The subjects don’t talk back! While this is true about wildlife I am being facetious of course. Although there are some days after dealing with difficult people when I do prefer being alone with wildlife! Seriously, I can think of nothing better than spending several days out on a mountain photographing wildlife. It does not matter to me if the subjects are elk, deer, turkey, rabbits, grouse, squirrels, birds, or chipmunks. The thrill of capturing their interesting and fascinating movement with a camera is a thrill to me!
This past week I was with my son, James, which come to think of it, is another excellent reason to photograph wildlife! We spent parts of three days on the elk range in Pennsylvania near our vacation property. The bulls are beginning to shed their velvet and we located a number of bulls on our trip. I can stand there all day photographing and watching the elk and think nothing of it. In fact, it is in these moments when all else is shut out that I most love. Life is far too fast-paced these days and I am definitely guilty of trying my version of running the rat race. But up there in the mountains life seems to take on a different and fuller meaning. If I could photograph wildlife for a living I would definitely do it!
One of the things that amazes me about wildlife photography is that I always seem to learn something new about the animal or bird I am shooting. I have been a hunter since I was twelve years old. That is many years of spending time in the mountains and fields! Yet, no matter how much time I spend afield, I always learn something new. Watch an animal, even a bird, for any length of time and I certain you will begin to see things you did not notice before. Observation is an incredible learning tool. My grandmother used to enjoy sitting in a crowded area and watching people. As a kid I could never imagine how watching people could be so exciting and pleasurable for her. Now that I am older and wiser, I think I am beginning to see her point.
I also thoroughly enjoy the challenge of trying to share the beauty of nature with others who cannot experience it firsthand. To capture the beauty of the wild takes a great deal of effort. We have to weather the elements, locate the wildlife, be at the right the exact right place at the right time, use our photo skills, and hope that we got lucky! Plenty of things can go wrong and often do. Perseverance and patience are critical and I am slowly, albeit slowly, learning these important skills necessary for wildlife photographers.
Being out in the wilderness is another side benefit. What can rival spending time in the beauty of God’s creation? Walking through the woods in itself is enjoyable to me. And then when wildlife suddenly appears it can almost take our breath away. I often wonder, how many deer, elk, or other wild animals did I walk by without seeing? These creatures have learned the art of camouflage and stealth out of necessity. Their very life depends on it! When we get a little wet or uncomfortable, we can hightail it back to camp and warm up. These wild animals do not have that luxury.
This week I enjoyed myself as my son and I spent time on the elk range behind our cameras. I love photographing wildlife!