Photographer Gerhard Assenmacher recently donated 10 nature photographs to the Gypsum Public Library. The images are now on permanent display in the new library building, located at 47 Lundgren Ave. in Gypsum. For Assenmacher, who became interested in photography at age 18, many years of practice have resulted in a serious hobby which has taken him to several far-flung destinations around the globe, including Africa, Canada, Europe and Australia. He answered a few questions for the Vail Daily.
Vail Daily: Please tell us a little bit about the 10 pieces donated to the Gypsum Public Library. What are some of the subjects, and where were they taken?
Gerhard Assenmacher: The alpine forget-me-not and golden saxifraga were photographed on top of Mount Evans. The fairy trumpet image was captured on East Lake Trail in Edwards. We have honeybee hives at our home in Niwot, and this is where the bumblebee was photographed. Since Rocky Mountain National Park is only an hour's drive from our home, I frequently visit the park to view wildlife. The Abert squirrel, broad-tailed hummingbird and the coyote photos were taken there. The turkey vulture was taken at Point Reyes National Seashore in California, and the great-horned owl was taken near our home.
VD: How did you decide which photographs to donate to the library?
GA: Becky Brackett (manager of the Gypsum Public Library) and her staff selected the 10 images from my website. It was their purpose to choose photos of wildlife and flowers that residents of the Vail Valley might view - even though not all were photographed there.
VD: While the collection at the library focuses mainly on local flora and fauna, photography has taken you far and wide. What have been the locations of some of your favorite, far-flung shoots?
GA: One of my favorite "shoots" is Botswana in Africa. In Canada, I enjoy going to Cambridge Bay, Churchill, Alberta, British Columbia and Newfoundland. Every year at this time, I go to Basque del Apache, N.M. My most favorite spot for bird photography is my ranch in Nebraska, south of North Platte along the Medicine Creek. I also enjoyed a trip south to the Gulf Coast for water fowl.
VD: Can you describe a particular interaction you have had with an animal subject in the wild?
GA: I have slightly more than 500 images on my website. Every image is very special to me, and I can recall the very moment that I captured each one. All of my wildlife images have been photographed in the wild without disturbing the subject or its habitat. No artificial feeding station of any kind was used to entice the subject to come within range of my camera. It is sheer magic to look at nature in the raw.