With the Founding of WildScapes, Mark Melvin turned a lifelong passion for the outdoors into a career. As a child, Melvin spent countless hours exploring the woods and creeks surrounding his Mississippi home, and once filled a wheelbarrow with water and pushed it for over a mile so he could show off his prize catch, a 10-pound catfish, to his mother – without killing the fish.
As he matured, Melvin’s passion for the outdoors expanded to include backpacking, camping, and virtually any experience that allowed him to immerse himself in magnificent, natural scenery. During his backpacking adventures, Melvin discovered photography as not only a way to bring home his experiences, but as a means of self-expression.
Melvin developed his nature photography based on a premise offered by the great photographer Ansel Adams, “All art is a vision penetrating the illusions of reality, and photography is one form of this vision and revelation. ” Nature imagery is the medium through which Melvin expresses his feelings about a subject, and often his perspective on life as a whole. Melvin uses his artistic talents to capture one perception of God’s beautiful world in the hopes of providing others a medium through which they might better observe and appreciate their own unique surroundings.
Melvin’s distinctive presentation separates him from other photographers. While many photographers illustrate their vision by reflecting what they actually see, Melvin uses the photographic process to express his vision as artistically as possible without compromising the integrity of the image. His creative use of composition, color, lighting, filters, and peak moments enhances the viewing process.
In 2001, his desire to celebrate the inspirational power of wildlife and nature photography led Melvin to found WildScapes Photo Art. “My approach to photography is based on a belief in the vigor and values of nature. No matter how grand or minute, it is truly an honor to use the language of light to communicate experiences, emotions and abstract thoughts. ” Melvin says. “My photography reflects my efforts to perfect my personal vision, and to share it in my own evocative way. ”
But while his unique vision and photographic talent cannot be denied, nature is still Melvin’s foremost passion.
“Photography enhances my time in the outdoors by sharpening my observation skills, and opening my eyes to details I might otherwise have missed, ” Melvin says. “It improves my view of every day life and this stunning world we inhabit. Photography is a gift that makes each day a blessing for me.”
Outdoor photography has become a grown-up Mark Melvin’s version of a water-filled wheelbarrow – a way to capture nature’s stunning beauty and bring it home to others.
Stephen Kirkpatrick has been chased by grizzly bears, attacked by alligators, and nibbled by piranha. In the process, he’s captured some of the world’s most beautiful and exciting nature and wildlife photography.
Kirkpatrick’s appreciation of nature and wildlife began in childhood, when he divided his time between caring for a menagerie of unusual “pets” and operating a snake farm in his parents’ backyard (admission 50¢). His fascination with nature became a full time career when his father gave Kirkpatrick his first camera in 1981.
Since then, Kirkpatrick has published more than 3,500 photographs in books and magazines, including Delta Sky, Skin Diver, Audubon, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Natural History, Ducks Unlimited, Outdoor Photographer, BBC Wildlife, National Wildlife, and Sports Afield.
Kirkpatrick has published 11 solo pictorial coffee table books. His latest, Sanctuary: Mississippi’s Coastal Plain, is a tribute to the rare and endangered species and habitats of the Mississippi Coastal Plain. Kirkpatrick’s other titles include Among the Animals: Mississippi, Images of Madison County, Mississppi Impressions, Lost in the Amazon, Romancing the Rain, Wilder Mississippi, To Catch the Wind, In Wilderness Song, Wild Mississippi, Whistling Wings, and First Impressions.
His last eight books were written by Kirkpatrick’s wife, author Marlo Carter Kirkpatrick.
His work has earned international acclaim, including the 2011 Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Award, the National Outdoor Book Award, the Benjamin Franklin Publishing Award, and three Southeastern Outdoor Press Association Book of the Year Awards. He has twice been named a winner in the prestigious International Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition held in London, England.
Kirkpatrick is in demand as a featured speaker for national conferences and conventions. He has appeared on the syndicated program “Wild Things” and “At Home Live,” the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “The 700 Club, ” The Outdoor Channel’s “Adventure Bound Outdoors,” ABC’s “Shark Tank,” CNN and on several PBS and outdoor network specials.
Kirkpatrick hosts a recurring feature segment on The Outdoor Channel’s “Adventure Bound Outdoors. “