Welcome to my new blog which I’m calling “Finding Focus.” My purpose in creating this blog is to explore with you issues and practices in the worlds, principally, of photography and writing.
I am both a photographer and writer of longstanding. Camera-wise, I began with a Kodak Brownie back in the 1950s. I developed a strong passion for photography during my high school years with both a personal Argus A-1 and the school’s Graflex, which I used for both newspaper and yearbook photos. Later, I also shot for my college newspaper and yearbook with a similar Graflex. Since then, I’ve owned and used Pentax, Rollieflex, Hasselblad, and a variety of 4X5 studio and field cameras. But since 1986 I’ve relied on Nikon equipment and that is my system of choice today. The license plate on my trusty Toyota Tacoma, which carries me around rural roads in search of photos, reads “NIKONS.”
Over the years, I’ve had many published photos. Dozens, if not hundreds, were used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where I was employed for nearly three decades, in its many publications. Probably they are still being used today, long after I retired from that department. Other photos have appeared in magazines, books, and in unknown places worldwide through the sale of stock photos.
While I continue to market my photos, and look for new ways to make them available, my principal outlet for my photography is myself and the books I write and illustrate with my photos.
About those books. I’ve published four since retiring. The Hero of Gucci Gulch, a murder mystery, draws on my knowledge of Capitol Hill for a hair-raising tale of intrigue and mayhem. Choosing and Using Handplanes used my photos to illustrate the varieties of handplanes available for woodworkers and how to use and care for them.
My more recent books have dealt directly with photography. Creative Composition for Landscape Photography is a basic guide to enhancing the composition of landscape photos. Though intended for a basic audience, it offers valuable reminders for advanced photographers as well. My most recent book, co-authored with my friend Jeffrey Fleisher, is called Shooting Iron Horses: Photographing Your Model Railroad and is a comprehensive guide to photographing model railroads. All four are available from Amazon.com, as is my author bio under the name of J. Norman Reid.
Other books are planned. I’ve got a couple more novels in my murder mystery series underway, a book with Jeffrey Fleisher on macrophotography, a book on black and white photography, and some other projects I’ll speak about when they are more fully ripened.
In this blog, I’ll talk mostly about photography, the things I’m exploring, ways I’m challenging myself, lessons I’m learning, and interesting things that seem worthy of sharing. But I’ll also speak of writing and creative thought, about books that have impressed me and ideas I find challenging or intriguing.
I hope these interests, and my mode of expression, will find an interested audience and that the blog will spur some dialogue around the subjects I address. By the end of another year, I hope to have developed a sufficient body of information to clarify who I am as a seeking photography and writer and to excite you to join with me in this ever-evolving journey. Welcome!