Rob Floerke — a longtime local resident and past president of the Photography Club of Davis — has been taking pictures of wildlife for decades. Some of his favorite images are on display throughout November at Gallery 1855, in the office of Davis Cemetery District, 820 Pole Line Road.
Floerke developed an interest in photography as a high school student. His career as a wildlife biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game spanned some 35 years, concluding with his retirement in 2007. Floerke has photographed wildlife in Africa, off the coast of Mexico, and in various parts of the United States, drawing on his expertise as a trained scientist as well as his formal studies as an artist with a camera.
“There’s a picture of a sperm whale I got last February on a whale-watching trip that went south from San Diego,” Floerke said. “We spent 14 days on the ocean, and saw nine species of whales. Also elephant seals.”
Other images include vultures photographed in Tanzania, in the grassy ecosystem known as the Serengeti.
“The challenging part of wildlife photography is finding the animal, getting the animal in the right light, getting the animal in a posture or position for your photo, and getting close enough to take the picture without changing their behavior,” Floerke said.
Naturally, it can take many hours to come up with a few memorable shots.
Floerke got his first camera when he was a high school student — “it was an Olympus OM-1,” he vividly recalls. “I took a break for a few years when my wife (Dale Hoffman-Floerke) and I were raising our sons, Zachary and Wyatt. Now that I’m retired and have joined the Photography Club, I’ve started taking photography classes in earnest and improve my style, so people can share my excitement as well as an inner feeling of connectedness.”
This is Floerke’s first solo show. His wildlife photos have been published in the book “Crown Jewels: Five Great National Parks Around the World and the Challenges They Face”; in Outdoor California magazine, where Floerke received an honorable mention in the 2013 California Wildlife Photo of the Year category; and in books for children.
His photographs will be on display at Gallery 1855 on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Nov. 30. For more information, call 530-756-7807.