An eagle eye 

Photographer Norman Rich shows North Americas largest eagle photo exhibit in Brackendale

"You can approach a snowy owl without it being aware, but you can’t do that with an eagle." Norman Rich show opens in Brackendale. Photo by Norman Rich
  • "You can approach a snowy owl without it
    being aware, but you can’t do that
    with an eagle." Norman Rich show opens
    in Brackendale. Photo by Norman Rich

What: One Hundred Eagles reception

When: Sunday, July 9, 3-6 p.m.

Where: Brackendale Art Gallery (BAG)

Admission: Free

From thousands of pictures taken over a two-month span culled down to 100 images, internationally renowned photographer Norman Rich is mounting North America’s largest eagle photography exhibit, entitled One Hundred Eagles , for July and August at the Brackendale Art Gallery.

"You can approach a snowy owl without it being aware, but you can’t do that with an eagle," Rich said from his Jericho Beach home. "It’s a gift when an eagle allows you in that space and gets comfortable with you."

Join the artist at the exhibit opening Sunday, July 9 between 3 and 6 p.m. A formal talk begins at 4 p.m.

There are major wildlife events all over the continent. The migration of caribou up north, the huge gathering of geese and sandhill cranes in the southwest, and every fall, North America’s highest concentration of eagles roosts in Brackendale, where eagles fly thousands of miles to feed on spawning salmon.

Last year, Rich showed a photo exhibit featuring the connection between eagles and salmon. However, this year, Rich’s focus rested entirely on the eagle, resulting in numerous portraits.

Eagle images are all full framed – small sections of a picture are not blown up – ensuring the details of an eagle’s eye and feather coat are not lost. From click to print, Rich not only photographs the great birds, but also develops and prints each reproduction, averaging $100 a work.

"This way, it keeps a continuity and artistic intent right through the process," said the photographer, who also studied printmaking, etching and lithography.

Once a studio artist working in multiple mediums including paint, fiber art and ceramics, Rich, a fine artist for more than 40 years, loved the outdoor connection photography afforded him.

Instead of the artist’s moment happening within the confines of four walls, Rich’s creative epiphany happens directly in the moment, in nature. This moment is what Rich eagerly seeks out.

"The eagle carries the moment and I am really attuning to that moment and trying to capture that," Rich said. "That is what I am really trying to do."

Instead of quick snap shots of eagles, Rich’s images instead relay the personality of each eagle. Standing sometimes for an hour at a time to capture the perfect moment, Rich got to know many of the eagles on a recognizable basis.

"At approximately 1,000 metres away, you can watch the eagle to see the timing between when an eagle blinks," he said. "When you look really closely, you notice eagles (crossover) and lock the first two talons (on a branch) to give themselves extra grip. It’s the little things you begin to notice… My photos are very specific: an eagle’s turn of its head, a stretch. They are moments of real exquisite beauty."

For 65 days, 40 of them raining, from dawn to dusk Rich captured Brackendale eagles’ beauty and strength.

Photographing eagles is only one element of Rich’s wild photographic adventures. His portfolio also boasts exhibits of snowy owls, arctic snow geese and other B.C. wildlife, as well as ocean and forest-inspired themes. He recently returned from photographing elk, bear, wolves, coyotes, marmots and birds in the Rocky Mountains.

To view his on-line gallery, visit www.pbase.com/norman.

Admission to the artist reception is free.

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