I’ve dabbled in wildlife photography for much of my adult life. I started somewhat by accident, while I was the Outdoors Editor at the Cheyenne newspaper. They didn’t send a photographer with me on my adventures, so I had to learn how to take the photos myself. In my time out in the woods, I often did my best to put myself into the right places at the right times to get good shots of wildlife.
As the years went on and I took different jobs, some provided me more access to the outdoors and to wildlife than others. But the job that did the most to expand my wildlife photography skills, obviously, was my short stint at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, where I was the staff photographer for a glorious but brief seven months.
Wyoming called me home, though, and I took another grown-up job that doesn’t let me out as much as I’d like. I’ve been able to tamp down my desires to spend every waking hour in the outdoors so that I could actually concentrate on the things my employer is paying me to do, but then I took a vacation.
I went down to Arizona and hooked up with my friend Tim, who is a professional wildlife photographer, and the time I spent with him taking pictures of raptors, cool songbirds, rattlesnakes, Gila monsters and owls rekindled that deep yearning to hide in the grass all day for the chance to get one photo of a bull elk or a coyote.
Then again, Tim let me use his gear for our photo shoots, and every one of his lenses is worth more than my truck. So I’ll keep the grown-up job and hope one day I can save up enough money to maybe chase my wildlife photography dreams again.