Looking Through The Lens

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Published on: Apr. 2, 2002

Last revision: Nov. 12, 2010

perch repeatedly so you can walk up and get in position.

"Dragonflies are all eyes," he added. "They're difficult to photograph. Just walk slowly through brushy areas near ponds. If you're lucky, they'll get dew on them, and then you'll get a magical photograph."

Although he photographs all types of animals, birds are his favorite subjects. In fact, he confesses that if he is not careful, he could fill the photo files at the Conservation Department with pictures of birds. He also loves to photograph fish, and he's set a goal to photograph all 200 species of Missouri fishes. He'll even put on scuba gear, if necessary, to photograph fish.

Rathert explained how his mind has to see the photograph that he wants before he snaps the shutter release. He keeps a mental log of photographs to shoot for upcoming issues and covers. For his efforts, Rathert receives an incredible amount of fan mail.

One admirer of Rathert's work is Cliff White, whose name appears with Rathert's on the Conservationist masthead. White has been capturing magic on film for the magazine for about five years. A native of Blue Springs, White became interested in photography in his 10th-grade geometry class.

"The guy who sat behind me always brought his camera to class because he had photography class before geometry," White recalled. "I was more interested in his camera than in geometry."

White asked his parents for a camera at Christmas that year and received a Pentax K-1000, which he described as a good, basic manual camera. By the time he was a junior in high school, he worked part-time as a photographer for the Blue Springs and Independence Examiners. When it came time to enroll in college, he chose the University of Missouri-Columbia, but a career with the Conservation Department wasn't in his plans.

"When I first started school, being young and in the frame of mind that most people are when they're young, I was pretty sure I wanted to go to Bosnia, or wherever the hot place was at that time, and get shot at being a roving photojournalist," White said.

After a couple of years he met his future wife, Molly, and quickly started rearranging his priorities. As time progressed, a life on the road seemed less and less appealing.

"Yeah sure, I'd like to see the world, but the truth of it is, this is my home," White explained. "My family is here, and everything

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