We are taking a break from bellies and babies for a moment and are admiring the lovely nature work of the Nature Whisperer…er…Snow White…er…Carrie Ann Grippo! Read on to learn her interesting background and how she came to shoot and love nature photography.
My name is Carrie Ann Grippo-Pike, and I have been a professional photographer for over 20 years, working as a full-time staff Newspaper Photojournalist (for 14 years), and as owner of Captured By Carrie Photography since 1996, both in Rochester, NY. I currently reside in Rochester, NY with my husband Gary!
I specialize in on-location photo sessions for maternity, newborn, babies and toddlers; child, family and pet portraits, as well as engagement sessions and wedding photography. I also offer high school senior photos, covering sports-related activities, and modeling, product, business and special event and request photography, serving Western, NY. I use natural light or portable studio lighting, as well as backdrops and props.
My TRUE passion, however, lies in the areas of nature, landscape and wildlife/animal photography which I sell to customers on canvas, framed/matted, as greeting cards or cell phone case covers, etc. Over the last few years, I have been given the nickname of the “Animal Whisperer” and “Snow White” by my Facebook fan page followers, friends and family… not only do I resemble her features-wise, but I am just drawn to the critters and them to me, which makes taking their photo very easy!! I have always been that way with animals! It seems that all the animals that pass by me or wander into my path (or even into my overgrown apple orchard/woodsy backyard), just stay put for a photo! 🙂 Maybe they can sense how much I love animals (even snakes!)! I am very patient and know them well enough (their “routines” and patterns) to understand their behavior and what they will do next, so I am ready to capture that moment. I am lucky to live in an area with many parks, woods, wildlife preserves and Zoos, housing a variety of species. I am also really good at “stealth mode” and sneaking up on them, haha, and I often use my 200mm f/2.8 lens (or sometimes a borrowed 300mm f/2.8 lens) to capture those scenes without disrupting them. I also know my camera inside and out so I can quickly adjust for the sudden movements and changes of animals. Sometimes, a little birdseed or shelled peanuts or bread work for the critters to come closer, but honestly, even without food, I have had animals climb on my shoes or try to sit in my lap when I am taking their photo (hence, they are then too close, haha). A few years ago, I went into a Wolf encounter on my honeymoon, where my husband and I were allowed into the exhibit with three wild Wolves, provided they liked/accepted us. Well, they did… too much! I could not get away from them! I had Wolf hair all over my clothes and nose prints on my camera lens! I had to try and run away from them to capture them with my long lens 🙂 The Wildlife Preserve/Wolf handler said he never saw them be that friendly, ever. There is just a “bond” I have with all wildlife. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to work for National Geographic shooting wildlife, animals, nature and landscape shots! Ah, someday I will travel the USA and photograph in every state or, I would love to visit Australia, Ireland and Alaska for some photo adventures!!
What motivates me to be a photographer is that I realize it is an amazing medium where I can take a breathtaking moment that others might not have been able to see, or, to make an ordinary moment be seen in an entirely new way. I can freeze time forever, and make lasting, visual memories with an image. I can evoke emotion or move someone to do something, educate and inform, all with the click of a button.
In High School, after photographing an autumn leaf and seeing the results when the photos came back from the Lab, was when I knew what I wanted to do with my life and career. I majored in Photography at College, and the minute I graduated was hired at the Newspaper, where I gained so much knowledge, skill, practice and experience as well as numerous contacts and connections, which all helped me with my photo business. My Newspaper photo editor John had once photographed covers and inside stories for Sports Illustrated! So I had an amazing teacher and mentor. Even today in the Facebook world there is so much inspiration from talented, skilled photographers who motivate and teach me something new every day!
One of my favorite quotes is:”We often hear how our images touch peoples’ lives, but very few understand how their lives touch us.” And that is my favorite part of having an artistic heart – I am constantly “touched” and moved” by nature/animals, my clients and photo subjects, and everything that I see around me and document with my camera… and I hope to “touch” and “move” others through my images. I believe that pictures truly tell the story and get to the very “heart” of feelings and emotion. I feel as an artist I am sensitive and soulful in all I do and see!
“What is in your camera bag” is my most asked question (especially for shooting nature/wildlife), and here is the answer! My stash includes:
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR Camera Body
Canon EOS 60D Digital SLR Camera Body
Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Lens (my FAVE go-to lens… always on!!)
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens
Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash
Canon Speedlight 580EX II Flash
Carrie Ann as Snow White
Photographer: Renee Hall Photography