Niwot resident Anita Wooldridge has been making the most of her retirement by devoting her time to photography. She specializes in nature and wildlife, capturing the natural beauty of the Rockies, Yellowstone National Park, and the Grand Teton National Park in her work. Her photography captures a feeling of quiet serenity, and offers a calm interlude to a busy life.
Wooldridge said she first got started with ocean photography while diving, about 20 years ago. "...(B)ringing a camera underwater made me look at things in a different way," she said. "I slowed down and really looked. Photography taught me patience!" After her retirement, she traded underwater landscapes for the wilderness of the Front Range and the mountains.
Wooldridge said jokingly that she will photograph anything but people. Her photos feature ranges of mountains, lakes mirroring the forest, and various wildlife. She has captured many animals in their element, from moose and bison, to wolves and black bears.
Wooldridge's favorite shot is a large bull moose in front of the sweeping landscape of the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. "That was an image that I had 'visualized' and finally it happened," she said. Though the shot seems a product of luck, she emphasized how much time and patience it took to be in the right place at the right time.
"People always say how 'lucky' I was to capture a moment," she commented. "Luck is only a small part of it. Being persistent, going out when sometimes you don't want to go, putting in the time to find that moment."
Her work certainly demonstrates the amount of patience required for effective wildlife photography. A wolf bending its head to drink from a river, a coyote catching its tail, and two moose "smooching" are examples of some of the incredible shots she has taken.
For Wooldridge, photography is about telling a story. "Landscapes, for me, can invoke memories of past visits," she said. She likes to capture unique animals doing unique things, which often sparks conversation about how she managed to get her phenomenal pictures of the moment.
Wooldridge mentioned that the most important part of photography and capturing her "lucky" shots is to make opportunities to photograph often. She said persistence is key in getting the best shot. Her best advice to amateur photographers is to go out as much as possible, in order to increase the chance that you might capture the unbelievable.