The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

‘Wonders of Nature’ art exhibit allows peek into foreign landscape, exotic animals

The Colvard Student Union Art Gallery is currently showcasing a collection of photographs that make up what is called the “Wonders of Nature” art exhibit. 

The images depict animals and scenery from all corners of the world. The intricate detailing of each picture suggests a unique story of what it took to capture the moment.

 Steve Brandon, a Mississippi State University alumnus, is to be the man behind the lens. Brandon has traveled to a multitude of various destinations in order to capture breathtaking images and understand the importance of wildlife conservation.

According to Brandon’s website, “Steve and his wife Patsy Fowlkes have traveled the world photographing wildlife and speaking at universities, high schools, civic clubs and business meetings about wildlife conservation.”

Brandon began taking pictures of all the adventures with a simple point-and-shoot camera. He said his wife was truly the reason his photography skills skyrocketed. 

“Along the way I started taking pictures, and people started talking about how good  the photographs were,” Brandon said. “For Valentine’s Day, my wife gave me a full day with the lead photographer at the Tennessee Aquarium, Pat Cory.  We spent a day going around Chattanooga to learn about my camera and all the things it could do. At this point, I had upgraded my equipment. Later on, my wife and I went the Galapagos Islands on a National Geographic trip. For a week, I had a National Geographic photographer to help coach me.”

Brandon said his inspiration for his images and love of nature traces back to his childhood roots.

“I’ve always had a great love for animals,” Brandon said. “I grew up on a farm. I’ve always had a love for the land, nature and wildlife.”

Brandon’s pictures are especially impressive due to the process he had to undergo in order to represent the animal’s natural state. 

Brandon said it’s all about being in the right place at the right time.

“It’s opportunity based. You need to be in nature, be where they are, and then watch for the opportunity,” he said.

One photograph in particular took Brandon four days to capture. He had a goal set for the trip. He said he wanted to capture an elephant with Mt. Kilimanjaro in the background. 

“I kept watching through my binoculars. Once I saw the elephant, I told the driver to get us down there that instant,” he said. “We drove 100 mph over rocky roads to get there before the good lighting vanished, Kilimanjaro clouded up or the elephant left.” 

Brandon has a heaping number of incredible stories that compliment his photographs. Of his many terrifying experiences, Brandon explained his close encounter with a gorilla while attempting to take photographs.

“I was on a path three feet wide in the jungle, and an alpha male gorilla was coming straight toward us. A ranger was sitting there with me. He told me to keep shooting my camera,” he said. “As the gorilla approaches, he got about two feet from the ranger, and the ranger told me to step behind him. The big gorilla brushed my left shoulder as he passed us. He was 6’1” and weighed 561 pounds.”

Dedication allows Brandon to capture moments that will stand still in time. 

Brooke Seale, sophomore management major and a student interested in Brandon’s work, said his photographs are fantastic.

“I thought the art exhibit was great,” Seale said. “The photographs are beautiful. I enjoyed taking my time to look at each and every one of them.”

Brandon’s passion for traveling and taking pictures of native animals results in one-of-a-kind pictures that move people. Brandon will be attending the reception Tuesday in the Colvard Student Union Fowlkes Auditorium from 5 – 7 p.m. The reception is for anyone interested in wildlife photography. The “Wonders of Nature” art exhibit will be on display until May 29.

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
‘Wonders of Nature’ art exhibit allows peek into foreign landscape, exotic animals