Bud Ralston

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

My undergraduate degree in Geography and world travels as a navigator and photographer created a constant desire to see and record the wonders around me. I began taking pictures with SLR film cameras in 1966 while traveling in the Far East. I switched to digital in 2001. After retiring from the military and corporate worlds, photography became a passion.

I love wildlife photography and 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 in constantly changing light as clouds pass overhead, or the sun rises and sets. Searching for those areas that are unique and photo-worthy adds zest to my travels. Many visits to the same site requires patience and dedication. When weather and lighting combine to capture a vista that takes your breath away, you have had a good day.

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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