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December 2013: Changing Perspective

From the Photographer...

Christian Ziegler as told by the Conservancy’s Jenny Rogers

By his second day of shooting carnivorous plants in two North Carolina swamps for Nature Conservancy magazine, photographer Christian Ziegler was already covered with chigger and mosquito bites. Then the rains came.

Ziegler has photographed in rainy conditions before, even through hurricanes in Mexico and Guatemala. But when a tropical storm brought pelting rain to the swamps, getting clear shots became impossible.

Shut down by the rain, Ziegler — with the preserve manager’s permission — dug up a small patch of sundews and brought them to the only dry spot around: a shelter in the parking lot. Digging up the plants was less destructive than kneeling beside them, he says, and it made them easier to photograph.

“If I stopped working each time it rains, I wouldn’t get a lot done,” he says. In the humid air, the sundews’ sticky exteriors glistened as Ziegler snapped away.

When the rains passed, Ziegler replanted the sundews and moved on to photographing Venus flytraps. The experience was like stepping into another world, he says. “They’re some of the wackiest, unusual plants that I’ve ever seen.”

Christian Ziegler is an ecologist-turned-photographer. In addition to Nature Conservancy magazine, Ziegler’s photography has run in National Geographic and the German magazine GEO.


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