About - Ryan Pennesi Photography

Photographing White Tail Deer in Minnesota


I grew up in Central Massachusetts and the greater New England area. As a child most of my free time was focused on catching frogs and salamanders in the many vernal pools littered throughout the local landscape. The more time I spent in the woods, the more I discovered that it was a part of my identity. Wild spaces became a sanctuary for me in my youth and continue to be of the upmost importance to me as an adult. Investigation and discovery in the outdoors led me to pursue a career in natural resource education and management.

In 2013 I joined the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center staff as part of the graduate naturalist program. I stayed on for two years and became deeply rooted and enamored with the ELC campus and with the surrounding north shore of Lake Superior. Today I live in Finland, Minnesota and work as a forestry and wildlife technician. Much of my work is devoted to sustainably managing natural resources, educating others, and helping to create a more diverse and resilient landscape. I first began experimenting with photography by using trail cameras to monitor wildlife in college. The first setup was on a deer carcass and I couldn’t believe how many critters showed up to inquire! I have been hooked on remote cameras ever since.

Technology can give us a profound window into the lives of untamed creatures; for me it has fostered a greater appreciation and respect for the wild. Photography has taught me to interact more intimately with the environment, focus on detail, and to read the stories written in the earth. I am most interested in using my images and the accompanying tales as conservation tools. I strive to spark curiosity in others and help connect folks to the natural world. I believe images can induce powerful feelings, transfer knowledge, and facilitate informed decisions. There are always new ways to be found that we may share and learn from nature’s brilliance.

When I photograph animal subjects, I am sure to practice ethics that promote positive human-wildlife relationships. I take precautions not to habituate animals or alter natural behaviors. All animal subjects are wild and free, unless otherwise noted (I have taken portraits of captive wildlife resident to Zoos and Learning Centers). 

*I have used local road kill and natural scents during camera trap research projects of furbearing carnivores (at Wolf Ridge ELC and with the Natural Resources Research Institute and with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation)*

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