By June Bonasera, County1o.com
(Dubois) – You’ve undoubtedly seen his work if you read National Geographic Magazine, National Geographic Traveler, Wyoming Wildlife, National Wildlife, Nature’s Best, BBC Wildlife, or the New York Times. Those great images that tourists see in the Wyoming Office of Tourism’s Wyoming Travelers’ Journal most likely have come from his camera. And if you’ve ever flown on or seen the artwork adorning the tails of the Frontier Airline’s fleet, yep, it’s him again.
What you probably don’t know about Jeff Vanuga is that his educational background is in wildlife management-his photographic skills are self taught. A graduate of Utah State University’s Wildlife Management program, Vanuga resided briefly in Utah before relocating to Dubois in the early 1980’s. He was drawn to the Dubois area as an outdoor, wildlife and nature enthusiast, and the town’s proximity to the national parks and forests that surround it.
His appreciation for the beauty of the wildlife and landscapes surrounding him led to his interest in photography, and ignited a passion to document that beauty. “With photography, having a passion for what you do comes first” he said, “especially with nature photography”. So much time, preparation and effort is required to capture a fleeting moment that you may or may not find”.
Vanuga specializes in both advertising and editorial media and his photographic images have been awarded some of the most prestigious honors a nature photographer can collect. Recent awards include first place in the National Wildlife Photography competition, first place in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the year competition, and first place in Nature’s Best and in Outdoor Writers Association competitions. His photographs appear in the 2011 Fodor’s Compass Guide to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, which was awarded a silver medal from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He has worked with internationally reknowned photographers John Shaw, Darrell Gulin, John Sexton and Jeff Foott.
If you’ve dreamed of learning how to photograph remarkable images there’s GREAT news. Jeff leads tours and photographic workshops around the world for Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, including a tour in Shell, Wyo. titled “Horses & Icons of the Wild West.” It will be held this year on Sept. 30 –Oct. 6. He also has tours in Yellowstone National Park, Nambia, The Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica. Jeff is also an instructor for FirstLight Workshops which this year will include a workshop at Absaroka Ranch in Dubois, July 1-7.
When asked for words of wisdom for amateur photographers who aspire to capture natural beauty, Jeff quietly offered “It’s all about patience, determination and a passion for capturing the beauty of what one observes in the natural world”.