It was a beautiful day and a lot of people were out with their dogs.
It's been a while since I've posted any animal images. Today, I'm posting grizzly bears.
I went to the Detroit Zoo to view an exhibit of one of my favorite wildlife photographers. There is nothing like viewing an image printed large. The exhibit ends today so I wanted to make sure I saw it before it was gone.
Because I was already going to be at the zoo for the exhibit, I brought my camera with the intention of walking around and seeing the animals early and while it was cool in hopes that they'd be active. Understanding animal behavior and it's relation to time of day and weather is important even when visiting zoos. Knowing this paid off. These grizzly brothers started walking around, but before long they went for a dip and started wrestling. I was thrilled and thankful that I came prepared. I watched them for hours.
The Detroit Zoo actively works for wildlife conservation. The animals that live at the zoo are animals that would never survive in the wild for various reasons.
In the case of these grizzlies, these brothers were brought to the zoo in 2010 when they were found orphaned in Alaska after a poacher killed their mother. They were 10 months old. Grizzlies nurse their young until they are 2-3 years old. Without the Detroit Zoo to house them, they would not have survived in the wild.
I recently worked with Cassandra in the studio. I had no concept going into the session, which is unusual for me. The challenge I gave myself for this day was to create images of Cassandra's personality. I find my favorite images are the "in-betweens," those moments when your subject is unguarded and unaware of you with the camera. While a few of my selected favorites are very aware of the camera, there are several that were completely unguarded.
Fortunately, Meghan is an early morning person like me. I love the serenity of the early hours, where there's hardly any noise from human activity. You can hear the birds singing to the new day, water lapping up on the shore, the rustle of leaves as a breeze wafts through the woods, or the crack of a branch as a deer walks through the woods in search of food.
This is the time that I take for myself. My family are not early risers so I have a few hours to hike, bird, reflect, plan, meditate, or have a photo session with fellow early risers.
Because the summer is coming to an end, I wanted to get a beach session on the books. The weather was supposed to be warmer, but as is usually the case in Michigan, the prediction changed considerably throughout the week. Taking advantage of a sunny day, though, we went ahead with the session. I'm not cruel enough to make Meghan get into a lake when it's only 50 degrees so we kept the looks breezy, but out of the water.
We threw in a bathing suit look, but as I stated earlier, I didn't have the heart to make Meghan get into the water on such a brisk morning. The breeze was fairly strong and she would have frozen when she got back out of the water.
The locations and Dekilah's vintage peignoir pieces inspired me to photograph her in a classic victorian painterly style.
When Xaina contacted me asking if I wanted to photograph a litter of puppies, I didn't hesitate. Actually, I think the only coherent response I gave her was "puppies" along with a bunch a squeals and coos.
I'll start with a behinds the scenes. With animals, you are at their mercy. It takes a lot of patience and waiting. Everyone is on the animal's schedule and the animals safety is the number one concern. It took quite some time for these little ones to tucker out. The excitement of a new location was too much for puppy explorers. They had to discover every nook and cranny.
It was hilarious to watch a littler of 10 start dropping into nap mode one by one, at the same time. They would fight it as long as they could and then they would just flop.
The theme of the session was similar to one with did together with her white and black adult shepherds. One outfit was white the other was black. However, with the pups, the Victorian era paintings came to my mind. The ones with women and young girls on the farm or in a field surrounded by, you guessed it, puppies.
Lars and I planned a WWII themed shoot while we were working on knight session. Lars has a lot of vintage war gear and I knew I wanted to leverage that with him. When the opportunity arose to shoot on location in an historic home, I knew we had our chance to really make something that had the feel. Not all the items at the home are period appropriate, but we used them to interpret the theme.
Because we had access to an historic home, we decided to concentrate on the moments in between battle, such as sending letters to home, shaving, and sleeping in the field.
"Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in blood of his followers and sacrifices of his friends." ~General Dwight D. Eisenhower
While walking around with friends, I saw this tree and red door. I screamed to me to be photographed. I loved it. I mentioned it to my friends and they encouraged me to go ahead an "scratch that itch." So I asked Krista to get in the doorway and I posed her so that she'd mimic the three.
Detroit has a historic are designed by the famed architect Mies Van Der Rohe. He is regarded as one of the pioneers of modern architecture. He, like Frank Lloyd Wright, blended architecture with nature. Because the cherry blossoms are blooming, I decided to document the architecture and flowers over the weekend.
Below a couple images showcasing the architecture with nature:
And the rest are apple and cherry blossoms. I spent a lot of time on those since they are in bloom for a very short time.
My photography friend getting a closeup of the blossoms. We like to tease each other and call each other (f)artistes.
The following day, I went around my neighborhood looking for more blossoms:
I have posted before about the impact we are having on nature: the disregard for wildlife, trampling delicate ecosystems, litter, etc. I have stated that I proudly follow leave no trace principles and ethics in wildlife photography. I am now a member of Nature First, an alliance for responsible nature photography.
THE NATURE FIRST PRINCIPLES