Stillness And Flight | Nature's Winter Gifts in Photographs
Outside her window, photographer Allison Trentelman observes a world as small as the beating of a wild bird’s wings, and as large and grand as Nature herself. In the world she has created atop a mountain on the Maine coast, chipmunks and squirrels scamper across a woodland, sheep disappear beneath a cloud of snow, trees arch stark and lovely against a pale sky. In the stillness of winter she finds birds perched on the feeders that embrace her home, or soaring in midflight, and she keeps them there forever, as light and graceful as though suspended on the breath of a north wind.
When people discover her work, they rush to tell others via blogs and social media about this world they’ve discovered: “Is it just me? Or is there a subtle sense of bliss pervading everything she photographs?” … “One friend describes her nature prints as soft and feminine. To me they’re full of consciousness and light.” … ” I am mesmerized … She captures something that I can’t describe. Seeing these photos, I almost know what it’s like to fly.”
Allison Trentelman’s photographs create the sense of peering into a silent, secret place, and the way she accomplishes that connects her with the best naturalists, who know that entering that world is about time and patience, observing and feeling. It sounds simple and easy when she explains her work this way:
“I have feeders set up around the house that I’ve built for this purpose, that encourage them to land on a specific perch before feeding … To shoot the birds in flight is a game of patience and persistence. I set the focus and exposure near the perch, and I wait for a bird to fly through it. I click the shutter a fraction of a second before it gets to that spot. Many factors have to come together; light, gesture, timing, and luck all play a part. I’ve shot tens of thousands of photos trying to capture them in flight; it takes a lot of trial-and-error for those elements to come together into an interesting photograph.
“For my other shots, I spend time quietly blending with the trees near the feeders. The birds slowly gain a level of trust with me and my camera, and eventually I’m able to get fairly close to them. After many years of feeding them daily, I think some of them must know I’m the source of their food, because every year they seem more comfortable around me. At this point some of the chickadees, nuthatches, and titmice will land just inches away from me and eat while I’m filling the feeders.
“Some of these birds live 15 years or more, and I have a feeling that I have many repeat visitors from year to year. Every spring we watch them teach their babies about this food source, and another generation of visitors is born.
“The more I photograph birds, the more enamored of them I become. Watching their antics out the window is a constant source of amusement and beauty in my life.”
Allison’s process is filled with mystery and magic, not unlike the way in which the sight of wild birds in the cold Maine winter, caught by her camera, can fill us with warmth and light.
To see additional photos and to order prints, visit: rockytopstudio.com
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