With remarkable talent, freelance wildlife and nature photographer Lisa Manifold has pursued her passion for capturing an array of extraordinary images of the wild and natural world. Lisa currently resides in the great state of Arizona and is particularly fond of photographing hummingbirds and wild horses. She has been captivated by wild horses especially and hopes to bring awareness to the plight of these magnificent creatures. As you browse through her photos below, I think you will agree, Lisa excels at capturing the very essence of her subjects with her very own unique approach.
Lisa, thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and vision through your words and photography and for allowing us to get to know a bit about you. I wish you the best of luck to you with your future projects.
Can you please tell the readers a bit about yourself?
I spent my childhood in Cooperstown, NY, and enlisted in the United States Navy after graduating from high school. My goal was to go to Italy… the Navy thought Guam was a better fit. And so it was as I retired from the Navy 20 years later. My second to last duty station was aboard the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California. It’s been said you either love or hate the desert. I loved it and stayed to work aboard the base as a civilian until the sound of wild hooves lured me to relocate to the Phoenix area in Arizona to photograph wild horses.
Where is home?
Home is currently in Gold Canyon, Arizona, USA.
What inspired you to become a photographer?
Photographs of my six siblings and I — adorned in 60’s style outfits, hairdo’s, pointedly colorful eyeglasses and toothless grins — were prominently displayed in my childhood home. The memories of those photos coupled with my newfound love of grandchildren drove me to purchase a digital camera to take portraits of them in 2015. Little did I know just how much that camera would change my life! One photo after another, click after click after click; a few college classes, seminars, and months on end photographing, downloading, and posting prompted me to retire to see the world full time, through a Nikon lens or two or three… What I see and experience beyond the camera lens is captured in the photos I share through LM Manifold Photography on Facebook, Instagram, and my website.
From looking through your portfolio on your site, I can see that you are interested in a variety of photography styles. Of the styles you have explored, which has been your favorite and why?
My ongoing motto goes something like: Jack of all trades. Master of none. Currently, I’m partial to wildlife and nature with a BIG passion for wild horses and hummingbirds. I grew up with horses as a child. Spent many hours out in the surrounding countryside with them and developed many many wonderful memories! It is those memories and the time, respect, and love the horses shared with me why I’ve chosen to photograph wild horses to raise awareness of their current plight. A picture speaks a thousand words. So hear the words and voice of the wild Mustang through my photos to see them as the American Icon, the family, the wild. Another passion to photograph of mine is hummingbirds. Such magical, mystical critters. Love the challenge of trying to capture them in flight. My camera(s) have spent many, many hours photographing hummingbirds. Sometimes the screen is blank and other times a magnificent hummingbird peers back at me from a second in time. It is a heart-soaring experience hearing the thundering hooves of wild horses or the hummingbird’s beating wings and actually seeing them in my camera’s frame.
I find it imperative to be knowledgeable of both the horses and hummingbirds environments when photographing them and delight in the thrill of taking photos of flowers, lizards, jackrabbits, hawks, lightning, etc. So many factors, so many trades… master of none and jack of all…
What is your favorite part of heading out for a photo shoot?
Getting there and knowing I’ve remembered my camera and associated gear. Never good when you forget the camera but have done so and known a few other photographers to have done the same.
What has been your most memorable shoot and why?
One of my favorite photography outings was with the Onaqui wild horses. There must have been more than 100 wild horses grazing. Then, as if by cue they all turned and started walking in the same direction. I was with a friend and we were in the middle of the herd. Horses have been rounded up by humanity for years, but this was like being rounded up by the Mustang and asked to walk along. Somehow my friend and I had become part of the herd for a while. It was magical to belong to a herd.
What drives you to create; does it satisfy a need or passion?
In addition to my passion to raise awareness on the wild horses’ plight… I love to see what is beyond the lens. So often I can see with the camera what my eyes can’t see. And to capture “that” moment in time never to be repeated?
How do you keep yourself motivated and your photography fresh?
Every day is a new day to experience. While you may be in the same place, the light, season, plant and “critters” will not be. Look and see how the light changes. Can you capture the same animal, plant, or landscape in a different light? What story will it tell?
What do you hope viewers take away from your images?
I hope viewers see the spirit and feel the soul of the world and life I see beyond my lens. Especially the kindred soul of the wild horses.
Do you have any tips for aspiring photographers?
Photography is a journey. Work hard, dream big, never quit and Believe in Your vision —- not his, not hers, nor theirs —- Your vision. (Oh! And pay attention to marketing.)
What type of camera(s) do you shoot with? What’s your favorite lens?
I have Nikon DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras
What is your favorite photography accessory, other than your camera?
What piece of equipment would you most like to get but don’t have yet?
I have two items on my “lotto list”: 1- AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR for wildlife and 2 – lighting.
How important is Photoshop or other image editing software in your final images?
Photoshop and Lightroom enhance my artistic genre.
Was there a point in your journey when you started to feel really good about your work? If so, what did it feel like to get past that “tipping point?”
I’m happy with what I’ve achieved, but soooo much more to learn it often feels like I’ve barely scratched the surface.
What do you think the future holds for you?
I’m crossing my fingers and toes for enough sales to purchase a trip to Africa. I am working on several projects to include a large photographic mosaic piece; list of books about horses for children to raise awareness about horses and donate and/or read at public libraries; to create several wild horse cards to donate to Salt River Wild Horse Management Group.
Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
Still crossing my fingers and toes… I plan to have visited several more wild horse herds both in the U.S. and abroad and have the work shown in galleries.