Eagle Tour Photographer Spotlight: Dave Parrish

December 28, 2011.  Dave Parrish is a photographer who has many talents, including the talent to make you laugh if you are lucky enough to be hanging around him. He also has another talent, one he probably won’t admit to, but it’s one of his finest. Second to his natural talent for photography, I’d say, Dave is a first class educator when it comes to helping friends and colleagues learn the art of photography. He freely offers advice and lessons on digital photography. He is also a leader in a local photography club, the Richmond Photography Meetup Group … a group with nearly 500 members. 
Dave is comfortable with his Pentax digital camera system. He is relaxed and able to dial into the shot quickly. He has a number of lenses ranging from macro, or close up, to super telephoto… and some of his super telephoto shots of bald eagles on the James River has created a buzz over with my Bald Eagle Tour, including one bird in particular. More on this later in the story …
Dave’s obsession with photography began over twenty years ago when he felt the need to capture some of the natural beauty he found himself constantly noticing while on outdoor adventures. Although his passion has increased and developed over time, Dave states, “I really only began taking photography seriously about six years ago after taking a few classes from John Tyler Community College.” 

Dave has worked tirelessly to make his photos technically perfect as well as artistically pleasing. Delving into most areas of photography from weddings to fashion to modern dance he thrives on challenging shoots, including photographing the bald eagles of the James River on Discover The James’ Bald Eagle Tour. Dave says, “The eagles of the James has been one of my most challenging and rewarding experiences to date.” He continues, “I will never leave behind my desire to convey the stunning beauty that nature presents to us every day.”
He considers photography a serious hobby but hopes to one day make it more of a occupation. Dave works fulltime as an electrician, but ALWAYS has his camera close at hand. If it’s not around his neck, it’s in his truck and at the ready. Dave truly is a dedicated photographer and will surely make it in that field if he wants to.

Now back to his photography of a particular bird. About two years ago, my wife took a photo of Bandit, the finest bald eagle on the James River. She captured a close, sharp image of the bird’s band, and we were able to get three numbers off the bird’s band.  It took more than a year for someone else to start capturing images of the band where numbers were readable … and Dave was that guy.  He took the band photography to a new level and was able to read seven of the eight total numbers off Bandit’s band.  

The image to the right is one of a series of images taken by Dave that gave us clues to many of the numbers from the band. The key mistake we both made was thinking the number that looks like an obvious '6' in this shot was a '6'.  Once we realized it was an '8' (from another photo), that gave us the last number that was needed to find out all about Banidt.  And we found out a bunch.  

It is with great pleasure that to highlight Dave Parrish’s work on my website. To see more of Dave’s wildlife photography, go to http://daveparrish.zenfolio.com/p1071367295.  

The Photos Stories?  Top Right:  This was a "Photo of the Month" winner for Dave in one of Discover The James' newsletters.  It is such a dramatic image that tells a story of a hunting osprey.  Here it is flying with a fresh cuaght gizzard shad, probably shifting the catch to a head first position in order to maintain a flight pattern into a tree to begin to eat the head off.  --Photo by Dave Parrish

Middle Left:  Another great shot.  Here an immagure bald eagle tries to grab a shad from the river, but upon close review of the photo, you can see it missed.  They get their prey most of the time, but not always.  I love the patterns of an immature eagle.  No wonder they are the subject of so many artists.  --Photo by Dave Parrish

Bottom Right:  This is the image that really got the ball rolling for me in the search for Bandit's band numbers.  For about a year, I had three numbers  6-2-9.  Then Dave started to dial into the band and begin gathering the data needed to find out all about this wonderful bird.  Bandit has an incredible story that is worthy of another post on the site ... coming soon.  Thanks Dave, Lynda Richardson and Steve Baranoff (the photographers who ended up gathering all the numbers via their photos).  --Photo by Dave Parrish