to enter some photography competitions. Surprisingly, I did win some competitions even with the low resolution and won my next camera. It was only 2 megapixels, but I thought I’d died and gone to heaven! It was with that camera that I placed 3rd in Art Wolf’s PhotoTrust nature competition with a peregrine falcon image.

About this time my career pathway changed, as myself and another nurse started a Forensic Nurse Examiner program. As you may know, Forensic Nurses perform sexual assault exams, and use photo documentation to capture evidence in those cases as well as other criminal or violent injury cases. I knew that my skills in injury documentation had reached a high point when a surgeon specifically requested me to be called in to photograph his surgical removal of butternut squash from a gentleman’s’ ”orifice.”

This continuous contact with photography in my daily job was the impetus needed to renew my interest in nature photography as well. I discovered NPN and joined in 2001, and was inspired by the images that I saw. Each viewing session taught me valuable lessons and began to give me a “feel” for the style I wanted to call my own.

By 2002, I leaped into the world of Canon digital SLRs. This marked the turning point in which I was able to utilize all of the techniques that I’d picked up from NPN forums. While macro photography quickly became my favorite form, I often tell people that I am an “omni-photographer” since I’ll photograph any subject that is available!

Over the last two years, my macro style has become more defined. By that, I mean that I have a particular goal in mind when I find a subject: to show that subject in its environment and to show a bit of the “personality” of that subject. Does a moth have personality? Maybe not the same type of personality that I’d look for when photographing one of my grandchildren…but lighting, magnification, and composition can bring out some character in even the most minute creature.

My style also involves handholding most of my shots. While I assure you that I own a very nice tripod, I prefer to be flexible and to be able to get down quickly on the subject’s level and to maneuver in thick cover to get the image I want. Because of my handholding, flash is a necessity in order to utilize a manageable shutter speed. The flash also gives me the clear, saturated colors and contrasts that are my personal preference. While “my style” will not, and should not appeal to everyone, I’ve learned that self expression in my case means breaking some rules!

My current job as Trauma and Emergency Medical Services Coordinator allows me some time to pursue my endeavors, and I am fortunate to have a variety of photography opportunities almost in my backyard. In addition to my gardens, in which I shoot most of my macro images, Buck Creek State Park is a mile away, and Cedar Bog is nearby. In recent years, David and I have traveled to photograph black bears and wolves, and we have enjoyed participating in the MWNPN outings at Magee Marsh and John Bryan State Park.

While I don’t know what the future will hold for my nature photography, I do know that NPN will remain a part of it. The friends that I’ve made, and the skills and knowledge that I’ve gained are invaluable and I can’t thank the NPN members and staff enough for resurrecting my photography interests!

Editor's note - Be sure to visit Terri's online portfolio and web site to view more of her work.

Comments on NPN nature and wildlife photography articles? Send them to the editor.

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