Ingraham (1 of 1)

I began by posting my Pic of the Day to Twitter, Facebook, and two digital photography groups I belong to. It occurred to me that an expanded version, with some why and how, might be of more interest, and force me to take a closer look at my images as well. Therefore this blog was born in December of 2008. I have not missed a day since 🙂

I was, until July 2014, the Birding and Observation Product Specialist for Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. I still travel for ZEISS about 15 weeks out of the year so I get to some interesting places. In that I am blessed.

I’ve been taking pictures for over 55 years, starting with a Sawyers 127 roll film box camera my Great Aunt gave me. Did the whole darkroom, push-processed slide film, and SLR thing. Went digital 7 years ago and haven’t looked back. Current camera: Sony HX4090V superzoom. Adobe Lightroom for my primary software.

Father of 7 girls. Christian.

To me it is all about recording and celebrating the evidence of the work of the Creator God, whether I see it in nature, in his children and what we create, or in our ability to recognize beauty when we see it.


  1. Reply
    Neil May 25, 2009

    Nice photo of you . I like your flora photos. I’m going to be doing a few more myself as the migration season comes to an end. I’ll be using the G1 with various old lenses I have lying around the flat. Neil.

  2. Reply
    Michael Sabadoz September 27, 2009

    I have a quick question. Hope you don’t mind me asking.

    1. I see you use Lightroom but I haven’t seen any other software mentioned. Is that the only software do you use?…for Raw conversion, organizing your images, and for retouching/processing the images?

    Thank you.

  3. Reply
    Abby Ingraham October 28, 2009

    The pictures look great and I love your blog set up! I too have my own blog, completely different from yours of course but it was something I had to start for a class and something I’m trying to get better at. Sorry kind of random to do this on here but I couldn’t get a direct email from your website. If you could shoot me an email that would be great! Thanks (Your Niece)

  4. Reply
    John Thomas November 2, 2010

    Mr. Ingraham:

    I would like to use one of your photos from Cape May (Sunset 10/10) on our school’s webpage for the month of November, 2010. Please contact me if you will give us permission.


    John Thomas
    609-884-8485 school main number

  5. Reply
    Gail November 6, 2010

    Hi Steve,

    I found your blog while looking for photographs from past autumns to compare to our current leaf cover.

    Your photos are just gorgeous – I am pea-green with envy! But what a pleasure to see them!

    If you have any interest in doing a comparative study – if for instance you have shots of the same location from different years – please let me know. I have been trying to document the deterioration of the landscape from exposure to tropospheric ozone, but unfortunately, I didn’t realize what was happening until 2008, so my pictures are all recent.


    Gail Zawaacki
    Oldwick, NJ

  6. Reply
    Tom Luhman March 11, 2013

    Stephen, I found your blog through ‘Google Alerts’ which I had set for the Canon SX50. It alerted me to Steve Creek who referenced you. I have just retired and have been looking at the Canon SX50 to carry with me while birding. Your pictures are wonderful, my decision is made! Thanks. By the way, I see you are associated with Carl Zeiss. I just purchased the Zeiss 10×42 HT binoculars (from the Seattle Audubon Nature Store) and are they spectacular! Thanks again.
    Tom Luhman
    Member of the Board of Directors

  7. Reply
    Gladys March 17, 2013

    I found this site by following a link from Steve Creek’s site and I’m enjoying your photo’s. I just purchased the Canon SX50 and I’m learning to use it.

    BTW, I tried to comment on the kestrel post and it seems there is no place to do that. I see the place that says “0 Comments” on the top of the post but there is not an actual link. Perhaps, that is what you intended but just thought I would mention.

  8. Reply
    admin March 17, 2013

    To post on an individual post you have to open the post on its own page by clicking on the title 🙂

  9. Reply
    John Gold April 1, 2013

    Hi Stephen: Your photography is beautiful!

    I have a client who would like to use one of your images on their website. Would you be so kind as to contact me to see if we could arrange permission? My email is above, or you can call me at 771-5510.

  10. Reply
    NatureGuy May 11, 2013

    You’ve been taking photos for 55 years?? LOL! Ok, if you say so.

  11. Reply
    scott sainsbury June 13, 2013

    I noticed that a few months ago you mentioned using a new digiscoping adapter that Zeiss was bringing to market soon. I have a Zeiss diascope, but have held off buying their quick adapter II because of a few bad reviews. I was wondering if you were referencing another product, or if you might feel differently about the quick adapter II . Thanks

    • Reply
      admin June 14, 2013

      It is still 6 to 8 weeks out, but it is coming. 🙂

  12. Reply
    George J. Lambert September 17, 2013

    Hi Steve,
    Since I met you this morning(9/17/2013) at Parsons Beach, I have been perusing your site, bog, photos, etc. I am envious of your work as a writer, fisherman, amateur photographer and fellow Kennebunker.

    Just as an aside, while you have 7 daughters, I am the youngest in a family of 8 boys.

    Keep shooting—photos that is! Your eye for composition is fantastic.


  13. Reply
    John S March 21, 2014

    Hi Steve,

    Really super photo.

  14. Reply
    David Schumaker April 21, 2014

    Stevephen, I went back over to the wren sight and saw two of them yesterday. Unfortunately had already taken my digiscope appart and was tired. Just sat a looked with the new binocs. The images you took are outstinding.

    It was so good to see you again at Godwit Days. I look forward to next year and hope to take you out to some other places. Stay well, your friend Dave

  15. Reply
    George Lambert June 23, 2014

    Hi Stephen, I used to receive your daily pic but somehow I got removed from your distribution list. Could you please add me to your list again? I really enjoy looking at your marvelously photos, sometimes with a bit of envy, wishing that I could accomplish such compositions.


  16. Reply
    Jock Elliott October 29, 2015


    I found this blog through the link from Point-and-Shoot Nature Photography.

    Since your stated goal is recording and celebrating the work of the creator God, I thought you might enjoy this: http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/blog/about-jock-elliott

    It’s a small ebook entitled “The Heavens Declare the Glory of God” that combines pictures of the with related scriptures. It is a free download; there are no marketing hooks, and you don’t have to give your email.

    I share your enthusiasm for using superzooms for nature photography. I use a Panasonic FZ200.

    If you follow these links, you’ll find some bald eagle shots I took with it:



    Cheers, Jock Elliott

  17. Reply
    Mike Atnip October 27, 2016

    I happened upon one of your sites and found my way here. I noticed you have been using a Sony RX10-iii. I use Sony Cameras (mostly an a77). But I have had an interest in the RX10-iii since it came out. I suppose I have not been willing to pop out $1500 for a camera that I am not sure has the IQ to it. I do publish some of my photos in children’s nature books (Christian! :-). Browsing around your sites, I see old posts about other models of bridge cameras. Have you posted about the Sony rx10-iii, or compared it to others? I once had a Panasonic and a Canon superzoom, but when I went to DSLR (and good glass) I never looked back. Now I wonder if maybe I can “look back” into the superzoom cameras, with the 1″ sensor and a Zeiss lens.

  18. Reply
    jb May 23, 2017

    Thank Richard M Nixon and “the Republicans” for the estuary act. period.
    What is a National Estuarine Research Reserve?
    Protecting estuaries was a key motivation for the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, which outlined the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. This network of protected areas is a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and coastal states.

    • Reply
      Steve May 23, 2017

      Yes, Richard and the Republicans of his day don’t get nearly enough credit for their environmental work…much of it way ahead of its time. We are talking “post-tea-party” “trumpesque” Republicans today…I am not sure many of Nixon’s Republicans would recognize their own party today. 🙁

  19. Reply
    William Wise April 25, 2018

    I just listened to your appearence on the This Birding Life podcast and really enjoyed it. You mentioned some lower price superzooms. I’m looking for one under $600 to use for eBird postings and taking along with me on hikes and trail runs when I can’t carry my DSLR and 600mm lens. Any recommendations? I looked up you camera (Sony RX10 IV) but not wanting to spend that much for birding purposes.

    Also, I look forward to looking through your website and blog. I read the chapter The Temple in Y’shua and really enjoyed it. Very creative. Thanks!

    • Reply
      lightshedder April 25, 2018

      I would recommend the Nikon B700. Should meet your needs. Excellent lens. 24-1440mm. Good image quality. Fairly small and light weight, though not pocketable. 🙂

  20. Reply
    Lea Foster April 30, 2018

    Hi Steve,
    I stumbled across your wonderful images while researching the St. Augustine Alligator Farm wading bird rookery–
    I will be at that location for one day early June.
    Can you give me any advice/input on the time of day that the shadows and lighting is the best?
    I am not purchasing the photographer’s pass as my non photographer and somewhat “bored/unwilling” husband will be biding his time and chomping at the bit while I am at the rookery. I plan to be there right at 9AM. It looks like the lighting is bad starting around 11ish. I know most photographers come back late afternoon but that isn’t going to be possible in my case. Since I have never been there, I have no clue what directions the boardwalk faces–I see it winds around.
    Any information you can give me sure would be appreciated.
    Thank you so much!
    Have a super day,
    Lea Foster

    • Reply
      lightshedder April 30, 2018

      You only get an extra hour with the photo pass anyway. 🙂 The light in the morning is fine. In the afternoon it is warmer light and gets deeper into the foliage to pick out nests. The boardwalk is more crowed with photographers in the evening extension anyway. Yes you can plan to be done by 11. If it is sunny day you might be baked earlier than that…it gets hot out there. The boardwalk, if I remember rightly the main part of the boardwalk runs north/south, so the morning light is coming in from the right, and birds on the right are in shadow. Florida light is so bright though that it does not much matter. The short leg of the boardwalk runs east/west: the east end is in shadow and the west end is in full sun. You will have to temper your exposures. I use some -EV for the white birds in full sun. The birds are closer than you can imagine. A 400mm lens is plenty, and the best lens might be a 100-400 zoom. For birds in flight, don’t try to zoom in too much, as the window where the birds are visible is small. Have a great time.

  21. Reply
    Veyrunes fred January 13, 2019

    Great pics! I am organising a birding trip in Costa Rica next month, please could you give me the contact of the local bird guide Cope near the village of Flores. Thank you very much in adavnce. Best regards

  22. Reply
    John Voss January 22, 2019

    I see that you now process a lot of your pictures in Polarr. In the past you have made recommendations for your settings in other photo editors. Could you post some of your adjustment recommendations and presets in Polarr.

    Thanks, John

    • Reply
      lightshedder January 22, 2019

      The second half of my book: Point and Shoot Nature Photography, covers post processing in detail, with examples from Polarr. It is only $7 as a Kindle book from Amazon.com 🙂

  23. Reply
    John Voss February 12, 2019

    Steve, thanks for pointing me to your book. It was very helpful with post processing. I have a another question. When I right click on your pictures to see Image Info I notice that many of your pictures are 2000 pixels W or H before scaling. Are you so frequently able to get close enough to your subjects to fill the frame after cropping to 2000 pixels?

    • Reply
      lightshedder February 12, 2019

      Hi John. When I upload to WordPress, the images are resized to 2000 pixels on the long side automatically. Many of my photos are taken at 600mm from close enough so I only need to crop to the long dimension for composition…some, of course, from further away are cropped more…but I rarely crop to under 5mp total…that is 2592×1924 or there abouts. 🙂

  24. Reply
    mc March 26, 2019

    hi Stephen,

    i have a nikon p900 — having trouble — all pics were blurry…..then i got your book “point and shoot nature photography” …now not ALL pictures are blurry, but most are…..

    i am using “P” mode with the settings that you recommended…..what the heck am i doing wrong??

    i also notice, when i go out of the white zone, and into the blue and yellow – i no longer have the auto focus spot disappears…

    • Reply
      lightshedder March 27, 2019

      As I said, I can not be much help without seeing samples. email me at lightshedder (at) gmail.com. My guess is that you either have Vibration Reduction turned off, or you are just not steady enough yet. It takes practice and you must hold the camera correctly. You should not be using anything beyond the “blue” zone, and the blue zone only when absolutely necessary. I turn off digital zoom. The center focus square does not work with any kind of digital zoom.

  25. Reply
    mc March 28, 2019

    Thanks so much Stephen – I will turn of digital zoom.

  26. Reply
    Frank McGowan June 7, 2020


    Enjoyed your Point & Shoot Nature Photography e-book immensely.

    Question: What is the “Sony HX4090V superzoom” camera mentioned in the About section of your “Pic For Today” daily blog? I couldn’t find this model anywhere online. Is it an alias for the RX10 IV?

    • Reply
      lightshedder June 8, 2020

      Typo. There was the Sony HX400V which was a 24 to 1200 zoom, and the HX90V which was a pocket sized 24 to 720 zoom. I owned both, at different times, and used each for a year or more. I carried the HX90V while carrying the Nikon P900, as my landscape and people camera, since I never got to like the landscapes on the P900 and it did not have “anti-motion blur mode” which I often use for indoor people photos. 🙂

  27. Reply
    Brenda October 4, 2021

    I’d love to be notified when you post a new blog entry!

    • Reply
      lightshedder October 4, 2021

      In the left hand column near the bottom you will find the “subscribe” button 🙂

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