Speak softly and carry a camera

Altamont writer releases second book on the natural world

Bill Danielson is a lucky man. His favorite place for his favorite hobby is just steps away: his own backyard. There at his Altamont home, and at places all over the Capital District and beyond, he spends his free time out of doors, observing and photographing the tiniest insects to the biggest moose.

That hobby has also brought Danielson 13 years of success writing a Speaking of Nature, a column for The Recorder of Greenfield Massachusetts that was also picked up a few years ago by the Times Union. Now, he's releasing his second book, "Still Speaking of Nature: Further Explorations in the Natural World," through SUNY Press, a decade after his first, self-published book.

Like his first book, readers will find a selection of Danielson's most popular columns, mixed in with his own favorites. They're sectioned off by season, so the reader starts in the spring and ends in the winter, and are accompanied by many of his own pictures.

"This is almost a carbon copy of the format of the first book," the author said. The key difference is that the photos are in black and white, which also allows more of them to be included.

"We're certainly very excited about it. We love to publish local authors, and Bill is certainly a well-known name," said Fran Keneston of SUNY Press. "He's a wonderful writer and his photographs are great."

After penning more than 530 columns, one would think Danielson would be running out of subjects to write about. The vast subject of nature and his own changing understanding of that world keeps things varied though, he said, as does the task of explaining it to both novices and experts alike.

"What a lot of my readers like takes the ordinary and shines a light on it, and then it becomes sort of interesting," he said.

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