Boyd saw a bald eagle at White Rock Lake one morning four years ago on his daily walk – without his camera. Such a rare sighting captured his enthusiasm but escaped his film.
Ever since then, Boyd brings his F1 Canon and its 30-pound lens and tripod with him each time he visits the lake. But because of its weight and his physical condition, Boyd finds it easier to drive the gear around on his wheeled walker. That way he can shoot photos with less effort when he is “hunting.”
“I used to hunt with a gun in my younger years, but I like this hunting even better. Everything’s in season, there’s no bag limit, and if you miss it today you can shoot it again tomorrow,” he laughed.
Boyd hunts anything at White Rock Lake: wildflowers, butterflies, bugs, land critters, water critters and pretty much anything with feathers. He has personally catalogued more than 239 different wildflower species and dozens of creatures.
He hasn’t found every flower in his botanist’s guide, but he has found flowers that aren’t listed.
His love affair with the lake deepened on his training runs in the early 1970s when he got involved in marathons. To take his mind off the pain, he listened to bird calls and began to identify them. Time passed, and hearing them wasn’t enough. He wanted to see them up close.
But even with binoculars, birds don’t stay in view for long, so he wanted to capture them to appreciate their fine details. Thus was his photography “disease” born in the mid 80s.
“You never know what you’re going to see. Every day is different, things change with seasons, and it’s always beautiful,” said the Woodrow Wilson alumnus (’43) and former Aggie.
Completely self-taught, Boyd created his business, Nature’s Images, to display his breathtaking photographs. They are found at the Bath House Cultural Center and are for sale at Wild Birds Unlimited at Mockingbird and Abrams. He also sells his photos at many art fairs around town, including the upcoming ArtScape at the Dallas Arboretum. They can also be seen on the For the Love of the Lake website (whiterocklake.org).
“It’s pretty nice when you can write off your hobby on your tax return,” he joked.
Quiet, witty and full of stories and information, Boyd has many other talents, including growing plants from seed and hand-making half of the furniture in his home. He and his bride of 61 years, Shirley, have grown up in East Dallas and still live just minutes from the lake.
They have three sons, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She is also a Woodrow Wildcat class of ’49.
He spent a year with the Navy in the Phillipines, but he arrived in boot camp just three days before VJ Day.
“They heard I was coming and quit,” he smiled.
He then worked for the family business, HE Boyd Trailer Company, with his father and brother. They sold the company in 1997.
The Boyds are both long-time, involved members of Casa Linda United Methodist Church and charter members of For the Love of the Lake. His kindness and generosity inspire others.
“He is quite the character,” Ron Mills, owner of Wild Birds, said. “He is just the kindest person you’ll ever meet, as is Shirley. I just love them and hope I can be like him when I grown up.”
Mills believes Boyd’s photography gets more people out to the lake “and not just for the pelicans. They begin to pay more attention to even the little things that are in their neighborhood.”
Boyd has compiled five photos books, each as large as a medieval King James Bible. Thumb through it and you’ll find pictures of beavers, nutria, red and grey foxes, opossums, raccoons, snakes, coyotes, multiple types of dragonflies, even mink… all labeled and dated when they were taken. One of his favorites is the face of a red fox peering through tufts of grass.
“That’s the one that really got me interested in photography. I even put a blind in the swamp,” he said.
There are some creatures he still hasn’t seen yet, like the American Avocet, a migratory shore bird. But Boyd wants people to know all the treasures that live in their natural community.
“I just wish people knew how much stuff we have here (at the lake). Some folks want it to be like a golf course and mow down the wildflowers and such.
But when you realize how all the different birds and animals and flowers and insects fit together… everything has its place. You see the glory of God in all the things he makes.”