Natural History Photographs

Personal reflections on the birth of this site

My name is Cor Zonneveld, and I am a born naturalist. Already as a young boy I reared all kinds of caterpillars I found close to our home in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Around the age of 12, I joined a youth club for natural history, and when I was about 15 years of age, my friends started to specialize on various groups of insects, such as Hoverflies and Dragonflies. But I chose Butterflies - in part because no one else did, in part because they are so beautiful, and probably also because of my earlier experiences with rearing of caterpillars. Somewhat later, around 1980, I started photographing butterflies, first all season round, later on only during the holidays.

This restriction of my activities to holidays in part had to do with getting a job etc. - but my fanatic pursuit of butterflies had started to wane, too. I guess there were several reasons for this, one of them being the paucity of butterflies where I lived, not particularly renowned for its rich butterfly fauna. Another reason was that I got bored with 'hunting species'. My last butterfly holiday was in 1996, when rainfall ruined it as well as our car.

The next decade I kept my general interest in nature, but started to do other things, like buying a house, marrying a wife, getting children; in short, the usual stuff. Children ask for a lot of time, so regardless of interest I had little opportunity for frantic wildlife pursuit. But when our children became gradually more independent, I got inspired to re-explore wildlife photography. In July 2006 I decided to buy a digital camera: a Nikon (D70s) with 105 mm macro-objective. The stunning details already visible in my very first photographs with this new equipment rekindled my enthusiasm from earlier days. But because of the scarcity of butterflies at our 2006 holiday destination, I started looking for alternatives, and flies proved to be a nice substitute. And from this season onwards, I have continuously broadened my scope which now is almost limitless.

After a dull winter, in 2007 I tried to make good for my 'lost decade', by using every opportunity to go out, observe and take photos. And ever since the renaissance of my intense interest in nature in 2006, I continuously documented what I found. This resulted and still results in an ever increasing wealth of material, accumulating in my electronic archive. But what is the purpose of such an archive? In due time, one may forget what is in there, begging the question why to go at great length to make these photos. So I decided to make an album. But a paper-based album is too similar to an archive to make much of a difference, and thus I chose for this website: Natural History Photographs. The dynamic nature of a website makes it a living collection rather than a dead archive. And because other people might find some of my photos useful, too, I think it is a good idea to make my electronic album publicly available.

Me and my girls in action; Texel, the Netherlands 2005.