Channeling My Inner John Shaw

Northern Lights over Lake Michigan
Northern Lights over Lake Michigan, August 15, 2015.

I was leading a photography workshop in Northern Michigan and we were out on a night sky field trip at Lake Michigan. We started seeing some flickering in the northern sky which developed into this display of the Northern Lights. It was a great night at the lakeshore.

Nature Photography Books

Nature Photography Books

In a way I had come full circle. The person who started me on the path from snap shooter to serious photographer recommended magazines and books I should read. One of the first was John Shaw’s book The Nature Photographer’s Complete Guide to Professional Field Techniques. It transformed my nature photography. It is, in my opinion (along with the revisions), the first and most important book you should read on nature photography. When I started teaching nature photography at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in 1995, I recommended it to all of my students, along with John Shaw’s Closeups in Nature which is my favorite guide to closeup photography in the field. I still highly recommend both books, except I recommend the current update of his original book, John Shaw’s Guide to Digital Nature Photography).

John Shaw, Northern Lights, Alaska.

So John Shaw has had quite an influence on my photography. When I look at this beautiful Northern Lights image by John Shaw, and then at my image at Lake Michigan, I like to think I am channeling my inner John Shaw.


Nature Photography Books: The Three Essentials. If you only read three nature photography books, put these on your “must read” list.

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