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I love photographing early in the morning. I mean.....really early, often setting out in the darkness of night and waiting for the first light of the day to arrive. Seeing nature, as she awakens for a new day, is a religious experience for me. As the sounds of the night turn slowly into the sounds of the morning, I find myself excited by the possibilities of the new day. While sitting on location in the darkness before dawn, I never know what light is going to present in front of me. Will the sky be filled with clouds and color, or will the fog blanket the morning with its' mysterious allure? The first hours of the day can be the most exciting of the day, and certainly the most productive for a photographer.
I recently spent a few days in Savannah visiting the Savannah Wildlife Refuge, which is one of my very favorite shooting locations. I seem to never be disappointed with the opportunities I find there. Whether it be summer, or the dead of winter, this refuge consistently provides a wealth of photographic subjects. Although I am considered a bird photographer, I love the opportunity to capture landscape shots, which enhance my avian images. Thanks to the "wildlife drive" that meanders through the refuge, I'm able to cover lots of ground and even do some shooting from within my own vehicle. On the coldest of winter mornings, this can be a real asset to any shooter.
We're all very fortunate in this country to have an amazing network of National Wildlife Refuges. These refuges offer all of us the opportunity to get out and see nature in a way that we cannot from the confines of our homes. No movie or TV show can really show you the beauty of nature. You need to be there to really feel the experience. I want to encourage all of you to visit a refuge near you, and to discover for yourself what secrets it holds. The challenge, of course, is to capture those secrets in your photographic images. Push yourself to become a part of nature, not just a spectator. Good luck and share your images with the rest of us.