Bill Peak’s outdoors photo hobby started by capturing nature in urban setting
By Dale Bowman Post-Tribune correspondent September 12, 2013 11:14PM
Bill Peak specializes in close-ups of everything from a bird feeding in water to an insect feeding on a plant, but was first pulled by the contrast of imagery of the wilds and industrial past around Wolf Lake.| Photos provided by Bill Peak/for Sun-Times Media.
Updated: September 12, 2013 11:16PM
A series of photos by Bill Peak of a green heron feeding on frogs at a Crown Point pond reminded me how much I love his photography. The shots were tight and graphically showed a frog being consumed.
Years ago, Peak started sending wonderful wild images (deer, coyotes, birds) from Wolf Lake. He then lived on Chicago’s southeast side.
“One of the things that drove me was that when I was walking at Wolf Lake a lot of people that I’d talk to would tell me that they either did not know that this nature area was there or that is was as nice as it was,’’ said Peak, who has an old dog he needs to walk a lot.
“I wanted to photograph it in a way that showed that there was more there than brownfields and abandoned factories and steel mills. Another thing was that this natural area was located between an oil refinery and the Ford assembly plant, yet you could go there and fish, hunt, and enjoy nature.’’
Intensity of closeups makes his photography, which may be followed on Flickr, distinctive.
“I like to get as close to the subject as I can because I like showing the subject in a light that you don’t normally see them (for example small birds that you normally see only as a small brown blip or small flowers that you would just walk by without noticing),’’ he said in an email interview this week.
Since he moved to Crown Point, he still goes to Wolf Lake, but he also focuses on Lemon Lake in Cedar Lake, the Taltree Arboretum in Valparaiso and Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area.
“I became hooked on digital photography after buying a small camera for a golf outing,’’ Peak said. “Just before retiring I upgraded to a DSLR and I now have a Canon T3i with several lenses, a 18-55, 55-250, and a 75-300mm, several tripods, and flashes.’’
Peak grew up near U.S. Steel South Works and retired after 30 years in the Chicago Police Department.
“Which is why I enjoy the peace, quiet and beauty in nature,’’ he said.
Fishing: With small craft warnings through this evening, Lake Michigan is messed up for the weekend. But Tuesday and Wednesday, big kings were caught in front of the Ditch. A fair bite for lakers and a few kings is ongoing deep in 110 feet, said Capt. Rich Sleziak of Slez’s Bait in Lake Station.
There was good perching east and west of Michigan City, said Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert. That’s probably shot.
Streams have been low, slow and hot. But Breidert said, “Next week should see more movement into the creeks as major king runs have not occurred as of yet. Coho continue to move into Trail Creek.’’
Hunting: Teal season, which opened Saturday, has been slow. The count at Kankakee FWA early in the week only had 125 blue-winged teal. But plenty of hunters were out Thursday morning at Willow Slough FWA, hoping the weather change brought birds in. Willow Slough reported better hunter success Tuesday (43 shot) and Wednesday (35). ... Urban deer hunting opens Sunday. ... Early Canada goose season ends Sunday.
Youth clinic: A couple spots remain for the Kankakee River Hunting Retriever Club’s free waterfowl hunting clinic for youth (8-16) at the Grand Kankakee Marsh County Park on Sept. 21. Call (219) 808-3294 or email email@example.com.