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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Nature & Nurture

Unique perspectives on outdoor photography and the importance of preserving our environment

This Article Features Photo Zoom

A female jaguar housed in a tiny bamboo/wire cage in the center of an outdoor restaurant. “As I was about to take her picture,” Lynda Richardson says, “I noticed she got very tense. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a worker to my right preparing to squirt her with a nearby hose ‘to get her to do something’ for me. I can’t imagine living my whole life in that tiny space. How cruel.”
Naturalist Photographer
Lynda Richardson
Lest anyone think nature photography doesn’t happen without risks or obstacles, you might talk with Lynda Richardson. “I had to get rabies shots for a month after a bat bit me five times during a project in Ecuador,” recalls Richardson. “But it’s the people I’ve encountered that are more dangerous than the wildlife I’ve encountered. I was almost shot at a roadblock, nearly got stabbed by glue-sniffing thieves and had dinner with a couple of mercenaries. Oh, yeah, I drank with one of Idi Amin’s hired assassins.” Exciting stuff, eh?

Richardson’s entry into professional photography began in 1983 when she started photographing news events, politics and sports. “On weekends, I would photograph wildlife and nature,” says Richardson. “I would get my nature images on the AP wire, and some of those images would appear all over the country.” She soon discovered that while news photography satisfied her ego, it was wildlife photography that filled her heart. “I started full throttle at nature photography around 1985. All those years of Wild Kingdom and David Attenborough finally paid off.”

A remote shot of an osprey fledgling, the York River, near Williamsburg, Pennsylvania.
Richardson’s nature photography revolves primarily around conservation issues, including photo essays about the illegal wildlife pet trade in Nicaragua and sea turtle conservation. “I’ve been fortunate that nearly all my assignments have been focused on projects that relate to saving wildlife and the environment,” explains Richardson. And she doesn’t stop at just capturing images. Beyond her photography, Richardson takes time to donate images and speak at major conservation organizations such as The Explorers Club in New York and Safari International. She even has been a guest speaker at the South African Embassy.

Richardson recognizes the challenges of the profession in today’s world. “The way to deal with the path this industry has taken is to stay on top of the trends and come up with something that sets you apart from everyone else,” she says. “You’ve got to really want it and be able to bear with criticism and rejection. Persistence and patience is the key.”

To see more of Lynda Richardson’s photography, visit www.lyndarichardsonsphotographyworkshops.com.


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