Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Suzi Eszterhas stops by!

Last month, I wrote a review of some adorable baby animal books by Suzi Eszterhas. She was kind enough to stop by the blog and write a little about her time photographing wildlife. Welcome Suzi!
"One of the best parts of being a wildlife photographer is that every day is different. And to get good shots, you have to spend a lot of days in the field. And I mean A LOT. I spent nearly two years following a few different cheetah families in Kenya’s Masai Mara. Spending every day with one family, from sunrise to sunset, you see a lot: mom hunting gazelles, cubs playing, cuddling with mom, and more. But the cheetahs also see a lot of you. 
When animals get used to your presence you become a fixture of their landscape, just like a tree or a boulder. And out on the African plains, if cheetah cubs grow up around you, they treat a safari jeep  like a boulder, climbing on the tires, jumping on the hood, and chasing each other on the roof. The cubs even peered into my open window, hissed and playfully pawed my shoulder. Of course, as a wildlife photographer, I never touch wild animals. But these kinds of encounters are a privilege and a whole lot of fun!

Gorillas are perhaps the best animals on the planet for close encounters. They’ve had a long history of being studied by primatologists like Dian Fossey. This has made them very relaxed around people and they often ignore the fact that you are there. You can find yourself sitting amidst a group of gorillas, watching them live out their lives around you without a care in the world -  feeding on wild celery, holding their babies close, or beating their chests. 

Being an invisible observer is a wildlife photographer’s dream, but there are also times when the gorillas interact with you and this can be mind-blowing. Sometimes they just catch your eye and stare at you deeply; somehow, with eyes locked, you get this feeling that you are staring at something very familiar  – something unmistakably human."

1 comment:

Linda said...

How fascinating! I spend time photographing birds...but nothing like this!