Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Quiet Side of Nature

I imagine that anyone who is a fan of wildlife photography has a love for great action images. There is something mesmerizing about seeing a bird frozen in mid-flight or a still image of the moment just before a predator pounces upon its prey. However, there is another side to nature which I feel is often neglected in nature photography –the quiet side. This is the side that is often a better representative of the day-to-day activities of many species of animals.

In my photo-workshops, I often tell students to avoid the 'tourist mentality' when it comes to photographing nature. By bringing this up, I'm hoping that they'll learn how to become an observer of nature, not just a photographer who arrives at a particular location, makes a couple of quick snaps, and heads off to another site in search of bigger and better things.

By my own admission, I am a quiet person. So maybe this would explain why I find photos of quiet moments in nature so intriguing. It has been my experience, though, that there is so much emphasis on the natural world's 'book-ends' (birth, death, tragedy, etc) that we often miss all of the marrow in-between.

I made this photo of an eastern box turtle hidden away in a bed of running cedar on a summer afternoon. I really like photographing turtles and have made quite a few shots of the amiable reptiles doing a variety of things. However this image, in which the turtle isn't really doing much of anything, is one of my personal favorites. It is simply, an intimate portrait of an animal living its life, as it has for millions of years, in the moment, in sleep and in silence.


Glen.K.Peterson said...

Wow! You have really outdone yourself here. This is fantastic. I love the black and white.

Heather said...

Very nicely done, Clay. You have touched on a very important aspect of nature photography, and the one that I happen to relate to the best.

Clay Bolt said...

Glen & Heather,

It's nice to hear from kindred spirits. Thanks for weighing in.


Marvin said...

It is ironic that most of us living close to nature appreciate the quiet moments but often fail to include them in our photographs.

clay bolt said...


Very ironic indeed. I would imagine that some photographers are driven by the fear that if they don't photograph something dramatic, their images won't sell.