Prints Recognized with Awards at Professional Photographers of Ohio Conference

I’m honored and thankful to have all six of my print entries juried and scored high enough to be shown in the print display at last weekend’s annual conference of the Professional Photographers of Ohio, held in Lewis Center, just north of Columbus. Five of the entries were additionally recognized with awards including Award of Achievement and Honorable Mentions.

Four of the images were captured in and around my home and farm in Beavercreek Township, Ohio. Another was a favorite from my time living on Hilton Head Island, SC and one image was captured this past February in Hocking Hills, Ohio.

The juried competition at the PPO conference is particularly strict in scoring methods. All judges are accomplished professional photographers.

There is an emphasis on attention to detail as well as artistic merit.
Showing an impressive image on a mobile device or other screen is one thing but producing a true, fine art print is another. I am thankful to the help and support of one of the best pro print labs in the Dayton area, TI Graphics.

Chloe by Jim Crotty Frozen Light by Jim Crotty In the Light of November by Jim Crotty On the Morning of Your Departure by Jim Crotty Storm Sky at Sunset by Jim Crotty Treasure by Jim Crotty

Blessed by morning light.

Spring Photo Workshops | April 12 at Cox Arboretum and May 2 in Hocking Hills

Celebrate spring with Professional Photographer Jim Crotty as he leads a small group workshops on the art of Ohio nature and landscape photography amongst the gardens, fields and woodlands of both Cox Arboretum MetroPark, near Dayton, and at The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills.

Learn the tips and techniques behind Jim’s award-winning images. This workshops will be a balance of classroom and field instruction with the group exploring subjects such as spring flowers with a portion of the workshop devoted to outdoor portraits at Cox Arboretum and waterfalls in Hocking Hills. The classroom portion of both workshops will emphasize digital file management and editing tools as well instructor reviews of student images.

Open to all levels of skill and experience with the DSLR camera. Minimum equipment required. Fee includes lunch (box lunch from Panera Bread at Cox Arboretum and catered lunch at The Inn at Cedar Falls), guided instruction and workshop handouts. Limited to first 20 people who register.

$89 per person. $20 deposit to register. Payable via PayPal to jim@ohiophoto.org or check to Picture Ohio, LLC  2581 Trebein Rd  Xenia OH  45385

Email jim@jimcrotty.com or call 937-896-6311.

LifeRenewedWorkshopFlyerFW

SpringCameraWorkshopFlyerbyJimCrottyFW

Wildlife Photography by Jim Crotty

Ethics and Wildlife Photography | At What Expense ?

This story came to my attention yesterday via posts and messages to my photography page on Facebook. What’s funny is that people posting and messaging me thought that I was the “Jim Crotty the wildlife photographer” interviewed in the story. I’m not. It just happens to be a coincidence that this photographer and I share the same name! But this news items brings up a good question regarding what is considered ethical behavior with wildlife photographers when it comes to photographing these animals.

The controversy in this story centers around the issue of “baiting” Snowy Owls for those “spread wing – open talons” shots. I agree with the other “Jim Crotty” in this story. I do think such tactics place both the animal and the photographer in danger. But that’s not the only area of controversy involving wildlife photography. There is also the issue of photographing captive animals in a natural environment and mislabeling the images as true wildlife photography as well as stalking wildlife to the point of harassment and harm.

Truth be told I have photographed the big predators – bears, tigers, wolves – at a wild game farm in Montana. I’ve also spent time photograph raptors at rehabilitation centers. Do the images look as if they were captured in the wild ? Yes. Do I identify the images as being captive animals ? Most times, yes, when it needs to be identified as such.

What I will add is the fact that in both cases the animals were very, very well cared for, and in some cases were rescued from deplorable conditions at zoos and circuses. Still, some “purists” consider this to be cheating. I can easily argue on behalf of the safety and care of the animals being photographed. At least I’m not pursuing a bird to the point where it abandons its nest and/our young or chase it into starvation.

But baiting-in wildlife for me crosses the line into what I consider manipulation of subject to fit the photographer’s needs versus capturing the true spirit and nature of the animal. Yes, it’s not illegal but as stated in the story, “is it ethical?”

One of the reasons this issue is gaining attention in the media is due to the large influx of Snowy Owls into the Midwest (and even as far south as Washington DC) due to the severity of this winter. Wildlife photographers all want that “money shot” of these impressive birds swooping in for the kill. But is it placing the animal at risk at becoming another casualty on the side of the road or tangled in the fishing line used to cast the toy mouse ?

It’s been my experience that people have a unique sense to tell if a photograph has been pushed too hard by a preconceived notion of the photographer, to the point of manipulating the subject into submission. It comes through. Perhaps subtle but most people can pick up on it.

I’ve learned that the images the generate the most positive, honest response are those that were unplanned and a result of a spontaneous interaction with the subject, whether it be portraits, landscapes or wildlife. The greater skill for the photographer is gained through patience and fortitude, and always, always, respect for his or her subject.

What do you think ? Can you tell which images below are of captive animals and which were taken in the wild ?

Jim Crotty Commercial Photography Wildlife Photography by Jim Crotty Great Blue Heron on Hilton Head Island South Carolina by Jim Crotty White-tailed Deer Doe and Fawn on the farm property of Photographer Jim Crotty Golden Eagle Aquila Chrysaetos by Ohio Nature Photographer Jim Crotty Wildlife Photography by Jim Crotty Red-tailed Hawk in South Carolina Maritime Forest by Jim Crotty Siberian Tiger at Triple D Wild Game Farm by Jim Crotty

Sometimes You Just Have to Get Up and Go

An amazing afternoon out in Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio last Wednesday. Some great images can result when we let go of what others expect of and from us and simply take pleasure in the beauty of nature and the company of someone close.

This has been harsh winter in Ohio yet there is still so much to be thankful for.

OurWinterEscapeFebruaryinHockingHillsFW February 12 2014 in Hocking Hills State Park Ohio by Jim Crotty

February in the Wetlands | Form and Texture in the Winter Landscape

Just a short hike down from my property on Raptor Ridge is the beautiful Beavercreek Wetlands Preserve. Recently I ventured through the woods and across the snow-covered fields to see what treasures I could find amongst the winter landscape. My camera was the Canon 1D Mark III. I brought with me three lenses – a Canon 500mm f4.5 (birds and wildlife), Canon 100mm f2.8 macro and the Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L, all supported on a Giottos Mountaineer Tripod and Kirk Ballhead.

This is the time of year when outdoor photographers become anxious for spring, however, I find that there are still many interesting subjects to be discovered in late winter, particularly close-up and macro. The meadows are full with the remains of last summer and fall, with interesting shapes and texture made bare from the winter winds. There is also the gradual change in light which seems to bring these textures and shapes upon a stage and canvas that is more appealing when it comes to both background and shadows.

Winter still holds here in Ohio but the light and sky are already heralding the coming change of seasons. I am grateful to be living in a location where I have such easy access to a variety of natural subjects. The seasons are a blessing in Ohio. Yes, winter too. We tend to anticipate too much what lies ahead at the expense of neglecting the gifts before us each day. I admit I am looking forward to winter passing onward but before it goes I enjoy appreciating its gifts of simple elegance, peace and quiet light.

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” – Charles Dickens Great Expectations 

February in the Wetlands by Jim Crotty 1 February in the Wetlands by Jim Crotty 2 February in the Wetlands by Jim Crotty 4 February in the Wetlands by Jim Crotty 9 Red-tailed Hawk in February over Beavercreek Wetlands Preserve by Jim Crotty February in the Wetlands by Jim Crotty 6 February in the Wetlands by Jim Crotty 8

 

True and Original | The Coen Brothers and the Art of Expression

“Like something out of a Coen Brothers movie.” There’s a fine line between inspiration and imitation and I suppose that’s why I find my best sources of inspiration in other mediums than still photography. I admire the work of the masters such as Adams and Weston, but I never want to imitate it. And that can be a challenge sometimes. But to be inspired by prose and poetry, music, film, design, sculpture . . . that’s where energy in the art of expression is renewed, again and again.

For example, the films of Joel and Ethan Coen. They don’t bend to popular whims nor do they film to please this particular group or that particular audience. They hold true to their own creative vision and all else falls into place. They also stay true to those components or pieces that best serve their vision, whether it be the musical genius of T. Bone Burnett or the understated performances of John Goodman.

The Coen’s nail it every time because they have the courage to be who they are and not mold themselves to the expectations of a fickle audience, and the studios come to them. Sure their best work often gets snubbed but there’s no mistaking one of their films from those of a sea of other filmmakers.

The universal connection found in the art of creative expression that is unique to each soul is life and light set to a harmonious interludes of wonder and joy. To be true, even it means long stretches of hanging out there by your lonesome, that’s the place to be. Life was never meant to be a popularity contest. The posturing and posing and pandering leaves everyone wanting. I’ve seen a lot of that in my life. There have been many times I’ve been guilty of falling into that trap as well. It served as a painful reminder of the importance of being true to self, always humble and thankful to a higher power and love without conditions or false intentions.

Life is meant to be lived in the courage of your own convictions and expressed through the work of your own hands. Talent fully utilized may on the surface be seen as selfish but when serving the higher purpose of inspiring others (and always in gratefulness) it is actually quite the opposite, and beautiful to behold.

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