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Featured in Zoom Magazine

November 1st, 2017

Featured in Zoom Magazine

2017 FALL/WINTER ISSUE: Featuring the photography of Sue Harper

Link to full magazine: https://issuu.com/zoomsunshinecoast/docs/zoom_2017_fall-winter

Link to online article (4 pages in printed magazine): http://www.zoomsunshinecoast.com/sue-harper/

ZOOM is a specialty magazine showcasing life on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia through all-colour photographs of its people, places, arts and events. Readers have gone as far as mailing copies of the magazine to relatives and friends across Canada and overseas to share experiences and memories captured in the photo layouts of ZOOM’s pages.

Making a Better Bird Photographer

March 5th, 2017

Making a Better Bird Photographer

One of the ambitions of a wildlife photographer is to capture that special moment. Many photographers run out down to the local pond and click away, not stopping to observe and understand the behaviors that may tell you in advance that something is going to happen. The more you stop and closely observe a birds behavior, the more you may be able to anticipate and predict it's behavior. If you look closely enough, you can learn a birds body language, and shave very valuable seconds from your reaction time.

When will a Great Blue Heron take off, out of the water? When will a Mallard Duck stretch up in the water and flap its wings? When will a Trumpeter Swan be relaxed enough that it will settle just a few feet away? When will a Black Oyster Catcher decide to extend its wings while walking along the shoreline? (as in the photo).

Every species will send different signals, and it does take a while to recognize them. It's always great, not to just capture the animals profile, but also their character too. This takes patience - there is no shortcut. The birds have to get to know you as well. Walking around, making fast movements, will only result in wild animals taking evasive action and changing their routine. You must ooze calmness and slow movements (if any), turn your cell phone OFF, and relax. This slow approach is key to getting the right composition to bring your wildlife photos to life.

Remember, you are on their land, their territory, and they are allowing you to enter their world. Be a good guest.

What an Ethical Wildlife Photographer looks like

February 7th, 2017

What an Ethical Wildlife Photographer looks like

There's a lot to consider when you are a wildlife photographer. Camera, lenses, backpack, clothing, etc. But one of the most important things is to be ethical when trying to find that perfect shot. By that, I mean being considerate of the subject and also the surroundings. It is my core rule.

Wildlife is wild and we must keep it that way - for its own protection. The forests and lands on which I walk is theirs - not mine, and I must treat it with respect. With the many photographers out there, it is important not to 'crowd' an animal and stress it out. The best times for me is crouching, and watching wildlife do its natural thing, stress free, and allowing me to see it and photograph it. I can actually 'feel' the calmness of an animal- even though it knows I'm there. It's almost like a mutual understanding. I'm not going to scare, or encroach, and the animal will allow me to be in its presence.

Stress on habitat is also something to keep in mind. If there is a path use it. Do your best not to trample flowers or other plants - many times its food and cover for animals - they need it to survive, so be careful. And whatever you do, don't leave any garbage behind. The number of times I'm in the middle of nature, and low and behold I find human garbage - the disrespect is beyond comprehension!

It's simply common sense. Consider your subject, environment, and impact. Yes, sometimes you will 'miss' that shot, but its also the joy of being in nature that makes the whole experience wonderful, great photograph or not. Be patient to find those great images. Being an ethical wildlife photographer allows me to be at one with nature - and that (I believe) is the most magical and enlightened space to be.