A Focus on Nature

Marshfield photographer John Grant captures vibrant winter wildlife images.

By Judy Enright | Photography by John Grant

Known for his eye-catching images of New England wildlife, Marshfield photographer John Grant happily admits that he’s found his calling. “We all know success when we all find our own dreams,” says Grant, quoting guitarist Pete Townshend from the English rock group The Who. “That’s what happened to me.”

But Grant’s dream didn’t come true overnight. He paid his dues with years of specialized schooling and a 35-year stint in a general photography studio on the South Shore. “I wanted to be a fashion photographer,” he says with a laugh, “but I ended up photographing babies.”

Grant developed his appreciation for photography at a young age, inspired by his father, who was an aerial photographer during WWII. He went on to study at the Art Institute of Boston and the Hallmark Institute of Photography and credits friends like Sean Goss, from Goss Photo in Hanover, with helping him gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for photography and how it relates to the printing process. These days, Grant spends the majority of his time photographing the beauty he sees in nature and in particular the creatures that inhabit that world.

Grant’s portfolio includes images depicting eagles in mid-flight, the wide-eyed innocence of twin fox kits and the amber-eyed stare of a rare Great Gray Owl.

“In animals there is a freeness that I don’t see in other things,” says Grant. “I’m privileged to be able to visit their world for a little while. It’s a great stress reducer and an escape for me. My challenge is to catch [the animals] in a situation where light and shadow combine to make them even more beautiful.”

All of Grant’s wildlife photos are taken in New England and the majority are shot on the South Shore at places like Duxbury Beach and Mass Audubon sanctuaries.

“Most days I get nothing,” says Grant, “then one day I’ll walk into something and it just happens.” Occasionally, he and fellow nature photographers will exchange tips on noteworthy photo ops. He was recently alerted, for example, to a rare great gray owl sighting in New Hampshire, so he jumped in his car and drove there immediately. “That owl is usually seen only in Canada and the western part of this country. It never comes down to New Hampshire,” says Grant.

Some of Grant’s most captivating photographs have been taken on cold winter days, such as a snowy owl soaring across an azure sky and the brilliant scarlet of a male cardinal’s feathers in a snowstorm. But for Grant, there is joy in the journey.

“I’ve been photographing for 45 years and I enjoy it much more now than when I started,” says Grant. “I always try to take a better picture today than I took yesterday.”

To see more of Grant’s work, visit: photojfg.smugmug.com.

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