Photo © Ian Coristine/
 You are here:  Back Issues      Archive

Bill Munro’s camera “is there… “

Bill Munro, a photographer with a keen eye, has a simple-and-sensible philosophy about taking pictures: To get great pictures you have to “be there, camera at-the-ready".

Bill, and his wife Judy, are well-known “birders”. They summer on Murray Isle and winter in West Palm Beach, Florida, his family’s home town. They volunteer for several organizations and share their love of the River with friends and family.

When we met in September, Bill, with photos in hand, explained he was given his first camera when he was ten.  And even though he has used cameras throughout his career and in his personal life he  insists that he is just plain lucky.

He explained that a bird perched on a branch, a smiling child,
and a toad beside a mushroom, are all performers.

Bill also explained he still takes a traditional approach to composition and design, but suggested the new digital cameras do allow photographers to experiment.  He is also amazed at the range of equipment on the market but counsels that a good camera, which needn't be the most expensive, is not the only requirement.  “The most important ingredient is time”.

He also explained that he enjoys photographing wildlife for the experience of being outdoors.  However, he was amused when he recently received an enthusiastic response from a stock-photo agency. They suggested they would accept his work until they asked,“What kind of photographs will you send?” He replied,  “wildlife”. They politely declined - “We have more than enough, thank you!” 

So what makes a good photograph?

Bill Munro’s Photography

 Blue Heron, © 2010 Bill Munro
Great Blue Heron

The importance of lighting

Morning or afternoon light is best. Mid-day photographs are usually "flat".

Get up as close as possible

Getting really close is important. Bill and Judy spotted a  Mink on the ice near Thousand Islands Park.  Bill was sure the mink would  run off, but soon realized the mink's opportunity for a feast was more important.

Mink and Northern Pike, © 2010 Bill Munro

Patience and observations

If you concentrate on being observant, you can capture some incredible subjects.

Red Shouldered Hawk with a mouse. 
© 2010 Bill Munro

Ravens return to Bluff Island early each spring to nest.

© 2010 Bill Munro

Know the subject

Being a “birder” has helped Bill capture many photographs that would be lost to an untrained eye.  Did you know that dragonflies hatch underwater? If you wait patiently, they'll surface ready for the camera!

Dragon flies. © 2010 Bill Munro
© 2010 Bill MunroPaddle through the marsh, Blue Damselflies  

Our Great Blue Herons

Great Blue Herons are always a favorite. Bill says they come in all sizes and condition from pristine to disheveled.


And …"Being there.”

Click to enlarge each photograph.    
 Gold Finch © 2010 Bill Munro Butterfly © 2010 Bill Munro Bee on a flower© 2010 Bill Munroe
Gold Finch, first to come and last to leave Murray Isle butterfly Bumblebee on a flower
  Owl © 2010 Bill Munro
 Osprey © 2010 Bill Munro 
 Loons © 2010 Bill Munroe

Barred Owl during the day on Grindstone Island

The magnificent osprey coming to nest

Favorite loons





By Susan W. Smith,

Posted in: Photography
Please feel free to leave comments about this article using the form below. Comments are moderated and we do not accept comments that contain links. As per our privacy policy, your email address will not be shared and is inaccessible even to us. For general comments, please email the editor.


Comment by: 1000islandadict ( )
Left at: 10:37 PM Thursday, October 14, 2010
love the mink and pike pic!
Jack Patterson
Comment by: Jack Patterson ( )
Left at: 9:08 AM Saturday, October 16, 2010
Yes, how did that Mink capture such as a Northern , Bill ?
Wonderful pictures . Also like many folks I perhaps believed that Ravens must mate and nest on the fly . I will have to bother your illustrious sibling with a visit to Bluff one day to see those nesting sites .
Boat doing fine !
Jack P
Diane Harper
Comment by: Diane Harper ( )
Left at: 8:37 AM Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Love the mink and pike photo! (Your Murray Isle butterfly is a pearl crescent) . . . Nicely done!
Jack Patterson
Comment by: Jack Patterson ( )
Left at: 3:02 PM Wednesday, October 20, 2010
A mix of the old and the new = mink and pike . Never had mink in the islands that I know of ( before , say , about 5 to 8 years ago . ) With us their arrival somewhat corresponded with when the beavers left or didn ' t return after we hired someone to turn them out from within the slips of the boathouse . Not easy . Up to then there was no deterring them . Also - they say beavers " slap " the water when alarmed , etc . Is no ' slap ' . Is as if you picked up the heaviest rock you could lift and climbed an eight foot step ladder and let it go in deep water : " Ker - Spalsh Splash Splash ! ! " Have you attempted to photograph the Eagle , Bill ? Maybe also look after the Mountain Lion that apparently holed up on one of the islands down below Stave . Keep up the wonderful work . Jack P
Erin McCarthy Brick
Comment by: Erin McCarthy Brick ( )
Left at: 10:48 PM Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Fabulous, masterful shots, Bill. I especially like the Dragonflies and Blue Damselflies. You must be the world's most patient and observant man. You have captured elements of the River that elude most of us.
kelsey mason
Comment by: kelsey mason ( )
Left at: 8:06 PM Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Hi Bill,
I love your photographs and your ideas about photography. Can you tell me if you have a favorite lens for your bird photographs. Marvelous shot of the Mink. Wow.
Best wishes,
Kelsey K Mason (classmate of Judy's at Wells)
Bill Munro
Comment by: Bill Munro ( )
Left at: 4:18 PM Thursday, November 11, 2010
Kelsey -
Glad you liked the article.
My favorite lenses for birds are: Nikon 18-200 VR and Nikon 80-400 VR
Both cover most bird shots; more important are a little patience and a good location!
Comment by: Louise(Lonnie)Shaffer ( )
Left at: 11:44 AM Sunday, December 16, 2012
Wow! Loved all your photos. We'll have to get together and share all our photos of the river sometime.
Floyd Cooper
Comment by: Floyd Cooper
Left at: 9:21 AM Thursday, February 2, 2017
Bill's bird pics are superb! Ask him to show some of his FISH photos from the MAKO days. Doris and I surely miss those times. 30 degrees down south in Gorgia. BEST REGARDS