I have been an outdoors person all my life and my fondest memories of my youth involve nature. I was five years old when my family emigrated from Germany to Canada. To be more specific to Fort William Ontario and later the name was changed to Thunder Bay. For those who have never visited Northwestern Ontario let me just say this is truly a wilderness area unlike any other on Earth and I could not think of a better place where I would have enjoyed my childhood more. It was here where I remember an evening in a trapper’s cabin and hearing my first Wolf howl at the age of 6. I also remember being frozen in my steps as a Black Bear approached my brother and I only to turn off the path and disappear into the forest. I remember countless days fishing, hunting and yes even trapping with my stepfather and as the years passed I continued on with these activities by myself and with friends whenever possible.
As time went on some of the friends changed but my love for nature never faded and only grew. It wasn’t long after though that I stopped hunting but did continue to fish and I still enjoy getting out fishing to this day. In many instances these days however my fishing rod has been replaced by my cameras when heading out into the wild.
Photography is a relatively late addition to my life but it has brought my love for nature and its wildlife to a whole new level. I was totally amazed after one of my first photography outings to get home and look at the pictures I had taken that day only to realise I had photographed 13 different species of Ducks that day. I had always realised there were multiple species that I encountered every day but if one were to have asked me how many I would have replied 3 or 4 at most. Photography has opened my eyes to the natural world in a way I never could have realised.
These days much of my life is consumed by my hobby. Yes I consider my photography to be a hobby... I do not consider myself to be a professional and that is how I would like it to remain. Right now it truly is a passion of mine and I never want to lose that passion. Going professional in my mind means deadlines and pressure and I choose not to have either of those in my life when it comes to what I love.
I classify my photography style as "raw" as I like to keep images as natural as possible with as little post processing as possible. When the opportunity arises I also love to incorporate some of the natural surroundings in my shots as well. Placing my subject within a setting by including a part of its natural environ helps showcase the subject in my opinion and is my preferred style. Closeups of course will always have their place in my work.
The above picture was taken in Inuvik, Northwest Territories and shows me with a sled dog puppy.
© Reflections On Canadian Wildlife: The Natural History Photography of Mike Kiss