Isobel Wayrick's wildlife portraits will be on display at the Morris County Library throughout January. Part of the Library's Featured Artist Series, 65 of Isobel's portraits are showcased at this exhibit. Proceeds from the sale of her work will be donated to the Library. Morris County Library, 30 East Hanover Avenue, Whippany, NJ
I'd had the opportunity of photographing someone's pet Red Eyed Tree Frog a few years ago and had been pleasantly surprised with the popularity and response to these colorful photographs. Then about six months ago, a friend e-mailed me about an upcoming workshop for Exotic Frogs and Reptiles in St. Louis, Missouri—he cautioned me that it was important to make contact immediately since this workshop was always a sellout when offered. I was very pleased when my registration was accepted, so in early November, I found myself in the company of twelve other photography enthusiasts with the two professional leaders who had arranged all this for us—Adam and Jim. I'd prepared a bit in advance since this type of indoor close-up macro photography with flash was not my normal mode—usually I'm behind a huge telephoto lens somewhere in the wild. And I must admit, besides being a bit apprehensive about my technical abilities for the task at hand, I was also very curious about the logistics of our endeavor. How does one get close to these exotic, and in some cases, potentially poisonous creatures?
Well, it turned out to be quite simple--Adam and Jim made short work of making us comfortable with the technicalities of photographing these subjects, and the frog and reptile logistics were rather simple, too. In the motel conference room, tables were lined up waiting for the arrival of The Frog Handler (aka The Frangler, Patrick) and his accomplice, The Reptile Guy (aka Ross). They arrived with plants and foliage, and even a huge slab of interesting stone and proceeded to set-up the frogs and reptiles in positions for us to photograph. That's what we did for two straight days for six hours a day—and it was great!
Intermittently there was a bit of excitement when one of the colorful little guys decided he (or she, who knows) wanted to be somewhere other than on its designated plant so it did what frogs do naturally, took a flying leap down on to the table, or floor, or someone's shoe, or camera lens. The announcement was duly made—"Frog Down"—so the Frangler could find the missing frog and return him to his proper place...not so easy to do, I might add, when the frog is about one inch long and has landed on a paisley colored motel carpet. When the snakes, geckos, tarantulas, scorpions, or alligator made slower escaping moves, their handler gently urged them back into a safe position—safer for the critters or us???
I had a great time with my fellow participants at the workshop, and I hope some colorful photographs will soon grace the Pediatric Wing at my local hospital. These subjects can bring a smile to anyone's face, but I'd especially like to bring a smile or two to a sick child...that would make my weekend activities even more rewarding.