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These "About Me" things are challenging! Some folks will care less about me - just show me the photographs! Others will skim over my writing, satisfy enough of their curiosity - then click to view the photos! Just a few would read a typical autobiography like I penned for other dot coms. I would like to spare my visitors of the typical blah, blah, blah ALL about me and cut to the chase, instead explaining how I became Gail Orndorf Photography. And "cut to the chase" is a pun since my other half and I call our day tripping with Mother Nature,"chasing eagles"!
A cherished 35 year teaching career provided me with ongoing learning, mostly FROM my students. An emptiness appeared when I left them. I felt thirsty for more. Dealing with the blessing of retirement was complicated by downsizing from a big house in town to a small lakeside home on Pushaw Lake in Hudson, Maine. I love water, flora and fauna so this home was God-given - a dream I had never dared to dream. Making my house a home, I preferred working outside. I sat and stared at the lake and sky, feeling childlike. Was I back to my childhood on a farm in PA, when the outdoors WAS living space, then taken for granted?
Now living on beloved water, I knew I truly was "lucky enough". Sunsets captivated me with breathtaking red, blue, orange, violet, green, purple hues! Colors changed everywhere I looked, in the clouds, in flora and fauna. Beavers slapped their tails when I kayaked too close to their lodge! A Great Blue Heron flew out of the reeds overhead, scaring me. I didn't know that Herons lived in Maine habitat! My Canon earned her sidekick status during those first months living on Pushaw.
I reconnected with Mother Earth, back from my childhood days. She was quenching my thirst to observe and learn more, in retirement. Projects saved were shelved... instead I figured out how to use a digital camera, to upload pictures to my laptop and to organize albums online. I printed many of my favorites, stuck them on note cards and found two local stores would sell them! All this came together around 2005. Little did I know that my crush on photography would result in a cache of 10,000 nature photos divided into 65 albums which I will eventually upload to this site.
Then my prom date from high school contacted me on myspace.com! By 2008 our single halves joined into a forever couple which was a miracle since he was in North Carolina and I was in Maine. We combined strong personalities, interests and other commonalities. As photographers, we had captured thousands of Kodak moments of our families and vacations with the albums to prove it. Both divorced and enjoying retirement, we had time and energy to give to a new passion - but to what? I knew Bart to be a total jock back in 1964, but turns out he loved to walk and dug nature. Who knew? I needed to walk and travel more to gain photo opportunities, but I was lazy. Using technology, he easily located maps and nature walks . He was seeing hawks and bald eagles on his hikes! I was feeding a true love composing good nature pictures using my Canon digital around Pushaw.
Now we walk together daily, weather permitting, in regions up and down the East coast, sharing a Chasing Eagles lifestyle! Life is about "birdography", as my granddaughter named it. Heading out to locate eagles on any given day finds me visualizing fauna beyond immature and adult eagles. The photos of other fauna available to you are the products of our beloved birdography. Every evening Bart and I sit at a table together with our laptops, downloading, uploading, cropping and organizing our takes for the day. The computer routine has become addictive, but daily outdoor walks in fresh air should keep us healthy.
Bart and I photograph nature regionally in homes in ME, VA, NC, SC and Key West, FL during the year. Usually following spring weather, we spend fall days in Charlotte, NC, instead following the Carolina Panthers and raptor populations there. The warmer climates make outdoor photography at lakes, ponds, rivers, parks, hydro plants and the Atlantic very comfortable. Bart typically says that "we're not going to see anything today" after about an hour out in the field, but I know we will! He uses a Nikon camera and I use a Canon. He takes great action shots, my stills are better. My favorite subject is a Mallard while his changes from state to state. But whether our day brings us personal joy or melee, we both go outside and do not forget to stand and stare at whatever Mother Nature's heart is willing to show us.