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Interview with Cheryl Plautz

Please introduce yourself, where are you based and where do you photograph wildlife?

Hello my name is Cheryl Plautz, I'm from Medford, WI USA.

How did you get started in wildlife photography?

I'm a professional artist and have always taken photos as reference for paintings. About a year and a half ago I upgraded my equipment from a simple point and shoot camera to the canon R5. That's when everything changed and I found photography to be an art in itself.

Can you share a particularly memorable experience or encounter you've had while photographing wildlife?

There have been many memorable encounters. I've had deer approach within 15 feet of me, at times with a fawn. They watch me for a moment and sometimes a head nod. From what I read it's a mutual respect. They will then go back to what they were doing. This winter a chickadee was close by me chirping and bobbing around. It almost appeared like it was trying to get my attention. I started photographing and followed it into a wooded area. The chickadee suddenly landed by me on a branch of a fallen tree about 3 feet off the ground. I was photographing as I watched it look at me, then look up and fly up on branch above it to get a small peanut cache from a curled-up birch leaf on that branch. It held up the peanut briefly and then flew off. I felt it was showing me where it had stored this peanut until that moment.

Where is your favorite place to photograph wildlife and why?

When I have the time there are nature reserves with a lot of wildlife. On a daily basis hiking around my property and nearby areas are my favorite sites. I'm familiar with where certain birds are found and when they are most active. After a while there is a certain familiarity with my presence with some of the birds and other wildlife. They are more accepting and don't feel threatened when I approach.

In what ways has your approach to capturing wildlife changed as you've developed your unique artistic vision?

My approach to photographing wildlife is similar to my paintings. It starts with an idea. I may see repeated patterns of behavior and that may inspire me to get a particular type of shot. Other times I just look for opportunities to capture something different. Nothing is too ordinary to photograph. One has to try and photograph it in a different way.

How do you enrich your passion of wildlife photography?

Just by getting out and photographing what one loves to do keeps one connected with nature and wildlife. Observing and listening will bring a better understanding of the wildlife which will help in capturing them in photographs.

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