Mark Buckler and the Art of Anticipated Motion
Mark Buckler is an immensely talented wildlife photographer based on the Outer Banks. His images capture a sense of movement, a feeling that there is sound in the still life of his pictures.
To Mark the world is not a stagnant place. It is a place of beauty and motion, a setting in which water beads fall from the end of a mallard wings as it rises from the marsh or the anticipation of movement as a doe and fawn pause for a drink of water.
His photography is rarely seen in Outer Banks galleries. His website is filled with his images and he has a book in print, Coastal Wild, but what he seems to enjoy most and where he may be having the greatest impact is in his workshops.
There is a certain logic to that. Mark, who grew up on Cape Cod just outside Hyannis, was a teacher for a number of years. His backstory is eclectic – it includes a short stint in baseball’s minor leagues, substitute teaching, and a degree in wildlife management – but the sum of the parts is that Mark Buckler is a gifted teacher who has a clear understanding of wildlife.
It’s captivating to talk to Mark about photography. He can talk for hours about the technical parts of capturing an image—but he also points out that the best camera doesn’t always capture the best picture.
“People have attended a photo workshop of mine and all they have is an iPhone. For print material iPhone images are not going to translate very well. But to show on your TV at a relatively low resolution (it’s ok),” Mark said.
It did take him a while to realize that photography was his true calling. He taught high school science and coached baseball for 14 years, but he realized that when he was out doing field work he found the most enjoyment in taking pictures. Capturing images of wildlife in motion led to his decision to leave teaching behind.
His background in science and biology, specifically wildlife biology, has given him the knowledge to be at the right place at the right time for his pictures. Mark’s work, however, is not limited to wildlife photography. His images of sunrise on a beach or sunset over an Outer Banks marsh are filled with color and an anticipation of change.
He came to the Outer Banks because of its beauty. The move from Massachusetts south was one of the first decisions he made when he knew he had to follow his passion to be a photographer. Even today, after a number of years on the Outer Banks, there is one place that is still special to him. Pea Island, with it’s transition from season to season and its vibrant life, keeps drawing Mark back. “There’s wonderful transition throughout the year,” he said.
His workshops are very hands-on, generally less than 10 people. Most, but not all of the work-shops are on the Outer Banks. He has taken trips to Hawaii, the American Southwest and New England.
All of his workshops are held in the offseason. There is extensive discussion about photography and how to use a camera, but his workshops also focus heavily on the environment – what are the patterns of wildlife where the images are being captured, and what are the environmental challenges that are occurring.
“You’re getting an eco-adventure at the same time,” he explains.