Len's Afield: Who, What, Why, and How

aka, The "About" page

I'm Len Romanick, living in central New Jersey where I spend time (when I have time) out and about with my cameras—afield—(thus my trademark shooting/writing monikers: LensAfield/Len's Afield), finding, photographing, and writing about life in natural worlds going on all around us. This site tells those stories in words and pictures, hopefully resulting in a greater appreciation for lives we are only vaguely aware even exist.

Under the Backgrounders menu, you will find links to essays in which I relate a brief personal history on how I got to this point. I said my unfocused early interests quickly gravitated toward nature photography of small-scale worlds around me — around all of us — that we don't really see or think about, either because they are not in plain sight, their scale, or we simply never knew existed so tend not to rate highly on our relevance meters.

At first, I would go afield and photograph whatever life I happened upon and found interesting at the moment, and then move on to find another of those moments. That random directionless process left me with a sense that my images were missing something. I realized that any single photo, no matter how good it might be, captures only a moment that in and of itself seldom provides continuity and context—it doesn't tell a story.

Somewhere along the way, my perceptions and perspectives changed. I realized I wanted to know how these moments in these lives came to be and where they were likely going. I developed a penchant for lifecycle photography whenever there was the opportunity to do so.

Documenting the activity within a carefully hidden nest or a seasonal lifecycle study is often challenging. The natural world is often dark or obstructed, prone to inconvenient shadows or bad backgrounds, or any number of other impediments that often make my life difficult, all while I do not interfere with theirs or their natural outcomes. My subjects tend not to respond well to posing instructions and generally don't care whether or not I get the shot. As a rule, they show no regard for the physical discomfort I sometimes endure in my efforts to make them the featured star of my work.

I try to present photos as close to "in camera" as possible, using minimal post-processing, so the final image is more faithful to the scene as I saw it. Out of a shooting session that might contain 200 or more photos, perhaps a dozen are worth saving for prints or inclusion in something I publish (but sometimes, I capture a gem or two that are competition-worthy).

On this site, you will find:
—a small series of posts providing background to my photography and how I came to specialize in the kinds of things you will see and read about here.
— a serial timeline of new topical posts. My goal is to publish short-form subject content approximately weekly, along with occasional long-form pieces.
— a gallery of selected context-annotated photos. This platform, and others like it, are designed primarily to be writing environments but not for image-rich content. The galleries will feature additional subject-relayed images as well as one-offs that stand alone.
— a forum-style section with subject-oriented Q&A and discussions about the living subjects featured, their biology, and their environments. And of course, there will be discussions about nature photography, tech & toys. Whether you are an ardent photographer, occasional phone camera user—or neither—this section should have something of interest for all curious readers. There is something we can all learn from somebody, at any time, with an open mind.

I welcome your comments and questions.

For a video introduction to my photography, click here (Video apps have improved since I produced it. Reduce it to its smallest size for best image quality).