Stefan Mazzola is a fine art landscape photographer specializing in Southeastern US fine art nature photography. Living in Florida, Stefan is surrounded by beautiful beaches, lakes and rivers and ideal weather, which he uses for inspiration to create his stunning images. Stefan constantly strives to capture spectacular light and mood within his images with unique compositions.
I am a family nurse practitioner who majored in fine arts. My passion is the visual arts. I am also a wildlife photographer and am working towards certification as a wildlife rehabilitator. I frequent Cape Cod and often follow the journey of the red fox along the shores. I am an amateur and look forward to learning more and perfecting my skill.
I have traveled around the world shooting with an emphasis on nature photography, especially birds, although I occasionally shoot landscapes and architecture. My love of photography has brought me to Antarctica and South Georgia four times, the Arctic, Galapagos (twice), Africa (five times), Europe, and many U.S. national parks. Every spring I travel to Florida for bird photography.
“It was ‘road lottery’ day at Denali National Park in Alaska. It’s a rare gift to get drawn, and if you do, you can drive your own vehicle into the park as far as you dare. This was Sept. 17, and we were already feeling the first bite of winter that far north. We were just past the Eielson Visitor Center when we came upon this massive sow grizzly bear. She was rooting around in the tundra for late berries. This is one of the finest bears I’ve seen in Alaska, with no marks on her fur and ready for winter.”
Canon EOS 7D, Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary. Exposure: 1/180 sec., ƒ/5.6, ISO 400.
“I drove around one day, all day last December in Pine County, Minnesota, looking for birds, hawks and owls, and saw nothing. On the way home, I noticed a hawk perched on the top of a tree near a farm. I stopped a good distance away so I wouldn’t scare the bird. I walked closer with my photo gear ready to shoot. I paused every few steps closer to get some shots before the hawk flew away. When I was about 50 feet from the hawk, I stopped—lens aimed and ready to shoot the moment the bird spread its wings. I noticed that my ISO was only 100 at ƒ/5.6, so I increased the aperture to 7.1, hoping to keep the full wingspan in focus. I had never seen a white morph rough-legged hawk before; initially I thought that it was a red-tailed hawk.”
Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM with 1.4x teleconverter. Exposure: 1/1000 sec., ƒ/7.1, ISO 250.
“While leading a photo safari at Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa, we found this leopard relaxing on a termite mound. The sun had just gone down, but we still caught the last warm color of sunset. Always hoping to maximize a great photo opp, after a few hundred quick shots, I suggested we try shooting from the opposite side of the termite mound. Now 180 degrees from the setting sun, this blue-hour opportunity and cool tree revealed itself. The leopard was lit with a spotlight held by the guide; a guide from another vehicle also had a light on him.”
Many famous photographers are known for iconic quotes: “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer,”—Ansel Adams; “Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow,”—Imogen Cunningham; “Every other artist begins with a blank canvas … the photographer begins with the finished product,”—Edward Steichen; “Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed,”—Garry Winogrand. But of all the famous quotes I’ve heard, nothing rings truer than what Minor White quipped: He was once asked, “What will you take today?” His response was, “What will I be given?”
How a photographer perceives the world is derived from a compilation of many things. What’s the photographer’s mood today? Is it below freezing and all he/she wants is heat? Did late-night star trail photography dictate no sunrise photos? Does the newness of the locale spark enthusiasm or fear of the unknown? Is it simply a down day? But given these downward factors, would amazing light and an iconic subject cancel out the above negatives? Would the thrill of a new camera inspire one to fill a flash card? Did attending a workshop motivate you to eat, drink and relish the thought of creating the next photo? The mind can govern what gets captured. When thoughts align and you’re on your game, you’ll come back with better photographs than if stress or distractions dominate your thought process.
Reason vs. end result—Is the potential capture of the great shot your prime motivation to get out in the field or do other factors drive you out of a warm bed? Could it be you simply want to get outdoors and the photography is an excuse to feel the sun on your back? Perhaps you arranged to meet some photo buddies and you look forward to a nice breakfast after the session—if you get some great shots, it’s a bonus. The point of the above rhetoric is for you to realize and understand WHY you grab your camera and head out to make pictures. What transpires after that plays into the images you bring home. The overarching principle is this: does the reason you head into the field satisfy the end result? If the driving force is to come home with spectacular images all the time, you may set yourself up for failure. Some sessions will always prove more productive than others—maybe many others. The bottom line is to enjoy your time in the field. It’s what we love to do. The end result may be zero pictures, but you got outdoors, cleared your head, and de-stressed. Not so bad after all! And that one time where you almost rolled over under the covers but decided to get out into the field may net you the million-dollar photo.
Award-winning wildlife and nature photographer traveling in my RV to capture the beauty of nature. Growing up in Massachusetts and now living in my 5th wheel, I’ve been drawn to wildlife photography and, in particular, birds. I sometimes get so enamored by nature that I actually miss capturing the photograph. That means I must visit a place several times. First to get the feel for the place and then to capture it. Nature brings me such joy and peace and I strive to convey that in my work.
Congratulations to Josef Bürgi for winning the recent Black-and-White Landscapes Assignment with his image, “Dead Vlei Namibia.”
“I took this picture on a four-week road trip through Namibia this year,” explains Bürgi. “I went early to Dead Fly that morning to be alone and take pictures. I had exactly this one in mind. Black-and-white, one tree in the foreground, no other people in the frame and some shadows. After two hours I got it. And I photographed nearly every tree in every perspective.”
I am a midwest girl who loves taking photographs and spending time outside hiking with my husband. I am fortunate to be able to spend a good amount of time on personal projects, traveling and collaborating with rad people. I reside in Bellevue, WA, and am a sucker for assignments where I have the opportunity to travel.
Photo of the Day is chosen from various OP galleries, including Assignments, Galleries and the OP Contests. Assignments have weekly winners that are featured on the OP website homepage, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To get your photos in the running, all you have to do is submit them.