A few words about my fine art nature photography
As a photographer I endeavor to create images of natural subjects that communicate through light, color and structural composition. My camera is the paintbrush and nature provides all the pigments in my work. My mission as a Photographer is to take some element of the subject I experience, perhaps it is a feeling or a sense of wonderment. My intention is to share as much of this experience or feeling with the viewer that I can. This feeling could be the unbridled spirit of a young Eagle soaring for the very first time. I want my work to communicate to the viewer in its purest expression with out pretense or an agenda. This is what I strive to do with each image I create.
Many nature photographers fail to realize fine art nature photography is as much about what happens behind the lens as opposed to what’s in front of the lens. Bruce Lee once said his concept of jeet kune do was formless simply because it embraced all forms. This is how it is with fine art nature photography. You must break free from rudimentary concepts and become formless in your approach while drawing from everything. Some of you may be content with photographing birds and flowers near or around your home. Some of you may in fact yearn to take their photographic journeys to another level by photographing Wildlife subjects in national parks, preserves or in wilderness areas. Do realize as soon as you strap you camera gear on you bear a responsibility for the safety of your subject and others who are also enjoying earth’s abundance. The funny thing is, I have known a few people who have ignored this concept only to find out later the universe does not forget those who ignored this principal. Here are some key concepts that could save your bacon in the field. First and foremost, remember to learn as much about your intended subject as you can. If you hit a roadblock speak with a biologist who is an expert on the species you intended to photograph. When a wildlife subject feels threatened or irritated by a Photographer, it poses a danger for the subject and the photographer. Several years ago while my wife and I visited Yellowstone National Park, I struck up a conversation with a Park Ranger over dinner. The Ranger had initially commented about my camera gear, within a short time we were chatting away. He spoke of a recent incident where a photographer evidently got too close to a large male buffalo, it seems this photographer was so caught up with the capturing of his image he failed to notice his flash was stressing the buffalo. The end result was this photographer wound up being hauled into an emergency room several puncture wounds and broken ribs. Wildlife that experiences obtrusive and stressful human encounters can continue to be a problem down the road for everyone. The bottom line is even experts can be taken by surprise. Take the case of Michio Hoshino an experienced wildlife photographer who was photographing grizzly bears in Kamchatka Peninsula in Eastern Russia. Hoshino had plenty of experience with bears and was a first class photographer and outdoorsmen. He was attacked and killed by a grizzly as he slept in his tent. This tragic loss is a sober reminder of how unpredictable predatory wildlife can be even with years of experience under your belt. Always carry pepper spray in bear country and never approach an animal carcass, as it is likely a food cache. Watch for signs of stress in you subject, ears flattened out or bristling of fur. Huffing of breath spells trouble with many species of wildlife especially large predatory animals. Always plan ahead, if you are unfamiliar with the terrain hire a guide. Always observe patterns of behavior and be sure to take note of indigenous food sources of your subject. Remember no image is worth risking the well being or safety of any wildlife subject, be sure to make as little impact on the environment as possible.
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