Danielle was a nature lover from a very early age, eventually taking photographs with a small point and shoot camera. She literally had greatness thrust upon her when her boyfriend Art put a Nikon D90 into her Costco shopping cart and insisted she needed a real camera, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. She admits to being pretty clueless about all the controls and settings, so decided to come to the Simsbury Camera Club. “I joined to learn about my camera and to get educated about photography. I love the fact that the learning never ends. There is so much to learn and I actively participate in workshops, NECCC, and other training sessions because there is so much inspiration to glean and there are so many technical things to learn. I enjoy the challenge.”
At the first meeting she attended, in perhaps 2011, she met Judy Rabinowitz, who in her role as greeter made Danielle feel very welcome. Then she met Bruce Metzger, who ended up being her mentor. “I was so novice I really did not know what made a good photograph, and Bruce helped me better understand composition. He was very kind and was never judgmental, just a great teacher and very patient.”
At the end of year banquet that first June, her Peony won an Honorable Mention, which was a thrill. That July she attended her first NECCC conference and entered one photo in the digital competition, a preening bird. “It ended up getting the Best of Show Award, so that was sort of crazy!” Her distinctive and elegant photographs have continued to win awards, trophies, and accolades over the years since then.
Danielle says that through the Club she’s made many friends, with some of whom she’s traveled to a variety of wonderful places primarily to photograph wildlife. “My camera became an excuse to be in nature and be close to animals. While observing wildlife, I began to see so much depth and beauty in the animals that I photographed and I became an observer of their behavior and emotional interactions with each other, and their acceptance and trust of me as I photographed them.”
Whenever she’d photograph in nature she never knew what she would see, what she would photograph, or what type of experience she would have, and found that to be very exhilarating. She then began to decide what she would like to observe and then plan travel specifically to photograph the species she was interested in.
Over the years Danielle has been to Alaska to photograph Coastal Brown Bears and Kodiak bears, to Maine for moose, to Canada for puffins, to Florida for herons, osprey, and egrets, to Hawaii for birds, and to many national parks for wolves, bison, elk, and moose. “Every trip I took was a memorable adventure with every day being confronted with the unexpected and being in contact with the wildlife that I love. Today I’m doing less travel but have designed my backyard as a wildlife refuge and am thrilled when I see fox, black bears, cubs, raccoons, bobcats, coyotes and birds.”
Danielle spent her professional life in IT. She describes it as an all-encompassing job and says she has very much enjoyed that her retirement has given her the time she wanted to travel and photograph. “With the evolving camera technology and the sophistication of post processing tools, I think the quality of photography has improved tremendously. For example, the ubiquitousness of telephoto lenses with more reach has made it easier to photograph wildlife. The fact you can shoot at higher ISO’s and eliminate noise in post processing really helps get quality wildlife images in challenging environmental situations.”
“The camera that Art put in my cart at Costco that I didn’t think I wanted ended up leading me to a very rewarding passion because of the Camera Club. The experiences I’ve had have been so rewarding, and the friends I’ve made have enhanced my life and are truly valued.”
Danielle had supported the Club through the years in many roles. She was
Secretary, Outside Speaker Coordinator, Vice President, President, Banquet Coordinator, Judge, and Outside Competition Judge. She has also volunteered at the Christmas Family Photo Shoot.
“Today my focus is on using my photography to help organizations that promote land conservation, the protection of habitat for wildlife, and the importance of planting native plants and gardening in a responsible way that protects and encourages pollinators and enhances habitat for wildlife.”