Nature Photographers Online Magazine
Nature Photographers Online Magazine

NPN Member Profile...

Cheryl Ertelt - NPN 256

Cheryl Ertelt started her photographic career as a senior in college, working for the University of Notre Dame's newspaper and yearbook. She has been shooting Notre Dame football games for the University since 1982 and has had many of these images published in national newspapers and magazines. In 1994 she took her first wildlife photo workshop and has not taken a non-photo vacation since then.

In 1998 she started specializing in outdoor dog portraits and action shots for the magazine and calendar markets. However, her favorite photo subjects are wildlife. Her main camera system consists of 2 Canon EOS 3s and a variety of lenses up to 500mm IS. She has started shooting a small amount of digital with the D60 and occasionally still uses her Mamiya 645. Her work is represented by several stock agencies in the US and abroad. She hopes to someday quit her day job as a physical therapist and do photography full-time.

Cheryl has traveled to Africa, the Falkland Islands, Canada, Alaska and many other spots in the US to add images to her wildlife portfolio. Her favorite animal and the one she most wants to photograph in the wild is the wolf. Her favorite places to shoot have been Kenya, because of the 'big cats' and the incredibly large variety of animals in general and the Falkland Islands because the wildlife there is so approachable.

"I really enjoy being outdoors, away from 'work' and all its pressures. I try to shoot images that will take me back to the places I enjoy and the animals I have seen, and allow me to share my impressions with others through my photography. I have had two wildlife encounters that were very spiritual for me. The first came on my last game drive in Kenya in 1997. I was shooting from the window of a Land Rover and a leopard was hunting and walking directly toward our vehicle. When she got closer than my minimal focusing distance, I looked up and we made eye contact. I felt like I had been placed on the menu then given a reprieve. The second experience came last year on my last shoot in the Falkland Islands. I was sitting quietly near the edge of a Rockhopper Penguin colony when I ended up being investigated by a group of adolescent penguins. They pulled on my bootlaces and one even jumped up on one boot and 'hopped' to the other. It was incredible to be that accepted by the wildlife.

"In the year since I became an NPN member, I have made a lot of friends both in the field and on the site. And I know my photography has improved. I learn daily from those who share detailed technicals and backgrounds about their images and from the comments and critiques on my own and others' images. I have also recently caught the 'flying feather fever' and I have a lot of my fellow NPNers to 'blame' for infecting me with this intense desire to capture birds in flight. Thank you NPN for enriching my life and my photographic experience."

Editor's Note - Click any of the thumbnail images on this page to view a slide show of larger images and descriptions. You can view more of Cheryl's work on her website at

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