The saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. I feel like this is true for the viewer of a picture. For the photographer, a picture is worth a thousand memories. A photograph represents the photographer's perception of a real situation and the real events that led up to the final image. Photographs are up for interpretation, which means the viewer fills in the blanks and unknowns. Essentially they take the photographer's version of reality and turn it into their own story. Each person will see something different in any given photo. That to me is the beauty of the art of photography. I say this as both a photographer and as an appreciator of the work of others.
Nature photography is unique, in that the goal (at least for me) is to capture an event in natural history and document it with a camera. But when done with an artistic eye, it goes far beyond simple documentation. With that in mind, I've always found it interesting to read other photographers' stories behind their images. A single photograph can mean so many things to each viewer, but for the photographer, more often than not, it's the experience of getting the photograph that is remembered, as much or more than the final product itself. It sounds cliche to say, but for me it really is the journey and not the destination.
I've been out in the field enough to know that a photograph can come about in almost any way imagineable. A lot of the time it's pretty much what you would think-a lot of waiting, a lot of patience, a lot of days that didn't work out-eventually paying off with a great image. This is not always the case. Part of what keeps me so passionate about nature photography is that every time I walk out the door, I know I have a chance to see and/or capture the best image of my life. A once in a lifetime experience is always a potential as long as you get out there. Most photographers go out with a general plan of what they want to shoot for the day... a landscape, an animal, a general area to explore... 9 times out of 10 they end up coming home with an image of something entirely different than what they had originally planned for. Nature is wildly unpredictable, and that's what makes it great. Some photographs require hours of driving, hiking and waiting for multiple days or months or even years, before you get that one shot you've been chasing. Some images are captured after a crazy adventure you never planned. In other instances, you might look out your window and see something worth taking a photo of that requires no more work than putting on some shoes, walking outside and pressing the shutter. Every photograph has its own unique back story. Some stories are pretty mundane. Some stories I will probably keep to myself forever, and some I feel are worth sharing with others, to give a glimpse into the crazy unpredictable world of nature photography.
I chose to tell the story of my image "The Gift" because it has a little bit of everything that I described above. It's really for me what the essence of nature photography is all about...
Planning that went to hell, some dumb luck, determination, a bit of danger, intuition, passion and of course, fun.
Enjoy! And please forgive the quality of many of the photos and videos. A lot of them were shot with my cell phone.