Copyright Karen Schuenemann, Wilderness At Heart Photography. All rights reserved.
Wild Horses in Nevada following me!
Photo Credit: Laurie Mortara Photography
Artist’s Statement: Karen Schuenemann
To capture a photo of a wild creature in its natural habitat and capture the connection to our own humanity and beauty is what drives me to make images. To see an animal’s eyes as it looks at me with curiosity is a reflection of my own looking through the viewfinder. To observe an animal nursing its young, cleaning, feeding and playing with the youngsters evokes such an intimate experience and is so joyful for me to photograph and share.
I have been so fortunate to be able to spend time exploring and documenting this urban environment that houses not only people but an amazing variety of animals and birds. I truly feel that it is my story to tell! Exploring this world from National Parks to small villages in Thailand remind me of the incredible world in which we live.
I use my camera as a tool to speak for the animals and attempt to keep the images simple and truthful. I use Photoshop minimally in order to share the natural world as it is, not how I would like to see it. I choose my photographic papers to reflect the mood and feeling of an image and to convey part of the story.
My lifelong project is “Urban Wilderness”. I have explored the coastal areas of Southern California, from the regional parks to the small fields in urban settings. Urban wildlife is what captures my heart in Southern California. When I capture the spirit of a critter that is surviving between homes and roads, and that is tenderly providing for its young in crazy urban spaces, I am fascinated and want to share my concern. I hope that my imagery connects you to our natural world, often missed while traveling in cars.
I have been exploring digital photography for the past 12 years. I made a decision to attend a workshop up in Jackson Hole, Wyoming after a life changing event, and my passion for Wildlife and Nature Photography was ignited by the work of Jack Dykinga and Tom Mangelsen. In December, 2015, I left the security of a well paying job after 13 years to pursue my dream. My motto has become "If not now, WHEN?"
I teach Bird Photography courses and am leading workshops to Bosque Del Apache, New Mexico, the Tetons, Africa, Costa Rica and Washington State along with taking on private classes. I am honored to share that I am now an Authorized Permittee of the National Park Service!
Creating unusual and interesting boutique workshops is my specialty. I want intimate workshops that provide insight, excitement and opportunity to create amazing photography. Special features like guest photographers and raptor shoots earmark my workshops as unique and the smaller group sizes make these trips very special. I've been leading workshops for the past four years, and enjoy sharing my passion and understanding of our natural world. You will not be disappointed!
From one of the attendees to Bosque Del Apache: "Not being primarily a wildlife photographer, Karen's expertise and passion for teaching about birds and photography allowed me to get photographs far beyond what I thought I was capable of. She created special events including a Raptor shoot, discussions with other photographers and a post processing session that were inspirational. The bird migrations are something not to be missed by any photographer." Dr. L M
My work has been shown in numerous shows in Southern California including at the San Diego Natural History Museum and G2 Gallery. In 2018, I was truly blown away by receiving a Highly Commended Award in the Bird Behaviour Category in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Contest at the London Natural History Museum, selected out of over 46,000 entries. This is the largest Wildlife Photography Contest in the world and I was so deeply humbled to see my picture hanging on the wall in London along with some of the most amazing wildlife photography in the world. In 2017 I was most honored to receive the Audubon Professional Photographer of the Year Honorable Mention, one of the top five awards from the National Audubon! I was honored to be juried into a conservation show in Armenia and have received numerous awards including Best of Show, Earl Veits Award from PVAC, and other awards and recognition from Audubon, BBC and NANPA and the Los Angeles and Orange County Fairs. In addition, I have been published in "Shadow and Light" magazine and American Photo magazine, as well as have been the Photographer in Focus for International Bird Rescue Blog and had work selected on the National Geographic Picture of the Week. In 2019, I was included in "85 Of The Best Wildlife Photographers & Their Stunning Nature Pictures", quite a wonderful surprise!
“There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment.”
— Robert Frank