Local Instagrammer Finds Joy in Nature PhotographyJan 29, 2021 04:14PM ● By Grace Allen
You might know her as Doreen, the friendly co-owner of Walsh’s Greenhouse in Norfolk. But to her 1000-plus online followers, she’s the Instagrammer known as Dubsy2010 who has posted hundreds of wildlife photos, especially photos of birds, on her profile.
Walsh is an amateur wildlife photographer and birder. The two hobbies are not dissimilar to gardening, requiring patience, a keen eye, and a deep appreciation for nature.
“I enjoy being outside, and you see a lot when you’re a photographer,” she said, noting she always keeps her camera within reach. “You see more than others, I think. You’re always looking and sometimes you get lucky.”
She comes by her talent naturally. She recalls her grandmother, a birder, always taking photos when she came to visit. When Walsh was in high school, she started taking photos herself. Back then, she had a Kodak camera.
These days she uses a much better camera, and with better gear comes better photos. Walsh is self-taught, however—she’s never taken a photography class--and she acknowledges that bird photography can be especially challenging because birds are always in action and extremely aware of anyone approaching. It’s generally accepted that to be a great bird photographer you have to be a great birder first.
Her advice for both hobbies? Don’t stress the birds and be patient.
“I keep my distance and I stand still and wait,” she said.
The six birdfeeders around Walsh’s home attract many birds, and she’s come to know their schedules and patterns. She’s even hand-fed chickadees while filming them, a process involving much perseverance and the building of trust.
During the spring and summer, the plant and flower-filled greenhouses at the rear of the property also provide photo inspiration by attracting birds, including speedy hummingbirds.
“The hummingbirds fly into the greenhouse, get what they want, and fly out,” said Walsh. “They are very smart little birds. Other birds have gotten into the greenhouse and they can’t figure out how to get out.”
Besides her yard, some of her favorite locations to photograph wildlife are Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, Bush Pond, the Lind Farm conservation land in Norfolk, the DelCarte conservation area in Franklin, and Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharon.
Walsh says some of her most rewarding photos include a bald eagle on the ice at City Mills, a gray fox in her yard, and a cedar waxwing, a sleek yet flashy bird, at Bush Pond.
“I got very excited when I saw my first cedar waxwing,” said Walsh. “They are cool-looking birds. It was sitting on a branch and I said, oh my gosh I can’t believe this.”
About two years ago, she captured the image of the gray fox as it strolled into her yard. The animal is generally elusive, primarily nocturnal and hard to spot in nature.
“That probably is one of my favorite photos because it was a surprise,” she said. “I was just sitting on my back porch. I’ve lived in town for 38 years and that’s the first gray fox I’ve seen.”
Walsh joined Instagram about four years ago as a way to share her photos. Her followers are mostly other birders but are appreciative of any wildlife shots. And in the past year, backyard birding has taken off as a hobby. The pandemic has made everyone more aware and appreciative of the outdoors.
Doreen Walsh runs Walsh’s Greenhouse with her husband Gerry (he focuses on landscape construction), and it’s now into the second generation with son David and daughter-in-law Michelle helping out. The business just had it busiest year ever. People have been home and want to spruce up their yards and reconnect with nature.
Nature, after all, can provide comfort during times of stress, reminding us of the natural order of the world. Perhaps those pictures we see on social media platforms such as Instagram can inspire us to take a step back and experience the world around us, whether that involves a walk through the woods or simply observing the wildlife in our own backyards.