An Interview with wildlife photographer, Craig Weakley.
- Why do I shoot mostly wildlife? Three main reasons: 1) spirituality – I experience God most closely while photographing His creation; 2) awe – the biological & ecological complexity of wildlife & wildlife habitat is fascinating; & 3) challenge – photographing wildlife (in the wild) is challenging.
- First wildlife photo. I don’t remember. Probably a grey squirrel at my grandparents’ cabin in the Santa Cruz (CA) mountains when I was in high school.
- Favorite Subject. Southern Resident Orcas.
- Favorite Location. Global – Galapagos Islands, Ecuador; Local – anywhere near or on the Salish Sea.
- Most dangerous shot. Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park during the fall elk rut. Encountered a bull elk on a hike and approached it to get a photo – he ran right at me bugling loudly… fortunately he stopped short and, after squeezing off a few shots, I slowly left the scene….
- Luckiest photo. Great Horned Owl at Sunset in Anacortes Community Forest Lands. The owl flew down & perched on a low tree branch in beautiful sunset light about 20 feet away from our backyard deck. Grabbed my gear, hastily set up, and was able to get numerous portrait shots in gorgeous light. Amazing (owl is nocturnal).
- Most Memorable. Photographing grizzly bears catching salmon in the Brooks River at Katmai Nat’l Park, Alaska.
- Technique Tip. Species Behavior Knowledge + Appropriate Camera Gear + Patience = best opportunity for capturing a great photo.
- Equipment Tip. Use a Better Beamer (fill flash extender) for bird photography to add detail & a “catch light” in the eyes.
I stand in awe of nature’s beauty. Nature, God’s creation, has been an inspiration to me since I was a child – my grandma, Nana, loved wildlife, flowers, and forests and taught me to appreciate nature very early in life. As an adult, I experience God most closely when surrounded by the amazing beauty and biological complexity of His creation.
My appreciation of nature led me down two paths: a technical career in the organic foods industry and, in retirement, a creative nature photography business.
I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Toxicology and a Master of Science degree in Plant Protection & Pest Management – both from U.C. Davis. This academic training in agriculture, environmental science, & ecology lead me to the organic foods industry. For more than 20 years, I had the pleasure of working directly with organic farmers and playing a key role in building two of the most successful organic brands in the food industry: Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes & Cascadian Farm.
My love of nature also led me to photography. For more than 25 years, my passion for photographing wildlife & wild places has allowed me to intimately experience nature’s beauty, to deepen my faith, and to share both beauty and spirituality through my photographs. My goal is to use stunning photographs to connect people with nature’s beauty and to inspire them to take actions to protect wildlife and wild places.
I live in Anacortes, WA with my wife, Claudia, our two golden retrievers, Monroe & Hartney, and our little black cat, Alice. I have had the joy of photographing the amazing wildlife and the beautiful landscapes of the Salish Sea since 1995. I gain the most pleasure behind my camera when photographing our Southern Resident Orcas. I also enjoy capturing images of our local marine birds, waterfowl, raptors, and island sunsets.
My photographs have been published in Nature Photographer magazine, the book, The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest, and The Whale Museum’s 2010/2011 Calendar. My photographs are licensed through the stock photo agency, TandemStock.com.