Arts & Culture

Animal instinct

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  • While enjoying a day at the beach, you might see a pelican perched on a piece of driftwood. Or strolling through the wet sand, you might notice tiny hermit crabs at your feet. With so much beautiful scenery in the Lowcountry, it's hard not to spot photo opportunities on a daily basis -- especially during springtime.

    Whether you just want to catch the occasional nature shot or you hope to become the next Ansel Adams, professional wildlife photographer Weldon Lee has some advice.

    Lee will visit Beaufort from Colorado on Saturday to present a workshop called "The Magic of Wildlife Photography." The all-day seminar will cover topics such as the creative process, bird photography and choosing winning images.

    Owner of Rocky Mountain Photo Adventures, Lee guides photographers on excursions through Alaska, Colorado, South Dakota and beyond. When he's not leading photography trips, Lee can be found offering workshops all over the world on photography, photo software and marketing.

    Lee has been a professional photographer for about 30 years. He also has written about wildlife photography and is assistant editor of Nature Photographer magazine. He said he loves what he does because it gives him the opportunity to connect with wildlife.

    "Photography is my profession," he said. "But wildlife is my passion."

    For those who can't make it to Lee's upcoming seminar, here are a few tips from the expert:


    It doesn't matter if you are trying to capture wildlife or wild children. Lee says establishing the right background is essential. He says to keep them simple, avoiding distraction and clutter.


    Learn all you can about what you plan to shoot ahead of time. Do a little research -- read about it, talk to others about it and make personal observations about your subject before snapping your first shot.


    It might sound crazy, but Lee says photographers should listen to what the animals have to say. He says most animals communicate through body language. "Nature communicates through our five senses," Lee said. "I personally believe nature communicates through a sixth sense. If we learn to slow down and listen, we can hear what it has to say."


    Lee stresses the importance of understanding how your camera works. Read your camera manual before heading into nature.


    Joining a club is another way to get some great tips from people who have been taking photos a lot longer than you have. He said most clubs offer critiquing of members' images. "And through the critiquing, you can learn an awful lot," he said. "It's invaluable."