About month ago, I attended Dane Sanders Real Time Community one day presentation that included Dane Sanders, Chris Becker, and Scott Bourne. My whole intent was to listen to Mr. Bourne and ask him about being a nature photographer. I got that chance.
He recommended using some of the online forums, the first being NatureScapes.net. I had already signed up for it previously, but have since become much more active in the community. That is how I ran across this photographer and saw his amazing work.
One word: WOW!!!
The front page is a flash page with some AMAZING images on it. If you delve deeper into the site those images don’t stop. He has 25 different galleries and in none of them can I find what I would consider even a mediocre image. They are ALL breath taking and VERY well composed and captured.
I have a couple of favorites. One of them is#9 in the Indian Tiger portfolio. Most people would take pictures of a tiger in the wild and you would see the tiger and Mr. Courtenay has twelve other images that do that very well. This image is of a paw print in the mud and it is WELL done. I have seen images of tigers and if I went to India, I would have some good images of tigers also, but I think the image of the paw print shows a different view. There is enough in the image to give a sense of the size of the tiger.
The other is #27 in the American Mammal portfolio. It has a deer standing with it’s neck turned, looking to the right. I swear that he had to be laying on the ground in front of the deer to take the picture. I contacted him about it and he said that he used a remote on a camouflaged camera to capture the image. I don’t care, it is THE best deer picture I have ever seen.Images of deer are a dime a dozen, but none that I have ever seen are as good or from the perspective as Mr. Courtenay’s. I have seen images of tigers and if I went to India, I would have some good images of tigers also, but I think the image of the paw print shows a different view. There is enough in the image to give a sense of the size of the tiger.
All of them give you a fresh perspective on the subject. In the American Mammals portfolio, Mr. Courtenay has fourteen images of a squirrel. A SQUIRREL!!! Anyone can take a picture of a squirrel!! But not with the impact of his images.
His photos are what I want to be able to capture images similar to his. They are tack sharp, well composed, and convey the sense of the viewer actually being there. This is the skill that I want and need to develop in my images.
After reading his bio, he has been active in photography for quite some time and has lived in many places giving him access to some great areas to photograph. I realize that that experience has contributed to the excellence of his images, but as his squirrel photos demonstrate, you don’t need exotic subjects to make captivating images.
You need the skills and the vision to capture what is before you. This is what I aspire to achieve in my photography. I need to see the picture and become good enough to be able to capture it while it is in front of me.
I am going to have to step up my game to reach that goal.