Jim Burns Photography
Exhibited March 2011
Jim Burns became hooked on birding shortly after college while backpacking with his wife, Deva, along the mountain trails of southwestern Colorado. Wanting to place labels on the trailside birds they were seeing, they purchased their first guidebook and binoculars. As one thing inevitably leads to another, Jim then evolved from casual birder to hardcore lister, to bird photographer to nature writer/photographer. He has photographed all the bird species in North America and is now working, sporadically he says, on Costa Rica.
His breathtaking and feather-crisp photos are exhbited in the Visitor Center gallery through the month of March.
He began photographing after early attempts at painting birds revealed he was totally devoid of any artistic talent. His articles and photographs have appeared in Birding, Birder's World, Outdoor Photographer, and Valley Nature, and he has written three books illustrated with his photography: A Beginner's Field Guide to Phoenix Birds published by the Maricopa Audubon Society in 2004; North American Owls: Journey Through A Shadowed World published by Willow Creek Press in 2004; and Jim Burns' Arizona Birds published by the University of Arizona Press in 2008.
"Deva and I have spent a lifetime seeking out and exploring the wild places on the North American continent, from Attu Island in the Aleutians to the mangrove swamps of the Florida Keys, always with the excuse of seeing new birds. The beauty of their plumage and the variety of their physical forms and adaptations is spectacular, but their ability to fly makes them the symbol of all that is wild. If you can watch a skein of geese fly over, calling, without your skin and your imagination crawling, you're not alive."
Jim's bird photo exhibit at Boyce Thompson Arboretum represents a portion of his portfolio that he calls "the family jewels." "My initial interest in photography was to capture a moment in time which defined the essence of a species. My evolution as a bird photographer began when I realized the essence of a species is better defined with behavior and action than with a simple portrait. At this point in my evolution I don't even want to see a bird if I can't photograph it, and I have zero interest in video. I want a freeze frame that will burn into the viewer's mind the behavior or action they see only fleetingly or never experience at all. I spend most of my time in the field watching, waiting, sitting on the seat of my pants. The 'family jewels' are the product, the best of the best."
"I'm especially honored for the opportunity to exhibit at Boyce Thompson because I consider it the best birding site proximal to Phoenix, and I've spent countless hours enjoying its gardens and trails seeking solitude and birds. My fondest memory is refinding the Northern Saw-whet Owl that was discovered in the Herb Garden in February of 1995. A large contingent of hard core birders had searched all morning to no avail. I bent down in the tamarisk near Queen Creek to tie a bootlace, looked up, and the owl was looking down at me, camouflaged in the foliage. Just one of those 'SHAZAM' moments which keeps all birders going."
Jim is currently using a Canon EOS Mark IV camera. His workhorse lens is Canon's 600mm f/4, always on a tripod, occasionally combined with a 1.4 teleconverter. He prefers to hand hold for flight shots and uses a Canon 400mm f/4 for birds in flight. He hates flash, but uses it when necessary. He loves clean backgrounds, but realizes action doesn't take place in a studio. He rolls his eyeballs whenever he encounters birders or photographers wearing light, bright, or reflective clothing.
"My 'mission statement' as a nature photographer is to open people's eyes to the beauty and fragility of what's out there, pay it forward to future generations, make us aware of what we're missing and what we'll lose if we don't make informed environmental choices. I'm hoping I can help people connect the dots from awareness to knowledge to conservation."
Connect with Jim at http://www.facebook.com/jimburnsphotos
See more of the artist's work and read archives of his excellent birding blog at http://www.jimburnsphotos.com
All photos displayed will be available for purchase. Framed works range in price from $45 to $125. Correspond with the artist by email to:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boyce Thompson Arboretum is at highway 60 milepost #223 near the historic copper mining town of Superior, a drive of about 45 minutes due East of Mesa. March visitors are admitted from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., and the Arboretum closes at 5:00 p.m. ( summer month hours are daily from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) New exhibits begin each month and may be seen daily during business hours; the Arboretum is an Arizona State Park and daily admission must be paid to enter the Visitor Center where our gallery is found. Admission is $7.50 for adults and $3 for ages 5-12. Annual memberships at the Arboretum begin at $45, and include a year's access, guest passes for your friends and family, along with many other benefits. A membership may be purchased in the gift shop on the day of your visit.
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Kay Cummings February, 2011
Paul Kinslow January, 2011
Mesa Arts League September, 2010
Rick Cameron April , 2010
Barbara AtkinsonFebruary, 2010
Nancy MatusJanuary, 2010
Barbara CoxDecember, 2009
Margaret Whittaker November, 2009
Artists of the Superstitions October, 2009
Marilyn Barton September, 2009
Gila Community College August, 2009
Deborah A. Lee June, 2009
Margie Porter May, 2009
Timm Chapman January, 2009
Paul Kinslow December, 2008
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Sharon Sieben October 2008
Nicole Royse September 2008
Judy Bottler Photography May 2008
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Mary Isham Watercolors March 2008
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Arizona State Parks Plein Air Paintings January, 2008
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Adriane Grimaldi September, 2007
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Mesa Arts League June-July, 2007
Fred Charlton May, 2007
Paul Mudersbach March-April, 2007
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