(Note: first published in The Magnolia – September 2021 – Cover by Author)

Everyone is a photographer.

At one point, while admiring a particular photo or a scene we think is worthy, we picture ourselves taking the shot we’re sure will take the world’s breath away.


Our local wildlife photographers are busy

And we each have more than enough technology in the camera in our pocket or handbag to do a decent job.

It’s hard work, but really not for everyone. Fortunately, we have some talented photographers who call Magnolia Point home, whose speciality in wildlife captures stuns us regularly on Nextdoor (and Instagram): Becky Hinson and Tony & Brenda Frey.

All three share the same dedication and prodigious output. All three are passionate about chronicling the remarkable sights around us. All go to great lengths to wait out or stalk that right shot. 

They endure bug bites, sunburn, wildlife run-ins, traffic jams, blown shots, dead batteries, downpours, dusty lenses, wet lenses, busy boat ramps here or there. And all worth it for just that one shot.

Snowy Egret

Snow for show – Photo by Becky Hinson

Becky Hinson showcases a behavioral style. Her method catches wildlife preoccupied with the business of being wild: egrets fishing, herons bathing, alligators eating, many in stunning stop-action poses.

Tony and Brenda Frey’s signature is an intimate technique, so many of their shots made up close, the subject almost always looking into the lens. This owing to their method of ghosting up on subjects in their canoe, catching them sometimes at rest, sometimes wary of these visitors to their doorstep.

Tony started the family with a Yashica film camera, years ago. Becky picked up her first camera in December 2019. Together, Becky and the Freys have accumulated nearly 100,000 photos in their efforts.

On average, Becky spends 3 hours a day looking for that perfect shot. “I walk 7 miles through the neighborhood every morning.  I’m known as the camera lady to those that don’t know my name.” After her walk, she sits by the lake behind her house and photographs the wading birds, fish, turtles and the (now nearly famous) alligator.   


Just Ducky. Photo by Tony & Brenda Frey

The Freys spend at least two days a month on the road.  They joined their passion for canoeing and exploring with photography, and take most of their pictures afloat. They range far and wide: Trout Creek, Silver River, Black Creek, Governor’s Creek, Belmore State Forest, Big Shoals State Park, Gold Head Branch State Park. Of course, like Becky, they have stunning pond views right out their back door, and his sunsets are a regular favorite on Nextdoor. 

Tony & Brenda swap places periodically in the front seat of the canoe, sharing a Nikon D3400 with a 50 to 300mm lens. Incredibly, Becky uses a Nikon D3500 camera with a 70 to 300mm lens. Astonishing, as they had no prior knowledge of each others’ preferences.

Neither Becky or the Freys ‘process’ their shots afterwards, but for the occasional cropping or straightening.


From left: Becky Hinson, Tony Frey, Brenda Frey

None have gotten used to the compliments and accolades heaped upon the


A favorite Fawn. Photo by Becky Hinson

m for their work. They, too, have memories worth a lifetime.

For Becky, “That would be the day a tiny fawn walked right out of the woods and stood there with the perfect pose.  I could’ve touched his nose.  He walked out of the woods and ran around me, looking at me with those big brown eyes.  I eventually chased him back into the woods before his mom had the chance to see me. I’ll never forget it.”

Gliding along Governor’s Creek recently, Brenda Frey was stretched out in the canoe enjoying the ride, one hand dangling over the gunwale. Tony looked alongside, and there was a 3-foot ‘gator keeping pace with the boat, just inches below Brenda’s hand, with an inquiring eye. He recalls dryly, “You could say he got our attention!”

What is the one shot they all wished they’d never missed?


Tasty morsel – Photo by Tony & Brenda Frey

Tony regrets the Manatees that regularly get away: “Their heads clear the water so quick; I’m always caught with my lens cap on.” And then there was one memorable Black Bear in Georgia. “Close,” he said. Taking pictures was not in the plan.

The shot Becky wished she’d never missed was the bald eagle that flew into her yard, intent on a blackbellied whistling duckling.  She was hoping for a picture of him diving into the lake.  Instead, she threw down the camera and chased him away.  “As much as I wanted that photo, I didn’t want to lose that baby duck.”Besides the passion and dedication to capturing all of wildlife in natural habitats, and the remarkable coincidence of matching gear, they share the nearly identical dream of a ‘must have’ shot: a raptor diving on prey in water. For Becky, it’s an osprey, for Tony & Brenda, a bald eagle.

We can’t wait.