I went to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I have seen many beautiful pictures of the wild horse herds on the beach. I needed a photograph of my own. I envisioned the photograph to have the beautiful horses running along the shoreline, manes and tails blowing as they ran. I did not have a preference to whether it was a herd running on the beach or just a few, or maybe just one, but I knew I wanted them running along the shoreline, blue skies and the beautiful blue of the ocean.
I got up long before sunrise, about 4:30am. We drove the jeep up and down looking for my shot. I waited and waited and waited. Not one horse by the shore. Not one horse running. Many horses eating the sea oats on the dunes. Looking ahead, finally, horses on the beach! We drove up closer to the horses. There were three of them, two standing and one lying down in the sand. To my amazement, they were watching the sunrise. I stopped the jeep behind them to see what they were seeing. It was beautiful! The sun was rising and it cast a beautiful yellow, orange, and gold color across the sky, spilling onto the sea and the beach. The sun reflecting on the water, the horses silhouetted by the rising sun. They were mesmerized by the scene in front of them, not noticing me at all. The horses appreciating what was before them, a new day, a beautiful sunrise, and I was too busy looking for what I had wanted to see and not seeing what was transpiring right in front of me.
The horses never did run on the beach that morning. I stayed until noon. At first I was disappointed because I did not get my “shot” of the running horses, the shot I envisioned. Then it dawned on me (pun intended). I was given a beautiful scene, a beautiful sunrise, most have ever enjoyed. My photo was stunning, interactive, and captured the beauty of the moment. I need to relax a bit, and not let my desires, or my expectations, get in the way of what I am given. I need to appreciate what is happening around me, not getting distracted with my own preconceived ideas. I was given a uniquely beautiful scene, as well as a special moment in time, with the horses watching nature unfold. I do not need to return for another attempt at the running horses. The scene I captured was better than anything I had envisioned. All is well with my soul.
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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