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Great Gray Owl in Yellowstone National Park - photo by Brent Paull

Noted Wildlife Photographer Shares Secrets To Great Photos

Contributed by Len McKenzie —

One of the pleasures of living in the western United States is our proximity to a rich abundance and diversity of wildlife, both large and small.

While sharing outdoor space with some species can sometimes be challenging, and occasionally even threatening, for people, particularly in urban and suburban neighborhoods, opportunities to view wildlife in natural, wild settings are usually exciting and gratifying. Photographing them at close range adds yet another fulfilling dimension to the experience of seeing them.

The distinctive variety of birds and other wildlife in western America, from the northern Rocky Mountains to the deserts of the Southwest and west to the California coast, makes this area a wildlife photographer’s dream.

Professional photographer Brent Paull has spent 33 years shooting wildlife images in the American West, both as a nature/wildlife photographer and as a photo safari guide, leading about 70 photo safaris every year.

Paull will share many of his shots with local residents in a slide presentation, “Wildlife of the West,” at the monthly meeting of the Yosemite Area Audubon Society in Oakhurst Thursday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. The program will be held at the New Community United Methodist Church on Road 426.

Paull’s show will highlight some of the species and tactics he has used to photograph them, as well as the locations where he has found those subjects.

“While I do cover many tactics in depth, it’s learning about m subjects that has led to my photography success over my 33 years in the field shooting.”

Paull’s career began in 1985 with his first published article and photos. Since then he has had more than 30 articles published, more than 1,000 publication credits and more than 1,000 fine art and stock sales.

He has shot commercially for almost 100 businesses and government agencies such as the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service. His images have appeared in more than 40 magazines and newspapers, including 11 magazine covers, and one of his photos was named the 2013 California Wildlife Photo of the Year.

Of his career journey, Paull says, “It has been a great ride that I hope will last for decades to come.”

Like all Yosemite Area Audubon programs, Paull’s presentation is open and free to the public, although donations to defray program costs and to support the chapter’s local activities are welcome. Call (209) 742-5579 or visit www.yosemiteaudubon.org for more information about the program.

YAAS also free field trips, most of them on Saturdays. Visit www.yosemiteaudubon.org or call (559) 760-6327 for information about the next scheduled field trip.

The mission of the National Audubon Society, the namesake of noted 19th-century naturalist and bird painter John James Audubon; its state affiliate, Audubon California; and local chapters such as the Yosemite Area Audubon Society is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.

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