Almost seven years ago exactly, I launched a new series on AdoramaTV called The reDefine Show. I interviewed creatives who not only loved what they did but were at the top of their game. I met photographers, cinematographers, comedians, actors, sports anchors — really anyone who figured out how to make a living doing work they loved. I was lucky enough to speak with extraordinarily talented individuals who shared a great deal about what had made them successful, what they had done right early on, and what they’d learned from their failures.
Over time, I filmed a number of tutorials and behind-the-scenes walkthroughs for the show. I asked other photographers to share theirs, too. If you have a chance, then check out the show, there’s a ton of valuable content there to explore.
Animals take reDefine Show in a new direction
Although I love shooting that iteration of The reDefine Show, I am quite excited to take things in a new direction.
At the beginning of 2018, I dreamed of stepping into a variety of situations to photograph animals, insects and all kinds of furry and winged creatures. I hoped to get access to shooting scenarios that would allow me to learn more about the subjects I’d be photographing, while I shared what shooting decisions I was making and why. I also wanted to take some fantastic shots. We were fortunate enough to do just that.
We’ve spent nearly this whole year to date filming a new season of episodes for The reDefine Show: Animal Edition! And we just released our first episode.
The photography show includes quite a variety of subjects — from photographing leaping lemurs to showering dart frogs to rescued pigs to smiling underwater axolotls to affectionate alpacas to flitting butterflies to the mighty boa and more more more. Each episode is focused on how to photograph these unique animals, given the situations we are in at the time.
Some experiences were just dream scenarios for animal lovers, like tracking wild horses on the beach or being fully surrounded by affectionate bobblehead alpacas. Other times, I was able to live vicariously, like the day-in-the-life shoot of pet pigs in their home with their family, which includes an entire floor custom made for them — something my husband is still not interested in doing in our home.
I also discovered some pretty fascinating things about every animal, like how boa constrictors glisten as they flex and that crested geckos wash their eyes with their tongues. I found out that butterfly wings look like intricate paintings with dozens of colors when a small section of wing fills the entire frame. And I was shocked to see lemurs go into a trance-like state while soaking up the sun, arms outstretched, chests out and eyes rolled back in their heads.
I learned that spending time with that which you fear can change everything.
That is why our very first episode was all about photographing bees. I started with this one because it was the one show I was the most nervous (okay, terrified) to shoot. Some people are all “one with the bees.” I have always been, well, the exact opposite of that. I feel the hairs on the back of my neck rise up anytime I see a bee buzz nearby. So to put on a beekeeper’s suit and walk into the same space as 70,000 bees? Well, it was a full-on personal challenge.
And this is where photography comes into play. Every time I photograph something or someone, I am struck by how beautiful they are, in so many ways. It’s actually my job to look for that beauty, which is one of the coolest parts of the work I love to do.
I was still surprised I felt the same way during this shoot. These fuzzy little creatures are intricately beautiful and hard-working and expressive, looking directly at you with head tilts, butts out, wings splayed out, and more! My job was to photograph them while speaking to what I was doing and using a variety of means to do so.
And I got lost in it almost immediately. This was not just a wonderful shoot but it was also personally transformative for me.
Now, I’d love to invite you to check out our first episode, now live on AdoramaTV:
The reDefine Show – Animal Edition! airs every two weeks, on AdoramaTV.