"The Chase" by Lynne Edwards

Entertainment

Photographer Lynne Edwards is picture perfect

By From page B1 | October 11, 2017

Wildlife photographer Lynne Edwards is this year’s winner of the 10th annual Julie Cameron Award for Women Photographers, an international competition dedicated to photographer Julie Margaret Cameron, who lived in the 1800s. Edwards won the Wildlife Category with her photograph of a cheetah, called “The Chase.” It, along with other category winners, will be displayed in Barcelona, Spain, at ValidFoto Gallery until Oct. 14.

A former telecommunications professional for 22 years and quality management and strategic planning professor at UC Berkeley, the El Dorado Hills resident found her passion for photography later in life.

“We left the Bay Area in 2000 and moved to Sea Ranch,” she recalled. “During this time, my husband Jim and I took our first trip to Churchill, Canada, to photograph polar bears.”

While Lynne rode in vehicles that rolled on snow and ice, sat right up close to the polar bears, surrounded by great photographers with commercial gear, she realized, “I want to do this.”

In 2001 Lynne and Jim took their first trip to Africa (Kenya and Tanzania), as well as ventured down to Cape Town, South Africa.

“It just really opened up my world to what animals really go through in their own environments,” the animal lover explained. “It took me to a place that I had never experienced before. Just to see lions and elephants close-up and in their elements, and you are in your vehicle and they are not fearful of you. There is just nothing like it.”

Lynne is not only passionate about her subjects, but also possesses traits that are unique and inspire her work — creativity, patience and compassion.

“I always had an interest in being creative and was told I had a creative eye, even in my consulting business, creating my own classes,” she said.

When Edwards moved to Sea Ranch and began entering photo and art shows, people would tell her how good her shots of the ocean, deer, foxes and birds were; winning various awards encouraged her she was on the right path.

“When you shoot animals in the wild you have to be patient. Other photographers get this and are willing to wait hours for a shot,” she said, pointing to a shot of a leopard. “She was up in a tree and had a kill and two cubs on the ground. One was too small to get up and three-and-a-half hours later she came down to check on her cubs. That’s what it’s all about.”

Lynne has been recognized for her ability to connect with her subjects in compassionate and unique ways.

“I think if you have the right attitude toward a human or an animal and you feel positive about it, they know they’re going to be OK. And if they are OK then you are going to see things you would not normally see,” she explained. “The connections people have with animals are real and I have always had it, even with my own dogs.”

Selecting a favorite subject, Lynne said it would be the elephant, mainly because of what she knows about their family life, their connections and emotions. “What I like to do is focus on the eye and then expand the surface from there,” she said. “Elephants just have this amazing way of letting you know that they are really intelligent and caring animals.” 

Another favorite of Edwards are the big cats, which prompted Lynne and her husband’s recent trip to South Africa, where the population of the leopards is “unbelievable,” she said.

One of the biggest challenges Lynne said she faces as a wildlife photographer is not being able to get the shot that she dreamed she was going to get. “We went to India to shoot the Benagl tiger and in a week I literally got only 15 minutes of shooting time,” she lamented.

Because the tigers are endangered there, she had to shoot at a reserve holding only about 60 tigers. “When you combine the low numbers with the density of the forest, it was very frustrating. The one shot I got is called ‘Camouflage’ and you can only see the head of the tiger in the bushes.”

Edwards expressed her passion for the welfare and future of these endangered animals and said she thinks governments could do more to help educate people and to protect the animals.

Since 2000 Lynne has been on wildlife photo shoots to all seven continents. She has shot penguins and marine life in the Antartic, snow monkeys in Japan, polar bears in Svalbard (Artic), various wildlife in Alaska and she has made the journey to Africa five times, so far. She has received many awards for both her photography as well as her art — a process called Watercolor Batiks on rice paper, where she paints her photographs onto the paper.

She still has a few places to visit on her bucket list, including Mongolia. “They have these humongous golden eagles that are revered as almost spiritual beings,” she said. Another place at the top of Lynne’s list is Borneo, Malaysia, because “There is nothing quite like orangutans.”

Learn more about Lynne Edwards’ photography at reflectionsbylynne.com.

Caroline Taylor

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