Bud Ralston

Bud with 800mm Nikon


     Outdoors, surrounded by nature, is where I have always been the happiest. I spent my early days near a creek, running through a forest of redwoods and sandhills. Exploring, wading, fishing, and watching the birds and small animals who called the stream valley their home was peaceful for me.

     My undergraduate degree in Geography and world travel as a navigator and photographer created a constant desire to see and record the wonders around me. After retiring from the military and corporate worlds, photography became a passion. I began with SLR film cameras and switched to digital in 2001.

      I love wildlife photography with its challenges of availability, weather, lighting, and background. There is a thrill to finding a beautiful animal in the wild. Your hands tremble as you work frantically to set your exposure, shutter speed, and aperture, constantly aware you may lose the opportunity at any second. You seek the animal's eye in your viewfinder and trust your camera's autofocus. Pressing the shutter as gently as you can in the excitement, you pray to have everything right. In a day with a thousand shutter releases, you are thrilled to get 20 or 30 quality images.

     Landscape photography is slower and allows one to set up correctly while light changes as clouds pass overhead or the sun rises and sets. Searching for those unique and photo-worthy areas adds zest to my travels. Many visits to the same site require patience and dedication. You have had a good day when weather and lighting combine to capture a vista that takes your breath away.

     Finally, photography keeps your mind sharp. Every day I learn something new and can't wait to try it out. That is the excitement, my friends, that makes life worth living.


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