Barbara A. Lewis - Artist/Naturalist

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Finding Beauty

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 6:40 AM

If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere. 

~ Vincent Van Gogh

I not only work as a wildlife artist in my home studio, but have a full time graphic design job as well. Unfortunately, my graphic design job requires that I sit 8 to 10 hours a day in front of a computer, with two 15 minute breaks and a half hour lunch. By the time I get home, prepare supper and see my husband off to work, the sun is getting too low to go for a walk. So starting this week I have been taking my breaks outside and taking my lunch time and going for a walk around our building. This has led to some interesting nature encounters (and health benefits!), so the other day I took my camera with me to work and began looking for nature and was pleasantly surprised.

Our building is situated in a fairly large industrial park with a railroad track running alongside of it - there are several "lakes" - actually large retaining ponds that are teeming with fish and visited frequently by wild shorebirds, black skimmers, anhingas, herons, alligators, snakes, ospreys and to my delight - bald eagles. Two of these eagles have a nest near our facility and this week I was blessed to get some flight shots of the male. So far I have seen one eaglet on the nest - but it is too far away to get a better view to see if there are more. I will have to bring in binoculars alongwith my camera. The male eagle frequents the lakes to get fish for his mate and sometimes perches on nearby poles at the edge of our parking lot.

The railroad track has a lot of scrub brush which makes a great habitat for smaller birds and animals such as raccoons and squirrels. One of my friends on the night shift said they even spotted a great horned owl on their late evening walk. Just the other day I took some nice images of a yellow rumped warbler and a rufous sided towhee in the brush alongside our chained link fence. I am constantly amazed how nature will adapt to man-made structures and go about their business of raising their young, and despite the noise, pollution and other distractions continue to thrive.

I have delighted in showing my co-workers my photographs and hearing some of them say: "You took THAT photo here in our parking lot - no way!" Nature is right under our noses if we would but put away our cell-phones and other distractions, take a walk - listen and observe. You would be amazed at what you discover too!


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