This Post by S. J. Brown
For this blog post I thought I would address a question I am asked quite often, Why? Why do I photograph wildlife? Why get up at 4 am and go out into the dark? Why trample around in the woods? Why not photograph people, buildings, flowers or serene landscapes?
Yes, those subjects would be a lot easier to photograph. When photographing a person you can arrange to meet them. You can reposition them easily with just a few words. A building will be there tomorrow and the next day so you can always return to the same location to get another angle. Once you find that perfect vantage point to record a tranquil scene or towering mountain you can return again and again until you get the lighting just the way you want it.
That just isn’t the case when photographing wildlife. You can’t ask them to move over just a few steps. Well you can, and I often do. However this request doesn’t always get the desired outcome. It does often get my subject to look in my direction. But it can have the opposite result as well. They could leave or challenge me. The same holds true for adjusting my position to get the desired shot.
I do return to locations I have successfully photographed critters at before. Sometimes this practice yields a bounty of subjects, other times I find myself all alone. I have a favorite spot in North Carolina. This area has a large black bear population along with deer, rabbits, turtles, and birds. So each visit is unique. Each animal is unique as well. Some like the camera, others shy away from it.
The challenge of finding not just subjects, but co operative subjects is a large part of wildlife photography. Combine this with lighting issues, weather, and the challenges of accessing some areas and this isn’t always easy. So I guess part of the reason I photograph wildlife is the challenge.
The main reason I do what I do is the encounters. Having my subjects allow me a glimpse into their world is what I strive for. To spend just a few seconds looking into the eyes of a wild creature is what drives me to do what I do. The social event of the year simply can’t compare to the rush I get when it’s just me, my subject and the camera. The camera is really just a tool to help me share my experiences. Not everyone gets a one on one audience with creatures large and small.
So now you know why I do what I do.
Where is your favorite place to take photos? What part does wildlife play in your stories, or in your life?
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