Meet ViewBug member Karie from Oregon, USA. Karie goes as KarieLeFebvre on ViewBug and is a passionate wildlife photographer. Learn about her photography and experience as an artist.

My primary style, which I love, is candid photography. I believe that is one of the reasons why I am so passionate about wildlife. Although that is my favorite style, I am open to learning other techniques such as astro-photography and sports photography.

When I am out in the field I find that it is easy to get lost in the moment, which I love. There are only a few things in life that I can let go of everything else and just enjoy being. Because of that I find it incredibly rejuvenating. Photography has also allowed me to meet other photographers and to continue to learn and grow at my own self governed pace.

When I was young, I would watch the images come alive in my dad’s dark room and found it real intriguing. In the 5th grade, my teacher, Mr. Roberts taught me how to make a pin hole camera from a tin folders can. I still have that first image that we retrieved in the playground the next morning. I always looked at everything with a potential to be a still image. When I was in kindergarten I had a photo on my wall of a bear salmon fishing at the top of falls. I dreamt of being able to see that with my own eye and I finally did in 2015 and left with some great images of my own.

One of my favorite shoots was photographing in South Africa. Seeing the wild life in their natural habitat and the anticipation of what we would see next was really exciting.

One of the most difficult shoots was wearing waders in the Brooks river, Katmai, Alaska and photographing the bears during a salmon run in Alaska. The bears are at eye level as you do this and makes your heart beat a little fast at times. Keeping the equipment dry was a challenge, especially being 5 feet tall. The bear guide wasn’t photographing, so he was able to watch the bears and let us know when to stop shooting and start moving. It is easy to lose track of your surroundings when you are mesmerized by the bear you're viewing through the lens and rooting for him to catch that Salmon!

I carry a GURA gear bag which will fit on an airplane and is wearable as a backpack. Inside you will find my 7d mark ii, 100-400mm, 70-200mm, and 17-40. I use a carbon fiber Really Right Stuff tripod with a Wimberly gimbal head.

One of my favorite local locations is Smith Rock State Park, Oregon. Nesting eagles, river otters and a variety of birds are abundant there. In addition to the wildlife, there is ample opportunity for some breathtaking landscape photos as the sun rises and sets. The rocks reflect in the river and they change color as the light changes. There are also rock climbers moving on the walls, which is a great opportunity to get some action shots. My biggest issue is that I am usually climbing when I am there and that cuts into my photography time. I am going to have to leave my rock shoes at home one weekend.

Along the way I have learned some great tips and a huge lesson. I have learned so much from workshops, seminars and on line classes (such as Creative Live). I learned how to shoot in manual mode on a workshop a few years ago and later learned the importance back button focus and shooting in RAW. These were all definitely part of my huge learning curve. With wildlife I have learned that once you can begin to anticipate their next move, your photos will improve. Have patience. I learned from Art Wolfe at one of his seminars that we shouldn't ever get bored with photography. We are surrounded by things to photograph everywhere. Photograph abstract, macro, landscape. Mix it up. This is reflected in his art and I am working on branching out. (I don’t have a lot of wildlife in my backyard.) My biggest lesson I have learned is to back up images on more than one external hard drive and have them at more than one location. I procrastinated on this loss is a huge regret.

My favorite photo is The Waltz, which was taken in Lake Clark, Alaska during a photography workshop in July 2015. We were accompanied by a knowledgeable bear guide and were taught to always have a respectful the distance between ourselves and the bears and to never block their path.

The bears feed on the grass in the morning and as the tide goes out they make their way to the water to peruse for clams. This particular afternoon, the mother bear was running and playing with her two cubs alongside the rising tide. As they played, the mother and one of the cubs stood on end and appeared to dance. I was using a 100-400mm lens, which enabled me to fit them into the full frame. My camera body used was the canon 7d Mark ii, which is ideal for wildlife and shoots at 11 frames per second. If I had a larger lens I would have missed the shot. Post processing was done in Light room. I increased the exposure a little bit and sharpened the image. The image is not cropped. This really was quite a beautiful moment watching the mom and cubs running and playing together, just as we do with our young ones. Photos are more than a still image.