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Amid stay-at-home order, this Carroll County photographer captures beautiful nature shots in her own front yard

For nature photographer Wendy Dickey, now would have been a splendid time to head south to Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park in search of subjects. The 47-year-old finds solace in the hobby after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis six years ago.

“I believe if I keep hiking and walking and finding something I truly enjoy in my heart and soul nothing is going to stop me,” she said.

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Since Maryland’s stay-at-home order, Dickey has embraced admiring the nature in her own front yard. Her grandfather’s love of photography inspired her to take photos from a young age. The lifelong Sykesville resident is now a stay-at-home mom of three adult children. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Dickey enjoyed babysitting her 2-year-old grandson.

"Building her own home" - Female Eastern Bluebird working on building her nest in my front yard
"Building her own home" - Female Eastern Bluebird working on building her nest in my front yard(Wendy Dickey)

Dickey earned the most votes in last month’s SunShots photo contest, “At Home,” with her photo “Building her own home,” which was taken in her front yard in the first week of April.

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Read more about the photographer below and be sure to enter a photo in the SunShots contest “Stoop Portraits” for a chance to be profiled and featured on the @baltimoresun Instagram account. And, don’t forget to vote for your favorite photo entries.

1 ) What kind of photography do you enjoy most?

I enjoy taking all kinds of photos. I have taken wedding photos, portraits, and everything in between; however, my favorite is nature. I love being in the woods alone with my camera, it’s where I find my peace. I have always loved birds, my greatest love is owls, I also got that from my grandfather. He collected them when I was little, he died when I was 21 and I have always carried on his love for them.

The wise one .. Barred Owl (March 2020)
The wise one .. Barred Owl (March 2020) (Wendy Dickey)

2) Tell us more about the photo you submitted to the “At home” contest?

I was just spending some quiet time on my front porch. I knew the bluebirds were building their nest in my front tree, and they are quite used to me because of my feeders. It did not take me long to get this shot because they were working diligently all day, so I just went and sat for a minute to photograph them.

It can be very challenging photographing birds, but not the ones in my front yard, only because of how used to me they are. I have taken hikes for hours before and not gotten a great pic of anything though, birds are definitely a hit or miss subject.

Every little bit counts .. honey bees working on a sunflower farm (October 2019)
Every little bit counts .. honey bees working on a sunflower farm (October 2019)(Wendy Dickey)

3) What kind of gear did you shoot with?

I have a Canon SL2. I was using my landscape setting on manual setting, I was using my 75-300mm lens however I was only about 15 feet from her, that’s how I was able to have such clarity.

4) With Maryland under a stay-at-home order due to the pandemic, what do you miss most about taking photos?

I miss being able to go to a lot of the places I was hiking and taking pictures. It truly is my way to find peace. This is why I take pics of the birds in my yard even, at least it’s a way to take pics of stuff I enjoy and still be safe at home.

Male Eastern Bluebird looking for breakfast (April 2020)
Male Eastern Bluebird looking for breakfast (April 2020)(Wendy Dickey)

I love being in the woods alone with my camera, it’s where I find my peace.


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Do I look cute? Palm Warbler (March 2020)
Do I look cute? Palm Warbler (March 2020)(Wendy Dickey)

5) Do you have any advice to offer photographers with less experience in nature photography?

The advice I would offer other photographers about nature photography is you don’t always get lucky, you truly have to love being out there and not be out there for just the pictures. Take your time and see the beauty in everything you would be amazed what makes a good photo.

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6) Where can people see more of your work?

You can find my work on Facebook at W. Dickey Photography. Also soon my work will be for sale from Main Street Sykesville’s Design of Mind.

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