New Passion For Photography

I had been through a difficult time. I woke up early with a heavy heart. I looked over at my camera sitting on the bedside table. I thought, “You know what? I need to take my camera and travel to a beautiful place where I can look at God’s great creation and worship Him through the lens.”

Of course, I immediately thought of Sedona AZ, one of my favorite places in all the world. And then, I suddenly remembered a wildlife preserve that was on the way — Out Of Africa Wildlife Park. I found a link on their website to Meet The Photographer with Kathleen Reeder. — they were holding a photography workshop that very weekend. Well, the idea and the action were borne in the same moment. I called; there had been one cancellation and I could be part of this workshop. I was elated!

I got in my car and launched out with a strange sense of adventure. Strange, because I had just gone through a traumatic time, and adventure, because here I was, filled with a bittersweet excitement of the unknown partnered with my beloved Nikon D800E. So together, we were off. Screech, I pulled my car to a halt. Wait a minute. I had left my monopod at home and knew I would need good camera support while taking photos of animals. So I sent a quick text message to my ARCANUM mentor, international award-winning wildlife photographer Laurie Rubin, to see if I could use my Gitzo tripod as a monopod. Of course, she had the answer — shorten two of the legs and use the one as my monopod. I was excited!

I arrived at a hotel in Camp Verde AZ just in time to drop everything in my room, grab my computer and camera and head to the conference. I found the Wildlife Photography workshop just minutes before Kathleen Reeder began her teaching session to about twenty of us participants.

Little did I know that what I was about to llearn from Kathleen Reeder would change my photography life forever.

Kathleen quickly launched into the essential camera settings — things like focus, histograms, ISO and much more. I was typing fast and furious on my computer as she talked, taking down every word of instruction, all the while trying to find a pdf version of my camera’s user manual online. I had no idea where some of these settings were located on my camera and I knew I was going to be in big trouble if I didn’t figure it all out. What came as a total surprise was that I was intrigued by all of this technical information. Kathleen projected dozens of animal photos in rapid fire, explaining why focus and composition were so important to the success of a wildlife image. She also told us we needed to be ready to pull up the histogram for our images during the next day’s photo shoot so she could make sure we were achieving proper exposure. I wanted to be ready.

Session over, I hurried to my room and spent an hour inside my camera manual. I soon figured out how to adjust focus settings and change the ISO so I could get fast shutter speed for clearer images. But it took me thirty minutes just to learn how to get the histogram to appear correctly on my camera LCD! I learned more than I can even articulate here about my camera settings in just one hour of study. Kathleen Reeder had ignited a flame in me to become more technically accurate in my photography. Point taken; lesson learned.

So the next morning we met at 5:30a.m. to get to the Out Of Africa Wildlife Park before it opened to the public. I was excited and exhausted all at the same time. At the park, we boarded an open air bus and headed to special locations where we could shoot lions, tigers, grizzly bears, zebras, wildebeasts, giraffes and more. At each location, Kathleen instructed us on the ideal camera settings, including ISO and detailed focus settings, specifically emphasizing single-servo or continuous-servo techniques. This private tour afforded us incredible access to capturing exquisite images of these amazing animals. I carefully watched Kathleen and followed her example shooting with her own Nikon camera. I literally took thousands of photos that day, sped through three SD cards, a CF card, and two batteries. I had so much fun I lost track of time.

What a day! I had experienced a newly ignited passion for photography. I had learned how to use my camera to achieve proper focus and exposure that yielded clearer images than ever before as I post-processed images. Most importantly, Kathleen had pointed out the importance of getting a sharp focus of the eyes of animals. So I had had the incredible opportunity to zoom in on the eyes of the animals through the camera lens. And looking into those animals’ eyes had brought an indescribable comfort to my heart after a difficult time.

What a gift from God to have that photo shoot with the animals, learn from Kathleen Reeder, and share a passion about photography with others. And let me just say this right now — I would go on a photo shoot with the amazing Kathleen Reeder any day of the week! She is absolutely passionate about the animals and loves photography. Her passion was contagious!

So the next time you need encouragement in the midst of difficulty, grab your camera and capture images of God’s great creation. You might go to a zoo or wildlife park and discover some of God’s exotic and beautiful animals. Take a friend and share the joy of wildlife photography. You too will discover a new passion for photography.

♥ Blessings and Grace to You!


myPhotoWalk Devotional

… He has given us great and precious promises
2 Peter 1:4

myPhotoWalk Technical

  • Title: Looking Into The Eyes
  •   Request This Image > SmugMug Image Request
  • Description: Looking into the soulful eyes of a zebra at the Out Of Africa Wildlife Park, Camp Verde, Arizona, USA.
  • Creator: Catherine Martin
  • Date Created: 05/09/15
  • Camera: Nikon D800E, Nikkor 80-400mm, FL 80mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/1600sec.
  • Photoshoot: myPhotoWalk PhotoShoot at the Out Of Africa Wildlife Park, Camp Verde, Arizona, USA.
  • Post-Processing: Adobe Camera Raw, Adobe Photoshop, Nik Software, OnOne Software.
  • Copyright ©2017 Catherine Martin — myPhotoWalk™ — Quiet Time Ministries. All Rights Reserved.
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