Local high school student is an aspiring wildlife photographer – Westlake

At the start of the pandemic with most of the country locked inside, Westside Christian Academy junior Nathaniel Shackelford took to the great outdoors. There he discovered a fascinating world of nature, literally in his own garden. With his father’s camera, a Canon EOS 70D, Nathaniel photographed an aerial battle between a red-tailed hawk and a crow. Sharing the photo of this encounter with his high school mates drew favorable comments and encouraged him to continue photographing birds.

Realizing that he needed a technology upgrade, Nathaniel used all his available money to purchase the Sigma 150-600mm lens. With this new equipment, he photographed over 100 species of birds, most of them in his garden in Bay Village. Other places he took photos include the Rocky River Preserve, the Sandy Ridge Preserve in North Ridgeville, and the Magee Marsh along Lake Erie near Oak Harbor.

Although he has encountered many species of birds, Nathaniel has a special affection for warblers: “They only pass twice a year in this area and are very colorful, ranging from deep blue to bright yellow. In addition to the brightly colored birds, other popular species include birds of prey, especially hawks, and large birds such as the majestic great blue heron.

Although he focuses on birds, Nathaniel also photographs other wildlife, including butterflies, snakes, and small mammals, as well as landscapes and flowers.

Following in an uncle’s footsteps, Nathaniel exhibits and sells his work at local stores like Java Bay Café in Bay Village. And his work is also starting to be exhibited at the Original Pancake House in Westgate.

A full portfolio of Nathaniel’s photographs is available at baybirder.com.

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