The studio of Photographer Jeff Nadler can get oppressively hot – or, freezing cold. It can be buggy, wet, and uncomfortable for hours at a time. His studio has neither walls nor roof. Jeff Nadler’s studio is the great outdoors.
Nadler – retired PADI executive, professional wildlife photographer, advocate for the protection of endangered species, and three-year Laguna Art-A-Fair veteran – exposes nature’s soul through black-and-white and color imagery. Although it’s fair to say that artwork involving animal subjects has universal appeal, the manner in which Jeff presents his subjects far surpasses conventional documentation. According to Jeff, “Anyone can take a picture of an animal. But, few people think of wildlife photography as fine art.”
But, fine art it is.
It is said that the eyes are the windows of the soul. Nowhere is that more evident than in the sensitive, soulful portraits of Jeff’s subjects. He possesses an extraordinary ability to connect with wild animals on a level of intimacy and serenity that belies the risks and dangers of working in the wild. His ultimate goal is for his artwork to elicit the kind of emotional connection that inspires the viewer to become an ardent advocate for the protection of wildlife. His favorite subject? The big cats. Over the years, Jeff has learned the “do’s” and “don’ts” of being on safari – and, his work is a testament to an artist who is very much at home in his most unusual studio.
As for Jeff’s process, it’s not as simple as one might think. But, Jeff’s work itself serves as an apt demonstration of his mastery in the field. To achieve Jeff’s award-winning level of artistic excellence requires a solid knowledge of design and composition principles as well as an innate ability to anticipate the shot. Forethought and preparation – lens selection, preframing, prefocusing, determining optimal exposure and refining the histogram (an in-camera graphical representation of the tonal range of his image) – prepare him for the moment of truth. Infinite patience rewards him with an opportunity to recognize and capture that magic moment. It’s that degree of discipline and dedication that puts the “fine art” in Jeff’s wildlife photography.
Jeff’s extensive body of work includes both black-and-white and color images. Since few images work well in both black-and-white and color, how and when does he decide between the two? According to Jeff, the decision to go with black-and-white or color really depends on the circumstances. On some occasions, a shot demands black-and-white before it’s even captured. Other times, Jeff may choose to convert a color image to black-and-white during post-processing.
In the seven years since turning pro, Jeff has captured the photographic essence of countless animals from Antelope to Zebra, and virtually everything in between. With such a vast body of work, Jeff accepts a fair amount of commissioned works for clients with specific requests. Many prospects successfully locate and identify their desired image from among a large number of related thumbnail images. On occasion, sales prospects show up in the most unlikely of places. While sitting at a red light in his distinctive, graphic-wrapped “Jeff Nadler Photography” van, Jeff was once approached by a motorcycle police officer asking if he had any moose pictures!
You will likely find Jeff on the Laguna Art-A-Fair grounds Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays during the 2016 summer season in which we celebrate Laguna Art-A-Fair’s fifty years of fine art. Make sure to stop by booth C13 to see and purchase some of Jeff’s extraordinary work! Laguna Art-A-Fair is open daily from June 24 through August 28.