Capturing Great Photos: “Critter Whisperer” Jeff Waldorff

This issue’s cover artist Jeff Waldorff in action. Discover more at www.WaldorffPhotography.com

Jeff Waldorff has won awards for his nature and wildlife photography. His photographs have been featured in many magazines, including Outdoor Photographer, Delta Sky, Canoe & Kayak, Coastlines, Club Side, Landscape Photography, Coastal Lifestyles, Portfolio, Venice, Po10tial, Pensacola Magazine and Emerald Coast Magazine. His photos can be found in various Sacred Heart medical facilities in northwest Florida.

 

In addition, he was one of the select local artists to have his art displayed in Destin’s luxurious Henderson Beach Resort and Spa.

 

Being a Florida native, Jeff has always enjoyed the outdoors. As a child he was fascinated by nature and the local wildlife. Often he could be found outside chasing bugs and lizards or with his nose buried in one of his countless wildlife and nature encyclopedias. This closeness with nature has been carried with him into his adulthood. Today, with his camera in tow, his old childhood passion is rekindled.

 

“Nature is an art all in itself,” he says. “I enjoy capturing the simplicity, beauty, elegance and perfection of nature. It enables people to see the things that they may not otherwise have the opportunity to see or would have merely walked by without notice.”

 

It is the challenge of capturing a great photo which keeps him motivated. “It is what drives me out into the cold before the sun rises with the hope of capturing a scene during light’s golden hour or to obliviously consume an hour while gradually stalking an animal, earning its trust, so that it may be approached close enough to clearly photograph its natural behavior.

 

“I think a great photo captures a moment that transcends the sum of its technical elements. It can convey a moment in time in such a way that puts the viewer in the presence of that very moment, much like a good book can take you to places you’ve never seen before. It has to make a connection with the viewer.”

 

As a former computer engineer, the camera just made sense to Jeff. He views the camera as a tool much like a musical instrument—by having to know every function of the camera and how they work together to achieve a final composition. Having a “nice” guitar or a “nice” camera can have little to do with the final outcome.

 

His wife Angelique has many stories to share about Jeff’s grand adventures. “You can’t go anywhere with him that he is not scouting an area and plotting out his next shot,” she says. “Sometimes he plans photos months in advance, calculating at what degree the sun will rise or set and then just waits on Mother Nature to deliver an incredible sky.”

 

When most wives would wonder where their husbands are off to at 3 AM, Angelique knows that there is a moon or lightning shot waiting to be captured and tells Jeff, “Just don’t wake me up when you leave.”

 

Laughing, she says that she can’t count the number of times she has seen Jeff come home covered in mud and pockets full of sand, soaking wet with a new critter in tow to photograph. “He has brought home snakes, spiders, frogs and every kind of bug. That is why I call him the ‘Critter Whisperer’! And I guarantee that every one of his pictures has an adventurous story behind it.”

 

Angelique manages Waldorff Photography while Jeff is off on his many photography excursions. Together they participate in several local fine art festivals displaying much of his artwork. It is the wondrous beauty of the northwest Florida coastline that has kept Jeff and his family local residents.

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