Cheryl Johnson has developed quite a following as a wildlife photographer working under the pseudonym “Backyard Bird Nerd.” Her photos have been featured in magazines, websites, and art galleries. As the owner of an advertising agency, writing has always been a part of her life and career. Her literary work has included producing text for websites, brochures, television and radio commercials, and a variety of magazines articles. Delving into the world of children's literature has been an exciting and challenging adventure, and pairing these books with her love of photography has proven to be the perfect outlet for her passions and talents. When not prowling around in nature looking for something to “fly” by her lens, she lives in South Texas with her husband, two daughters, and dog.
Two Old Biddies
My very dear friend and photographer extraordinaire, Buddy Lee, told me one time that a good photo tells a story. Buddy takes some amazing photographs, and his images speak volumes. But more than that, Buddy tells a great story and always weaves the most incredible words around the beautiful photos he takes.
One of the things that brings me the greatest joy with my photography, are the stories my photos tell me. When I look at my images, I remember where I was, who I was with, and what was going one. So many of my photos bring a smile to my face as I think back at the wonderful memories that surround them and it’s always fun to look at photos from adventures past and remember…
Last week, I received an email from the National Audubon Society. This organization promotes science, education, advocacy, and conservation with the goal of protecting birds and the places they live. Each year, Audubon sponsors a hugely popular photography contest. They receive thousands of images from photographers from all over the United States and Canada. In 2019, I entered the competition for the first time, submitting fifteen of my favorite and strongest images. With such stiff competition, not surprisingly, I didn’t win or place in the Top 100. Happily, I wasn’t too upset about it. I was proud of the images I entered and felt that they matched up well with many of the images that won or placed. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that the love of art is incredibly subjective and just because the judges don’t agree, doesn’t mean the piece isn’t terrific. Anyway, last week I received an email from Audubon asking permission to include one of my 2019 submissions in their 2022 calendar. Needless to say, I gave them an enthusiastic, “YES!”
The above photo is the image that was chosen for their 2022 National Audubon Member Calendar. To me, this photograph tells the story of "Two Old Biddies", meeting up on the street and having a stare down as they each try to prove that they're the toughest chick at the feeder! When I look at this photo, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t this incredibly exciting honor, the first thing that I think about are the amazing and wonderful memories I have surrounding this photo. I captured this image almost exactly 2 years ago, on March 16, 2019, during a multi-day photography adventure at the Santa Clara Ranch in the South Texas Rio Grande Valley. On the trip with me were Shyamala from San Antonio, Lynn from Dallas, and Susan from Ohio. I met Shyamala a year or so earlier through our mutual photography friend, Bev. I met both Lynn and Susan the year before when we were all on a photography adventure on South Padre Island that was organized by Jeff Clow. Last December, Susan and I had the opportunity to travel and shoot together again on a fabulous trip to Costa Rica that was led by Hector Astorga, who was also our guide and host at the Santa Clara Ranch. It’s a crazy and convoluted web of friendships all linked by our love of photography. When I look at this photo I think about the amazing women I was with when I snapped the image. I think about the web of friendships that have grown out of this crazy obsession of mine. And I think, with excitement, about what exciting adventures might be down the road.
If I never win an award with one of my photos, it’s going to be okay, because no award will ever replace the joy that I have discovered and the friendships I have made though this amazing hobby.
Share the Beauty of Nature with Your Child!
Nature is Amazing
These beautiful books by writer and photographer Cheryl Johnson, are designed to not only engage your child but to encourage their imagination, exploration, and discovery of the world around us.