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Adventures of a wildlife photographer

January 3, 2012

Photo by Rocky Holland – Having a 1000 pound Alaska Brown Bear charge towards me was certainly one of my highlights of 2011.

We are now into a new year. 2011 turned out to be a very good year for me photography wise. At the beginning of the year, I had no idea what to photograph, and with the long winter we were having, I was afraid I would miss some great winter shots. There were great opportunities out there, but most of my favorite places were snowed in, or I just didn’t feel like hiking into the woods with snow up to my waist. I know what you’re thinking! A true die hard photographer wouldn’t give it a second thought, trudging through the deep snow to get that perfect shot. I guess it’s time to admit I’m getting older, and a hike in the freezing cold with two feet of snow, is something I’ll pass on these days.
The snow of 2011 seemed to drag on forever, with me getting cabin fever. I got caught up on my mat cutting, and framing, but not on any new worthwhile images. I also had time to plan for the rest of the year, which little did I know at the time, would lead to my greatest photographic adventure yet. Spring finally did get here, and so did the spring migrations. Millions of songbirds were heading to their nesting grounds, and the area where we live here in northwestern Pennsylvania is a prime location for those northward migrants. I got some great warbler pictures last spring, including Yellow warblers and Redstarts. Then the rains came, and came, and came. With one of the wettest springs I can remember, again I found myself not getting out enough. The area boat launches were even under water going into the Memorial Day weekend. Getting out in a boat is a great photography tool, because of the ease in which you can drift very close to subjects. I would have to wait, but I eventually did get out.
Working on a plan last spring to spend a couple of weeks in Alaska with a group of professional wildlife photographers, finally worked out, and my dream trip to Alaska came true. In July I spent two weeks in Alaska photographing everything in sight, and learning a great deal about nature photography. Professional photographer and naturalist, Eric Rock, was my guide and mentor for the two weeks in the wilderness. Thinking before I left home that I would be conservative, and not shoot too many pictures, I still wound up shooting well over two thousand pictures! I’m thankful for digital, because I can’t imagine going through that many rolls of film, then getting them developed! The lessons learned in photography during those two weeks were invaluable to me, and I thank Eric Rock for his time and patience, trying to make me a better photographer.

See full article by purchasing the Jan. 3 edition of The Kane Republican.

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