About Stormy Barton Apgar
I have been taking photographs since I was a young girl, but I was never satisfied with just a basic snapshot. Even with my first Instamatic camera, which produced square prints, I was trying to create an image that was a little bit unusual. I would turn the camera or lay on the ground to find that special angle that would yield a unique photograph. Creating portraits of animals or people that let their true spirit shine, is one of my true passions in life. I feel most alive when I am in the wilderness, especially when there are animals around.
Stormy Barton Apgar
My view through the camera lens has undoubtedly been shaped by my life’s adventures. I have spent a great deal of time exploring Alaska, Canada and the Arctic in all seasons and there is nowhere I would rather be, especially in the wintertime.
Each time I am lucky enough to be able to spend time in grizzly or polar bear country, my admiration is enhanced for these magnificent animals as well as for wolves, moose, caribou, cranes and so many others found there. The natural world is an endless source of fascination for me and I love sharing that world with others through my photography.
My life to date has followed many paths: rehabilitation counselor, law enforcement officer, attorney, magistrate, university professor and I recently received another degree in Animal and Veterinary Science. But animals, the outdoors and photography have remained a constant throughout all the changes in careers I’ve seen. Capturing an image just the way it looked to me at the moment I took the photograph is still a huge thrill. Who knows where my path will take me in the future, but I do know for sure that my camera will always go with me.
For me, there is a difference between taking photographs and creating images. Creating an image requires the photographer to become intimately acquainted with the subject so the image created will bring out the soul and personality of an animal, person or location. This takes time but it also takes respect.
This respect involves protecting both the animals you photograph and their environment. I believe that any attempts to alter a wild animal's normal behavior potentially endangers that animal. I try never to infringe upon an animal's flight distance. If you care about someone, you don't want them to be afraid or stressed. Personally, I would rather miss the shot than upset an animal to get a particular photograph. Wildlife photography requires much patience, many long hours of waiting for the right shot with a good telephoto lens. I have spent hours taking hundreds of photographs, none of which were what I really was waiting for, but it is such an honor to be able to watch animals - especially wild animals - that simply being in their presence is reward enough. It has been my experience that if you are respectful and you wait quietly for long enough, animals will approach you, and if that enables you to take that "perfect photograph" then it is a gift that the animal offered to you.
Photographing the natural world almost inevitably guarantees that you will be uncomfortable. Both wildlife and landscape photographers face extremes of cold or heat, early morning or late night hours, and frequently sitting in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time. Yet, it is well worth it if you are able to create an image that will capture the imagination of the viewer and change the way they look at the world in some small way.