Suzi Eszterhas has a secret power. She can become invisible to animals. The photographer once spent 17 days waiting outside a jackals' den in the African savanna. Each day, she inched closer to the den, until the family of jackals barely noticed her anymore. They allowed Eszterhas to stay close for five more months. "That's how you get good photos," she told TFK. "If I've become invisible to animals, then that's fantastic."
Eszterhas has been a professional photographer for 10 years. Before that, she worked in an animal shelter. "My first love has always been wildlife," she says.
Eszterhas's photos appear in books for children. Her Eye on the Wild series follows the lives of animals as they grow up. Eszterhas hopes the books inspire readers to protect wildlife. "Even though there are people who won't see these animals in person," she says, "they can enjoy them."
Nature's Candy Store
In her career, Eszterhas has photographed wildlife in tropical rain forests, the Arctic Ocean and African savannas. She has followed bears, penguins, sea otters, lions, gorillas, cheetahs and many more. She spent almost half of this year on the road.
Eszterhas takes groups on expeditions to learn how to photograph wildlife. In January, she plans to take a tour group to Costa Rica, in Central America. It is her favorite spot. "The animals will come right up to you while you're having breakfast," she says. She describes the country as a "candy store for wildlife."
From Suzi, with Love
For a photographer, each day brings new adventures, says Eszterhas. On an average day, she takes about 1,000 photos. But one day, she shot 3,000 photos of penguins jumping off of ice. Eszterhas is also used to working with dangerous animals. "They are incredibly forgiving and patient," she says. "But you have to approach them without stressing them out."
The award-winning photographer admits that her best images are of subjects she is excited to photograph. "You're always going to do something better," she says, "if you love it."
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