Indiana Nature Photography LLC is an Indiana-based organization dedicated to exposing and sharing the region’s extraordinary and unexpected natural beauty through digital photography. A collaborative effort between two of Indiana’s most committed and creative outdoor photographers – Gary Morrison and Steven Higgs – INP offers workshops, blogs and other educational opportunities with nature photographers and other kindred spirits.
Gary and Steve both are Hoosier natives with boundless passion for capturing and sharing images from Indiana’s wild places. Both are also educators and authors. Steve’s latest book – A Guide to Natural Areas of Southern Indiana – is of particular interest to photographers who share their passion for nature photography.
Gary R. Morrison
Gary purchased his first camera when he was 10 with money earned from his afternoon paper route. Being rather naive, he purchased a knock off of the Brownie Hawkeye camera from the local Hook’s drug store on the Bedford town square. Years later, he realized he could have purchased a much better camera from the local camera and hobby store where he delivered the Indianapolis News each afternoon and used his earnings to purchase model airplanes and cars.
His first photography class was part of a high school yearbook/newspaper workshop at the IU School of Journalism that was taught by photojournalism professor Will Counts. Interestingly, the last course he took for his doctorate was a typography course taught by Will, who remembered Gary and some of his photos that received the Portfolio Award for the workshop.
During graduate school, Gary studied photography, worked as a photographer as part of his graduate assistantship and taught an introductory photography course. In 1970, he bought a Pentax Spotmatic and then a Nikon FM in 1978.
After finishing grad school, Gary worked as instructional designer for various organizations, including the University of Mid-America, where one of his projects was accepted for broadcast on the PBS network, before returning to academia. Not having a darkroom or a job that required his photographic expertise, he forgot just about everything he had learned about photography.
About 15 years ago, he rekindled his interest in photography with the purchase of his first digital camera, an early Kodak model. Since then, he has befriended Charlottesville, Va., nature photographer Ben Greenberg, who has inspired his latest venture into photography. Gary feels fortunate to have been on location for a few of the photographs in Ben’s recent book, Natural Virginia: Panoramic Landscape Photographs.
Gary spent the last 30 years a professor at three universities – University of Memphis, Wayne State University and Old Dominion University – where he taught a number of courses in instructional design. During this time, he coauthored two books (7 editions of one and 4 editions of the other). Now that he is retired, he has more time to devote to photography and less time for grading papers!
Gary and wife Linda recently retired to Southern Indiana with their two Irish Setters. Gary’s main focus is landscape photography, although he’s known to shoot portraits of Irish Setters and photograph Irish Setter specialty shows. He’s usually found hiking on a trail, following a ridge top, wading in a creek, hiking through a forest, standing beside a lake or exploring a valley photographing the beautiful landscape of Southern Indiana.
Steve is one of Southern Indiana’s senior environmental writers and photographers, having spent much of his 43 years living in the region with a 35mm camera around his neck. He began with a Kalimar in the early 1970s, learned on a Pentax Spotmatic and has been a Nikon man since 1975, when he moved to a wooded ridge top overlooking Monroe Lake and discovered his lifelong passion for nature photography.
After enrolling in the master’s program at the IU School of Journalism in 1980 to study photojournalism, Steve learned he could write and spent his career as an award-winning writer, variously working as a staff writer at the Bloomington Herald-Times, senior writer at Indiana Department of Environmental Management, columnist for the Bloomington Independent, freelance magazine writer and newspaper publisher, both print and online. Since 2002, he’s lectured at IU, where he now teaches an intensive writing course called Online Journalism in the Media School.
While he spent most of his adult life working the keyboard, Steve has remained tightly bound to the series of Nikons he’s owned, shooting in the streets, theaters, clubs and natural environments that he’s immersed himself in. While exhibitions have not been a priority, his photos have been exhibited in a number of publications, galleries and shows, including the Indianapolis Art Center, Artists Row Gallery, Wandering Turtle Art Gallery, Indiana Memorial Union, Fourth Street Festival of Arts & Crafts, Waldron Art Center, NUVO, Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, Indiana Alumni and others.
In 2013, Steve refocused his creative energies on nature and began Natural Bloomington Ecotours and More, where his mission is to “to celebrate and share Southern Indiana’s natural beauty through image, prose and ecotourism.”
The Natural Bloomington vision evolved into an epic journey in 2014, when he began work on A Guide to Natural Areas of Southern Indiana, which was published by IU Press in April 2016. The 370-page book includes 100 color photos and maps shot and created by Steve with descriptions, anecdotes and directions to 119 natural areas between I-70 and the Ohio River.
He is now working on two books for IU Press: a Northern Indiana companion to the Southern Indiana guidebook and a coffee table book called The Hoosier National Forest: Rewilding Southern Indiana.
Here’s what historical novelist James Alexander Thom said in the foreword: “In this guidebook, Steven Higgs has compiled and written a hundred times more good, useful information about my native state’s natural treasures than I ever learned in eighty years of crawling, hiking, riding, swimming, and paddling all over them.”