David Gottlieb - NPN 0598
As far back as I can remember, I have been a nature groupie. One of the
earliest recollections of my natural history enthusiasm was volunteering for
the audio-visual squad in 3rd grade. I could then enjoy multiple viewing
of film strips and movies that were usually nature themed. I specifically
remember watching a series called "John Keiran's Kaliedoscope." Even then I
realized this was pretty hokey stuff, crude photography accompanied by
monotone narration. I am sure Mr. Keiran (now so obscure that even a Google
search comes up empty) would be known as the Ed Wood of nature
cinematographers. My first taste of quality nature film making was Walt
Disney's "True Life Adventures." This series was widely acclaimed in its
day, even winning an Academy Award.
Another lifelong passion has been some form of creative expression. I have
always enjoyed drawing, painting, sculpting, carving, casting, molding and eventually photographing something or other.
The logical progression of events would seemingly lead to a creatively
inclined nature profession. Growing up in coastal Georgia pointed me towards
a career in marine biology. As I looked into this pursuit more carefully, I
realized I really didn't want to be a marine biologist, studying sediment
samples or the like, so much as I wanted to be Jacques Cousteau. So it
naturally followed I would major in zoology and become a dentist. After
dental school I moved to the Virgin Islands for a couple of years. I had
plenty of opportunity to satisfy my marine biology interests through SCUBA
diving and setting up marine aquariums. I also started to become a bit more
serious about photography.
I moved back to Atlanta and reconnected with some naturalist
buddies. I remember being amazed by some close-ups of insects a friend shot
with an SLR, 50mm lens and a toilet paper roll as an extension tube. Thus
inspired, I enrolled in a couple of workshops and courses at a local art
center armed with a Minolta SR-T 102, my first SLR. My equipment was eventually upgraded to a Minolta X-700 and an assortment of lenses that served me well for over 20 years.
About 14 years ago I became a member and volunteer at a local nature
center and started doing artwork, building exhibits, leading trips and taking
pictures for them. Although I enjoy photographing a wide variety of subjects, I seem to be drawn to intimate details. Over the years I've examined things with everything from a magnifying glass to an electron microscope and am still endlessly fascinated.
A macro safari needn't take you any further than your own yard. I've been
fortunate to travel to a number of exotic locations but the majority of my
favorite images were taken within a few miles from home. I prefer to stalk my
subjects in their natural settings whenever possible. I usually start out
with a particular subject in mind but as I sit quietly waiting for the right
moment, a whole new set of possibilities is invariably revealed.
I'm strictly a hobbyist so a successful photograph is one that pleases
me technically and aesthetically. Being able to share my work is a bonus. I've
been entering local competitions for years and have learned much from the
opinions and work of others.
Discovering NPN has accelerated this process exponentially. About a
year and a half ago I entered the Digital Domain with a Canon G2 and then a
Canon 10D. Going digital, coupled with sharing images and information on the
web has revved up my enthusiasm for photography to new heights.
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