Joe and Mary Ann McDonald's

Wildlife Photography

March 2004

Tip of the Month


Undoubtably the BEST source of information available for traveling to a new area is Robert Hitchman's Photograph America Newsletter. Now in its 15th year of publication, Bob's 12-16 page travel newsletter is the next best (OK, it's actually better than) thing to going there and writing your own personal diary of the roads you've traveled, where a great place to eat was, how much a toll costed, and, of course, when and where to photograph.

The Newsletters are extremely comprehensive. Written in an informal, but very literate and readable first-person style, Bob tells you what roads he traveled (and why, namely, it's the best route to get to the location!), what he saw, and what equipment he used. He describes road conditions: "There were few, if any, shoulders. Any creature climbing out of the swamp was on the road ....." and describes the conditions or requirements of off-road treks: "... a canoe launching site. A fairly strong current would make paddling back upstream to this bridge quite strenuous ... With a two car shuttle and the help of some friends, a canoe trip ... could be quite an adventure."

Quotes like the last one are quite revealing. If I were planning a trip to the Dixie Mainland Trail in Florida and if I was tempted to canoe through the area, Bob's advice has just given me fair warning. If I went downstream, which is easy and tempting, I might really regret it when attempting to return back to my launch site. Arranging for a pickup, or having two cars, would solve that problem. This is the type of information that I'd share with a friend asking me for the how-to's or tips on shooting a location. It's all there in the Newsletter.

I've been getting the Newsletter for several years, and immediately after subscribing I ordered the entire collection --- which was delivered in two attractive 3-ring binders, clearly labeled with 'Photograph America Newsletter' on the spine, and to which I could add my subsequent newsletter reports. The 2 binders sit prominently on our travel/location section of our bookshelf.

If you're interested in just a single area, for example, if you were planning on visiting a section of the country for an extended time, or if you were moving to a new area, or, indeed, if you simply wanted to know what is around your own home region, you might want to get the collection for each region. For example, the Southwest Collection involes 23 issues, the Atlantic Coast has 16 issues, California has 12, Fall Color has 14 fall color issues.

Check out Bob's website to order online at, or call at (415) 898-3736, FAX at (415) 898-2506, or write to Bob at Photograph America, PO Box 86, Novato, CA 94948. You'll find that the Newsletters will be your first stop when researching your next travel destination.

Our Past Photo Tips of the Month:


  DIGITAL- Digital Birding

 DIGITAL -Shoot for the Future

DIGITAL-Shoot for the Future, Part II

 DIGITAL Photographing scenes with extreme exposure values

 NPN- Nature Photography Network - a digital forum for nature photography

 Digital Pro Image Management Software

 Watch Your Backgrounds
The potential of composites or shooting in RAW format

 Protecting your long lens from SAND, the pleasures of beach photography

 How do we protect our gear from dust, and carry our gear when on safari

 The Ultimate Flash Bracket
Padding Your Wimberley
Tripod Head

  Specular highlights and the flashing frog
 Using TTL flash with Hummingbirds  Testing your Flash's Aim
Maximum Depth of Field and Hyperfocal Distance - they're not the same thing!  If you see it, it's too late -- a lesson in anticipation  How do you shoot the Moon?
  Low level tripod work  A great depth of field guide  Wimberley 400 and 600mm IS plate

 Sigma's 120-300mm F2.8 APO HSM zoom lens

 Using The Wimberley Gimbal head with a camera body

 Sigma's 120-300 f2.8 APO
zoom telephoto lens

 Custom Function 4-1 for Nikon and Canon shooters
  Take a Workshop First   Luck, what is it?  Don't take in baby wild animals

  Airline Carry-On Luggage -Let your concerns be heard!

 Disconnect -- travel precautions

The Nature Photography Network - a super website for images and information
 Wildlife Portraiture

 Obey the Rules
The Ti Chi Stalk
Photographing Critically Endangered Sites Bushnell Night Vision Optics  Adobe Photoshop 7 for $300

 The Sibley Bird Guides

 Removing Cactus Spines

 Drying out boots with newspaper

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