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Natural Awakenings Chicago

Park Ridge Native Returns for Fine Art Show at Brickton Art Center

Jun 13, 2014 08:00AM

Photo Courtesy of Dan Elster, Elster Photography

Dan Elster, a fine art wildlife photographer, prides himself on capturing unique and powerful images of wild animals in their native habitat. His photographs speak to his love for wildlife and a desire to create art.

The former Park Ridge resident has traveled and photographed animals throughout the country but many of his favorite subjects can be found in the Pacific Northwest where Elster currently resides.

Spirits in the Wild, Elster's largest solo installation to date, opened this week in his hometown of Park Ridge at the Brickton Art Center. The show will run through June 28 with a reception on Saturday, June 14 from 2-5:00 pm. 

Getting close to wildlife without disturbing its normal way of life is a skill that Elster admits he has honed over his 13-year career as a wildlife photographer.

"Super slow movements and never making eye contact are both key in getting close to my subjects," he says. 

Elster isn't satisfied simply documenting the natural world. He prides himself on the creative use of light, unusual compositions and sharp focus. The wild animals he photographs range from ones commonly seen to the extremely rare. Owls are among his specialty. 

He says his images serve as a reminder that we don't own the Earth; rather, we share it. Viewing his work gives viewers a sense of his deep appreciation for all things wild.

Elster grew up in Park Ridge. In 1999, wildlife photography became his new hobby and two years later he decided to pursue his new-found passion as a full-time career. He now lives in Ashland, Oregon, and his images can be found in galleries, museums and fine art festivals throughout the Pacific Northwest and Northern California. This self-taught photographer has an undeniable love of nature and a talent for capturing extraordinary images of wild animals in their world and on their terms.