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I am Nikonians

Bonnie Christensen (BChrisRad) Interview

Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2)

Keywords: landscape, hdr, travel, wildlife, photography, bchrisrad


Originally a Nurse and now retired from Dentistry, Bonnie Christensen is more at liberty for travel and photography.  It is obvious that family has been an inspiration and motivation for her photography and projects.  She has put together numerous albums and photo books from both the film and digital era to preserve the fun and beauty of her travels. Bonnie is a regular contributor on Nikonians and brings light hearted encouragement and praise to members with their contributions.

“I am part of the third generation of women in my family who have had a passion for travel and photography. My grandmother back in the 1970’s traveled the world (including Antarctica in 1976) and came back with amazing photos, which were even published in elementary books for children learning to read. My mother is the next photographer in the line who at 86 is still traveling the world (Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Antarctica x3, Iran, etc.). Like them, I started photography with the idea that I wanted to be able to capture personally meaningful photos when on vacation visiting new places. 


Medieval Bridge Ponts Couverts in Strasbourg, France
I enjoy trying my hand at night time photography
Nikon D500, 16-80mm f/2.8-4.0 @ f/7.1, 13s, ISO 160, on tripod
Click for an enlargement


My first camera was a Canonette range finder that I bought in 1979, but I quickly learned its limitations and soon after bought a Canon A1. I loved that film camera and would still be using it if it had not broken twice on me when on vacation after 20 years of use.

My first Nikon was an N80. I used that while DSLRs were coming into their own, and I eventually bought a D200. With a big family trip to Namibia in 2016, I knew I needed to upgrade again and purchased a D500.


Reaching for the Clouds in Cappadocia, Turkey
Got lucky on the timing and angle!
Nikon D200, 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 @ f/9, 1/400s, ISO 250
Click for an enlargement


I live in west suburban Chicago, where I have discovered several local places to practice my photography. Near me, there is a forest preserve with an old water powered grist mill; a bit farther, there is the Morton Arboretum, which has acres of plants, trees, and flowers from all over the world (that also can manage to survive Chicago winters). Photographing nature is a new subject matter for me. In the past, I mainly used my camera for sightseeing and gatherings of family or friends. At times, I do also take the train into Chicago where I can photograph the lake, Millennium Park, or the marvelous architecture from a river cruise.


Namibian Dessert from Small Plane.
I find myself doing more B&W than a few years ago.
This photo was turned into B&W, after having trouble with WB.
But then found I preferred the B&W.
Nikon D500, 16-80mm f/2.8-4.0 @ f/8.0, 1/1250s, ISO 400
Click for an enlargement


Last summer after a family trip to Namibia (3 generations and 7 people) I reviewed the more than 15,000 photos (from multiple iPhones, Canon and Nikon cameras) and put them into a 100 page book. It is a memory book that tells the story of our trip, not the best of the best photos from the trip necessarily. My brother and daughter did not get why anyone would put a memory book together vs. a best of the best until they saw the book and said ‘Wow, I forgot about that.’


Namibian Dune in Early AM Fog
Disappointed for having fog, ended up with some pretty cool photos
The sun eventually came out and we got to see Sossusvlei in the sun.
Nikon D500, 16-80mm f/2.8-4.0 @ f/7.1, 1/500s, ISO 320
Click for an enlargement


I am still most passionate about travel photography. Although, after seeing so many amazing macro photos on the Nikonians website, I have a desire to explore that area a bit further, as well. Birds in flight and portrait work in a studio I know nothing about, but appreciate and enjoy what I see on Nikonians. Given the opportunity, I would still love to try them since I am sure I could learn something new, which could help me in other areas of photography.


Lunch Time at Old World Wisconsin for One of the Field Hands.
Old World WI is about 2 hours from where I live and one of my favorite places to spend a day with a camera.
Nikon D500, 16-80mm f 2.8-4.0 @ f/5.6, 1/400s, ISO 320
Click for an enlargement


I need to improve in all areas of photography, but I am currently concentrating on the basics of trying to imagine a photo and capturing what I visualize. This skill, trying to visualize what I want to create and then creating it, also carries over into post-processing with Lightroom and Photoshop.


Old World Wisconsin
HDR image to enable ability to see the trees through the window
Nikon D500, 16-80mm f/2.8-4.0 @ f/6.3, 1/1250s, ISO 400
Click for an enlargement


One memorable moment when shooting was in 1979 at Wonder Lake campground in Denali National Park. I had lost my cable release. A perfect stranger lent me his and would not take it back. I still have that cable release, and it reminds me of the kindness of strangers.


Palais Royal Checkerboard
Having fun with digital artistry is another area I want to explore
Nikon D500, PP is Photoshop
Click for an enlargement


During my internet searches for information on the “elusive D400”, I came across Nikonians and joined. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would find it to be such an informative and supportive site. Being a member of Nikonians has helped me both with technical learning as well as given me inspiration to go out and take photos of “everyday” things. This has challenged me to try to take sharp, technically correct photos and possibly see things in a different light. Whereas before joining Nikonians, my camera was mainly for vacations and otherwise lived in a drawer. I continue to be in awe of the knowledge members have, their willingness to share it, and the amazing photos that are continually posted.


Palais Royale in Paris
Nikon D500, 16-80mm f/2.8-4.0 @ f/7.1, 1/400s, ISO 1000
Click for an enlargement


As for a recommendation—I am probably a bit different in that I like to keep things simple and light. I travel with one body (I know it’s a risk—been down that road) and at most two lenses. I prefer f/4 lenses to f/2.8 for their weight and size. My D500 with the 16-80mm f/2.8-4.0 Nikkor lens is often in my purse when I go out due to it being smaller than an FX. (Yes, I am drooling over the D850, but it would not often travel with me so… [Title: it is probably better that I invest in another lens or two.)


Elephants on Parade. Photos made at Etosha
Page from the published travel book of the same name.
Click for an enlargement


A big thank you to Nikonians and all its members for all that I have learned, and the daily encouragement and inspiration to get out and shoot!”

It was great fun in working with Bonnie on this project.  You have a great way of preserving memories for yourself, family and friends.  This takes great effort and patience to produce such works but will provide adoring comments in years to come. Looking forward to seeing the directions your photography journey will take you.


Originally written on January 30, 2018

Last updated on June 12, 2018

Marsha Edmunds Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2)

Donor Ribbon awarded for her support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Fellow Ribbon awarded for her continuous encouragement and meaningful comments in the spirit of Nikonians. Donor Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017

Lethbridge, Canada
Team, 7220 posts

More articles by Marsha Edmunds

More... More...


Preston Moochnek (massulo) on June 20, 2018

Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning a Nikonians Annual Photo Contest

Excellent works and a great article.. Well done Marsha

John D. Roach (jdroach) on March 10, 2018

Fellow Ribbon awarded. John exhibits true Nikonian spirit by frequently posting images and requesting comments and critique, which he graciously accepts. He is an inspiration to all of us through constant improvement in his own work, keen observations and excellent commentary on images posted by others. Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017

Very nice collection of images and article. Thanks for sharing.

Tom Jacob (sevendayimages) on February 14, 2018

Awarded for his continuous knowledge and images sharing with community members Awarded for his win at the Best of Nikonians 2016 Photo Contest

Bonnie! I am so sorry to jump in late into your interview, but it is just a wonderful collection of images and a very nice read! You definately are travelling the world and showing us a slice, and that is one of my passions too :) Love the monochrome sand dunes...excellent. Now get onto shooting portraits too and I look forward seeing them! :) Cheers, Tom

Bear Dale (BlueHealer) on February 11, 2018

Bonnie, what a terrific feature to read with my Sunday morning coffee. You're an asset to Nikonians. Congratulations, Jim

Bonnie Christensen (BChrisRad) on February 8, 2018

Donor ribbon awarded for her most generous contribution to the 2017 campaign. Ribbon awarded for her most generous support to the 2018 fundraising  campaign

Thank you to the Australian contingent of Ray and Scotty for reading Marsha's nice article. I had fun working with her to put it together. Thank you also for your kind comments. I enjoy viewing and being a cheerleader for all of you and your amazing images. I will work on posting! Bonnie

Ray Heslewood (Hessy) on February 5, 2018

Well done Bonnie, Great images from a great Nikonian, you should post more... Ray

Ian McNicol...aka Scotty. (Scotty45) on February 3, 2018

Another excellent profile of an inspiring photographer, from Marsha. Bonnie, I enjoy viewing your images as much as I appreciate your comments of mine. Thank you.

Bonnie Christensen (BChrisRad) on February 2, 2018

Donor ribbon awarded for her most generous contribution to the 2017 campaign. Ribbon awarded for her most generous support to the 2018 fundraising  campaign

Kathy, Russell, Sarah, Mark, David and Tom thank you so much for taking the time to read and post a response to Marsha's very nice article. Nikonians is an amazing web site and I feel lucky to have found it and all of you. I may not post a lot of photos, but I get great joy out of seeing others photos and have learned a lot from everyone. I am beginning to realize that my role may be that of a "cheerleader" for the many amazing photographers on this web site. I am also beginning to realize that my other niche may be that of memory books and photos for events (college reunions, annual cookie bakes, etc.) where others do not bring a camera or take few photos. Thank you again for your kind words. Bonnie

Thomas Smith (ThosMITHs) on February 1, 2018

Bonnie, Just now (9:30pm) saw this Home page. I am stunned! Tom

David Summers (dm1dave) on February 1, 2018

Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015

Nice article and great photography! Thank you, Bonnie, for sharing and contributing to our community.

Mark Roberts (mrob) on January 31, 2018

Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017

Another great article Marsha! Bonnie, amazing article, photos and information of your photography background. I always enjoy your replies and thank you for sharing your knowledge. Great job.

Sarah Boser (Sarah9) on January 31, 2018

Bonnie, I loved reading this article and seeing the variety of photos you included. Both your joy and your talents are evident. Thanks for sharing!

Russell Whittemore (rosewood_ltd) on January 31, 2018

Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017

Another gem in an excellent series, Marsha. Bonnie - I may have been missing some of your posts in the past, but I can see here that you have a great breadth of interest and creativity. After seeing some of these images, I think you may be hiding your light under a bushel a little bit.

Kathy Cavallaro (Cavy2) on January 30, 2018

Awarded for her continuing willingness to keep on learning and to share her knowledge with others in the Nikonians spirit

Another enjoyable article! I enjoy reading and getting a more in depth view of our members. I always enjoy your posts Bonnie. Your great heart is evident and your talent is wide!