Charles Glatzer has no issues getting up close to photograph any type of animal. It's when the animals want to get up close with him that things get interesting.
Glatzer is a nature photographer who travels the world to get the best shots. His work has appeared in National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, Travel + Leisure and others.
The North Carolina resident frequently takes groups of budding photographers overseas with him, as part of his Shoot the Light international workshops. He will be coming to Beaufort in January to speak to photographers locally and lead an expedition in the Lowcountry.
Glatzer speaks about his adventures photographing the world.
Question. I understand you just came back from the Falkland Islands. How did that go?
Answer. Outstanding. We had tremendous winds on a few days. Couldn't stand up. But that's typical out there. ... The Falklands have five types of penguins, sea lions, seals and orcas. Pretty amazing place.
Q. How close can you get to them?
A. We're right on them. I'm probably eight inches away on some of them. Some you can get close to. Others, they come right up to you. The rockhopper penguins will come and untie your shoes. In the Falklands, they have no predators on land, and they know that, so our presence doesn't frighten them.
You watch the animals and see how they react. If they start changing their behavior in any way, we back off.
Q. Have you had many close calls?
A. Got attacked by a moose once. There were these two big moose battling. One of them stopped and looked at me and must have thought, "I can't mess with this guy anymore but that guy looks good." He starts to charge me and I start to turn, but my foot gets caught in a willow branch. I ended up on the ground in the fetal position. Luckily, he just walked away.
Q. How often do you travel?
A. This year we did 17 trips. The main focus of Shoot the Light is educational ventures. I take small groups to the best places on the planet and teach them to do what I do.
Q. How did you get into doing what you do?
A. It kind of progressed. All I've done since school is photography. I started doing portraits, then went on to do commercial work. I started traveling around for magazines. It progressed from there. I did a lot of underwater photography in the '90s, but that was cost prohibitive. So I started to teach a little. We moved from commercial work into what I do now.