Featured: A Walk in the Woods

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Taken by: Jay Stotts

Jay is the nature photographer that I wish that I could be. It’s tough to find a good place to start talking about his photostream because it seems that everything he takes a picture of looks beautiful; however, one of my favorite parts is undoubtedly the set “from my kayak.” These pictures are so up-close and feel personal, even at 500 or 400mm. In case you don’t have a good sense of what that means, it is “reasonable” (compositionally at lease) to take a portrait from about 25ft away or more at this focal length. I have tried a bit of wildlife photography from a boat, myself but I have never gotten anywhere near this close to anything except for maybe a common loon or two. What makes these pictures special, beyond finding such cool subjects, is the way in which Jay captures all of these animals in action. His pictures of eagles don’t boil down to a static bird or to something gliding on the wind, but instead show an interaction. Sorting through these pictures feels almost like watching a play, even.

Beyond all of that, Jay’s pictures scream of technical excellence. His rendition of subtle details, especially in plumage, his composition, sense of timing, and basic exposure (trust me, limiting yourself to high shutter speeds on a supertelephoto lens can push some camera’s settings even in broad daylight) all harmonize into a wealth of images that make me happy at the end of the day. Jay writes on his flickr that he works for the weekends, just waiting to see what he can capture with his lens. I only hope that I can retire this way or blend more wildlife photography into my upcoming, professional life. Thank you for letting us use your work, Jay, and congratulations on today’s feature!

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4 responses to “Featured: A Walk in the Woods

  1. Your observations of Jay and his work are spot-on. He is the consummate wildlife photographer- knowing when and where to find his subjects, gauging nature’s conditions, knowing the limits of his equipment, and his fearlessness to push a little harder to capture an image all help to create his wonderful photos. Yes; knowing your camera’s abilities is important, but it’s the willingness to think “outside the box” (or, in this case, the camera) that allows it to become an extension of his vision; a tool. It has been an absolute honor to accompany him on his outings, and view in wonderment at his images at the end of the day. We will often sit, for six to eight hours in our kayaks, waiting for a Great Blue Heron to make its move and catch a fish, often to have the bird fly off in a raucious departure, not getting a single shot. (Ask him about the time we were chased by three moose- pretty funny stuff!) His eye for detail, expression, unique settings and timing is perfect- he truly knows his art, nature, and where he belongs in it! Thank you for writing your article and honoring him- he deserves every accolade bestowed.

  2. Congratulations Jay – well deserved. Your photography is inspirational.
    You have successfully captured some of the worlds most beautiful creatures in a way that leaves the viewer wanting more.
    Thanks for sharing your talent it is truly motivational.

  3. Jay, you deserve every accolade you receive. As I have mentioned before, your work inspires me. Thank you for sharing your great work on flickr. Most people who don’t take pictures of wildlife have no idea how much time and patience it takes to get a great shot of something that naturally wants to leave the area when it sees you. Keep up the great work!

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