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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Nature & Nurture

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

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Natural Eloquence

Cheryl Opperman’s “Eagle Spirit.” “It’s often easy to imagine the elements of an image coming together in harmony,” she says, “but seldom is the convergence of subject, light and situation easily attainable. Creative decisions must be made quickly, sometimes in only seconds, to realize your vision. In a very true sense, a photographic image may be the rarest art of all. A recorded moment in time will never occur exactly the same way again.”
Cheryl Opperman
Cheryl Opperman credits her father with starting her on an incredible journey into nature photography. At age 15, while attempting to photograph a stunning moonrise over the ocean, her father reminded her that she would need something more than the point-and-shoot camera she was using to capture the amber glow of the moon reflecting on the ocean waves.

“Little did he know that this single remark would spark a lifelong interest in photography and form the basis of my career,” recalls Opperman. “That Christmas, he surprised me with a professional-quality camera and some lenses. I took a photography class at my high school, and within two weeks I knew I had discovered my career path.”

An honors graduate of the Brooks Institute, Opperman has explored the natural beauty of 15 countries on six continents. Her imagery has graced the pages of several major nature and photography magazines, and she has been the recipient of many national and international awards.

While working on a book project about Africa, Opperman discovered the power of photography to promote conservation. “I worked with the publishing company to market and promote the book’s goal of encouraging the conservation of Africa’s wildlife through responsible ecotourism,” says Opperman. “It was an opportunity that changed my life and expanded my view of what could be achieved through the medium of photography.”

An autumn storm engulfs the mountains in clouds.
When asked about her favorite location to photograph, Opperman is hard-pressed to answer. “For me, there’s no single location or moment that I love more than another,” she answers. “What I love most about nature photography is that I never know what to expect.”

And while she sometimes goes into the field with a predetermined image, Opperman often returns with something completely different. “I feel fortunate to witness whatever nature has to offer on a given day,” she says, “and if I come away with a striking photograph that even comes close to capturing the mood and spirit of the scene, it’s a satisfying accomplishment.”

To see more of Cheryl Opperman’s photography, visit www.cherylopperman.com.


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