“Your best work always comes from the heart,” says photographer Daryl Hawk, and although he may rely on corporate, editorial, and portrait photography to pay the bills, nature photography is the true love of his life. “When I’m photographing in the wild, I’m getting the best of both worlds: I’m in an extremely solitary and peaceful environment in which there are endless creative opportunities and constant visual stimulation.”

For Hawk, nature photography really is equal parts nature and photography. “Of course it’s important for me to come back with the pictures,” he says, “but it’s just as important to immerse myself in the total experience, to take the time to smell the pine in the woods, to discover a stream and feel the rainfall. I love to return to places in different seasons to experience them under different circumstances.”

Hawk’s nature photography serves a purpose beyond his own satisfaction. “I consider myself a strong advocate of conservation, and my mission is to give as much exposure as possible to nature’s beauty, and to try to make people realize what they’re losing each and every day.

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