I live in the Black Hills of South Dakota in the center of the US, where the high plains begin to become mountains and a person can still find wild places and plentiful wildlife. In the summer of 2008 I chose an early retirement to pursue my passions, especially a love for wildlife photography. My vision is to show wild places naturally and wild things at their best.
My love of the natural world, and especially birds and animals, has been a primary focus for over 50 years. Days playing as a child, days off work or vacationing as an adult were nearly all spent participating in nature with either field guide or fishing pole, longbow or camera in my hand. In the course of my years afield I have worn out many pairs of quality hiking boots. My camera gear has evolved from the Kodak Brownie Starflash I won in a contest as a first grader to a series of Olympus cameras and lenses during the “film era” to finally, with the maturing of digital technology, a Nikon DSLR and the best lens collection I can afford.
NPN represents an unmatched resource for a photographer’s development. It is an online university and a world wide community of like-minded nature photographers. NPN has honed my eye and my craft in a few short years. I hope to repay this gift by helping others explore and share their unique talents in this wonderful forum. All that said, I feel I have only scratched the surface of all I need to know, but I am certain that NPN participation and friendships provide the key for lifelong learning.
People sometimes ask about the camera required for wildlife photography. I answer that a good camera is helpful, but a quality lens is far more important. But, the critical tool in the pursuit of superb wildlife images is knowledge and understanding of each wild species in habit and behavior throughout the changing seasons. In other words, knowing how to get very close to an animal without causing it undue stress is much more important than having a super telephoto lens! Of course it is important to understand the principles and mechanics of making a good exposure, but knowing where an animal will be at a given time and being there waiting, sometimes for extended time, is key to a memorable image capture. My lifelong effort to become a decent amateur naturalist has sometimes allowed me to find those images!
Captured images are frozen fragments of time that flood me with the memories of that day in sights and sounds, light and color, and the magic feeling of close encounters with the wild beings of this world. Hopefully the sharing of such images will recreate for others some of the awe felt at that moment. Perhaps it will cause some to care more about wild places and wild living things. And maybe, just maybe, it will help nudge someone to work to protect these treasures for the benefit of generations to come and for the health of this marvelous planet we share as home.
You can view more of my work ay www.lonsharp.com.
e-mail Lon Sharp