I wrote this the last night I was in Pagosa Springs for an Elk hunting photo shoot. Just dying to catch up…..
Everyone in camp has set out for the evening hunt and won’t be back until after dark. It’s my last night in camp and I’m waiting for sunset for one last photoshoot. There are Sirius clouds rolling thru the area skies with some producing a little much need rain. I’m hoping the heavy clouds don’t roll in at the last minute and ruin my shoot.
Im shooting a self portrait tonight with a tripod mounted camera on top of an ATV. I want to mimic a the famous photo of Ansel Adams on top of a station wagon with Yosemite in the background. This will a modern version with an ATV in place of the station wagon and, of course because of my location, V-Rock will be in the background.
This shot is a way of paying homage to one of the most influential photographers in the history of photography. But, I don’t consider myself a landscape photographer, I’m more of a mix of landscape and street photographer. I feel my best photos are focused on people in candid moments with incredible landscape backgrounds. In the same way my Street Photography depicts people with incredible cityscape backgrounds.
I’ve always though my work as a cross between Ansel Adams and Cartier-Bresson. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill but they have always been the pinicle of what photograpy means to me. If I can just capture a glimmer of the greatness of those two photographers, I feel like I’m on the right path.
I’ve never thought of myself as a wildlife photographer. To me wildlife photographers are old men with too much money so they spend it on expensive photo gear. They normally congregate together at a local wildlife refuge, all taking the same easy shot of an animal with their long, expensive lenses. They don’t walk farther than they have to from their car, talk loud and when the weather turns, they head for home.
On this trip I’ve learned about how to track and capture photos of animals at close range. I was shadowing an ex-marine being as stealth as possible as we walked thru the woods when a Bear appeared not 20 feet away from us. He didn’t have a bear tag so he wasn’t allowed to shoot it unless it attacked. We stood totally motionless when the bear walked up, he stopped gave us a sniff? He couldn’t see us but he knew we were there by our scent. Although I could have snapped a photo, I didn’t want to turn a dangerous situation into something deadly. My camera has a loud shutter and the noise could have startled the bear. I glanced at my hunter’s back and he had all of his arrows in his quiver. My knife was in it’s sheath secured with very loud Velcro. At that point I felt our safety was more import and than a photo so I stood motionless. It was like a scene from the movie Predator. When the Bear lumbered off, the hunter and me look at each other in utter amazement at what just happened.
In hind site, I should have taken the picture. I found out later that unless it’s a mother Bear with cubs, it’s really more afraid of you than your are of it. I would still take the excilerating experience of standing motionless in front of an unpredictable bear to standing 200 yards away with a long lens and a safety barrier.