When new photographers are published for the first time, usually it’s in a small publication or their community newspaper.
But Earl Marriott Secondary Grade 12 student Caitlyn MacDonald, who picked up a camera for the first time a few years ago, has achieved was most seasoned amateur photographers could only dream of.
The 17-year-old photographer has recently had her work published in Canadian Geographic’s 2022 Birds Calendar.
The 16-month calendar, featuring 12 full months plus four small bonus months from September to December, features MacDonald’s photograph of a small, black-chinned hummingbird perched on a branch at the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Delta.
“It was really exciting. I never actually thought my photo would be selected,” MacDonald said, adding that she submitted the photograph to Canadian Geographic after stumbling on an Instagram contest.
“It was surprising and really exciting for me to see my work in print because I’ve never seen that before.”
MacDonald, who often visits the Delta bird sanctuary with her family, said she discovered a love for photography after bringing along a camera for the walk.
“I got really excited when I took a picture of a great blue heron and then I won a youth honourable mention from the (Canadian Geographic Wildlife Photography of the Year competition) for that,” MacDonald said. “So that inspired me to keep going.”
She’s primarily interested in photographing wildlife, particularly birds, she said.
“I really like being in touch with nature. I like getting things in motion, it’s really rewarding.”
Capturing the perfect shot doesn’t come easy. Particularly with wildlife, it can take a lot of patience and, at times, can feel deflating. MacDonald said she sometimes returns from photography trips empty-handed, but has found a way to stay creative when the subject matter is unavailable.
“Usually I’m looking for species I don’t see very often. But sometimes there will be, I don’t know, a pigeon that’s really close to me. So I’ll just start taking pictures of the pigeon and try some cool, creative shots and that kind of gets me back into it,” MacDonald said.
The Canadian Geographic’s 2022 Birds Calendar can be purchased on Amazon. A catalogue of some of MacDonald’s work can be be found at https://www.instagram.com/photographybycaitlyn_