It was the photograph below that first introduced me to Carrie Ann – it took my breath away – I needed to know more about this photographer and whilst looking through photograph upon photograph I felt transported to a world of unknown, never before had I seen photographs of animals and nature that evoked such emotion, I was speechless. This is the first of our SPOTLIGHT features and I couldn’t think of a better photographer whose work we can delve right into and feel like we’re amongst the set of ‘The Lion King’ – sit back, and enjoy! (& thank you Carrie Ann for allowing us into your world).
My name is Carrie Ann Grippo-Pike, and I have been a professional photographer for over 20 years, working as a full-time staff Newspaper Photojournalist (for 14 years), and as owner of Captured By Carrie Photography since 1996, both in Rochester, NY. I currently reside in Rochester, NY with my husband Gary!
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A PHOTOGRAPHER?
The photo of an autumn tree branch that I had snapped in the front yard with my father’s professional camera was the picture that set my photography career and lifelong passion into motion. On a Fall afternoon after returning home from a full day of classes as a High School Sophomore, I noticed the sun filtering through the golden and red leaves on a branch in the tree. Never using my father’s camera before, I picked it up, figured out the few dials and buttons, and took only one picture. When the developed roll of film returned from the lab the following week I was amazed at how the colors and my vision of the branch was captured forever to look at over and over. By now, the same leaves were on the ground, but that perfect moment was frozen in time on film. I realized this was an amazing medium where I could take a breathtaking moment that others might not have been able to see, or, to make an ordinary moment be seen in an entirely new way. I could freeze time forever, and make lasting, visual memories with an image. I could evoke emotion or move someone to do something, educate and inform, all with the click of a button. I knew without a doubt that my “gift” from God was photography.
WHAT TOOK YOU DOWN THE ROUTE OF PHOTOGRAPHING ANIMALS WHEN WE SEE
SO MANY PEOPLE OPTING FOR FAMILY PORTRAITURE?
Though most of my income is derived from on-location photo sessions for maternity, newborn, babies, toddlers, children, families, engagements, weddings, high school senior photos, and special events serving Western, NY, I have ALWAYS had a passion for nature, landscape and wildlife/animal photography!! It truly makes me happy and gives me a different outlet and way to be creative and enjoy photography then my usual people-related shoots. Being in nature is so relaxing, calming, rejuvenating and refreshing to me! Lately, I have had so many requests for and purchases of these images (which I sell to customers on canvas, framed/matted, as greeting cards or cell phone case covers, etc.). Over the last few years, I have been given the nickname of the “Animal Whisperer” and “Snow White” by my Facebook fan page followers, friends and family… not only do I resemble her features-wise, but I am just drawn to the critters and them to me, which makes taking their photo very easy!! I have always been that way with animals! It seems that all the animals that pass by me or wander into my path (or even into my overgrown apple orchard/woodsy backyard), just stay put for a photo! 🙂 Maybe they can sense how much I love animals (even snakes!)! I am very patient and know them well enough (their “routines” and patterns) to understand their behavior and what they will do next, so I am ready to capture that moment. I am lucky to live in an area with many parks, woods, wildlife preserves and Zoos, housing a variety of species. I am also really good at “stealth mode” and sneaking up on them, haha, and I often use my 200mm f/2.8 lens (or sometimes a borrowed 300mm f/2.8 lens) to capture those scenes without disrupting them. I also know my camera inside and out so I can quickly adjust for the sudden movements and changes of animals. Sometimes, a little birdseed or shelled peanuts or bread work for the critters to come closer, but honestly, even without food, I have had animals climb on my shoes or try to sit in my lap when I am taking their photo (hence, they are then too close, haha). There is just a “bond” I have with all wildlife. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to work for National Geographic shooting wildlife, animals, nature and landscape shots! Ah, someday I will travel the USA and photograph in every state or, I would love to visit Australia, Ireland and Alaska for some photo adventures!!
WHAT CAMERA AND LENS DO YOU USE THE MOST?
What is in my camera bag is my most asked question (especially for shooting nature/wildlife), and here is the answer! My stash includes:
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR Camera Body
Canon EOS 60D Digital SLR Camera Body
Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Lens (my FAVE go-to lens… ALWAYS on, and an excellent lens for shooting wildlife for the Zoom and for the speed of the glass in low-light situations!)
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens (this is great for nature/macro shots!)
TELL ME ONE OBSTACLE YOU’VE OVERCOME SINCE BECOMING A PHOTOGRAPHER?
Time Management!! Trying to keep up on everything… like staying “current” with technology and social media, plus all that goes into running a photography business in general (emails, phone calls, ordering props, appointments with clients, location-scouting, the actual photo session, culling photos, editing and processing images, networking, maintaining my Facebook fan page, posting photos, answering comments, entering weekly photo challenges, learning new things with my camera or Photoshop/Lightroom techniques, staying on top of new fashion trends for sessions, looking at inspiring work of others to stay motivated and driven, using Pinterest and Flickr to share my work, updating my LinkedIn profile, backing up photo files on external hard drives, paperwork to keep track of my expenses and income for tax season, etc., etc.)… being a photographer is way more than just snapping the shutter button, and I have come up with spreadsheets and personalized daily “to do” lists in order to tackle all of the above… it took a good two years to determine what is important for me in order to have a successful business and how to manage both the “behind the scenes” end as well as the actual photography itself, all BY myself!
NAME A PHOTOGRAPHER WHO INSPIRES YOU?
I actually have never locked onto just one photographer… perhaps it is because I studied photography in college and we looked at the work of so, so many artists… and all of them put together (the bits and pieces and things I admired about each photographer, such as what I love about their shooting and editing style, etc.) are what inspired me! I follow numerous Facebook photography fan pages and love looking at all SORTS of work from the many talented photographers out there, in ALL the genre’s! I also belong to a bunch of photography Groups on Facebook where I get inspired daily. Pinterest is a big one! And sometimes I head to our local George Eastman House of Photography and look through the thousands of books and magazines!
WANT TO SEE MORE?
To see more of Captured by Carrie Photography;