Share This Article
All things come to an end eventually.
Tim Ernst, the famous Arkansas nature photographer that has captured the hearts and imaginations of so many throughout his 45 year career, has wrapped up his final book tour and slide presentation in the Natural State.
That tour stopped in Mountain Home for a final time last night, with a nearly two hour long presentation to a packed crowd of over 100 people at the Baxter County library Tuesday evening.
“The very first slide program I ever did was back in 1974,” said Tim Ernst. “And since then, this one is number 1509, and you guys are it. I’m not going to do 1510. This is the very last one, until something else comes up.”
Starting his career as a photographer in 1977, Ernst has been a pioneer in Arkansas photography, having his work featured in National Geographic, Audubon, Backpacker, Outside, Outdoor Photographer, American Hiker, Natural History, Chevy Outdoors and Sierra Club.
Some Arkansans may also recognize some of his work from state sponsored stamps throughout the years.
Ernst’s career sprang out of a love of photography and hiking in the great outdoors. Nature photography is a difficult career to earn a living in, but Ernst found a way by creating his own publishing studio in the early years of his career.
Since then, he has gone on to publish 20 separate photography books to great success. He is also the author of more than a dozen hiking guidebooks, including “Buffalo River Hiking Trails,” “Arkansas Hiking Trails” featuring a forward by President Bill Clinton and “Ouachita Trail Guide.” He has sold more than 100,000 books in his lifetime.
His latest and final photography book “Arkansas Greatest Hits” gets personal, with a focus on the photos that have meant the most to him throughout the years. The book features breathtaking landscape shots of the Buffalo River and other state parks, rare and intimate encounters with Arkansas wildlife, fantastic sunsets and sunrises, and beautifully captured nighttime imagery of Arkansas’s night sky.
“I ended up starting from scratch and trying to figure out what I wanted a picture book to be,” Ernst said on creating his first picture book. “I spent a lot of time in bookstores looking at other picture books and one of the things I thought I wanted was mostly just pictures. Not a whole lot of stuff besides pictures. And so, the very first picture book was called ‘Arkansas Portfolio,’ and I just had pictures with very little text.”
During his presentation, Ernst talked about the beginnings of his career and the lead up to his decision to create his first published book. By that time, Ernst had already been featured in National Geographic and had nearly 20 years of experience beneath his belt.
He said his goal, like so many other photographers, was to have a full picture book published. He revealed that his first offer from a publisher to create a book came with a $50,000 price tag that he would have to pay up front.
Ernst struck out on his own, and self-published his first book himself, and the rest is history.
Following his speech, Ernst presented a short film that featured shots from his latest book set to music before opening up the floor for questions from the crowd.
In the Q&A session, he spoke about his time outdoors and how much of it was spent in isolation to get the perfect shot. He also gave explanations of some of his best nights shots, which were created through a mix of long exposure and creative flashlight.
He also touched on some of his encounters with wildlife, specifically bears. Some of those shots came from waiting patiently for days on end for the right moment, and the others came down to being in the right place at the right moment.
While Ernst is wrapping up his career as a publisher, the famous photographer will still be out on the trail while working on creative projects.
Ernst’s final book “Arkansas Greatest Hits” has already sold out, with only a few copies remaining with retailers and bookstores. For more information on Ernst and his work, readers can visit his professional blog here. For those wishing to see some of his photography, a link has been provided to his Facebook page.