105mm, 1/100, f4.0, ISO 1600
Lower Mainland, British Columbia – Canada
EDITOR IN CHIEF: Jared Lloyd
MANAGING EDITOR: Jamie Banjak
DESIGNER: Kristi Kern
Copyright © 2021 Journal of Wildlife Photography.
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher.
Of all the contests that I have judged, this last one was unquestionably my favorite. The talent, the creativity, and the diversity of species was simply incredible. The idea behind the animalscapes photo contest was to try and push subscribers to think outside of the box, to begin considering the possibilities that go beyond the classic notion of a wildlife portrait. And let me just say it was a huge success. It’s all too easy for use to get stuck in a rut without photography. Creative inspiration waxes and wanes.
And we can easily find ourselves opting for uninspired closeups simply because we have the lenses that can do so.
But photography is art.
And as artists, we must constantly challenge ourselves.
Environmental portraits are not easy. This, I believe, is why we settle into the rut of just getting closer and closer to our subjects. In doing so, only the animal matters and we can free ourselves from the burden of critical thinking, creativity, and showing the world a new and different and uniquely us perspective. By stepping back, by bringing in the environment, by braiding together landscape and wildlife, we find ourselves being forced to navigate the wilds of our own imaginations.
And this is the point of the Journal of Wildlife Photography. That is to say, I want to make you a better photographer and artist. But to do so, we all must first get out of our own way.
As we continue to move forward with these types of contests, I am going to move more and more toward the concept of photo challenges instead of “contests.”
I think this does two things:
1. It better summarizes what we are doing here: challenging YOU instead of just creating a platform for show and tell.
2. The second thing here is that it is more “on brand” with the Journal of Wildlife Photography.
The mission of the Journal is to help you take your photography to the next level by bringing you workshop level education. And the only way we grow at anything is by being challenged to do so.
So, keep your eyes out for the next “Photo Challenge!”
POT OF GOLD
Pot of Gold
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. Lens Canon EF 100-400mm.
ISO 1600, f/14, 1/1000 sec, 182mm
Tarangire National Park. Tanzania, Africa
This Pot of Gold image was made at Tarangire National Park in Tanzania, Africa. We were about a week in to our three-week safari and had been battling rain off and on. Finally, as we were preparing to return to the lodge for the evening the skies began to clear. As the light improved for our ISO levels, our moods also brightened. We stopped to watch some Southern Ground-hornbills foraging in the grasses as the sun gained on the clouds. Raising my eyes from the show on the ground, I saw that a rainbow had developed above the grassy plain. Soon thereafter a herd of Maasai Giraffe appeared at the edge of the grasses. As we watched, they began to cross our field of view in the general direction of the rainbow. A little patience and good fortune combined and this giraffe stopped to acknowledge us just before crossing in front of the rainbow. I guess enduring the rain so the rainbow could form was worth it in the end!
I am a retired educator who spent 27 years working in Nome, Alaska. Now that my husband and I retired we live in a 5th wheel trailer traveling our wonderful country. I first became interested in photography in about 6th grade. I went to a 4H Camp and saw such beautiful scenery that I knew my parents would love. I begged for a camera for Christmas so the next summer I could take pictures to show them what I had seen. I take pictures to share what I see with others who may not be able to see it. My life in Alaska, our overseas travels, and now life as a ‘nomad’ provide me lots of opportunities to do just that. I am loving the challenge!
Olympus TG 5, 4.5mm, F2.8, 1/500s, ISO 100
In October of 2017, I spent a week on a liveaboard vessel in the remote destination of the Solomon Islands. Instead of scuba diving, I prefer the quiet solitude of being underwater without a tank. This leads to a type of photography that has its own, unique challenges. You need to be able to hold your breath long enough to get into a good position, and then carefully maneuver to not disturb the life around you. When you free dive down, you set off tiny, silent shockwaves that alert the fish to your presence. My technique is to dive down much further away from where I want to be and then slowly move into position. I wait, being as still as possible, taking photos as long as my lungs allow. Often my strategy is to maneuver onto the reef and turn so that I am shooting back into the deep blue. This highlights the fish against water instead of a busy reef background. This was one of those rare instances where the reef itself became the focus. I was struck by the color and composition of the entire coral reef. Like a busy city street corner, every creature is moving with purpose. So, I held my breath and waited for the Spinecheek Anemonefish (Premnas biaculeatust) to align themselves facing me so that I had my focal point. In a perfect world, the other fish would have all turned and smiled for the camera as well but that might be asking for too much!
Most of my days are spent living on beautiful Vancouver Island, BC. Being able to take a compact camera underwater changed my life, or at least my bank account. I will never forget that first experience of dipping my camera underneath the water and realizing it was going to survive. It changed my life because I quickly became obsessed with capturing the wonder beneath the ocean. My husband and I began traveling to wonderful destinations in search of healthy coral reefs. As a high school biology teacher, it has been an added benefit to share my images with my students. I try to incorporate the photos into the curriculum, and I hope it will inspire them to explore and protect their natural surroundings.
FREEDOM ON WATCH
Freedom on Watch
Canon 7D Mark II, 70 – 200mm at 200mm, ISO 200, 1/1600 sec at f2.8
Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park
This photo was taken in Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is a special place, that touches my soul. Every time I go back, there is a part of me that feels like I am coming home, where suddenly, everything becomes right with the world.
This was my first solo trip to Yellowstone, my own little photography adventure as my husband puts it. He first suggested the trip two years ago and it was supposed to happen last year, but, as we all know too well, COVID hit. I was devastated when I got the notification that the park was closed, and the trip cancelled. Not knowing when all the closings would end, and when things would open again was hard, and I think, ultimately, came together to make the trip this year even more special.
The day this photo was taken, in mid-May, a light snow completely covered the valley, everything was white and pristine. It was around 9:30 – 10 am and I was driving from the far side of the valley, back toward Mammoth, when I saw this eagle. He was just sitting there, surveying his world. It was perfect.
I live in a small town in North Carolina and work as a research project manager in a biorepository. I have always enjoyed photography but really got started about 10 years ago when I met my husband and he bought me a Canon Rebel T3i to replace the Olympus I was carrying; I guess he thought the duct tape I was using to keep the batteries in was a bit much! I have since graduated to a 7D Mark II and much better glass! (I wonder if he has any idea what he did when he bought me that first camera?!)
I am now somewhere between an amateur and advanced photographer. I love to be outside and happiest when I am outside with a camera. Photographing wildlife has become a passion, but I also enjoy photographing scenery, old buildings, and rusty cars. Other hobbies include gardening, canning, and baking.
THE START OF MY LIFE ADVENTURE
The start of my life adventure
Nikon D300, Nikon 80-200 f/13, exposure 1/640 iso 100
Upper west side of Barbados
Late one afternoon in Barbados my wife and I were looking at a natural strip of sand and vegetation next to where we were staying when we saw a baby turtle pulling itself out of the ground then crawling about 60 feet to the water. About every minute another one would emerge from the sand and head to the water. A few other people came over. All were taking pictures straight down. I was on my stomach asking people to not cast their shadow on the turtles. The effort the turtles used to make it to the water, then they were gone . . . an amazing experience.
I live in New Hampshire and recently retired from teaching high school social studies. Prior to teaching I worked in the environmental field including working to protect endangered species. My wife and I enjoy traveling to natural areas including areas that are threatened, taking photographs, and sharing what we have learned.
FLY AWAY, MELT AWAY
Fly Away, Melt Away
Canon 6D, EF 100-400mm ii, 400mm – ISO 500 – f/5.6 – 1/1250
Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
This photograph was taken from the deck of a ship as we made our way through Glacier Bay National Park along Alaska’s Inside Passage. We had spent the day watching truck sized chunks of ice calve and crash into the water below in a scene that is at once both awe inspiring for its power and beauty, and disheartening for the rapid melting that it makes all too clear.
As we wrapped up the day I noticed a bald eagle perched on an iceberg just before it took flight. This is a special image for me because of the dichotomy it represents. The recently calved ice floating through chilly blue waters is a stark reminder of the impending ecological crisis that we could soon be (and in some ways already are) facing. However, the bald eagle, brought to the brink by habitat destruction and pollution only a few decades ago, represents a conservation success story. The bald eagle is thriving thanks to hard won recovery initiatives and direct collective effort; that I find tremendously hopeful.
I’m an amateur wildlife photographer from New England with a passion for travel and the natural world. I first picked up a camera 12 years ago on a family road trip to see the National Parks when I stole my dad’s old Nikon throughout most of the trip and have been hooked ever since. I believe in doing what we can to protect our planet and fellow creatures and proudly serve on the board of directors for the Wildlife Clinic of Rhode Island. I enjoy sharing my photos with people who might not otherwise experience these animals in hopes of inspiring a similar connection and appreciation for wild places. You can find more of my work on Instagram @CodyDigital.
Sony A9 ISO 1600. f8, 1/500 600mm
Creve Coeur Lake St Louis Missouri
This picture was taken on an early mid- September morning after a cold front moved through the area. After arriving at Creve Coeur Lake, a thick fog quickly settled over the area, changing my original intentions to bike around the lake and look for wildlife. The paths were quickly hidden from the density of the fog, so I decided to capture the sunrise over the lake instead. As the fog started to lift, I became aware of the heron perched on a log with the sunrise starting to illuminate the background. This was one of those times where I felt that the photograph actually captured a glimpse of the true essence of the moment.
My love for photography was instilled by my father who loved to photograph landscapes. My husband and I recently moved to the St Louis area; last year we had a Barred Owl nest in a tree cavity in our backyard. I became captivated while watching and photographing this mother and owlet, and I very quickly discovered a passion for wildlife photography. As a mother of five grown children, I now have the time and freedom to go out daily and photograph the many things that have surrounded me for so many years that were previously unnoticed. This newfound awareness and appreciation of the world has inspired my photography and desire to learn about the symbiotic relationships between so many species. I am proud to see that three of my children have developed an appreciation for what I have come to love and are quick to point out new birds and places to visit.
JANUARY SUNRISE AT BOSQUE DEL APACHE
January Sunrise at Bosque del Apache
Canon 90D camera with a Canon EF100-400 f/4.5- 5.6L IS II USM lens at 182 mm. 1/1000 second at f/8.0 and ISO 800
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
I live in northeastern Colorado and decided to take a long-weekend trip to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. After a long drive, I arrived Friday night and spent the night camping in a nearby desert arroyo. On Saturday, January 30, 2021, I arrived at the Refuge before dawn to see the waterfowl and wading bird spectacle for which the Refuge is known. I was not disappointed as the myriad cranes and geese rose out of the marshes and islands where they roost for the night, to fly to fields to forage during the day. Although hard to capture in a still image, imagine being surrounded by the cool, crisp air punctuated by the cacophony of calls from snow geese as well as the windpipe sounds that only a crane can make. This picture was one of my favorites and I thought it was appropriate for the Animalscapes contest as it captured the background of the mountain landscape, the uplands in the middle, and the marshy areas near the Rio Grande River in the foreground. I think this trio of sandhill cranes (Antigone canadensis) is likely a family group as juveniles from the previous year will stay with the adults through the winter and become independent during the spring migration. I like to think that this family group probably started their migration to the breeding grounds a week or so after I saw them and made their way to the Platte River Valley near Kearny, Nebraska (along with ~500,000 others of their species) to refuel before flying further north, maybe even to Alaska and across to Siberia. Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (and the Platte River in Nebraska) are wonderful places to see, and contemplate, one of the greatest spectacles of migration on this continent.
I am a wildlife biologist and live in Bellvue, Colorado. I started taking pictures to document what I see and to record memories. I find today’s rapid technological advances in photography and videography amazing. These advances, coupled with the increasing interest in and accessibility of photography, allow for building a nice community of wildlife photographers. Thus, this group and Journal are such great assets for me, and I value all of the contributions greatly.
500mm, 1/640, f4.0, ISO 500
Bridge River Valley, British Columbia – Canada
It was very early spring in BC and my husband and I were doing a supply run to the nearest town – a four hour round trip alongside a river which becomes a dammed lake and turns back into a river again. We always have ample wildlife sightings on this stretch of road and today was no different. Across the lake I spotted a black dot moving around on the steep rocky shores. I panic-yelled that we had to stop to look at the bear as it was still very early season and bear sightings had been few so far. I always carry my camera with me and this time it just happened to have the 500mm lens on it, so I lay down at the top of the cliff overlooking the lake and pointed at the bear. After some time, it started to head up the topography towards the tree line and river, so naturally I got pretty excited and kept my lens on it. It dipped it’s toe into the water and pulled back quickly, it was obviously far too gnarly to cross at that point. It then casually sauntered further downstream and without hesitation crossed on the fallen logs you see in the picture. Even from so far away, it was incredibly exciting to witness.
The shot was taken from around 500 metres away with a lens I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever capture an ‘animalscape’ photo (500mm f4)! The distance meant I could leave my aperture wide open to maximize the light for a lower ISO and have everything remain in focus. I left the image almost as wide as the original frame, but cropped from the top and bottom more to give a wider view and to exaggerate the horizontal travel of the bear.
I’m a rope access technician and weld inspector, originally from New Zealand but have called Canada home now for over 10 years. I bought myself a DSLR in February 2020 after having to leave southeast Asia because of COVID, arriving home and finding my point and shoot wildlife photos from the last four months were just very average. Over the summer I read books and watched youtube videos on how to work the new toy, but it wasn’t until I discovered a northern pygmy-owl’s winter territory in October 2020 that the full obsession kicked in. Since then, I haven’t been able to put my camera down and I cannot wait to travel back to New Zealand and capture some of my all-time favourite birds on my card.
AGAINST ALL ODDS
Against All Odds
Sony A7RIV, 24-105 mm G lens at 24 mm, f/8.0, 1/30 sec, ISO 2500
Bransfield Strait, between the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula
There are few truly unique and awe-inspiring experiences in life. This was one of them. February 2020, in the Bransfield Strait, Antarctica … a monstrous iceberg with a large colony of chinstrap penguins. It was dinnertime on the expedition ship as the captain announced the sighting. Tables were abandoned as we all JWP flocked to the rails, amazed by the unfolding scene. In contrast to our pampered comfort on the ship, penguins in the turbulent Southern Ocean struggled to clamber aboard the only refuge for many miles, often failing, but persevering time and again; the fight for survival in an unforgiving environment! There were audible cheers when one of them managed to cling on and scramble up the icy slope. Although it was dusk and the light was low, I was able to shoot several ultimately acceptable images of the scene, aided by the technologically advanced equipment currently available to us, notably high quality sensors and image stabilization. I will always remember this experience as a powerful inspiration to venture further, continue learning and conserve the natural world!
I have always had a fascination with images, perhaps accounting for my career choice as a diagnostic radiologist. Having retired from medical practice just before the pandemic arrived, this trip to Antarctica was a long anticipated experience. Finally able to devote some serious effort to learning photography, I have utilized enforced lockdown time to learn my camera and practice shooting close to home, which is the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I am eager to apply those skills to more adventurous travel as the world opens up again! IG @collparker. Website colleenparker.smugmug.com
Canon 7D MarkII, Sigma 150-600, f6.3, ISO 125, 600mm, 1/1250
East of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
The weather in Southern Saskatchewan, Canada in the month of April can vary widely, year to year, day to day. One of the best sights to see during this time of year is the most amazing art created by rime ice, as the fog freezes on the tree branches. I knew this would be one of the last opportunities I’d have that year to capture the rime before the warmth of summer edged closer, so grabbing my gear, I set out to the prairie fields before the sun warmed the air and melted the ice.
I was quickly rewarded for my efforts and captured some great shots. The ice was beginning to melt, however, so I continued down the country roads in search of something more to photograph. Looking out my window, I saw hay bales scattered across the fields. One in particular stood out as odd. As it was far off the road, I pulled over to take a closer look. Using my Sigma 150-600 as a telescope, I confirmed there was something on top of the bale, and my best guess was a coyote (Canis Latrans). While not unheard of, it is the first time I had ever had the opportunity to see this sight. I was further surprised there was coyote in the vicinity, as there was a small herd of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus Virginianus) feasting on the fallen grain left over from last year’s harvest.
I hopped out of my car and made my way across the ditch and the outskirts of the field to get close enough to capture the image I wanted. The air was still cool, and I soon realized, the water sitting in the ditch and the low spots of ground was much, much colder. Not typically adept at fording, the moment was waiting for me, so I persevered through the cold, slowly edging my way closer. The deer noticed me first, watching me tentatively as I quietly moved towards them. The coyote, I noticed as I got closer, was having a good sleep, not disturbed by either the herd or my distant self.
The herd was significantly closer to me, and in time, they moved further back, bringing them even closer to the resting coyote. This motion caught his attention, and he raised his head to peruse the environment. As I was both on the bald prairie, and not trying to hide myself, I was spotted quickly. I took a moment to photograph the coyote, as I knew he would likely be running off at any moment. By this time, I was crawling along the ground to keep the perspective I wanted, and to keep moving forward. The coyote continued to watch me, more interested in me than the deer surrounding him.
As the coyote sat high upon the bale, I captured this photograph. The coyote hopped off the bale and began trotting over to a further bale, where there were two other coyotes sleeping. It is actually a brilliant place to sleep during the damp, cool weather. I might have to try it sometime!
Recently retired from being a Psychologist, exploring the world and all that it holds has become my new passion. I live in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada with my supportive husband and two grown children, and have enjoyed photography for most of my adult life. Over the past few years, my interest in photography has grown from dabbling to passion and I look for any opportunity to take my camera and capture the world’s many wonders, whether in my own backyard or the other side of the world. www.tholl.ca | @lindathollphotography
Pentax K20d, Pentax SMC DA 18-55mm f/3.5- 5.6 AL WRFocal Length 28mm, f16, 1/50, ISO- 400Exposure Comp +0.3
Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands
This image was taken from our 2009 voyage to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands aboard the now retired Lindblad National Geographic Endeavour. St Andrew’s bay has a two mile long gravel and black sand beach that is backed by glaciers and mountains. It also has a king penguin colony that has as many as 300,000 King Penguins along with Elephant Seals and Fur Seals ! With favorable weather conditions we had a 4:30 wake-up call and a 5:00 zodiac shuttle to the beach. Shortly after our arrival, the sky turned pink, then the mountains, and finally, the beach. As we wandered around the edges of the colony, I came across this tidal pool and it all came together, reflections, penguins, glaciers, mountains and the morning light. We wandered up and down the colony and had wonderful wildlife encounters until it was time to return to the ship on the last Zodiac at 11:00 am. I will always remember the sights, sounds and smells 🙂 of that amazing morning.
I am a retired engineer who, along with my partner Susan, love to travel and photograph in the wild places both locally near our home in Southeastern PA and around the world. The list of places we want to visit only grows after each trip.
FOLLOW MY LEAD
Follow My Lead
Z6, Lens:Nikon 300mm with 1.4 TC, 1/1000 sec, f/9, ISO 250
Northwest Colorado, Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area
This band of horses is just one of many that live on 155,000 acres in Northwest Colorado that is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Finding horses in such a vast area can be challenging some days. I stationed myself near one of the water sources that become increasingly popular as the days become hotter and the range conditions drier, knowing that the horses typically will come in for water in the late afternoon/early evening. They arrive from all directions sometimes casually walking in and other times galloping downhill to the water source. This image shows them topping over the far ridge above with the stallion in the lead and mares and foals following. “Follow My Lead” is the title. The colors of the sky a bit before sunset, the greens of the sagebrush and the mosaic of horse colors all seemed to come together for that snapshot in time that illustrates life out on the range.
Living on the western slope of Colorado finds me surrounded by nature whether on the grand scale or in the small often unnoticed detail. Photography allows me to explore my surroundings and enjoy the experience in an artistic way. Retirement from teaching biology at the community college level has given me more time to learn about photography techniques. Applying my knowledge of biology and ecology to fieldwork has helped me suss out what situations may offer the best results. One of the things that drew me to Jared’s website was his mutual passion for animal behavior and his skill in communicating that to his followers. I’ve learned so much from the tutorials. Here’s to life long learning!
THE FAMILY GATHERING
The Family Gathering
f5, 1/640, -.33, ISO 2000
I have been a landscape photographer for many years. Over the last couple of years my sights have been on wildlife as I encounter them often in my photographic travels. The recent Covid restrictions allowed me to stay home and focus on the birds in my yard. I was hooked. Now my head turns at every tweet and chirp as I look for our fur and feather friends around me.
It was one of those weekends where, as a photographer, I was just driving around hoping and looking for new adventures with my camera. It was fall time and color had mostly dropped from all the trees. This time of the year can bring scenes of rest and peace as nature is working on preparing for the winter to come.
A local tree farm in Boardman, Oregon sold its land to the local farmers. Over the course of the year trees were logged and the land was going back to grazing and growing crops. There were a few acres left in this once vast planted forest of popular trees. Originally I wasn’t planning on stopping but at the last minute I drove down the road to see for myself the last holdouts of the tree farm. As I was walking the perimeter road snapping shots along the way I came upon this family of deer utilizing the only forested coverage for miles around. I was startled and so were they. I had little to no time to plan a composition and they gave me no time to shoot. A quick look up and frozen for a moment then off they went. A few shots later they were all running to deeper areas in the woods. I was in awe of the moment in the rows I just witnessed knowing I could never duplicate it again.
By using a 100 – 400 telephoto lens I was able to compress the image making the trees appear to be planted side-by-side. In reality they are about 10 – 12 feet apart making for easy pathways for the deer to move through. I lingered in this planted forest for a bit longer as I continued to look for the deer again. I caught glimpses of the herd but they were on to me and wouldn’t be so easy to photograph again.
I have done many forms of art in my life but when I first picked up a camera I knew this was it, I was hooked and now it is all about photography. I live in the visually intense Pacific Northwest and explore constantly for both wildlife and landscapes; my camera rarely gets a rest. You can view my images on Instagram at @pthomas5313 and my website at www.patriciathomasphotography.com
Canon 5D Mark III 1/80 F/22 ISO 800, 24-70 2.8 lens shot at 33mm
Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park
Late Summer visit to Yellowstone from a few years ago. The valley is so beautiful. I am not the best landscape photographer, but this view stopped me. I had to try. Luckily the bison frequent this area and after waiting a while, one wondered into the edge of the frame. Love the complementary colors of the sky and clouds against the yellow orange of the dried grasses.
I live West of Richmond Virginia. I’ve always been interested in photography as a hobby and took a few courses and workshops. I photographed my horseback riding students at shows for fun. After development forced the sale of my horse farm and training business I started an Equine Portrait business. I am semi-retired now. https://www.facebook.com/DebbyThomasArtAndPhotography
ON HOLDEN POND
On Holden Pond
Nikon D850, Sigma 300-800, 1/400 sec, f8, ISO 1250
Seven Springs, NC
In 2005, my wife and I bought 25 acres of land in southern Wayne County near Goldsboro, NC. The plan was to build our retirement home there. My wife was to plan the home and I had plans for the land. The land was mostly wooded, with a creek at the back of the property. In 2008 I had a one-acre pond excavated. I placed my first wood duck nestbox there in 2009. Wood Ducks nested in it in 2010. I’ve been photographing wood ducks every year since then. I now have 7 wood duck boxes, 13 bluebird houses, a chimney swift tower and purple martin houses on the property.
On the morning this image was taken I was in my blind about 45 minutes before sunrise. The Wood Ducks start arriving each morning about 30 minutes prior to sunrise. I was photographing the pair of wood ducks in the lower right when I happened to glance over the camera and saw how the sun was beginning to light up the far side of the pond. I was struck by the pleasing array of ducks across the pond, the sunlit reflection in the water on the left side and the fog rolling across the pond. However, even with my sigma 300-800mm lens at 300mm, I was only able to frame half the scene in my viewfinder. So I took images of the right and left sides and blended them in Photoshop
I’ve been photographing nature since 1982. 99.9% of my images are taken close to home, within 4-6 hours drive of my home. I find that I get my best images when I’m able to to visit an area multiple times and really get to know the location. You can see more of my images at erkesphoto.com
LESSER SCAUP AT THE GREAT SALT LAKE
Lesser Scaup at the Great Salt Lake
1/200 sec at f/4.0, ISO 2000 500mm Canon R6 and EF500mm f/4L IS II USM
The Great Salt Lake in Utah, USA
I took this photo from the shore at the Great Salt Lake. The sun had set and I was already heading home, but I was looking out for any subject to photograph because the light and colors on the lake were spectacular. As I was driving, I spotted this group of ducks far out on the lake heading into shore. I pulled over and worked my way down the bank to lie down on the lakeshore where they would pass. This image was taken just after the birds spied me and paused as if to confer about what to do next. Happily, they milled around for a bit and then proceeded on their way.
I started wildlife photography just as the pandemic hit in 2020, buying my first telephoto lens as a consolation prize for all my cancelled plans. I found a lot of joy in learning about birds and trying to capture the beauty around me. In the coming year, I hope to find ways to leverage my photography to promote wildlife and habitat conservation. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah.
GUANACO IN TORRES DEL PAINE
Guanaco in Torres del Paine
Canon 5D Mark 3 (EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM), 55mm, 1/125 sec at f/7.1, ISO100
Torres del Paine, Chile
I was a participant in a photography workshop in Patagonia which was focused on landscape photography in both Argentina and Chile. We had many early mornings and evenings for sunrise and sunset landscape opportunities with travel to various locations. One day while traveling to our next destination, our guide stopped the vehicle as a herd of guanacos were on the hillside. The group jumped out of the vehicle to capture the grazing herd. The scene was special as there was fog and mist with some sunlight spilling through the scene back lighting the animals. Everyone was madly photographing the herd before they moved on and the mist began to clear away. After taking numerous photos I turned around and saw a few guanacos on the other side of the road in full sunlight. I was one of a few participants that crossed the road. I spotted this lone guanaco uphill with the beautiful mountains behind him. I took a position that would showcase him and the scenery behind him. Since wildlife is my favorite subject, I could not resist photographing these animals. The scene to me was postcard perfect.
I have always enjoyed photography. In college, I took photography courses and was the yearbook photographer. The college courses mainly focused on the development of film and darkroom processing. After college I actually set up a darkroom in my Dad’s shop. Eventually I got married, had children, worked, and photography became the usual family snapshots. After I retired, my interest in photography as a hobby bloomed, I took courses, workshops, joined a camera club, meetups, etc. I set aside my point and shoot and purchased my first Canon DSLR. As my knowledge and experience grew so did my camera equipment and travel. About three years ago I switched to a Sony mirrorless in order to reduce the weight. Hand-holding a canon with a 150-600 mm lens to capture a flying eagle became more difficult with age. My hobby has become a passion. I seek out wildlife in my travels and landscapes run a close second in subject matter I enjoy. I also enjoy learning about more creative ways to post-process my images.
Canon EOS R with RF24-105 F4 IS USM lens, 43 mm, 1/1250 sec at f14, 0 EV, ISO 4000, Aperture Priority
Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
We were watching this big brute with his harem of about 12-15 cows one afternoon during the peak of the rut. They were all resting on a small island in the river but every now and then one of the cows would get up and wander away. This fella constantly walked up and down bugling in all kinds of directions and quickly round up the wandering cows. One cow got up again and walked down the river to the left in the direction of 3 immature bulls. He quickly followed her and brought her back. When he returned, he stood next to the shallow puddle, and he just had this real proud majestic look as if he just wanted to show us how he is reigning in his kingdom. I got super excited when I saw there was a reflection in the puddle, and I immediately knew that I wanted to opt for a wider type of shot. I quickly grab my spare camera with wide lens and crouched down in the riverbed to get a low angle shot. I totally forgot to check my settings (hence why the high ISO) as I was super excited and paranoid at the same time that he would not be standing there for a while and give me another shot. After I took the photo he turned his head towards the trees, gave one big bugle and walked off to his cows that were just out of the picture on the right.
He was the king in that area and had his hands full trying to protect his harem. Lots of smaller bulls tried to challenge him but he just had this flare and pizazz that was mind boggling to witness. He was charged up on testosterone and even attempted to charge at us. Luckily, we always kept some trees between us, and no harm was done. Maybe he was more interested in one of the young spruce trees that were close to us as he immediately started rubbing his huge rack on the poor spruce tree but on a second note he was probably just making sure that we knew he was the boss and we had to keep our distance.
What a privilege to experience the elk rut in all its glory and to be able to observe the animals in their natural environment.
For as long as I can remember I always had a love and a passion for the outdoors and its inhabitants. Growing up in a small country town in the centre of South Africa, wildlife could be seen pretty much everywhere. There were no predators or any of the big five close by for instance but I always got so excited when a big Kudu bull would jump over a fence, a herd of Springbuck starts “pronking” or even just when witnessing the antics of the adorable meerkat. I have always had a soft spot for wildlife.
When I first started doing photography I had this idea to become a wedding or a portrait photographer but luckily soon realized that I just don’t have a passion for that. I really love people but I just couldn’t get myself to photograph them and make them pose for the camera. I turned to wildlife and nature photography as that was the reason why I started doing photography in the first place. It is still just a hobby to me but I find so much pleasure to being in nature and pointing my camera towards an animal or landscape etc.
Living in Canada now I am truly privileged to be able to experience North American species and their magnificent environments. I love to explore and research new species (new to me) and figure out ways how to photograph them while keeping things natural.
My passion for Africa has not left me and once a year I guide a group of Canadians on a Photographic Safari to South Africa. Sharing incredible experiences or moments while out in nature with fellow photographers is what I truly live for.
Facebook: Stephan Olivier Wildlife and Nature Photography | Instagram :@Stephan.Olivier.Photography
BACKYARD TREE FROG
Backyard Tree Frog
Canon 7D, 50 mm f/2.5 Compact Macro | 1/200 sec at f/3.2, ISO 500-
Of all my adventures around the world photographing exotic wildlife, the story behind this image must be among my least exciting. It was summer 2020 so, like everyone else, I was spending most of my time at home. I was wandering around my yard with camera in hand, searching for pollinators visiting the flowers in my garden when I spotted this small eastern gray tree frog (Hyla versicolor) perched under the blooms of a swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). For weeks during the bloom, this single plant seemed to provide everything this little frog needed in life. I would usually see one or two of these frogs perched somewhere among this plant and being able to frequently observe them at my home allowed many photographic opportunities. It also allowed me to spend time exploring different angles and compositions. Most of the time I would find them tucked up against leaves or too far down in the plant to photograph, but on this day, one was perfectly perched under the vibrant purple flowers, almost appearing like fireworks over its head. This image also stood out to me because it was uncommon to see these frogs with their head up and not just tucked down into a little blob. I typically think of “animalscapes” as an image with some grand vista in the background, but for this little tree frog its grand vista was a simple cluster of flowers and I enjoyed discovering animalscapes at a smaller scale. I have also found great joy in discovering the beauty in my local natural areas and backyard, rather than feeling like I needed to travel to far away exotic places to capture powerful imagery.
I have had a lifelong interest in nature, science, and photography. I am a wildlife ecologist at the Michigan Natural Features Inventory where much of my work focuses on studying the population ecology of Michigan’s wildlife. I also survey Michigan’s state lands for rare plants, animals, and natural communities. Photography has always been a companion alongside my research and provides the perfect link between my creative and scientific interests. I am an avid outdoor enthusiast and enjoy kayaking, birding, and hiking, typically with a camera at my side.
Canon 6D Mark II, Rokinon 14mm f/2.5, ISO 3200, 14mm, f/2.8, 100 – 20 second exposures stacked in PhotoShop
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
They say its all about the light, but what if your subject IS the light? The Synchronous Firefly breeds in Smoky Mountain National Park. The breeding season only last about two weeks in late May / early June. This is an event I have wanted to witness for years. When Covid hit in 2020, the annual viewing event, which requires winning a lottery ticket to experience, was cancelled. However, people were still free to visit the breeding areas if they hiked several miles into the area. I spent a few nights photographing these amazing creatures with only a few people back in the woods, unlike the thousands that would normally be there. So there was one good thing that came out of this pandemic for me.
These fireflies all flash in unison. It is difficult to describe unless you experience it in person. It is like thousands of green Christmas lights twinkling throughout the woods. Then all of a sudden, someone turns the light off and they all stop. After a short period of around 15 seconds, they all turn on at the same time and the twinkling begins again. This goes on for several hours.
The fireflies inhabit the moist woodlands of the Smoky Mountains all year, but are only seen during the breeding season. It takes from 1 to 2 years for the larva to mature into adult beetles.
My photography goal was to show these fireflies in their habitat. I chose a mountain stream that had a small waterfall in an area where I knew the fireflies had been flashing the night before. I had all of my camera equipment set up by dusk and took one image in the daytime which would be used as the base layer for the final image. When the show began, I started taking long exposures of 20 seconds which would be blended to show the fireflies movement throughout the evening. This final image is the result of 100 images being layered in photoshop and blended using a lighten layer.
I live in the small village of Waterville, NY. My journey into photography started out of my passion as a birder. I began taking photos to document my bird sightings. This evolved into photographing other wildlife, then waterfalls, flowers, and now I just love a good photo challenge. I especially like trying to capture the feeling of motion in a photo. I have a very supportive wife and two adult children. I am also an elementary librarian and spend every vacation and summer traveling to a location where I can photograph something new. My latest photo project involves creating figures out of acorns and posing them in natural settings to give a whimsical look and hopefully put a smile on the viewer’s face. Something we all need after this last year and a half.
Instagram: @acornwhimsy @photoperch
FORAGING IN THE PRE-DAWN HOURS
Foraging In The Pre-Dawn Hours
Nikon D850, AF-S Nikkor 600mm f/4G ED VR; f/4.0, 1/800 sec., ISO 640
Silver Salmon Creek, Lake Clark National Park & Preserve, Alaska Peninsula
This early morning capture depicts a coastal brown bear foraging along the tidal flats of Cook Inlet, near to the mouth of Silver Salmon Creek, Lake Clark National Park & Preserve, on the Alaska Peninsula. To capture the extraordinary early morning light and bear, I metered the warm orangepink glow of day’s first light, rendering the bear in silhouette, which not only accentuated contrast but added to the sense of drama to his movement.
My passion for wildlife and nature photography is decades old, and continues to inspire me to bring, by virtue of my work, as much attention as I can to the ongoing threats to endangered wildlife and their dwindling habitats. The looming threat to the coastal brown bears of Lake Clark National Park & Preserve, owing to the impending development of a highgrade gold-silver mining operation within park boundaries, is one example of immediate concern to me. By way of background, my work has appeared in various print and online publications; been recognized by the National Wildlife Federation, Nature’s Best and The African Wildlife Foundation; as well as featured in prominent museum exhibits at both the national and state level. See http://richardhebhardtphotography.com/
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