As a fine art photographer, Deborah Wolford seeks out experiences that allow her to observe animals in their natural habitats, so that she can try to capture their essence, their subtle movements, their gestures toward one another. Sometimes, she says, it takes a lot of time and energy, but she’s always rewarded by what nature wants to surprise her with. These surprises have occurred while photographing wild horses in Vermont, in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, and across the American West. They’ve occurred on a photographic safari in South Africa, in Europe, and throughout the wetlands of Florida, where she lives. Since becoming a Florida Master Naturalist and National Wildlife Federation Habitat Steward, Wolford says she is better able to understand the environment and the wildlife that inhabits it—an experience that, to her, has made her a better photographer.

Wolford has exhibited in galleries throughout the US, and in 2014, her work was chosen for a Creative Artist Advancement Program Grant—funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts—for a community redevelopment project in Dania Beach, Florida.

Photography hasn’t always been her creative focus. For a while, Wolford was a metalsmith and sculptor. She describes herself as curious by nature. She likes to explore. Currently, she is working with mixed media as a way of stretching herself creatively. She wants to learn to “see” differently and to engage with the world with greater artistic depth. But her real passion is photographing animals in the wild, especially horses.