Sharing my favorite wildlife and nature photography gives me great joy. Growing up on a farm near Hershey, Pennsylvania, animals were very much a part of my childhood. From the herding behavior of the Hereford cattle in our pasture to a rooster named Dwight, who attempted to assert his dominance on a regular basis, the animals on the farm were a source of fascination and amusement. Our dog, Buddy, and our horse, Charlie, were wonderful companions who listened without judgement and enriched our lives. There is no question that the person in my life who most influenced my love and appreciation of animals was my dad. His relationships with the farm animals and his fascination with the lives of wildlife described in National Geographic magazine inspired me to study and explore the lives of animals around the world. As a zoologist specializing in animal behavior, I love observing animals in their natural habitat and trying to capture unique aspects of their behavior and social relationships in photographs. On my website, I will post some of my favorite pictures and give you some insight into the animals’ lives by drawing on my own observations and on the work of many well-known ethologists, sociobiologists, and socioecologists.
I will begin highlighting my favorite animals to photograph – the big cats in Africa. There is nothing as thrilling that having the eyes one of these magnificent creatures focus on the camera’s lens. I’ve had many opportunities to photograph African lions during annual trips to the Chobe National Park in Botswana. As a photographer, there are many advantages and disadvantages to returning to the same park on a regular basis. You have the advantage of seeing some of the same animals perhaps over a number of years. You also develop an understanding the environment and are better able to anticipate behaviors in different settings. By far the biggest advantage is returning to the same safari lodge, for me it is the Elephant Valley Lodge in Kasane, Botswana, and developing close relationships with a number of the fantastic safari guides that work or have worked at that lodge. The disadvantages are that some of the animals you get to know may disappear or were killed. One amazing lioness that I had seen over several years was shot by a local farmer when she moved outside of the park. In my next blog, I will introduce you to her, her sister, and some of her offspring.