Category Archives: Eye & Hand: Draw, Photograph, Paint, Write

Indulging the creative spirit.

What Kind of Camera Should You Carry on Outdoor Adventures?

Sure, you can use your smart phone to shoot pictures. More power to you. But what about dedicated cameras? Which one is best for your needs? That depends.

by Tamia Nelson | April 6, 2018

Photography Article on

Cameras are a favorite topic of discussion amongst people who enjoy outdoor pursuits, as it all too clear when I look through my mailbag and read blog posts and threads on discussions groups. Old hands like to hash over technical distinctions of different camera models, while folks new to digital photography are full of questions, one of the most common of which is…

What sort of camera do I need?  The answer is simple if not terribly satisfying: That depends. It’s like choosing a new bicycle. Some are good all-rounders, others are specialists, and their prices run the gamut from cheap to astronomical. Cameras are a matter of personal choice, and every seasoned photographer has his or her own favorite. Before choosing a camera, ask yourself some questions. Do you take only occasional snapshots, or do you want … Continue reading »

Learning to See: Happy Are the Painters

When a Christmas Eve fire left Tamia with little more than the clothes on her back, she mourned the loss of her camera and photos. But out of this loss came something of enduring value: She learned to see again. And so can you.

by Tamia Nelson | March 23, 2018
Originally published in very different form on June 6, 2000

Nearly forty years ago, Farwell and I made our first home together in what had once been the servants’ quarters of an imposing Victorian manse. Then, on Christmas Eve, the century-old structure burned to the ground. As luck would have it, we were away from home at the time, visiting family, but we didn’t escape unscathed. Except for an aging Volkswagen Beetle and the clothes on our backs, the flames consumed everything we owned.

This blow fell hard on us. We had no insurance, for one thing. Still, although we missed our tent, our sleeping bags, our climbing gear, and our books, the losses I felt most keenly were my treasured Nikon camera … Continue reading »

On Keeping a Journal: Fixing Images on the Emulsion of Memory

Alexander Mackenzie did it. So did Henry David Thoreau, Mina Hubbard, Raymond Patterson, and Sigurd Olson. And you can, as well. In fact, if you canoe or kayak—or if you just take an active interest in what’s going on in the world outside your door—you’d be foolish not to. Curious? Then read on. Tamia will tell you all you need to know about keeping a journal.

by Tamia Nelson | March 16, 2018
Originally published in different form on May 21, 2002

General Natural History Article on

When Colin Fletcher smashed his only camera, far down a trail in the depths of the Grand Canyon, he cursed his luck. After all, he was walking through country he’d probably never visit again. Before long, however, his spirits had soared. He discovered that he’d escaped from the “tyranny” of photography. “Instead of stopping briefly to photograph and forget,” he later wrote, “I stood and stared, fixing truer images on the emulsion of memory.”

The emulsion of memory… It’s a wonderful turn of phrase, isn’t it? But there’s a problem. Unlike … Continue reading »

Exposing Snow: Tips for Winter Photographers

If you’re a shutterbug, don’t closet yourself inside just because it’s snowy. By following a few simple tips, you can bring out the beauty of the winter landscape.

by Tamia Nelson | January 21, 2017

Ever wish you could discover a new world? Do you think those days are over, at least here on Planet Earth? Well, I’ve got news for you. Every winter storm remakes the world, if only for a little while. Just be the first person out the door and down the trail after a fresh snowfall, and you’ll be sure to make a few discoveries. Of course you won’t get your name in the history books, but you can get some great photos. It’s not quite as simple as pointing and shooting, though. All that fresh, white stuff on the ground can easily throw your camera’s sensors off. The result? One of two polar extremes: Your shots will either be blown out (overexposed, or too bright), or—and this is more likely—they’ll be a dull, dispiriting, uniform dark gray (underexposed).

OK. … Continue reading »