by Kelly Walkotten
I love to photograph wildlife and nature. I will plan my travels to fulfill that desire. National Parks are some of my favorite places. The scenery is uncluttered with power lines, buildings, cell towers, etc. The animals are somewhat used to people and are not so skittish. In the wild, oftentimes one must stake out a site where a specific animal is known to frequent, sitting for many hours, camouflaged, in hopes of the animal passing through. This takes a tremendous amount of planning, prior knowledge, numerous visits, and luck to capture the photograph. For me, the pursuit is the fun and the photographs are the reward.
The downfall is that this method is very time consuming. The chances of you seeing some of these animals is highly unlikely. Time and money constraints add to the challenge. There is a way capture the animals that you dream of. Animal preserves and non-hunting game farms provide that opportunity very nicely. There are many places located throughout the world. They can be researched out beforehand. I find word of mouth to be very helpful. I only seek out places where the animals are well cared for. I also look for opportunities to photograph the animals in natural settings which requires the facility to have large enclosed areas. Obviously, there is a cost for this. The fees that are paid to the facility help cover the costs of feed, staff, maintenance, and other expenses associated with the keeping of wildlife animals.
Workshops provide a great opportunity to capture images that you have dreamed of. A professional photographer (me) is at your side helping you with your camera settings and composition to help insure that you get the photograph. I also provide instruction in Photoshop and Lightroom during our down time so you get the most out of your image processing. I provide all of this at a lower cost than you would pay booking the facility on your own.
If you have not taken a photography workshop, I highly recommend you give it a try. It is a great way to capture images that you have dreamed of, and have the help available to insure that you are proud to later show your images.
September and October is the rut (mating) season for the elk. It is worth going to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) during the rut season to see it for yourself. I have found that RMNP offers some of the best, close up viewing in the United States. It is intense and can be viewed from the roadside.
Like many visitors to southern California, I head to the beach. It is not for surfing or sun bathing, it is the sea lions. La Jolla beach area attracts sea lions to the rocky shore. Winter is even better, it is cold in the midwest and it is pup season in La Jolla. These cute pups, with dog-like faces, long whiskers, with dark, upside down triangular noses. Seven pounds at birth, the fuzzy brown babies have such expressive eyes, I feel like I can see their souls through their eyes.
I am a nature, wildlife and underwater photographer. I love to travel and capture the story.
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