Weekly Top Pics

Michael Erard

Congratulations to our Top Pic of the Week, Michael Erard! Check out his amazing wildlife photos and the story behind each below. 

There’s just something timeless and magical in the photography process that attracted me since the very beginning; this ability to stop time and show something most would have missed otherwise. For me, the creative process often starts in my mind, before I even look through the lens. 

I have been a professional photographer for 12 years, but photography has been my passion for as long as I can remember. My very first SLR was a Praktica Super TL1000, with the Pentax M42 screw mount. My uncle was an amateur photographer and I remember being fascinated by the fact he was developing his photos himself in his home darkroom. 

Very early on, I moved on to a Pentax SLR, the P3, that my uncle gave me. I loved it and years later, in 2005, when I finally decided to make the jump to digital SLR, it just made sense to stay with Pentax. Today my main camera is the full frame Pentax K1.

“Morning Hello

I actually took this shot during an early morning walk on the causeway near the beach. I usually have my camera with me just in case I see something interesting; especially in the beautiful morning light. A group of dolphins were very active in the water that morning, but they were too far from me. Then suddenly this one came much closer by himself! I saw it from below the water and just had time to fire my camera as it was coming up. The whole thing lasted a few seconds! I love the wonderful light from the sunrise on the dolphin.

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax SMCP-DA* 300mm f/4 ED (IF) SDM 

Location: Melbourne Beach, Florida

Exposure: 1/160 sec at f/5.6

*Edited in Photoshop CC

“Observing Anhinga”

I took this shot in the Viera Wetlands at sunrise. It’s a popular birding spot among locals with a wide variety of Florida wildlife species to observe and photograph. The main thing is to be patient, observe the birds habits, and you will get good shots. It’s so interesting to watch them interact with each other and go on with their daily lives. 

This is a picture of a male Anhinga, right at sunrise.

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax SMCP-DA* 300mm f/4 ED (IF) SDM 

Location: Viera, Florida

Exposure: 1/1000 sec at f/7.0

*Edited in Photoshop CC


I photographed this American Black Bear in its natural habitat in Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. Again, patience is key for an interesting shot. They are such massive and playful animals and if you take your time, you will most likely get plenty of opportunities to capture that one shot you are waiting for.

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax SMCP-DA* 300mm f/4 ED (IF) SDM 

Location: Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina

Exposure: 1/320 sec at f/4.5

*Edited in Photoshop CC

What are some tips for capturing animals in their habitats?

I would say the most important tips, without talking about gear, is to know your subjects, observe them and their habits, and look for their moving patterns.  Patience is very important, especially for birds, but for all animals in general. 

Photography is constantly changing the way I see things, like a permanent filter on my eyes, always ready. The rest is up to me.

Thank you, Michael, for allowing us to share these wonderful photos! You can check out more of his via Instagram: @Mikerard and his website: http://mikerard.com





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