Wild at Heart

When I was growing up, I loved an early reality TV show on Sunday nights called “Those Amazing Animals.” Remember it? It was a spin-off of “That’s Incredible!” and featured the extraordinary lives of animals. The show’s hosts were Burgess Meredith, Priscilla Presley, and some other guy whose name I’ve forgotten. It didn’t last long, maybe a year or so on ABC before being canceled, but it made a lasting impression on me. In particular, I remember a segment the show did about a duck that survived being shot by an arrow. The duck was just hanging around a pond in a small town’s park when some idiot decided to shoot it with an arrow for fun. (Yeah, people can be pretty awful.) The story had a happy ending though when a local veterinarian carefully removed the arrow, sewed up the hole, and the duck went on to live a long duck life. I think I cried for a week after seeing that segment.

The point is that people have a real affection for animals, both domesticated and wild. You can tell it from the hundreds of sweet entries we got from readers for our Wildlife and Nature assignment for Picture This! on page 14. We had so many great images of animals and nature, we could have easily run double the amount of reader photos this month. To see all of the Picture This! submissions for the July issue, look to our Galleries on Shutterbug.com.

We could have also easily filled the magazine with double the amount of great Wildlife and Nature stories this month. Let’s start with our pensive-looking cover model. That’s a wolf that John Hyde photographed for three years in the wilds of Alaska. Talk about knowing your subject! Read about Hyde and see more of his wild work on page 62.

This issue is not just focused on how to photograph animals though. There are also plenty of tips on how to capture nature, in all its extreme glory. Take Adrian Rohnfelder, a professional “lava hunter” who earns part of his living shooting the powerful beauty of volcanoes around the world. Rohnfelder fills us in on what to bring and what to expect when going on a photographic crater hop on page 78. When we think of photographing nature, particularly landscapes, most photographers concentrate on going wide with wide-angle lenses to capture the full scene. While that’s one approach, have you ever considered using a telephoto lens to shoot a landscape image? It’s not as strange as it may sound and can result in some really spectacular photos. Check out David Shaw’s piece on how to use long lenses to photograph landscapes on page 74.

And speaking of telephotos, which are key tools for getting up close and personal with animals, Joe Farace recommends his favorite long glass in his Geared Up column on page 38. Just prior to that piece, you might notice some snazzy new photo gear showcased in a new feature called The Goods on page 34. It’s one of a few more changes you’ll see coming to Shutterbug in the next few months where we recommend our favorite new products to help you stalk your photographic prey.