It was lions, tigers and cougars (oh my!) that got me started putting pencil to paper. The hours I spent in my early teens, sketching the big cats, introduced me to the significance of shape, the importance of eyes and the fluidity of line, which in the family felidae are simple, supple and powerful. And the tear stains that mark the muzzle of the cheetah frame one of the most beautiful faces in nature.
It was only a couple of years later that I picked up a camera and started taking pictures. While I might not get to Africa any time soon, there were plenty of opportunities for wildlife photography close to home (see Of Grandmas and Bighorn Sheep).
More recently, I read Mary Schaffer’s Old Indian Trails of the Canadian Rockies, and realized that Schaffer and her party’s 1907 search for Maligne Lake wasn't just a vacation, they were on a quest. Understanding the difference has added a powerful new dimension to how I think about photography in general and wildlife photography in particular (see Go!).
Wildlife photography can also be thought of as a quest. I’m calling it my vision quest: to really see, with heightened awareness, the awesome beauty of the wildlife and the natural world around me. And the cornerstone of my vision quest is Mary Schaffer’s secret. Go! An education, a connection and responsibility await those who search for the wild in nature.
Explore the folders below to access some of the tools, concepts and ideas that I have found helpful on my vision quest into the art of wildlife photography. I hope you find them useful.
Best wishes on your quest.