It is humbling being in the situation, as assigned by Ramon Palacios (jrp), to write an article on myself. It is like being in front of the camera instead of looking through the viewfinder. I felt I had an appreciation for the angst I may had put members through in working on articles with them but I have found my own levels of anxiety increased more than I anticipated. Now I more fully I understand what members may have experienced with this exercise. But I love the introspection. If you get invited, go for it.
It is no mystery with my father’s interest in travel, landscape and wildlife photography and with my mother who made photographic histories for each of her 4 children that I was exposed to a high level of appreciation for the value of photography early in life. Now retired from working as an Occupational Therapist I have a great time experimenting and learning as I have picked up their passion and have been thrilled with the Digital Age equipment.
My greatest fascination is wildlife photography followed by macro, landscape and travel images. There are so many areas yet to explore having recently found great entertainment with Lensbaby images and hoping to explore some waterfalls. Catching the Northern Lights, the Milky Way, and lightning storms are also at the forefront of my list.
Living in Lethbridge which is in southern Alberta, Canada the spectrum of opportunities for photography is wide. To mention a few, Waterton Lakes National Park and Glacier National Park are almost part of my back yard.
Access to high country with the Milk River ridge and undulating foothills, rolling grass lands, rich farmland, small lakes and ponds is in the immediate area. Banff National Park and Kananaskis Provincial Park take a little more travel and arranging to stay a few days. Many species of birds migrate through this area pausing to rest in the most unexpected places-even in a city park with a small lake 2 blocks from my home. Our river valley has wetlands and wilderness parks complete with rattle snakes, painted turtles, deer, porcupines, beaver and Baltimore Orioles to name a few.
I have had Nikon DSLR’s for a few decades but it was with the purchase of a D800 that had me scouring the web searching for resources to help me gain a more intimate understanding of photography and my equipment that led me to find Nikonians. I signed on with basic membership and found that I was benefiting globally with my knowledge so took the plunge to buy a silver membership shortly after. I recall a number of occasions when I was stuck with a problem and fellow Nikonians helped me solve puzzles. I have also benefited from the advice offered on some of my images although I allowed my pride to take a hit. Putting that behind me, my images have done nothing but improve and I came to appreciate the help and gratefully anticipate more in the future.
Seeing how other members got their great shots using a tripod has been a wonderful lesson for me. Learning about exposure and post processing have contributed greatly to the quality of my photography as well. Inspirational images made by so many members have spurred my interest and fed the flames of what has become a magnificent obsession. I prize the acquaintances and friendships I have made and look forward to seeing what they post and how they are doing.
I have discovered useful strategies some of which may work for you. One of the most valuable is the use of Manual Mode paired with Auto ISO when taking shots of wildlife. To do this you need to become familiar with the power of your settings. Learn how fast a shutter speed you need to freeze animal motion. Understand what aperture will give you a defined shot of the creature while creating a pleasing background then let Auto ISO fill in the gaps of changing light conditions. ISO alterations will automatically allow for clouds to come and go, ebbing light at sunset or intensifying light as day dawns so you will be covered. Practice bumping up the number of clicks you need on the dial to reach the shutter speed you want without taking your eye from the viewfinder. This will help you really work your subject and capture aspects of behavior you may not have anticipated.
Following my passion has led me into some riveting experiences. Walking along the shore of a shallow alpine lake early one morning I chanced to look behind me and found that a large bull moose was strolling about 100 feet behind me -his eyes were on me and he was casually following. I took 3 quick shots and melted into the forest happy to have it quickly envelope me. The moose continued to stroll along the shore but appeared curious and mystified that I had disappeared. After a short distance he jumped up in the air and turned around as if on twinkle toes to come back looking carefully as he went. He then took a wildlife trail through the woods and disappeared. My heart slowly returned to a regular beat.
My point is to use caution and wisdom being ready to react appropriately when situations arise. As vigilant as one can be, wildlife can still surprise you. You must be prepared for every contingency using strategies and equipment to keep you are safe in the wilderness.
The other aspect of wildlife silently appearing is one of wonder. I feel it is such a gift to suddenly spot an animal in an area to which I have returned where minutes before there was nothing. As if by magic to be treated to a perched snowy owl staring at me is a wonder. Having a moose wander into a landscape shot I have just framed is a joy. There are no announcements, no bugles blowing or drum roll; all of a sudden you are given an opportunity to observe and possibly even to photograph majesty. It is the making of
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