I have always loved animals. Ever since I was a tot. To me each animal can tell you a story of life, they can help you live and love. They can be the best of friends.
One of my youngest memories was when I was in a preschool environment. I was not really social to other kids. I liked to be alone. I remember one day I had gone out on my own to the little garden that the place had and was sitting still behind one of the pots. I begin to have a conversation that my teacher believed was with myself. When she came over to see who my imaginary friend was she found that it was no imaginary friend but I had befriended a baby bird that was sitting in the smaller pot near by. I have always talked to animals whether they understand me or not was never a question in my mind.
My family has always had pets. I can not even remember a time when we did not have a pet. Not only have we had pets but we have saved and helped many animals. I am grateful for my Mother, she always allowed me to have love for animals. We have had dogs, cats, rabbits, mice, hamster, lizards, frogs, fish, horses, birds, a chinchilla and more. We would find injured animals and take them to wild life rescues, we would catch stray cats and get them fixed. My family was very much involved in caring for animals. So I have a big heart for animals. I hate to see lost, abused, or hurt animals.
“Animals, like dogs, are “true” best friends. They never judge you for your looks, what you have or anything. All they do is love you unconditionally. Can you imagine if everyone were to live as an animal does?”
TIP: When taking pictures of animals it is important to remember that most animals are not going to stay still. Just like children they move a lot. So to really take a good picture of an animal you need to do one word… PATIENCE. Yes Patience is the key. Sit down and wait and before you know it you will get that perfect picture. The more calm you are the better the animal will respond to you.
I remember working with a fellow one year on taking pictures of animals. We went out and started taking pictures of different things. Of course even if you go at the same time with someone else you can end up with different views of the same scene. We had gone out to take some pictures of birds, squirrels, goats, horses, any kind of animal really. As soon as we seen one we would hop out of the car and take pictures. For him he was always rushing and trying to get to the next animal, he would get frustrated that the animal never looked his way, and he was always upset when he did try to get the picture but the animal would move on him. He would even get frustrated with the cat’s that were in the nearby neighborhood because they would not pose for him. What was worse he would get so mad at me. He was mad that I wanted to take a bit longer at a certain spot, he was mad that I was not getting complaining with him just sitting and listening and he was mostly mad because when we got our pictures back, mine were not blurry.
I tried to explain to him what I do, but he did not want to hear it. I figured I must be approaching my method of telling him wrong but no matter any way I tried to tell him he just was stuck in his ways. A few years had gone by and he started going out on his own to take pictures and still to no luck. Finally one year he came to me and sat down. He hung his head and said “I am so sorry I have been a jerk to you. I see your pictures and I just see how much better they are. I guess I am not supposed to be a photographer.” I smiled and said back. “I thank you for coming and apologizing. That was a big step of being a photographer. Professionalism and you just showed it. To me you are a photographer.” He just looked at me like I was saying nonsense. So I asked “Do you like taking pictures? I mean when you grab that camera are you excited, are you happy, are you passionate?” He chuckled. “Well, I don’t know about all of that, I get frustrated but I love to go out and take pictures.” “Then you are a photographer. Just because you have not hit that perfect shot does not mean you are not. You see each person has a different level of where they are. Some people have perfected the photo taking. Some, Like me and you are struggling…” He cut me off. “No not like me and you, you take good pictures. I do not.”
I grabbed a seat and sat down next to him. “Some, like “You AND Me” struggle in certain areas of photography. I am still learning just like you. I am still learning to make landscapes, and use lighting in different ways, and fully understand the functions of the camera. You are wonderful at the landscapes and lighting on still life. Why do you think you can do still life and not animals?” We were eye to eye in looks, he looked down and shrugged. “Because you are able to move fast with something that does not move at all. If you want to photograph something that moves you have to understand first step patience. Animals are random. They do not just stay still. They are just like children running around, getting into things, wanting to see the world. So when you go fast and just snap snap snap you are not paying attention to them, you are not letting them get comfortable with your presence. Instead most animals get nervous with things that are fast around them. Tell you what come with me today and lets go take pictures of some animals.” So off we went. I had him sit and not move, I had him hold his camera as these two dogs were running and jumping around. I told him to wait, sure enough the shot came. Both dogs got tired and sat down and looked right at him. Snap. He had his animal picture. To this day he tells me how amazing it is that he can now take pictures of animals after years of none.
And remember each person has a specialty. Animal Photography might be yours, or maybe sports where you have to have that perfect shutter speed and be with an alert eye to get that once in a life time shot. Either way you have to have patience for it to come.