Earth Day…Revisited

Despite wanting to share this post shortly after attending a photography seminar, a hectic life sort of interfered. But I decided it was just too good not to share the experience. “Walk on the Wildside” was held in connection with Earth Day sponsored by a local camera shop at the Denver Zoo. The guest speaker was not only a phenomenal photographer but one who happened to be a Nikon Ambassador.

Ron Magill, director of communications for the Miami Zoo, is a trained zoologist but never took any photography classes. He learned how to photograph through practice, patience and necessity (stock photos were too expensive when he first started out). I signed up for this class not because I’m planning on a safari trip to Africa, but because I figured any tips could be used in taking photos of Sam and Elsa (who often resemble wild animals).

Boy am I glad I did!! Although I shoot with non-Nikon brand cameras, photographic principles are the same whether you use Nikon or another brand like I do. If you have the time and the inclination, this video is a fair representation of his presentation in Denver with emphasis on his conservation efforts. Ron is high energy and enthusiastic. Be prepared to get caught up with his energy. As a world-renowned conservationist as well as a photographer, Ron walks the walk using his position to draw attention to the importance of saving endangered species throughout the world. Ron stressed the importance of living a life that protects these magnificent creatures so that we can enjoy them now and well into the future. As a naturalist whose primary job is protecting wildlife for generations to come, Ron showed how invaluable photography can be in telling stories that help empower people in to making a difference in protecting our natural world.

Ron showed some of the most inspiring photos in extreme locales; his enthusiasm for photographing nature’s incredible creatures permeated throughout his talk. Even though the presentation ended shortly after noon (and the worst possible time to take photos), I left inspired to see if I could possible capture anything like what he suggested.

Catching up on some 💤
What did I say about your attitude?
🎶 I’m too sexy for my…
Wait, was that a ground squirrel?
I’m the real sexy one!
Hey, no pictures without a signed release, ok?
Hey Ralph, there’s something down in this hole.
The most dangerous creature in Africa (next to man).

While the lighting was atrociously harsh and mostly overexposed, I was able to shoot a few shots that pleased me and as Ron suggested, any photo that you like is a good photo regardless of photographic rules. This presentation inspired me to my very core. It rekindled a burning desire to photograph the odd, the ordinary, and those exceptional sights that I’m blessed to see every day right in front of me. I left with an energized sense of creativity. It reminded me we all are stewards of nature and the need to keep wild animals alive and present for our children. An Earth Day to remember, savor and practice every day, oh yes. And for the record, it has inspired me to visit to the zoo more often, that is, when I’m not living with the zoo at home.

What story will you tell with your photographs?

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

39 thoughts on “Earth Day…Revisited

  1. PS. You really did get some great shots at the zoo later on!! I love your captions, too. The caption for the ram just cracked me up – “I’m too sexy…” – and reminded me of a scene in “Grumpy Old Men”. I love my little Canon point-n-shoot, but I would really love to have a “regular” camera. Maybe one day when hubby and I win the lottery.

    1. Thank you! I tried to ‘translate’ that ram’s look. He stared at me the whole time I was checking him and the herd out. There is absolutely nothing wrong with P&S cameras-they take ‘wagnificent’ pics (that was one of things Ron mentioned in his seminar). I use mine frequently (and my cell phone) so I don’t have to pack the big one like a mule. When you’re hiking, it’s especially helpful. Those big lens are heavy!!!

  2. I want to watch the video when I have time, so will keep it handy. Meanwhile, among other things on my to-do list this weekend is finding a new portable dishwasher. The 20+-year-old one that my dad bought us has bitten the dust, and the part we need is no longer made. I also need new sneakers for working at the vet’s office.

  3. Wow, what a great seminar! It sounds like Ron inspired you – and that’s the best possible kind of teacher! I love your photos from that day. I also love how he emphasized that any photo that you take is your view of the world, and that’s worthwhile!

  4. Wow, you really got some great shots! I do have a Nikon now, though previously I had nothing but Pentax! I am bookmarking the video to watch later. Inspiration is always good.

  5. Wow. Those pictures are amazing. After two years of blogging … and one of truly paying attention to others’ work, I’m starting to learn how to capture personality in my pictures. After years of trying to take pictures of Bear Cat – and years of being discouraged because I couldn’t get anything decent … it seems like the best way is just to shoot … try a few different things … until it almost becomes an instinct 🙂

    1. Practice, practice, practice. And patience. One thing I picked up from attending that presentation is to hold your finger down on the shutter and fire away. There’s bound to be something in there that you’ll like. Never aim for that one perfect shot, shoot 20 or 50 or in my case, well over 200. LOL

  6. Great post, thanks for sharing this…and I want to set aside some time and watch that whole video. I previewed some tidbits…what an engaging speaker!

  7. that was so much fun! Great photos Monika. Wish I could have gone to the workshop with you

      1. YES! Mom has been talking about wanting to go our Atlanta Zoo sometime in the next couple of weeks. It’s so much fun! XOXO – Bacon

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