A photographer’s nature

Brian Vickery

Photo By Meredith J. Cooper

Brian Vickery, a local project superintendent, loves to head to Paradise Lake, sit in his canoe and take pictures of fresh-water otters, eagles, vultures and anything else that catches his eye. Vickery, 65, was born in England but his parents moved him to Australia during World War II. After going back and forth between Australia and the United States, Vickery now calls Magalia home and has been in the U.S. for 45 years. Throughout his life he’s had encounters with different kinds of wildlife, from mountain lions to kangaroos. From aerial shots—he’s been flying since 1960—to close-up stills of eagles, Vickery sees nature as a great way for children and adults to get away from everyday routines. With the slightest Australian accent, Vickery passionately spoke about being out in nature with birds and animals—whether they’re ugly or not.

How long has photography been your hobby?

About 10 years.

How did you get started?

On a job. Everybody takes pictures. On a construction job I had to have a digital camera so I could e-mail pictures. And then I got into Photoshop. I found out that a photographer takes pictures and an artist can take things out of pictures—there’s a difference. I taught myself, I guess. Anybody can do that.

What kind of camera do you use?

A Cannon 10D with a 400- to 600mm lens with a 1.4 extender. For aerial shots I use a straight 70mm lens.

Do you sell any of your pictures?

Not unless somebody wants to buy one. I’m not gonna go spend all day sitting in a chair watching people walk around and look at my stuff. I’d rather be out there in a canoe, or riding a bike, taking pictures.

Many of your pictures are of eagles. Why?

Well, it’s the national bird. And they sit around and watch Osprey catch fish then they make the Osprey drop the fish and the eagle gets its food. They’re kind of sneaky and they’re kind of bullies, too. They make for great pictures.

What’s your favorite animal to take pictures of?

The vulture. That’s an ugly bird. I don’t care who likes them, I think they’re ugly. But they fly like you wouldn’t believe. I think they know how to fly better than eagles. They are such gorgeous pilots.