For the Love of Wildlife

ceromonyThe planet is an endless inspiration. With or without a photographer’s eye, it’s not hard to see the wonders that surround us in even our everyday life. It’s really a matter of stopping for a minute, taking a few deep and cleansing breaths and simply looking.

While at my daughter’s wedding last month I noticed the surrounding forest was teeming with the occasion. Critters were stirring, birds were playing around in the trees leaving tales of bird speak wherever they flew. Flowers graced the bushes and along the soft footpaths. It was as if the entire backdrop to Nica’s wedding was being staged deliberately by nature.

When the Kitchener wedding limo pulled up to the edge of the clearing and my beautiful girl stepped out, it was as if her new-bride radiance encompassed the life of the woods. As someone who appreciates the natural world, I seldom go anywhere without my camera. While this wasn’t what I could call “wildlife”, I saw it as a piece of life that had to be captured from the forest’s point of view. 

shy-fawnAfter the ceremony and everyone was gathered to celebrate the newlyweds, I stepped into the woods and peered out. The wedding photographer set up all the usual shots – and they turned out beautifully, but I was interested in glimpsing what the chipmunks, blue jays and trees were observing. As an amateur wildlife photographer, I like to see things as I would imagine them being picked-up from another’s perspective – even if the ‘other’ is an animal, vegetable or mineral.

I have many mentors and at the top of the list is Mother Nature. She brings it all to the shoot. Light, shadow, rain and sunshine, texture and depth are freely offered along with a plethora of creatures and critters. Loving seeing how each plays off the other or capturing one in a light that is God-like or vividly portraying an energy that is so present that arresting it on film is a gift that keeps on giving.

As you can tell, I have a passion for wildlife photography. It was at my cousin’s wedding that I first found myself interested in seeing from the side of Nature. I was thirteen years old and filled with wonder for what was yet to come. My imagination knew no boundaries as I let it run wild with my first entry into the world of wildlife photography. I learned the rules from studying accomplished artists’ work and from a lot of trial and error.

mountain-lion-characteristics-480What others thought of my photos didn’t matter much until I was asked to enter a local community competition for the town’s yearly newsletter. It was a big deal and I was 16 at the time. I had been out early one summer morning walking in a nearby wooded area when I came across a beautiful lion.

I was stunned and scared. More than anything I was honored with the opportunity. He didn’t seem to view me as a problem and I kept my distance. I knew my presence was known and I also knew better than to get any closer or to run. I put my camera to my eye and started shooting.

I won the cover photo competition for the town newsletter, and I was hooked. Although I can’t hold rank with the greats and I lust for an assignment with National Geographic, I’m content to shoot chipmunks at my daughter’s wedding. I’m happy to get that one shot a year that leaves me feeling like I’m the best. After all, I do this out of love and respect for the art and though the accolades are nice, they are not what drive me to pull out the Hasselblad on any given morning.

What is your passion? Are you following your passion and is it showing up as a positive addition to your life? Leave a comment below.