Key To A Good Photograph Is Patience, Artist Says



The salmon were running both times photographer Julie Lodge went to see the grizzly bears at Katmai National Park in Alaska.

On the second trip, she learned a fact that never came up during her study of zoology: "Bears bark," she said.

When a mother bear with cubs crossed her path, the park ranger told the Lodges' group to make lots of noise so the bears would know they were in the vicinity.

In response, the mother bear made a deep, sharp bark as she crossed the road.

"She barked about four more times like that when she got (to the other side of the road) and down the hill with her cubs," Lodge said.

Lodge was visiting the Katmai on a photo expedition. Her camera leads her from adventure to adventure.

"I see everything in terms of a photograph," Lodge said. "My friends hate to travel with me because if I see a beautiful moon or landscape at the first turn-around, I stop, turn around and head back."

A snow leopard surveys his kingdom with pride in one photo she took at the San Diego Zoo. In order to get the photo, she hung around for a good 30 minutes waiting for the right moment.

"I told my children (Dirk, a Navy ensign, and Kurt, an engineer in Tucson) to wait. He's moved away from the fence into the habitat area," she said.

On a trip by airboat through Florida's swamplands, Lodge captured the eye of an alligator reflected in the dark water. It was nighttime, yet she was able to take the shot from the airboat without a tripod.

Her first camera was an old Brownie box camera her grandmother handed down to her when she was 6.

Although she has always enjoyed taking pictures, it was not the career she considered first.



Lodge obtained her zoology degree and became a veterinarian.

She was nipped by a meerkat and took an elephant's temperature during her volunteer stint at the Houston Zoo.

She interned on the East Coast because she wanted to find out if the mountains there were more appealing to her than Arizona, but found herself constantly lost.

"Even breadcrumbs didn't help," she said. "Phoenix being a grid made it easy to find my way around."

After a decade of making animals feel better, Lodge's allergies triggered asthma so bad she had to close her practice.

"How many people do you know who literally become allergic to their jobs?" she said with a laugh.

Grateful to be able to breathe normally, she still faced a complete lifestyle and career change.

Photography was something she enjoyed. So, in 2000, she bought a digital camera.

"I decided to start taking classes and become serious about it," she said.

Her degree in zoology and background as a vet gives her a unique insight when it comes to animals.

Knowing their habits and husbandry helps her be in the right place at the right time to get the photograph in the wild.

Pet portraits come naturally because of her experience as a vet.


Julie Lodge is armed with one Minolta camera for short hikes and another, with a 500 telephoto lens, for more serious photography.

Also, she is able to make a connection and communicate.

While snorkeling in Florida, she was scratching a manatee's back.

"It kept pressing my hand with its flipper for me to scratch it harder. Finally it knocked my own hand away with its flipper and really dug in. Skin was flying.

"I have a love of animals, that's why I became a vet. You and they share something once you have taken their photograph.

"I believe animals think, feel and have emotions. If you look at their DNA and brain structure, it is the same as ours. Why would they be a whole lot different," Lodge said.


Name: Julie Lodge, Wild Reflections Photography

Medium: Photography

Advice to beginning artists: Go for your dreams. Don't be afraid.

Award most proud: Judges' Choice Award, Northern Gila County Fair from Peter Ensenberger, editor of Arizona Highways

Publications: Landscapes published in magazines "The Traveler" by Glendale Community College and "The Vortex" by Scottsdale Community College.

Motto: Live life to its fullest.

Fave animal as a child: Cheetahs. I saw the cheetah in the Tutankhamen display painted with a big blue teardrop and I was amazed.

Why Payson? I love being "in nature."

Upcoming project: My life's dream is to go on a photo safari in Africa.

Points of contact: or (928) 476-3428

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