Feathered Photography – Some History And A Milestone

I published my first Feathered Photography post on August 18, 2010 with a large amount of trepidation and no idea how long my blogging career would last or how it might evolve. In the beginning I only published sporadically several times per week but eventually I found that I was enjoying my new venture to the point that I decided to post daily and almost five years later I’m still at it.

Last week Feathered Photography hit the milestone of 3/4 of a million views which prompted me to wax nostalgic. I’ve been thinking about how my photography has changed my life for the better in retirement and how much blogging about my bird/nature photography passion has contributed to that enjoyment. And without viewers blogging would be meaningless so I’ve also been thinking about all of you. A lot.

To be sure my blogging experience hasn’t all been a bed of roses. “Technical issues” like malware and malicious attacks can be a huge headache and I learned early on that the choice of a competent web host is a vital one (thanks for nothing Network Solutions! – Bluehost and my good friend Mia to the rescue). Controversy or a nasty comment can be a downer that I just had to learn to deal with (thankfully that seldom occurs). And I make the occasional error in content or style of presentation that sometimes keeps me awake at night, just like it used to when I was teaching. I realize that I take such things much too seriously but like Popeye “I yam what I yam”.

Blogging has mostly been a joy for me and my readers are the primary reason for that. In the past month they’ve visited from 107 different countries and I get feedback from a fair number of them which I enjoy very much. But it’s my regular readers that typically make my day. Without an exception that I can think of you’re just nice folks and your comments make me think about a range of subjects as diverse as the birds of Australia and Portugal, the Lakota Sioux, endangered species, carving duck decoys, wildlife rehabilitation, barbed wire, bird behaviors, climate change and other environmental threats, photography equipment and technique, political controversies, wildlife photography locations and field ethics. I could go on as the list is endless.

And I learn so much from you. Many of you are knowledgeable in a wide variety of fields and you generously share your experiences and expertise with me and with others which I appreciate immensely. Learning is an endless joy and I come here for much of mine.




cheers 5484 ron dudley

a hearty toast to my readers from the source of Feathered Photography – Cheers! You made it all happen and I couldn’t be more grateful.


Like a familiar pub where one feels comfortable with old friends I feel at home at Feathered Photography and you’re the reason why. These words come to mind:

“Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name. And they’re always glad you came”.




98 comments to Feathered Photography – Some History And A Milestone

  • Krista Hansen

    I first saw your pictures through a friend of mine. Your work is spectacular and enriches my days. Thank you!

  • Christine Bogdanowicz

    It is with deep gratitude that I post this comment. Thank you Ron for your ever-present inspiration and guidance. Although I don’t always comment, I read your blog every day and try to keep up with comments and replies–you must be filled with pride and joy when reading comments from this post! Congratulations on your milestone; raising a virtual toast to you from across the miles. Happy trails, my friend.

  • Deedee OBrien

    I don’t read them every day, but I don’t delete them until I do read them. Thanks for staying in your teacher mode. Just look at all of your students! What an impact you are having.

  • A belated Cheers! I will drink to your celebration of this milestone. Add me to the many others who have already expressed admiration for the outstanding quality of the blog post you generate each day. I have a sense of how much effort is involved and I am amazed by your ability to sustain the output.

  • Jodi Vest

    Ron, I have learned so much from you about photography, but also about birds and other wildlife. I have to say, your posts are a highlight for my hesband and I. We have thoroughly enjoyed your talent! Thanks for sharing!

  • Ron,

    Cheers right back at ya!

    You have made a difference.

    Thank you.


  • Dear Ron,

    Thanks for wonderful bird photos!

  • Sharon Constant

    Sometimes I get behind on your blog by a couple of days and have to catch up, so I’m late to add my two cents to this post. My days are always improved by visits to your blog. My bird photography has most certainly improved. I have learned so much from your careful critiques of your own images and your thoughtful narratives. When I look at my images, I think about things you’ve shared with us. When I set up my camera for a shot, I try to consider the technical things you share with us daily. You are with me every time I go out to photograph birds. And I can’t count the times I have said to my husband or my husband has said to me “Did you see Ron’s post today?” Thank you so much for enriching our lives.

  • Leslie

    Cheers to you Ron. Not a day goes by that I do not enjoy your bird photos and say, boy I wish I got that shot. I have been birding since 1984, raptor rehabilitator for 20 years. Your passion shines through and it’s easy to recognize from someone he shares it and appreciates it. Bravo.
    Leslie in San Diego

  • nikonsteve

    I don’t comment as much as I’d like to, but I’m there every day and I just want to say Thank You!! You surely have enriched my life.

  • Patty Chadwick

    My artist friend, Katie Kee, is not one to keep her incredible talent, special materials and techniques to herself…whether it’s how to choose and load a brush, how to select the right paper, how to capture iridescence,how to “lift” color or graphite, or just how to “see”, she freely shares it all. I call her a “Passer On”. You, too, are a “Passer On”. Passing on to others your beautiful images, the pertinent technical stuff (way over my old gray head!), interesting comments and factual information…all with humility and humor. We are so lucky and so grateful!!!

  • Ron, I love your blogposts. It’s the first thing I look for each morning. I have never been disappointed and I love your photography!

  • Congratulations on the eyeball count and five years of posting, Ron! I aspire to you photo skills and your ethics, but still have a long ways to go on both counts.

    Best wishes for the next 5 years and million views!

    Jim DeWitt
    Frozen Feather Images

  • KathrynR

    Huge congratulations, Ron! I don’t comment that often but I read your blog almost every day when I have an internet connection (plus a friendly reminder from a Facebook friend who shares your daily posts). I love that you have a barn owl up on your screen, that is my favorite raptor! Clink-Clink to many more years of enjoyment!

  • Gena

    Oh!!! Yeah!!!! Ron!!!! Here’s to ya!!!

  • Patty Chadwick

    As others have said more eloquently, I look forward to your blog every morning…As a “hungry learner”, my appetite for new information is ALWAYS satisfied…yet, at the same time, new questions arise, and so it goes. Some blogs make me joyful, some sad, some so angry I could spit nails…sometimes it’s the beauty of a behavior or image that moves me to tears…or makes me laugh putloud. An added bonus has been the friendship and very real bonds I feel with other viewers, from a variety of states and countries (including Australia and Portugal), along with the tremendous sense of loyalty and protectiveness we feel toward you and Mia. The experiences have enriched my knowledge, my quality of life and strengthened my courage during some of life’s tougher times…and all you started a blog… And because I wanted to know more about the eye color changes in Golden Eagles……..Thank you!!! CHEERS!!!!

    • Patty Chadwick

      The Evil iPad says “ah men!” (It never gets anything right)..,,

    • Patty, Well I’m sure glad that your curiosity about eagle eye color delivered you here because you’ve been a huge asset to Feathered Photography for several years now.

      And don’t worry about the typos – your Evil iPad actually loves you and is just trying to get your attention…

    • Susan Stone

      Patty, the bonds and friendships from this site are another reason I enjoy it so much. I think the quality of the regular visitors here reflects the quality of the blogger. Which is very high.

  • Ilona

    I’ve enjoyed looking at your posts each day. Especially like the burrowing owl articles. Hope you keep doing this for many years.

  • A hearty clink of the glasses back atcha, dear Ron!!! I enjoy your blog with my coffee or tea in the mornings and look forward to our little visits every day!!!! May you live long and prosper … and keep snappin’ and bloggin’!!!

  • Betsy Livingstone

    I’m happy to be one of your 750,000 closest friends, and part of what I call the “nature nerd community”at large. It’s heartening to know there are so many who love and enjoy science-based natural history, so beautifully and informatively presented. I always appreciate your modest humanity, humor and sense of ethics. You’re a great role model, on in a million. Congratulations!

    • “I’m happy to be one of your 750,000 closest friends”

      That brought a smile, Betsy. I’m sure you realize that many of those views are repeats by the same people, day after day. And I’m with you in being delighted that so many folks “love and enjoy science-based natural history” – you said that well IMO.

  • Hi Ron,
    Just a note to tell you how much I appreciate your blog. It brings joy to my heart each and every day.

  • I am late to this group hug – but will assuredly raise a glass when wine o’clock comes round.
    The warmth and the wonder of the blogosphere blows me away on a daily basis. Friends (good friends) who I may never meet who have staked out a home in my heart. Education. Laughter. Sometimes tears. Including tears of laughter. Beauty.
    And your blog epitomises all of that.

    • “Friends (good friends) who I may never meet who have staked out a home in my heart”

      Isn’t that the truth, EC! As you say, one of the wonders of the blogosphere.

  • And cheers to you, Ron! I am so glad that I discovered your blog — your photos and stories are always a highlight of my day. I only wish I had found it earlier (better late than never, I suppose).

  • Sterling Sanders

    Ron, 3/4 of a million views. Congrats, you’ve truly earned them. Love the photo of the day showing a “wise old bird” toasting all of his followers. I’m a late poster and after reading all the comments I realize it’s all been said. Your a terrific guy, teacher and photographer, not to mention your damn funny. Your my morning cup of coffee. Your blog is an eye opener each day as I wait with baited breath for my next lesson. I’m proud to call you my friend and hope that someday I’ll grow up to be just like you. Now, put down the glass, get out of your easy chair, and get out there and capture your fledglings next lesson.
    PS: The Cheers song was the icing on the cake. You Rock

    • “wise old bird”

      Not sure about the “wise” part but you hit the nail on the head with “old”, Sterling. I hope to run into you again in the field soon as I really enjoyed our recent gabfest on the island. The volunteer work you do for the park is really appreciated by me and I’m sure by many others. Thank you very much.

  • April Olson

    Thank you for all the wonderful photography and information. Your work is exceptional. I have introduced several friends and family to your blog and our conversations often starts out as “did you see Ron Dudley’s photo of….”

  • It was several months ago that a pro photographer friend of mine in Florida told me about your blog, and since then I have been a loyal follower, never missing a day of your incredible image postings. But I have this nagging question that will not leave my brain… “are you really a member of the group that we affectionately call Homo sapiens, or are you some android invader from another world sent here to “show us mere mortals” just how to take pictures of critters, and never screw up??? I have been taking pictures of wildlife, and nature since 1954, when my parents made the mistake of buying me my first film slr, and I’ve been addicted ever since. I see that you share that malady. Each day, when I sign onto my computer, I go immediately to your blog, and to Mia’s, just to get my daily dose of inspiration, and you have never failed to fulfill that need, to overflowing. Ron, your images are magnificent… So dang sharp that I’ve found it necessary to keep a box of band-aids by my computer to cover the cuts. Composition, capturing true colors, post processing, all are “spot on.” I dislike “garish” renditions of nature, and posting photos with colors so intense that anyone who has ever taken a walk should know is totally false. As a former teacher myself, (I used to teach Biology/Zoology at The Ohio State University) I totally appreciate your efforts in that line… Ron, you are also a “teacher,” and a damn good one. That is one of the biggest complements I can send your way. Keep up the good work, and thanks for our daily dose of inspiration. :-)))

    • “never screw up”

      Ha, “screw up” is my middle name, Roger. I delete something like 93% of my images and you must remember that what you see on my blog is often what I consider my better images.

      And I couldn’t agree more with you about oversaturated nature images. It’s extremely rare for me to even touch the saturation slider or alter color or even contrast (though I do both occasionally when the image was taken in very low light).

      We share more than just photography. I also taught Biology and Zoology (and Utah Wildlife) but at the high school level.

      Thank you.

  • Back at ya, Ron.
    You were the first person I reached out to when I joined Nature Photographers Network back in ’09 and have followed your work closely ever since. Having been in the photography industry for forty years, I can honestly say that there are very few photographers I can look up to for their ethics as well as their art. You are in that group. Anyone can buy the latest and greatest equipment, wearable trophies so to speak, but getting it to produce something noteworthy requires many different skill sets and a determination to get out there and work hard at the craft. Consistently getting A+ quality images is the mark of a photographic artist and that description befits you. May your retirement be as rewarding as your career.

    PS. when I first looked at your blog early this am and there wasn’t an update, I thought something might be amiss. Fortunately, all is more than well.

    • Ah, Neil – I remember NPN so well. Mentors there like Tom Webster, Rich Ditch, Dave Sparks and others were so very helpful to me when I was first starting out. To this day I still don’t think there’s a better way to learn photography well than to actively participate in a critique forum, pay attention, take your lumps and learn, learn, learn.

      Thank you for the very kind words. And yes, I was a little late posting this morning. I wanted to get it as close to right as possible (this time especially) and that took a little more time than usual.

  • Nancy Collins

    Cheers to you Ron! Although I do not comment regularly please know (from my humble opinion) your work is exceptional! Your knowledge shines through in both your photography skills and subject matter. It truly is a delight to open up your daily blog and see what you have in store for us! I am both a birder (actually nature lover) and photographer so I truly appreciate the time and effort involved in maintaining your magnificent blog! Thanks Ron! I will raise a glass to you and your blog later on this afternoon!



    • Nancy, I have to admit that a significant portion of my content doesn’t come from my own knowledge at the moment. I do a lot of research for these posts too – thank goodness for BNA Online. Thanks for the tip of the glass later today.

  • Karen A. Recher

    THANK YOU!! What a joy to read your blog. The incredible beauty of your photography and the intimate look at the creatures make us know we ARE all part of God’s creation. Thank you for making this a better world. Can’t wait to see you in person in a couple of weeks.

    • Thanks, Karen. I really, really hope to make it to the reunion but that’s still a little up in the air. The 50th is one I really don’t want to miss but several things still have to come together for it to happen. Finger’s crossed…

  • Larry Muench

    Thanks so much for your perseverance! I always look forward to your daily post and enjoy making up for my lack of attention in HS biology. Not only is your photography beautiful, thought-provoking, and educational but an inspiration as well. I love your side-lines into conservation, ethics, biological facts, fine photography, and just the overall friendly demeanor and humor. Keep it up! I will continue to enjoy as long as you continue to post.

    • “enjoy making up for my lack of attention in HS biology”

      Better late than never, Larry. Much better! Thank you for the nice words about my blog and images.

  • John Beach

    You make it look easy but I know from experience, shooting birds is a difficult task. I have gained a wealth of knowledge from you about birds and photographing them. Thanx for the education, Ron. It won’t be long ’til everybody knows your name.

    • ” It won’t be long ’til everybody knows your name.”

      That not only made me smile, John, it made me LOL. Literally. Thanks for that!

  • Congratulations on the Milestone! I’m glad I found your page. I enjoy seeing the beautiful images of my favorite subject (birds), and especially on the days with raptors. May you have many, many more anniversaries, and keep doing this thing you love, which your audience also appreciates!

    • Who knows how many more anniversaries I may have, Carolyn, but it’s still fun so I’ll keep plugging away as long as it is. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Keep ’em coming, Ron. I share some of your posts on my New Jersey Nature Notes FB page, and our readers love them.

  • Mark Amershek

    All I can say about the past few years of getting your blog postings is that I look forward to them eagerly. Some folks post photos whereas you post works of art. And the accompanying commentary is a real learning experience for me. They make my day! Thanks Ron.

  • Ellen Wascou

    You start my day each and every day! I too, may not comment each morning. But you are my role model. My teacher. My expert at all things photography and birds. If that isn’t enough, you always make me smile. Thanks Ron for starting and continuing this blog. Cheers to you!

    • All nice things to say, Ellen, but “always making you smile” is one of the most appreciated by me. Whether it be my images or my occasional attempts at humor, if I make folks smile I couldn’t ask for much more.

  • David Sorokwasz

    It’s just a secure, cozy place within our day…knowing your blog with it’s priceless photographs will be there almost every day.
    Thank you for your superb, heartfelt, artistic efforts.
    Dave and Tish Sorokwasz

  • Jorge H. Oliveira

    Although I am not a religious man I keep saying blessed the day I stumble on your blog because being a photographer for quite a long time (36 years) in a very different field of yours (Art Conservation) and getting closer to retirement (two more years to go) I always wanted to try something new when that time come. But what?
    It needed to be something alive because as I once said to our mutual friend Patty I am tired of “stand still objects”.
    You and your blog gave me the answer. Why not try something new and challenging like Bird Photography?
    Since then thanks to you, step by step I’ve been learning a lot about techniques, settings, gear and above all your ethics towards Nature.
    So I raise my glass with Porto wine and wish you and your blog a long and Happy Life.
    Thank you Ron.

    • What a thoughtful comment, Jorge! Knowing some of the things you said inspires me even more to keep at it. Thank you for the kind words from Portugal and for the return toast.

  • Dan Gleason

    Thanks for so generously sharing your work with all of us. Your photos and the ethics you follow to obtain them are an inspiration for many of us. I look forward to many more!

    • Dan, you’re one of those folks whose generously shared knowledge is so much appreciated. Yesterday’s contribution on fringed owl feathers was an example. Much appreciated!

  • John Randall

    Congratulations Ron and thank you for your beautiful images of nature and your insights !

  • Dick Ashford

    Hi Ron,
    In my birding bio, I describe myself as “a continuing student of birds and birding”. YOU have helped me be a better student. When I first came across your blog, ieverything about it resonated with me – the images, the writing, and the “personality” that I detect behind those images and words. Simply put, you are a nice guy. And your generosity – a few years ago, you graciously allowed me to use several of your images in my classes. Those images have helped my students gain new insights into raptor behavior.

    Paying it forward. In a real way, you have never retired from teaching. You have just moved to a new classroom. Thanks, “Teach”!

    • I remember those images, Dick, and I’m delighted to hear that they worked out for you and your students. I guess you’re right about the “new classroom”. And to think that I actually thought that I was really retired…

  • Chalk up another fan, Ron.
    Love your photos.

  • Congratulations Ron. I admire your daily efforts…. beautiful photography and seemingly effortless prose…. again and again. You are an inspiration to me.

    • “and seemingly effortless prose”

      Believe me, Nancy, the prose is far from effortless for me. I struggle with it and edit constantly as I’m composing. And even after I post when I notice things that I think can be improved. Or corrected. It’s fun to finally get something that resonates though…

  • Butch Lama

    Conrats for the milestone Ron and thank you for your blogging which starts my day joyfully after reading each morning. I guess its lil’ early in the morning for a toast but what the heck… I’m half scottish and half mountain men from Nepal and nothing usual to start a day lil’ tipsy 😉 Cheers….

  • Jo Ann Donnelly

    Loved, loved, loved your post today, Ron!! Of course I always love your posts but this one touched my heart. When I wake up every morning wondering what lovely photos and conversation I will have with you & we, your followers – it makes my day. How many people can say that & you can, Ron!! Can’t wait for tomorrows blog!! By the way the “Cheers” theme song was an absolutely perfect ending to your post today!! oved the show & LOVE the song!!

    • “By the way the “Cheers” theme song was an absolutely perfect ending to your post today!!

      Those words just struck a chord with me in this situation, Jo Ann. Thanks for letting me know that it worked for you too.

  • I stumbled on your site when I was trying to identify a feather. I stayed not just because the pictures were fabulous but because of the education. Your passion is contagious, Ron. I truly appreciate all that you offer–gentle humor, valid outrage, and so many life lessons. It’s a joy to stop by here.

  • Ditto on “Thanks for nothing, Network Solutions…” Here’s to more mornings of inspiration from you.

    • Patricia, based on my experience with them I have absolutely no idea how Network Solutions stays in business. And I know others who have the same opinion.

  • Garybowers

    I may not comment often but I read your blog every day. I’ve learn many photography tips and techniques from you that has improved my own photographic abilities, and for that I’m truly greatfull.

    • Gary, folks on other blogs and on nature photography critique forums have been a big help to me over the years so I know how you feel. Thank you for saying so.

  • Tom Moeglein

    You are a class act, Ron. Hope you can keep posting for many, many years.

  • Dennis

    Congrats on hitting that milestone! Your online classroom is something I look forward to every morning. Next milestone, 10^6!!

  • Charlotte Norton

    How you brighten our lives Ron! Thanks so much for sharing your great talent and expertise with us!!

  • Congratulations, Ron, on achieving the 3/4 million milestone — with another big milestone not very far away. I always learn something new from your blog and photographs and look forward to doing so for many years.

  • Gretchen Peterson

    I look forward to my Feathered Photography email every morning and have learned so much. As a teacher, I epsecially love the new vocabulary words I learn. Agonistic and fimbriate are the most recent ones. 🙂 The photographs and narratives are interesting and educational and written in a style accessible to all. I frequently share your posts with fellow bird/nature lover friends. Thanks for all your hard work. I know it is a labor of love but labor nonetheless. You enrich the lives of many on a daily basis. Cheers! Clink!

    • And as a (former) teacher I love that you appreciate and remember the new terms, Gretchen. And this part of your comment is dead on – “I know it is a labor of love but labor nonetheless”.

  • tana hinter

    Ron, you are a gem. Thank you for all your beautiful photos, entertaining stories, and wildlife wisdom. Keep up the good work!

  • Susan Stone

    Ron, Feathered Photography has been making my day since I first found it. It has increased my love for, and appreciation of, birds. Your photographs are compelling – they have something I’ve never seen anywhere else. I think it’s that they capture the essence of the creatures you photograph. I love learning every day, including the way you’ve increased my awareness of important issues. Your photos invite me into situations where I would never otherwise have the opportunity to go. We’ll drink a toast to you and Feathered Photography when we have our afternoon glass of wine. Here’s looking at many more years of enjoyment for all of us.