Carolina Nature – About



Carolina Nature is the personal website of Will Cook, a researcher in plant ecology at Duke University. This is not my day job - I try to find time to update the site in the evenings and almost all the photos were taken on weekend field trips or on vacations. This website is the result of a natural obsession that got a little out of hand; it's been around since 2005, when I created it as an offshoot of my old website at Duke to show all the photos of butterflies, bugs, birds, and wildflowers that I'd been madly taking for the past few years. All 1300+ pages on this site are meticulously hand-crafted. I try to keep them regularly updated, but if you spot any mistakes, please let me know. I've been a tree hugger since I was a kid in the 1980s, a birder since 1991, a butterflier since 1998, and a nature shutterbug since 2001, when I got my first digital camera, a Nikon CoolPix 995. My first nature photo was of a super-rare butterfly, an Arogos Skipper. I blame my friend Randy Emmitt for getting me into the nature photography game. He built a fantastic nature website, part of which remains at, and inspired me to follow suit. Another friend and colleague Jeff Pippen followed me into the game about a year later — you can see his amazing nature photos at Jeff's nature page. A few years later Ted Wilcox followed in our footsteps and created NC Wings (now archived here on to display his beautiful nature photography from the mountains. I hope you enjoy viewing the journey displayed in these pages!

Image Use

These images are not public domain. All photos and text are copyrighted and most uses other than personal use require permission.

Personal use: Images are free for personal non-commercial use, such as for presentations, printing, and neighborhood garden club newsletters, as long as the images are attributed to Will Cook, Copying images to personal websites is not allowed, but linking is fine. If you would to say thanks for using my photos and help support my efforts, offsetting the costs of gas and camera equipment so I can take more nature photos, please consider a donation of any amount via the Paypal button below.

Non-profit or governmental organization use: Small non-profit groups where all the officers work pro bono, such as local Audubon chapters, may use photos free of charge, with attribution. Larger non-profit/governmental organizations may use low-resolution images from my website for a nominal license fee. Requests for use free of charge will be considered if there is no budget to pay for the project. If you're a paid consultant or employee of a non-profit, though, please don't ask for a free photo. Photographers should be fairly compensated for their work. High resolution photos are offered at a fairly low rate for non-profits, but not for free. Please e-mail me describing how you'd like to use the photos and exactly which photos you'd like to use. All images must be attributed to "Will Cook,", and all online use must be accompanied by a link to

Commercial use: Commercial use of high or low resolution photos requires a license fee, which varies depending on the context of use, size of reproduction, and other factors. License fees for commercial use are typically in the range of $35 to $500. Please e-mail me for more information, letting me know which images your interested in using, the intended use, the size of circulation, and what your budget will support.

Among others, my photos have been licensed by: Adventure Publications, Audubon Magazine, Boston Museum of Science, Briza Publications (Medicinal Plants of the World by van Wyk et al.), Center for Biological Diversity, Chanticleer Press (National Wildlife Federation field guides), Environment Canada, Hillstar Editions LLC (Butterflies of North America by Brock and Kaufman), Kansas Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission, National Wildlife, North Carolina Literary Review, Our State North Carolina, Pearson Education/Benjamin Cummings (Biology, 7th edition by Campbell and Reese), Scientific American, Southport Coastal Water Watch, The Washington Post, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and Wildlife in North Carolina.

Equipment: I use relatively inexpensive cameras: Nikon CoolPix 995 (8/2001-5/2005), Nikon CoolPix 8800 (4/2005-8/2007), Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 (8/2007-8/2011), and Panasonic Lumix G3 (9/2011-present). I use the Nikon 4T, 3T, or Sony VCL-M3358 close-up lens for almost all my moth photos.

Comments? Questions? E-mail me at

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