“By investing the time in nature, one gets a feeling of what God intended life to be.”
Serene, free, natural and beautiful — at least that’s the perception people might get of life when looking at Bob Salyers’ photography or perhaps by reading his quote above.
For Salyers, seeing a world filled with animals is better than television.
“I just enjoy watching it,” Salyers said of wildlife. “A lot of times when I can’t get the shot, I just watch what they’re doing.”
The public will get to see nature through Salyers’ eyes during the South Florida Museum’s latest exhibition “Eagles, Owls, Ospreys & More: Selected Works by Bob Salyers.” The exhibition opens Saturday and will continue through Feb. 6.
His work is a collection that gives viewers an inside look into the rituals and habitats of animals.
An avid outdoorsman who enjoys fishing and hunting, Salyers isn’t sure what came first — his admiration for nature or his love for photography. Either way, he’s found a way to combine both into a successful 15-year hobby and job.
The photographer, who has lived in Bradenton since 1986, is inspired by the work of nature photographers such as Ansel Adams and Clyde Butcher. His exhibit will showcase much of what Florida is famous for — birds. He’s photographed many right here in Manatee County, spotting some near the bridge on State Road 64 that spans the Braden River.
“There’s a couple little islands out there,” said Salyers, who works at a corporate landscaping office in Oneco. “In January/February, there’s just tons of birds. Pelicans, egrets and stuff like that.”
Several large bird photos fill his office walls, including one of an egret whose plumage is outstretched.
“He’s dancing for a mate,” he said of the bird.
Salyers has photographed more than winged creatures, though. He’s snapped bears, bison, deer and more at Yellowstone National Park — a wildlife photographer’s dream.
“It’s one of the best viewing sites for animals and you never know what you are going to see,” he said. “We watched a grizzly hunt for a elf calf until our fingers were frozen in June.”
His wildlife hobby has also taken him to the Grand Canyon, the Smoky Mountains, Costa Rica and elsewhere. He continues to travel to the spots, often leading groups of photographers in the wildlife photography workshops he offers on his website at www.bobsalyers.net.
To coincide with the South Florida exhibition, Salyers will offer a two-part photo workshop beginning in October called “Florida Nature and Wildlife Photography 101 and 102.”
The workshops will teach composition and equipment requirements for wildlife photos. The workshops will also feature a day of outdoor photography with the best works exhibited at the museum in February.
Salyers hopes to take the class into hummingbird and red egret territory at Fort DeSoto to capture great wildlife photos.
January Holmes, can be reached at 745-7057.