My interest in photography began at a young age. I still have fond memories of hiding in the bushes as a preteen with my Grandfather's Argus camera, trying to capture photos of backyard birds at our feeder. As I grew older, wildlife photography was always my first choice. I especially treasured my first SLR purchased (a Minolta SRT 101) when I was in high school. During that same time period, I built my own darkroom.
After earning a B.S. degree in Wildlife Management and a M.S. in Administration of Justice, I started a family as well as a career as a Virginia State Game Warden. I was in conservation enforcement for over 30 years, a labor of love, and retired in December 2008. Alaska grabbed my soul on some photography trips, so for the 2009 and 2010 summer seasons, I worked as a park ranger in Denali National Park.
Besides photography, my family is important to me. My wife is a librarian at William & Mary College, enjoys the outdoors as well and often travels with me. After graduating from Randolph Macon College, my son works for a telecommunications company in Denver, Colorado. My home is in Lanexa, Virginia, which is approximately 20 minutes west of Williamsburg.
A career of wildlife protection carried over to my passion for wildlife photography. Since 2005, I have diligently been doing nature photography. There is nothing else that can replace the satisfaction I receive from being in the outdoors, photographing wildlife and sharing captured images with others to hopefully enhance their appreciation of our natural world. My photo trips are usually to National Parks or Wildlife Refuges. My photo excursions have been to six of the seven continents. My favorite local photo sites are Jamestown Island National Historical Park, Shenandoah National Park and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.
I turned full-time wildlife photography pro in 2010. Now living a dream, I lead international photo tours and participate in art festivals along the east coast. When not traveling, I also present programs, teach wildlife photography to others that share a similar passion and provide private lessons.
Humbling when it occurs, I have been fortunate to place in some wildlife photo contests:
National Wildlife Federation Photo Contest (2014/Honorable Mention)
Popular Photography Contest (2013/First Place)
National Wildlife Federation Photo Contest (2010/Second Place)
Glennie Nature Photography Competition (2010/First Place)
Sony International Photography Contest (2009)
National Parks Competition (2007/Second Place),
have attained published images within magazines, calendars and on TV:
Alaska Geographic (front cover-Katmai)
Birder's World Magazine
BBC-Discover Wildlife Magazine
BBC-"Nature's Perfect Partners" (TV)
CNN news broadcast 8/31/15 (TV)
International Game Warden Magazine (2 front covers)
National Forest Foundation (2 front covers)
National Park Pass (2010)
National Wildlife Federation (numerous magazine and calendars)
Popular Photography Magazine
Ranger Rick Magazine
Smithsonian Magazine (7/16)
Tidewater Times (3 front covers)
USA Today (10/17/17)
U.S. Department of Interior-"6 Stunning Photos That’ll Make You Want to Visit Alaska"
"Virginia This Morning" TV (CBS Channel 6, Richmond, VA) interview (7/19/16)
Virginia Wildlife Magazine (6 front covers + numerous calendars)
Watchable Wildlife (front cover + calendar images),
and been recognized in art shows:
10/19: Poquoson Sesfood Festival, Poquoson, VA; "Second Place, Fine Arts"
10/18: Poquoson Sesfood Festival, Poquoson, VA; "Second Place, Fine Arts"
10/15: Poquoson Seafood Festival, Poquoson, VA - "First Place, Fine Arts" & "Mayor's Choice Award"
10/14: Fall Foliage Art Festival-Waynesboro, VA-"First Place Photography"
4/13: Daffodil Festival-Gloucester, VA-"First Place, Fine Arts"
10/12: Poquoson Seafood Festival-Poquoson, VA-"Best in Show"
5/12: Fort Clifton Art Festival-Colonial Heights, VA-"Photo Award of Excellence"
10/11: Poquoson Seafood Festival-Poquoson, VA-"First Place, Fine Arts"
5/11: Fort Clifton Art Festival-Colonial Heights, VA-"Best in Show"
5/11: Festival in the Park-Roanoke, VA-"Best in Show"
4/11: Chincoteague Decoy Art Festival-Chincoteague, VA-"Best Photograph"
3/11: Daffodil Festival-Gloucester, VA-"First Place, Photography"
1/11: Deerfield Beach Arts Festival-Deerfield Beach, FL-Award of Distinction
3/10: Daffodil Festival-Gloucester, VA-"First Place, Photography"
2/10: East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival-Washington, NC-"First Place, Photography",
Folks often ask about the equipment I use. Like many, I started as a film photographer, self-taught learning from mistakes and trial/error, but all the time pursuing a passion. In order to fulfill my wildlife photography obsession, I sold my boat, got a second mortgage and purchased some quality camera equipment. After research, I decided on Canon. Since 2007, I have completely converted to digital photography. Currently, my go to camera is the Canon Mark 1Dx Mark II and my back-up camera is the Canon 1Dx Mark I. I predominantly use a 400mm/2.8 telephoto lens that allows close-up views of wildlife without altering an animal's behavior. Close-ups also provide a rare view of the animal's features and individuality. Please keep in mind while good equipment helps, the photographer's eye behind the camera creates the picture. Regardless of what equipment you own, my suggestion is to learn the subject and have the patience for the right moment. Absorb your surroundings, respect, and enjoy the outdoors.
Sure hope you enjoy the pictures on this site, because I certainly had a good time taking them. My photography is a way to thank wildlife for their special displays you see within this website, which will hopefully stir emotions and motivate folks to consider protection and conservation. When purchasing a photograph from this website, you are buying more than a piece of photo paper with a wildlife image. You are buying thousands of hours of patience, often in adverse weather conditions and infested with insects. You are buying years of determination for that unique photo circumstance as well as the instant of pure ecstasy when it does happen. You are not buying just a photo, you are buying a piece of my heart, the passion of my soul and will share that special lifetime experience. Certainly realize I am a fortunate individual to see all the wildlife and visit the places on this web site, let alone photograph them. Thanks for taking a look.
All of the pictures within the web site galleries are of wild animals taken in their natural environments. None of the photos were taken of captive, zoo or animals on a game farm. I believe in the integrity of a wildlife photograph, so when you view a critter in one of my galleries you know it was not caged or staged. All the images on this site are certainly for your viewing pleasure. Please keep in mind though, they are the sole property of Ken Conger Photography. Some may tell you different, but just becasue it is on the web, all the images are still protected by the U.S. and International Copyright Laws. They shall not to be downloaded or reproduced by any means without the formal written permission of Ken Conger. Use of these photographs may not be made in any form (including website applications) without prior written permission and/or payment. It is prohitibited to create any derivative of any photographs without prior written permission from Ken Conger Photography. Thanks in advance for respecting my work.