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Michael & Teresa McGill have been enjoying wildlife photography and videography for over twelve years now. Michael is the videographer and Teresa the photographer.They have learned many, many lessons throughout those years. Sometimes it just takes trial and error to really know what it the best way to approach your subject. The McGills have learned that one must study the behavior of their subject-where it lives, where and when it feeds and where and when it has its young. These are all important factors to help you locate your subject. Patience, timing and luck are also major factors in your success! Getting the perfect shot though is entirely up to you.
That is why the McGills have made Seney National Wildlife Refuge their home away from home. It is wonderful to have access to this amazing sanctuary. With minimal traffic and no floatation devices allowed on the water, SNWR is a haven for wildlife and wildlife photography!
The McGills traverse the Refuge monitoring where the wildlife is located. They also monitor when certain species are breeding and nesting. This allows them to know when to anticipate the arrival of the offspring of that species. Teresa journals all of their findings and post them on their website www.mcgillsnatureinmotion.com. By returning to the same area at different times of the day and seasons, you learn when what is where!
Here are a few of the McGills valued thoughts on how to approach wildlife. First dress appropriate camouflage or various shades of khaki and army green helps you blend into your surroundings. Also wear long trousers and boots you never know what you may be walking into. Also the bugs are not as attracted to camouflaged clothing as they are to bare skin!
Next stay as low to the ground and the subject as possible. Wildlife can feel intimidated by the stature of its attacker. Try to limit eye contact-if your subject doesn't think you are watching it, it won't feel as nervous.
Very important is to be quiet!!! The less noise and commotion you cause the better! No quick movements or erratic behavior!
Study your subject-the McGills had been monitoring a pair of common loons on G Pool at SNWR. They knew when the loons had started to build their nest and when they starting sitting on their nest. Knowing that loons incubate their eggs from 28-32 days, the McGills were very lucky to be there the morning at G Pool hatched their first egg! They had woken to mediocre weather but Teresa felt that this would be the day. So they headed into the Refuge to sit and wait. The clouds started to clear as the sun rose. The female was on the nest when the McGills arrived. They waited and watched. The male loon came to check on her. An eagle flew over and the male went into the yodel call warning enemies beware. The female started to fidget. She was getting more and more hyper acting. After the male warded off a snapping turtle in the area he came over to the nest. The female slipped off the nest to reveal their first chick!! The parents started in with the laughing call. It was like they were announcing to the world the arrival of their first baby!! It was so awe inspiring!! It is a moment the McGills will never forget! They continued to monitor the nest for over eleven hours that day. They were rewarded with the sight of the chick in the water for the first time, riding its momma's back and the birth of the second chick. All this was possible because they knew how to be invisible! They also believe that wildlife connects with us all on a certain level. Those loons knew the McGills and knew there was no threat from them. Believe it or not, something very special happened that day, for whatever reason.
The McGills are also very privileged to have a 12 foot high blind on the tracks of the Toonerville Trolley where the Tahquamenon Falls Riverboat Tour and Toonerville Trolley Wilderness Train Ride have been in business for over 85 years. Along the tracks are three feeding stations where they are allowed to put out treats for the black bears that call this place home. Throughout the years some momma bears have returned year after year to the area to have their cubs and raise them along the tracks.
The Stewarts, who own the business, have graciously allowed the McGills use of their property and equipment in order to study and film the black bears in the wilderness of the Upper Peninsula. With the use of the blind they are able to monitor the bears without the bears knowledge of their presence. Black bears have very poor eyesight but great hearing and sense of smell!
So the McGills continue to share their love of wildlife with those who appreciate it. Their goal is to educate and inform the future generations of the amazing natural world around them.
Photos are NOT digitally enhanced or altered. Only artistic cropping or minor adjustments to exposure etc. Teresa likes here photos to portray what she is actually seeing as she is photographing the wildlife. All wildlife photographed lives in the wilds;none are captive.