TREENA MIELKE/Rimbey Review
Rob Stratton likes to shoot wildlife.
And he makes no bones about it.
But Stratton, a directional driller from the Rimbey area, does not carry a gun in his pick up truck and once he finishes his shot, his prey is free to amble off or fly away into the wild from whence they came.
Stratton is a wildlife photographer and his pictures reflect his love of all wildlife, be it large or small.
He takes great delight in a photo of a squirrel where such attention is paid to detail that a tiny snowflake is evident on his tail.
He also loves his most recent photo of snipe (water bird) sitting on a fence post.
“My daughters and I were taking picture by the slough of muskrats a couple of weeks ago. I was so focused on the muskrats that I almost missed it. As it turned out it was the best technical picture I have ever taken. The light is just right and he (the bird) is sitting with his head held high so that light (coming from behind) highlights it. It turned out very well.”
A close up of a fox is another amazing shot Stratton managed to get while driving west of Rimbey.
“He was walking in the ditch,” he said. “I stopped, but I didn’t shut the truck off. I just whistled at him and he looked at me and I got the shot from across the road while sitting in my truck.”
Shooting wildlife has become a passion for Stratton in the last few years. However, he started out his hobby quite accidentally by taking a picture with a point and shoot camera of a section of railway tracks when he was hiking between Hinton and Edson.
“I was quite intrigued because the bolts were loose on the track,” he said.
“Anyway, it turned out to be quite a good picture and I became fascinated with learning about the things that all work together to make a good photograph.
Since that first accidental shot, Stratton has followed his passion of photography fairly seriously. As well as wildlife photos, he has taken many pictures of his daughters, 14-year-old Mackenzie and 11-year-old Sydney, on their horses. He has also managed to capture an array of interesting and unique scenery shots and also shot drilling rigs with amazing backgrounds.
“My camera is ready to go all the time,” he said.
For Stratton photography brings with it its own special joy and satisfaction.
“It’s an escape for sure,” he said. “When you’re driving along looking for a photo op you don’t really worry about anything else.”
Keeping his eyes peeled for birds or wildlife means slowing down and observing sights and sounds that might otherwise be missed.
“To get the shot you want you have to slow down, you have to get yourself on bird time,” Stratton said with a smile.
The local photographer plans to create a bird calendar for the last half of 2011 with each page to have a photo of a different type of bird.
Money raised through the sale of the calendar will go to the Medicine River Wildlife Centre and Youth for Christ in Rimbey.
Stratton encourages anyone who knows of a good viewing area for eagles, owls and hawks or other birds in the area to contact him.
“Local knowledge is very valuable,” he said.
Stratton also is considering creating a wildlife calendar for 2012.
To contact Stratton call 403-348-6314 or check out his website at www.r-bacphotography.com