Behind the scenes with Clyde Butcher

BY September 20, 2011

Clyde Butcher as shot by his wife, Niki.

Internationally renowned photographer Clyde Butcher ( is out there. Way out there.

You know, in the swamps. All that time chest deep in the Everglades waiting for the lighting to be just right gives a man time to think about things: his own psychic abilities, whether Lyndon Johnson had J.F.K. assassinated, the power of healing crystals, etc…

When we sat down with him recently at his home in Ochopee he confessed that he does, in fact, have psychic powers. Not the kind that would help us win the lottery or beat the spread on the Tampa Bay game, but one that helps him figure out just where to set up his tripod in order to capture the best picture possible.

“It’s just a feeling,” says Butcher, while enjoying a hot dog. “I can’t really see the photograph. You can’t see the composition. There are no viewfinders on these cameras. (Butcher eschews digital cameras in favor of old school cameras that weigh up to 40 pounds and use 20-inch wide film.) Everything I do is point and shoot.”

So just how good is his psychic picture power? When he went to Cuba a few years back he took 65 pictures. He used 55 of those for his book “Cuba—The Natural Beauty.” Perhaps those powers explain why he is regularly compared to the world’s most famous nature photographer, Ansel Adams.

Butcher’s been honored with the Ansel Adams Conservation Award from the Sierra Club and a lifetime achievement award from the North American Nature Photography Association. He’s even been featured in a Ken Burns documentary.

Google him and find out why. And yes, he thinks Johnson had motive and that healing crystals really do work. (Not necessarily for shots from the grassy knoll, but still…) He also give a big thumbs up for those holographic wrist bands that improve balance. After all, you need your balance in the swamp…

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