To begin the Art to Share series, I’ve chosen some of the photography of Jeff Whatcott. I asked him recently if I could use a shot of his for a future post, and he said he was happy to make it available. Once you see these photographs, I think you’ll be happy, period. Today I’ve chosen some of his images from nature–we’ll come back around in the future to explore other collections.
Interspersed with the photographs, I’ve included Jeff’s answers to some questions that el Guapo and I had for him.
How did you get started with photography?
What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
I enjoy landscapes, wildlife, and street photography most. When I am photographing these subjects I can get into a state of flow that is very satisfying and therapeutic for me. I come back from a nature shooting trip recharged and refreshed. I do not get the same feeling when photographing people I know, which always feels hectic and nerve-wracking. Unlike people, flowers and herons and crowds never have any particular expectation for how they are captured.
Could you describe an interesting/exciting/dangerous/surprising experience you had taking photographs?
Once I was photographing some waterfalls deep in the backwoods of western Massachusetts. Getting there involves many dirt roads and hiking in. To get the shot I was hoping for, I had to put my camera on a tripod right out in the middle of the stream below the falls. While repositioning, I slipped on a rock and went down hard while doing my best to keep my gear from being submerged. I twisted my ankle pretty good, but avoided a head injury and was able to limp back to my car. Most of my gear survived, and I got the shot.
Another time I spent an afternoon staking out a marsh wren nest at a nature reserve in Concord. Marsh wrens are the size of your thumb, and they build their nests among the cat tail reeds. The combination of blocking reeds, the speed with which they flit from perched to perch, and the vagaries of wind blowing the reeds makes it very hard to get a decent shot. I learned the calls of the wrens and figured out their general rhythm for going from perch to perch. In the end, I got the shot I was hoping for. It took hours, but I came away with a really deep appreciation for these little birds that nobody even notices half the time.
What advice would you have for someone who would like to do something similar?
For your lovely photographs and your interesting words, thanks, Jeff!