Casper, Wyoming. — Casper resident TJ Vernon has traveled to many exotic places over the years, from the jungles of South America to the plains of Africa and the mountains of Nepal. Driven by his passion and skill for wildlife photography, he travels with his camera on every trip. Now, he has decided to share this passion with others and has opened his own wildlife photography business.
Vernon developed a love for the outdoors, wildlife and nature at an early age and over time this passion merged with an interest in photography. It’s only in the past five years or so that Vernon says he’s worked with professional-grade equipment, but for most of his life, he’s been seen with a camera in hand.
Vernon, who works as an anesthesiologist at Banner Wyoming Medical Center, said his job allows him to more fully pursue his passions.
“I grew up loving the outdoors, animals and photography,” he said. “If I grew up, I could do more; especially since coming to Wyoming and working here [at the hospital] I’ve been able to take some really fun trips and get some nice photography equipment. “
These trips allowed Vernon to hone his photography skills by photographing movie animals that most Americans would never see outside a zoo. Recently, Vernon returned from a trip to Brazil, where he explored one of the few places on Earth where jaguars can be found in the wild. On another recent expedition, he traveled to Canada’s Great Northern Territory to photograph polar bears, among other things.
“I just want to find interesting animals and interesting behavior,” he said. “I try to get unique things and images that people may not have seen before.
“My favorite trip was Africa; what I saw there was amazing. This jaguar trip was probably my second favorite.”
But while Vernon has traveled the globe as a photographer, he also points out with a smile that there are many great opportunities for wildlife art in his home state of Wyoming.
“There’s a lot to film in Wyoming,” he said. “Even here in Casper, we have bald eagle nests, beavers and foxes, etc. Wyoming is a beautiful state and I love taking pictures of it; all my photography isn’t done far away anyway of.”
Over time, Vernon began to think about sharing his art with the world. The idea to start a photography business was born, which his wife, Kayleigh Vernon, said was based on a desire to make art affordable.
“One of the things TJ said to me was, ‘A lot of times you’ll walk into someone’s home and there’s not a lot of art in there because it’s too expensive,'” Kayleigh Vernon said. “He told me he wanted to make art in a way that more people could afford.”
“Photographers who do art as a career, they need to make enough money to stay afloat, that’s why the prices are high,” added TJ Vernon. So I can not charge so much money.”
Determined to start his own photography business, TJ Vernon began looking for a place to showcase his art, and soon he found Food For Thought Market at 420 W. 1st St.
He said the market was enthusiastic about the collaboration with Vernon, who will be celebrating the grand opening of his new gallery on November 12. 27 at the market from 4-7pm.
Vernon’s artwork will be available in the marketplace and potential clients can also connect with him on the Thomas James Photography social media on Facebook and Instagram. He said he doesn’t currently have a website but is considering creating one in the future if his business does well.
“I’m just looking forward to continuing to grow as a photographer and share it with everyone,” he says with a laugh.