Through college, raising children, career moves, whenever I found the need to escape from the craziness of the world, I would head to the woods to walk and explore. Walking amongst the trees, observing the flowers, the butterflies, listening to the stillness, or the sounds of birds brings me a peacefulness that I have not been able to find elsewhere.
About twenty years ago I decided that it would be nice to capture some of these images in the woods so I purchased a new Nikon. Trial and error led to many rolls of film being printed. When visiting my father one day, he said, “Why don’t you do something with all those pictures you are taking. Here is a photography show you can enter.” I did, and was called a couple days later and was told that this show was not for professionals, only amateurs were allowed to compete. Since this was the first time I had ever shown any of my photos, I let them know that I considered myself an amateur! This was the validation I needed that maybe, just maybe, I could capture a bit of the beauty I had so enjoyed throughout my life to share with others.
For the next few years I was out in the woods every chance I had. I’d throw a cooler in the back of the car, fill my pockets with film, and away I would go. It would take me all day to travel ten miles as I constantly stopped to explore a flower that caught my eye, and then a little farther down the path there would be a different flower, and then, there’s another one over under that tree…..
I soon began to do photo shows at locations such as the Kalamazoo Nature Center, Hartwick Pines Visitors Center, and Whiting Forest, and I received comments such as: I never noticed that flower before. How could I have missed seeing this? That’s what that little purple flower in my yard really looks like.
I began to think about how I could share these photos with a larger audience and this series of books, Michigan Wildflowers: Up Close and Personal, came to be.