Ashleigh Scully: Leading The Field

Cheetah and cub photo by Ashleigh Scully
Cheetah and cub photo by Ashleigh ScullyCheetah mom and cub, Ndutu, Tanzania, Africa. Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM with Canon Extender EF 1.4X III. Publicity: 1/60 sec., ƒ/5.6, ISO 640.

What makes a world-class nature photographer? What path may lead somebody to a profession making footage of wildlife all around the globe, for example? With Ashleigh Scully, a teenage photographer from New Jersey, we see a future grasp photographer within the making. By all appearances, she is the sort of one that inevitably turns her apparent expertise and in depth ardour for wildlife images right into a lifelong pursuit. In fact, she’s nonetheless received loads of time to determine it out.

You see, Scully is a highschool scholar—and never an imminently graduating senior, however a solidly in-the-thick-of-high-school 16-year-old junior. Positive, she acknowledges the dream of perhaps working for Nationwide Geographic sometime, however what photographer hasn’t thought-about as a lot? Sensible and devoted, she already acknowledges that regardless of how good you could be at 16, goals don’t come true with out direct motion. And so whereas her goals might contain reaching for the celebs, her objectives are extra simple. With a great head on her shoulders and ft planted firmly on the bottom, she appears all of the extra more likely to make her massive goals truly come true.

“I’m hoping to major in something like photojournalism in college,” Scully says. “Maybe do some internships or hopefully apply to go on a trip with somebody and be their assistant, or something like that. That’s really as far as I see it right now. I’d love to work for Nat Geo and go on trips and do stories for them, I think that would be incredible. Maybe far down the road, I’d love to open up a gallery. But I’m not 100 percent sure yet. I think I’ve kind of come to terms with that I can’t just set this huge goal without thinking of all the work I have to do to get there.”

American marten photo by Ashleigh ScullyAmerican marten, Jackson Gap, Wyoming. Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Canon EF 100-400mm f/four.5-5.6L IS II USM at 278mm. Publicity: 1/200 sec., ƒ/5, ISO 500.

Attaining objectives, regardless of how giant they could loom, appears pure for Scully. She’s already produced two books of images (proceeds from that are donated to conservation organizations), and she or he’s acquired quite a few awards from entities reminiscent of Yellowstone Perpetually, Audubon Journal and the Ellen DeGeneres GirlPower marketing campaign. In 2015, she was the 10-to-13-year-old-category winner of the Por el Planeta Worldwide Wildlife Nature and Conservation Images Competitors. In 2017, she gained the 11-to-14-year-old class of the Pure Historical past Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Yr awards and was named the Youth Wildlife Photographer of the Yr on the Nature’s Greatest Windland Smith Rice Worldwide Images Awards final fall. All of those accolades have introduced further alternatives for public talking, schooling and workshops—the sorts of issues most photographers tackle nicely into their skilled careers however which Scully handles after faculty with aplomb.

“I went and talked at the NANPA Nature Celebration event in Jackson Hole two weeks ago,” she says. “It was great. I gave a talk on the future for wildlife photography. I was a lot more comfortable during that one. My most terrifying one was probably when I gave a talk for Wyoming Untrapped [in 2016, when Scully was just 14 years old] with a friend of mine, Melissa Groo. We gave a talk together at the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts in front of like 500 people. And every time the door opened, Melissa stopped me from running out of it. I’m a lot more comfortable with it now, even though last year it was nobody I knew and this year it was pretty much everybody I knew. So I’m getting more and more comfortable as the opportunities come up.”

“One thing I’ve found I love to do recently,” Scully says, “is teaching kids. I hosted my first little workshop a few weeks ago. It was small, at a local raptor rehab center, so anybody could sign up, teenagers or adults, or even little kids. I kind of did a step-by-step through camera setting processes, like ƒ/stops, ISO, shutter speed, composition, stuff like that. And then we went outside, and they brought a few of the birds out for everyone to photograph, and I just gave some advice.”

Horned grebe photo by Ashleigh ScullyHorned grebe, British Columbia inside. Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM with Canon Extender EF 1.4X III. Publicity: 1/320 sec., ƒ/5.6, ISO 800.

Scully is clearly very considerate, which maybe comes from her eight years in images. Sure, having began on the tender age of eight, she already has almost a decade of expertise pursuing nature images and a portfolio any photographer would envy. As such, she possesses a deeper appreciation than most for images and learn how to impact significant change with a digital camera. It’s the wildlife that she’s notably keen about; images, you may say, is a way to an finish.

“For me,” she says, “first is certainly the love of nature and wildlife. We’re a reasonably adventurous and outdoorsy household, and so I spent a lot of my childhood outdoors with my brother and sister and our canine. Any time I’d see a hen or a fox or one thing like that all the time will get me tremendous excited—in all probability somewhat extra excited than a traditional baby would.

“I’m interested mainly in conservation photography,” Scully continues. “I’m making an attempt to focus my images extra on conservation, which I outline as utilizing a photograph of animals expressing emotion—whether or not it’s once they’re bonding with their household or being affected by one thing artifical. I’ve all the time had a ardour for capturing intimate moments of conduct for wildlife. Sort of the aspect of wildlife that folks don’t usually see. For example, certainly one of my principal focuses for the previous few years has been to make use of my bear photographs of sows and their cubs to sort of change the predatory view or aggressive view of them. To sort of present the softer aspect of them.

Brown bear cubs, photo by Ashleigh ScullyAlaskan brown bear yearling cub siblings, Lake Clark Nationwide Park, Alaska. Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM with Canon Extender EF 1.4X III. Publicity: 1/200 sec., ƒ/5.6, ISO 200.

“For me, that’s kind of what creates the most change,” she provides. “Making an impact. When somebody who has never connected with wildlife, who never has thought about trying to help or anything like that, they see this really motivational but kind of sad, in a way, image, it can really have an impact on them, and they can think, wow, this is going on, what can I do to help?”

Scully has picked up a few of her ardour for conservation from a choose group of pals and mentors that embrace acclaimed nature photographers Groo and Henry Holdsworth, in addition to Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier. They’ve all taken the time to assist information Scully in her pursuits—regardless of the place they could ultimately lead.

“I’ve known Cristina and Paul for a while,” she says. “They were part of a wildlife photography competition called Por el Planeta. I won the youth category, so I flew down to Mexico City and met them there. From there, I went and met them again at the gallery in Soho. I’ve had lunch with Cristina a few times when she comes to my town to give speeches at the theater, and with Paul. I don’t see them as often as I’d like to, because they’re always so busy, but, yeah, they are two people that I really look up to and consider friends. And Cristina’s given me so many great quotes to think about. One of them was to never turn down an opportunity to speak up for wildlife. That’s kind of inspired me to become a little more motivated to do public speaking. She’s definitely a big influence there. And when I was talking about the internships, that’s the kind of things that she does. So hopefully it’ll be a summer during college or after college I get to do something like that.”

Great gray owl photo by Ashleigh ScullyNice grey owl, Grand Teton Nationwide Park, Wyoming. Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM. Publicity: 1/2000 sec., ƒ/four, ISO 1000.

Scully and her household stay in New Jersey, and she or he is joyful to photograph the wildlife she encounters close to her house. However her household spends appreciable time in Wyoming as properly, the place her wildlife choices are a lot totally different than at house. She’s made a few of her favourite pictures there, such because the picture of the good grey owl in autumn or the purple fox curled up on a snow financial institution.

“I really do love that pale great gray,” she says, “sitting in all the autumn foliage. I used to be on the lookout for nice grays deep within the woods in Wyoming, I knew there have been imagined to be a lot of owls and black bear again there. I went on a hike with Melissa Groo and sort of stumbled upon this paler nice grey, and we frolicked together with her for a couple of days and watched her hunt. She didn’t actually care that we have been there, so long as we stored an inexpensive distance. She simply flew to probably the most lovely perches. She was super-photogenic, and I simply love how easy that photograph is with the autumn foliage. And though it’s not completely conservation based mostly, it’s considered one of my favorites simply due to how easy it’s.

“For the fox, I was in Colter Bay in Wyoming,” Scully says, “probably half an hour from our place in Jackson, and they really have a problem up there with the ice fishermen feeding foxes. So they were pretty tolerant and would kind of jump up on the snow banks a lot. They’ve relocated them now and kind of handled the issue, but they used to be super photogenic, and so we’d drive up there and then keep as much distance as possible from them without them getting any closer. Most of the time, they would just sleep on the snow banks. I love that shot because you can see the little tooth; he has one tooth coming out.”

Red fox photo by Ashleigh ScullyPurple fox, Grand Teton Nationwide Park, Wyoming. Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM with Canon Extender EF 1.4X III. Publicity: 1/800 sec., ƒ/5.6, ISO 500.

For an excellent photographic alternative, Scully is prepared and wanting to journey far afield. She’s been to Yellowstone and Grand Teton, photographed bear in Alaska’s Lake Clark Nationwide Park, and traveled with Nationwide Geographic’s Canadian Arctic Expedition to photograph polar bears on Hudson Bay. She’s even been to Africa.

“The picture of the cheetah mom with her cub,” Scully says, “with the mom lying down and looking away and the baby peeking over her, that was in Tanzania. What I love most about that photo is the mom’s expression. Although it sometimes bothers me—or most of the time bothers me—that she’s not actually looking at the camera, it’s the fact that she’s lying here in the middle of this open plain, and she’s so comfortable with us that she has her head turned away from us. And, I mean, cheetahs have so many predators out there, especially a mom with a young cub. And the mom’s ears are back because she’s listening to us but also watching out for other predators. She’s multitasking, but because she has her head turned away, her face turned away from us, she’s more comfortable with us. And then I just love the baby’s expression, the innocence.”

It might have been her solely journey to the continent or the primary of many in a lifetime to be full of journey and wildlife images. Both means, Scully is content material proper now to be a gifted highschool scholar who will get to spend loads of time outdoor, photographing animals and making a distinction together with her digital camera.

See extra of Ashleigh Scully’s work at

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