Russ Hansen, former physics
teacher, electrical engineer, inventor, innovator and nature photographer
has been photographing birds in flight for more than 27 years. Russ
has photographed more than 140 species of birds within 3 feet of the camera.
Using a variety of techniques to lure the birds close to the camera, Russ's
photographs are unique in the world of wildlife photography. Now
retired, Russ and his wife, Marty, now spend summers in South Lincoln,
Vermont and winter in Fort Davis, Texas. They still travel widely
in the United States seeking new species. He has also photographed
birds in Canada, Jamaica, Trinidad, Tobago, Guatemala, Belize and Mexico.
It was after photographing rifle bullets passing through playing cards,
light bulbs and bars of soap with his physics students that he decided
to try photographing birds in flight at close range. Thus a keen interest
and desire to photograph birds close up became an exciting avocation.
A former electrical engineer at Bell Labs and Xerox, where he received
several patents, Russ also taught physics for 25 years, 18 at The Hotchkiss
School in Lakeville, Connecticut. He designed and built the electronic
flashes and circuitry necessary to stop the wing action of a bird as it
breaks a light beam which triggers a motor-driven Hasselblad camera.
Russ received two grants from the National Geographic Society for multiple-image
photography of birds and bats in flight. An example of this work
may be seen in The Wonder of Birds, page 24 (National Geographic
Society, 1983). He also used this equipment in a National Geographic
expedition to Jamaica studying the Pteronotus mustache bat with Dr. Bill
Henson of the University of North Carolina Medical School, Chapel Hill.
Russ's photographs have appeared in a number of periodicals and books,
including American Birds, National Wildlife, Yankee,
Parks and Wildlife, Fotografisk Tidsdrift, The Audubon Society
Encyclopedia of North American Birds, Far Out Facts (National
Geographic Society), National Geographic Research, The Audubon
Society Field Guide of North American Birds, and the National Audubon
Society North American Bird Feeder Handbook and more recently
Field Guides Hummingbirds of North America and Hummingbirds of the
American West. He has lectured widely for Audubon chapters, the Vermont
Institute of Natural Science Annual Bird Conference, the Birds of Vermont
Museum, The Connecticut Museum of Natural History, Cornell's Laboratory
of Ornithology, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, The Southwest
Research Station of The American Museum of Natural History and the North
American Nature Photography Association. His traveling exhibit "Birds
in Flight" has been featured at more than 50 museums throughout the U.S.
since 1992. Russ was an award winner in the 54th annual PICTURES of the
YEAR competition judged at the Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia,
MO, presented at the National Geographic Society, May 30, 1997.