Strike A Pose
Zachary T Agman
I have spent my fair share of time outdoors. Hiking through the woods, exploring mountain lakes, and looking for that perfect shot. I have found that some of my best and favorite photos have come from just being in the right place at the right time. I have been fortunate enough to be able to work outside for a job and I spent many years working with the United States Forest Service. I always had my camera and would often stop throughout my day to take photos. Sometimes it was a tree, sometimes an old sign and sometimes my favorite, wildlife. Being able to work in the forest provided ample opportunity to catch wilderness being wild, but I have come to realize that subjects of these best and favorite photos that I mentioned above, are completely aware of my presence. And sometimes, even seem to enjoy the spotlight.
The first photo you see is of a young bull moose eating cherry blossoms. This was early in the morning, and I had not noticed him at all. At the time, I was living in an old school bus while converting it into a camper/RV. When I finally noticed him, I just had to get closer and get some photos of the handsome devil. In case you are wondering, if a moose chases you, it will behoove you to run. In this case, I had a quick getaway and felt secure enough to go to town with my camera. At one point he is chewing on a branch and looks directly at me as I get a great photo, and I can just see it in his eyes,
“Yeah, that is the one.”
I was working for the Forest Service once again, it was summer, it was hot, it was a bad year for forest fires. I was working in ground support at the base camp for the Kaniksu Complex fire. The Base Camp was located at the Kalispel Wellness center. I was taking a walk during some down time, and I wandered over to the bison herd belonging to the Kalispel Tribe of Indians. I noticed one bison that caught my eye, he just looked cool. I took a few photos and continued getting closer to the fence when I noticed a LOOK, it did not seem like he was about to charge but that look just made me think, maybe he is trying to say,
“Back the hell up bro!”
Who knows, but I was able to get a photo and every time I see it, I can’t help but think about how badass that bison was.
Summer on the Kaniksu Complex fire and the days were long. In ground support, we usually worked the max hours allowed. That being around 17 hours, minus an hour for two lunches. There was always equipment to be inspected, coming in and going out to the fire, paperwork to be filed, and information to be gathered. So, when you get a surprise visitor in your yurt, you must take the time to enjoy it and get some photos!
This guy was hanging out for quite some time, he loved to find bits of food and then go off to my fire pack to dig in.
What are you looking at Owl?
This is not one of my best photos but is one of my favorites. I was visiting a friend when I heard the delightful and classic hoot of a great horned owl. I searched for a few minutes and then I saw it. High in a pine tree and watching me with his big beautiful yellow owl eyes. The whole time, it looked like he was wondering what in the world I was doing. Or maybe he wanted to ask,
"Why in the world are you paying so much attention to me, a wise, yet oh so humble owl?"
If he only knew how much people love his kind. It is true, there is an unquestionable draw to owls. They make me feel like I am in a story. I hear an owl and I wonder if I will see the fairy folk, or perhaps if I can mosey down to the stream, will there be a talking fish? I sure hope so! I feel the magic in the air when I hear you majestic and wise owl.
Whatever the reason, people love owls, and I will certainly continue to be an adoring fan as well.
The Editing Process
For me, the editing process starts with enhancing color. I feel like a photo can never truly capture what the person who took it is seeing and so I always prefer to make the colors more vibrant and crisper. The mood, not just within the photo but any emotions I am trying to convey or even pull from the viewer, will determine things like shadow and brightness. With wildlife, I am most often trying to convey a bright feeling and fun environment. I want anyone who sees it to feel connected to the animal at that moment in time. In the end, I want people to not only enjoy the photo but want to know more about what is in the photo. More about the species, more about conservation, more about keeping the wild, wild. I want to educate people, motivate people to make a difference, to make people want to go out and see it for themselves.
Explore, take pictures, write a story. Adventure forth and be wild!
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