Orange fish in the ocean - photo by Hiroko Yoshii - photo by Hiroko Yoshii

For the Birds

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When asked about what inspires his art, photographer Geraint Smith smiles and pauses thoughtfully. "I like to be in the present with my photography," he says, shading his eyes from the New Mexico sun. "I like to see things in their natural environment, just as they are."

For Geraint, "natural" means a variety of settings, from an open field to a tree branch to the man-made structures on which birds alight and build nests. "I drive around and pull up along a swamp or an irrigation ditch and pull out my lens and shoot away," he says. "There are a variety of environments here... I catch images of birds in all of them. A hummingbird on my bird feeder, a hawk on a pole. Those are the perches around here."

New Mexico has more than five hundred different bird species, a claim that not many other states can make. Shimmering deserts and waves of gypsum sands provide shelter for more than two hundred species, such as sandhill cranes (Grus Canadensis) and merlin (Falco columbarius). Tens of thousands of birds head to the glistening wetlands of Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge to hunker down for the winter. Amber grasslands and frosted mountains and vagabond rivers provide unique habitats for one of the most diverse bird populations in the United States.

Geraint seeks to capture this mosaic of avian life through his work and share it with the world. He grew up watching birds in the open lands near his home in Wales and listening to skylarks as he lay outside. "I don't think we ever lose that connection if we have it as kid," he says. He also understands the irony of photography. "When you take a photo, the mirror is opening and the shutter is closing and you actually miss the exact moment you are trying to capture. You connect with that moment without actually seeing it."

To see more of Geraint's work, visit his website: Geraint Smith Photography.

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