I've had the photography bug since I inherited my father's old Zeiss-Ikon 35mm film camera back in the 1970s. Before that I used an old Brownie-Hawkeye box camera and made many double exposures by forgetting to wind the film. Next came the Kodak Instamatic period. Fortunately there was no Polaroid period.

I didn't know what I was doing then, but I had ideas about capturing wildlife and spectacular outdoor scenes. Dad's old light meters didn't work, so I relied on barebones suggestions that came with each roll of films, and a lot of wrong hunches.

Below is a photo from the summit of Mount San Jacinto in southern California, taken in 1978 with that old Zeiss-Ikon. That's my good friend Dan contemplating the San Gorgonio Pass and Mount San Gorgonio (out of the frame) on the other side. Dad's camera finally gave out during a three-month trip to Germany in 1981, leaving me without pictures from the very last part of the trip.

Now I have years of experience with film and digital that includes asking questions of other photographers, playing around to see what works, and enhancing my skills with formal classes. People tell me that I have "the eye." I suppose that years of looking at birds, flowers, scenery, and more is responsible.

follomy work more closely on Facebook:


And good equipment is important as well. At present I use a digital Canon EOS 650D (18 mp) with good-quality Sigma lenses, such as a 17-70mm and a 70-200mm. Both are "fast" lenses for low-light situations. Also I have a small Canon zoom that is a functional macro. Thanks to other photographers, especially Steve Alexander in Des Moines, I've learned to rely more heavily on the Manual and "semi-automatic" modes instead of the preset "idiot" modes on the camera. In short, my confidence in getting a shot "right" is much greater because I'm using settings to achieve what I want.

Leeward Solutions, LLC is an Iowa-registered company that offers a broad range of consultancy services. It is owned and managed by Leland M. Searles. For more information on ecological consultancy services, visit www.leewardecology.com.

  • Ecological evaluation: fauna, flora, rivers, watersheds, wetlands. 
  • Higher education: Curriculum development, teaching methods, instructional technologies, and professional development. Knowledge areas: sociocultural anthropology, culture and psychology (including mental health), healing and medical practices, ecological anthropology, transnational migration and the processes of adaptation of immigrants and their new settings, and ideological conflicts in American society.
  • Intercultural relations. Fostering dialogue across differences in cultural backgrounds, moral beliefs, and other common social divisions. The single most common obstacle is simply lack of understanding, but overcoming it requires taking risks. My approach creates a "safe" setting in which to take those risks in order to achieve understanding and the changes in perspective that may occur.
My business name, in addition to playing off my name, suggests the idea of a shelter from the wind. In general my goal is to encourage deeper understandings of our connections to the natural world and to each other as cultural beings in order to reduce misunderstandings and non-sustainable ways of life.