Greene Co. photographer continues to improve his craft
In early April, after five years of extensive work and research, Neil Jernigan was able to get his shot of a bobcat in Greene County. Photo courtesy Neil Jernigan Photography
SNOW HILL — A five-year assignment was well worth it for Neil Jernigan.
Jernigan had been looking to get a picture of a bobcat for what felt like an eternity. The Greene County-based owner of Neil Jernigan Photography set up camera traps with heat and motion sensors after a meticulous process to find a bobcat dwelling.
“It took four years to find a location,” Jernigan said. “Bobcats can use a large territory for their home range, usually 10 to 30 square miles. Finding a place for one was difficult — they’re all over the state, but they’re so elusive that getting a picture is rare — and then it took another year before one finally walked in front of the camera.”
With a little trial and error, Jernigan was finally able to achieve his goal with a shot of a bobcat he posted on Facebook April 7. Part of Jernigan’s caption read “(five) years worth of countless hours of scouring, walking in checking batteries (and) memory cards. Camera (and) sensors getting flooded (and) destroyed. Poisin ivy everywhere, cuts from briars, tick and mosquito bites.”
Jernigan said he doesn’t regret the search for a second.
“It was one of the most frustrating things I’ve done photography-wise, but it was the most rewarding and satisfying,” Jernigan said. “There were a few times where I wanted to quit and sell my gear, but the image was worth it. What was interesting was the shot I took was about 100 yards away from someone’s house just outside of Snow Hill.”
Jernigan was born and raised in Greene County, graduating from Greene Central in 2009 before taking photography courses at Lenoir Community College. During his senior year at GC, Jernigan started working on his company and shot other images besides wildlife.
“I photographed a lot of weddings and senior portraits then,” Jernigan said. “My long-term goal was to do wildlife photography and I was able to step away from everything else three or four years ago.”
Jernigan said he prefers taking pictures of wildlife because of his upbringing and how it’s a great stress relief.
“I grew up involved in the outdoors, spending time hunting and fishing,” Jernigan said. “I love animals and I have a lot of passion for outdoor work — it’s very therapeutic to be out in nature with them. Some of my favorite shots come from black bears — Eastern North Carolina has the highest concentration of black bears in the world, especially in the Hyde and Washington County area.”
Jernigan has also taught workshops in the area, with hopes to do even more as time progresses.
”I’m trying to branch out in the future,” Jernigan said. “I haven’t done any workshops outside of North Carolina, but hope to in a year or two.”
To see more of Jernigan’s work, register for a workshop or deliver an inquiry, visit neiljernigan.com and jerniganoutdoorphoto.com.