"Great photography shouldn't just document what you saw...it should capture how you experienced the moment!"
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These places are all within about 2 hours of the Phoenix Metro area, making them easy day trips for your birding and photography adventure the next time you visit the Valley of the Sun! Please contact me if you would like custom guiding options and/or private instruction. I am happy to be your guide!
An Interview with Photographer, Lisa Langell:
Who initially influenced you to enjoy and appreciate nature?
"I grew into an avid birdwatcher at the impressionable age of eight. It was a passion introduced to me by my great aunt Josephine, who cultivated and nurtured it while I spent time with her each spring.
Josephine (Langell) James, 'Aunt Jo,' was a woman well ahead of her time. She always maintained the perfect sense of perspective, practicality, persistence and place that made her one of the most respected and admired women I have ever known. Her concern and appreciation for nature continued throughout her 102 years on earth. She is a big part of who I am today. In fact, I have dedicated my first published book of photography, 'The Nature of Things,' to her memory."
How has your love of nature translated into photography?
"Over time, my enjoyment of bird watching expanded into a genuine passion for photographing wildlife and the natural world. My specific interest in wildlife photography evolved even more so during my teenage years when I first began visiting migratory hot-spots such as Point Pelee,Ontario, Canada; Whitefish Point, Michigan, and Maumee Valley, Ohio, where I could observe migrating birds by the thousands. It was at those places where I became enamored by "the birders with the long lenses" who tirelessly worked to photograph 'the perfect shot! By age 14, I was hooked."
When did you receive your first "big" camera? "
I initially used a Kodak Instamatic film camera, then later a Minolta 110mm point-and-shoot film camera when I was around 8 years of age. As my interest developed, I received my first 35mm film camera, a Canon A-1, from my mother as a holiday gift when I was about 14 years old.
Soon after, I set off with my passion of capturing the natural world on film. I chuckle now when I think back to my early images of birds and wildlife. They were far from being tack-sharp, frame-filling works of art. Still, I did not give up. Dissatisfied with merely images of scenics or wildlife that made 'nice documentation shots,' I eagerly sought to do better. I knew I needed to do so much more--even at a young age. I still feel that way."
How would you describe the current style of your work?
"I have always been compelled to discover and capture those elusive, split-second moments that translate into one-of-a-kind, evocative images. That desire, for me, is absolutely inextinguishable. The purpose I breath into my artwork is to not simply document the natural world, but to interpret it into meaningful moments that range from expressions of tranquility through to the powerful and most provocative of moments. I always seek to create images that produce both a visual and emotional connection for the viewer. As those rare, fleeting moments transpire in front of my lens, I tenaciously work to artfully capture them through my lens."
How would you describe the joy you find in photography?
"The joy--rather, euphoria--that I find in photographing moments in nature happens at lest twice for every successful image. Initially, it occurs in the field with my camera, where I can completely lose my sense of time and immerse myself and my lens in the world around me. However, photographs are akin to a visual language--they speak out only when shared. My second wave of joy occurs when my work communicates emotion and moments to all who take a moment to look and listen. I feel so lucky that my images have opportunities to communicate to people daily."
How does your photography impact nature?
"Our environment is changing rapidly. Many plants and animals are finding it difficult to adjust and survive. As such, it is even more important that we work to preserve, respect, and appreciate the forces that work in harmony to produce the species that give all of us so much beauty and diversity. Those species sustain us---quite literally in many cases. As such, I not only seek to capture images of the natural world, but I also donate a percentage of proceeds, artwork, and services annually to various recognized charities and organizations that work ethically to preserve and protect our natural world.
Additionally, I teach nature photography workshops that include required instruction based directly from the North American Nature Photographers Association's Principles of Ethical Field Practices. These guidelines are critical to ensuring photographers remain sensitive to the protection of plants and animals out in the field. 'Leave no trace' is a personal motto and perpetual practice of mine."
Where do you live?
"Formerly from Michigan, I now reside in Arizona."
Any final words?
"I wouldn't be successful without those who support what I do. My deepest gratitude goes to all of my customers, fans, and anyone who appreciates, enjoys, and champions my work. You are a vital part of my world and definitely sustain my passion. Their encouragement and support are so very much appreciated. They efforts they make to support me "behind the lens" makes so much of what happens in front of it possible."
Approved Instructor / Workshop leader for:
North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA): Approved workshop leader
Butterfly Wonderland: Approved instructor
Arizona State Parks - Boyce Thompson Arboretum: Approved instructor
Desert Botanical Gardens: Approved instructor
Arizona Wildlife Federation: Approved instructor
Arizona Outdoor Woman: Approved instructor
Photographer's Adventure Club: Approved professional instructor and PAC Pro Photographer
Verde River Valley Nature Organization: Invited speaker and approved workshop leader
Florida Birding and Photo Fest (St. Augustine, FL): Keynote speaker, approved instructor.
Florida Camera Club Council Photo Conference: Approved instructor
Southwest Michigan Camera Club Council: Approved instructor
San Diego Birding Festival: Approved instructor
Liberty Wildlife: Approved instructor
Honors / Awards:
North American Nature Photographer's Association:
(Contest includes about 2600 images annually)
-2nd Place - Mammals (2015 Showcase competition) Image
-Top 100 - 2017 Showcase competition
-Top 250 - 2014 Showcase competition Image
-Top 100 - 2014 Showcase competition Image
-Top 250 - 2013 Showcase competition Image
-Professional Photographer's Association (PPA) Loan Collection award (2013)
Arizona Highways Classic Calendar (2018)
Arizona Highways (March 2017)
Images Arizona (feature article) February 2017
Ranger Rick Magazine (April 2015)
Arizona Wildlife Views (Front cover) Summer 2014
Arizona Wildlife Views (back cover) Winter 2014
Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine
Numerous other regional publications locally and internationally
Affiliations / Memberships
North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA): Board of Directors Member
Maricopa County (AZ) Audubon Society (MAS)
Professional Photographers Association (PPA)
Photographic Society of America (PSA)
Charity / Volunteer Work
Picture It Clean: Founder
North American Nature Photographers Association (NANPA): Board of Directors
Arizona Wildlife Federation -- Becoming an Outdoors Woman (AZ Chapter): Volunteer instructor
Art Awakenings (Tempe, AZ)": Volunteer
Down Syndrome Network of Arizona: Volunteer photographer
Liberty Wildlife: Volunteer instructor