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DailyTidings.com
  • Where the wild things are

    Dan Elster knows how to make his subjects comfortable
  • Ashland wildlife photographer Dan Elster has a few tricks up his sleeve when it comes to getting close to wild animals.
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  • Ashland wildlife photographer Dan Elster has a few tricks up his sleeve when it comes to getting close to wild animals.
    "I'll never make eye contact with a subject, whether it's a sparrow or a coyote," he said. "I don't act like a predator. I move slowly, but I don't creep."
    Elster knows which animals are likely to be wary, and which have a ho-hum attitude about the presence of humans.
    He stays in his car to avoid spooking coyotes in the Klamath Basin, where they are often hunted, but can easily approach brown pelicans and gulls in Crescent City, Calif.
    A Chicago native, Elster traveled the country photographing wildlife while his wife worked as a travel nurse before the couple settled in Phoenix, later moving to Ashland. They now have two small children.
    Eight years of wildlife photography have honed Elster's ability to spot birds and animals.
    "I've gotten to the point where I can't turn it off. My wife says I have radar," he said.
    After finding the Rogue Valley and being accepted into the juried outdoor Lithia Artisans Market in Ashland, Elster began achieving more and more success with his art.
    He sells his work at art festivals across the West and displays photographs in multiple settings, from the Liquid Assets Wine Bar in downtown Ashland this month through December, to the Audubon Society of Portland Wild Arts Festival this coming weekend.
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