From the beginning of our relationship we have enjoyed the "great outdoors" and all the wonders of nature. When we were dating we loved to go on picnics in the beautiful Arizona desert. As the children came along, we continued our nature study with outings after work, evening meals around a campfire, bird study (an Eagle Scout project got us interested in this one), fishing trips, making plaster of paris molds of "critters footprints" that frequent desert watering holes, and much much more.
With all our photography, we have found the experience was not complete without learning the names of everything we took pictures of.
First it was birds. When we had exhausted the identification of birds in our local area we turned to butterflies, and now, our curiosity and desire to learn more, has turned us to the photography and research of flowers, plants, and animals, with a few insects thrown in here and there.
Marlene is very artistic, she draws, does all kinds of crafts, paints (on canvas as well as walls in the house), and in general...is very creative. Me, on the other hand, well…lets just say the toddlers and kindergarten kids won't get any competition from me in the school art festival. I am one of those who can see fine art and truly appreciate it but have no ability to paint or draw. My talents have been focused on the photography and graphics processes.
Marlene has been a devoted wife and stay-at-home-mom while I earned the money. We never had a lot of it but together, we use it to make memories and have a good deal of fun in the process.
Our involvement in nature photography is somewhat newly spawned. I took photography in high school and have always loved snapping pics of family and friends, but it was not until the wonderful world of digital came along that we blossomed (pun intended) into shooting flowers and other nature photos.
Some years back, my employer bought a $149.00 dollar camera to use at work to take pictures of broken parts and things. I did not want to leave it unattended in the office over the weekends so I carried it home with me. The next thing I knew, we were taking it with us everywhere we went. The memory card only held 79 high-resolution photos, but we filled it every time we left the house. Having been a printer for 40 years... it was a natural that we started thinking of ways to use all these pictures and put my graphic arts talents to work. On our MAC home computer we printed a nice book for our children for Christmas, featuring all the new and wonderful creations we had photographed.
It was not long until my critical attention to detail made me very dissatisfied with the office camera. We expanded our scope and bought a $65.00 tripod and a Fuji 5000 FinePix. A great camera for the next step up and less than $500.00. We had it all now. Wrong!…soon I was complaining about not being able to hold detail, especially in white and yellow flowers. The close up shots just did not have the detail and resolution I wanted. Yep, you guessed it. We upgraded to a Cannon EOS 10D with a 28 x 135mm image stabilization lens. 100mm macro lens for high detail close-up work, 580EX flash, and a Bogen pistol head tripod, and a great bag to carry it all in. Now we had it all, right? Wrong again!…we have now graduated to an even higher plane with more and better “stuff.” We have added a Cannon 30D, and more lenses. (By the way…this upgrading process, I have concluded, will never end.)
Now that all the children are out of the nest, we spend every possible moment in the woods and hills taking pictures. Thanks to the wonder of digital, we take over 20,000 pictures a year (our wildflower season spans only from early March to late September). We hope viewing this web site helps you gain an insight into how much fun this is (something you can do together with your family), how inexpensive a hobby it can be, and join with us in sharing some of the wonderful things our Creator has put on this earth for us to enjoy. We also hope you will buy our cards and prints and tell all your friends and family to visit this site and buy some, too. (My wife would NEVER have said that.)
Wildflower Bill & Marlene Mahaffey