Saturday, April 25, 2009

Books & Portfolios

Since most people who see this post will be coming to my blog to visit my Camera-Critters post, I thought it would be a good time to ask this question...

For those of you who spend time researching and identifying the critters, flowers, etc. you post, do you primarily use the internet or reference books for this purpose? I'm a HUGE fan of the internet, but I also think one of the greatest pieces of furniture is a book shelf... stuffed full. ;-) I love my books! So, I'm considering getting a few great reference books. Some on bugs, butterflies, birds, flowers... yeah, just a few.

For those of you who use reference books, do you have any you would recommend? Of course, they have to be appropriate for Missouri.

Also - and I know I've asked this before, but I didn't get much response at all. For those of you who have online photography portfolios - what do you use? Flickr? SmugMug? Your own website? I'd really like to hear your opinions on this subject!



Regarding reference books and online resources. If I'm at home I will usually use the book(s) I have because they often have more info, but if I'm traveling I will use online resources for obvious reasons. I have found that used book stores and even occasionally garage sales are a great way to pick up books cheap.

For bird id I mostly use my Sibleys Eastern, but for birding it really depends how much you are into birding. I think I have most of the books and each of them has their positives and drawbacks. For butterflies I use Kaufmann's book. I recently picked up a Mammals book by Kaufmann (at a used book store) and I like it. I have several flower books and don't like any of them.

For flowers I usually use Kansas Wildflowers & Grasses because I can find flowers there faster than anywhere else, plus he puts in how the flowers have been used by Native Americans. Since you are in Missouri, you would probably find it a useful site.

I use pbase for my online photos. It's a pay for use site ($23 per year) but I like it. My main page is here if you want to take a peek.

Dunno if any of that is helpful...


I have no ideas when it comes to books like that. I just usually look at the birds, bugs, etc and never do figure out what they are. Maybe I'm the one who needs the books?

Have you tried redbubble? It's supposed to be a good site for storing, sharing, selling your artwork and photos. I have an account, but I haven't really done much with it.


I don't know much about books or the internet... but my avatar should meet your avatar.

Villas Girl

Hi Misty! I have a beginner's bird book. It has birds listed by color. Very good for me considering I am very color oriented. Sometimes I ask a guy I work with. Sometimes I just say, 'bird'.

As far as your photography, it's great. I have visited your flickr site and enjoyed very much.
I use flickr myself. I more or less use it for my photo album. My address is if your interested.
I have some photos that I would like to get out there myself to see what people think. If you find out how to do this, please let me know.
BTW, what camera do you use? I still have my little point and shoot HP, but have upgrade to an Olympus SP-565UZ, which I love for the zoom and megapixel.


As you know, I have lots of reference books. Not many reference books cover every species of what it is it covers. Birds is an exception as most of them cover all the birds of North America, exclusive of Mexico. Dragonfly books cover some Damselflies, but not all. Snakes and Lizards are generally well covered. Butterfly books cover Butterflies well, but lack on Moths.

And then there are Insect books...for like Flies, Beetles, Bees, Wasps, etc. Books on those don't cover, and generally can't cover every species within the family. However, they provide reference to most of the families which can give a user a fairly good idea of where to concentrate the research.

I use my reference library extensively. I can normally find the family of a bug or if it is extensively covered by one of my reference books, the actual species. However, if I can locate the family, I have a good start for using the internet. I'll do a Google search of the family name, then check the images for my bug. If I can't find it that way, I'll go to and begin my search there.

Using this method, I'll generally get species names for 95 percent of the critters I photograph.

If you want to specialize in one type of critter, such as Birds or Butterflies, books are about all you need. But in the long run, books and the internet can and do go hand-in-hand with each other in obtaining names for most of the small critters of the world.

Adrienne Zwart

Hey, Misty.
My most used references are the Peterson's field guides for birds and wildflowers. My hubby just got me two new bird books, The Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of N. America and National Geographic's Field Guide to the Birds of N. America. The Smithsonian one has actual photos and a birdsong DVD. Love them both!

For butterflies, I use Peterson First Guides to Caterpillars, and The Life Cycles of Butterflies by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards. The photos in this one are amazing. I also use a Butterflies of Ohio field guide, but not sure if that would be so helpful clear out in Missouri.

For mammals, I use Audubon's field guide for N. America.

If something isn't in one of those, I start searching the internet. I love the breadth of information available on the internet, but there's just something really wonderful about a shelf full of beautiful books.

Be sure to let us know which texts you choose--we may want to add to our collection!

Adrienne Zwart

P.s. I use Flickr because it's free and easy.


Um.. It's Banana. I don't need books. ;)

Psst..I made one of your dreams come true today. :)

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