William Blake (1757–1827), Auguries of Innocence
The above quotation from William Blake’s poem, Auguries of Innocence, reflects my philosophy of photography as I focus on the details often overlooked by the casual observer in my macrophotography of flora, insects, and spiders.
After perusing some of my photos on this website, I hope that you leave this website with a better appreciation of the natural world.
I am Bill Boothe the PhotoNaturalist: an experienced naturalist, lecturer, published wildlife photographer, author, and ecotourism provider in Florida. As a professional nature photographer, I specialize in images of all creatures and plants great and small, especially those that are rare and endangered.
My wife, Marcia, and I have traveled extensively throughout Florida to capture these images. We now reside in the Florida Panhandle, an area where wildlife and wildflowers abound. Around every bend of the road, something new and fantastic beckons us to stop and take photographs of Florida’s rare and beautiful plant and animal species. Through the camera lens, we share our vision of the inner beauty of nature that surrounds each of us.
I currently focus my efforts on shooting images and presenting nature photo workshops, but I also present lectures on rare and native plants, butterfly gardening, and plant and animal interactions.
As a youngster, I was always collecting every creepy-crawly that I could lay my hands on, bringing them into the house, often without my mother’s knowledge. I studied these prized catches in detail with the aid of magnifying glasses and the few field guides that were available at that time. I still have many of the original Golden and Peterson field guides that I used to delve into the natural world. At age twelve, I purchased with my allowance my first college biology textbook.
At the present time, I am devoting my energies to wildlife photography. I am now living my second “childhood” with camera in hand!
In college, I majored in biology that stressed freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems. At every opportunity, I went on excursions into the many terrestrial and freshwater habitats of South Carolina and Florida where I encountered all manner of fauna and flora including snakes, alligators, birds, and other “creepy-crawlies.” During the course of these forays, I was exposed to another habitat I had not previously encountered, the watery realm of the Atlantic Ocean.
As a graduate student, without advance planning, I jumped into the underwater world of coastal South Carolina. I graduated with a master’s degree in biology specializing in invertebrate physiology and marine invertebrate taxonomy. Professionally, I specialized in the identification of every group of marine organism that lived in the waters of the southeastern United States and in the Gulf of Mexico. I worked for over two decades with federal, state, and private organizations including the Smithsonian Institution, during which time I collected, named, and described numerous new species of marine invertebrates.
In later years, I have expanded my knowledge and expertise to include most of Florida’s flora and fauna, especially plants, insects, spiders, herpetiles, and mammals.
In addition to being a photographer, I am also an experienced naturalist, environmental educator, and speaker with a lifelong interest in the natural world.
In 1986, I founded Natural Encounters, a business devoted to environmental education and ecotourism, and began one of the most gratifying adventures of my life.
Before ecotourism became so popular, Natural Encounters offered wildlife excursions, photography tours, and environmental education classes on everything natural in Florida. For the past two decades, I have developed and taught a wide array of natural history classes that not only brought the natural world into the classroom, but also exposed students to the natural world. Many of these classes were so popular that participants from all over southwest Florida wanted to attend. I also led nature tours to explore the natural areas of Florida from the Florida Panhandle to the Florida Keys and the Everglades.
During these walkabouts in search of plants, birds, insects, and other wonders of nature, I became increasingly interested in nature photography and began pursuing this new found avocation as a career. I soon was photographing every plant and animal that I encountered on my outings.
I have been a frequent speaker and trip leader for numerous environmental groups of Florida and Georgia including the National Audubon Society, butterfly groups, statewide Native Plant Societies, and Rare Plant Task Forces. I have been a Florida Master Naturalist Instructor for over fifteen years as well as a keynote speaker for Master Gardener and FWC/NRCS joint programs.
My main goal is to share my knowledge with those who want to learn more about the natural world. Through my natural history classes and wildlife photography workshops, I have inspired others to become better stewards of our natural world. As an active supporter of environmental causes, I have donated time and images to conservation organizations. I have been a member of the Florida Native Plant Society since its establishment in the early 1980s.
I have traveled from the Florida Panhandle to the Florida Keys in search of wildflowers that may bloom only a few hours of the day or a few days of the year. Since 1989, I have photographed over 1800 of Florida’s plant species, many of which are listed as endangered or threatened.
My photos have been featured in numerous books, publications, and websites. Among these are:
I’d love to hear from you!
I do appreciate hearing from people who enjoy my work and welcome questions and comments.
If you are interested in a particular image, please contact me for more information.