Breaking News Bar
updated: 7/20/2012 11:10 AM

Moving Picture: Palatine pet doc turns photographer

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Veterinarian Dr. Bob Esbensen stops to look at an X-ray of a kitten at the Arlington Cat Clinic.

       Veterinarian Dr. Bob Esbensen stops to look at an X-ray of a kitten at the Arlington Cat Clinic.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Dr. Bob Esbensen walks through the woods at Deer Grove Forest Preserve in Palatine looking to take pictures of birds or other wildlife. He has learned to develop his talents as a nature photographer by taking classes with notable nature photographers.

       Dr. Bob Esbensen walks through the woods at Deer Grove Forest Preserve in Palatine looking to take pictures of birds or other wildlife. He has learned to develop his talents as a nature photographer by taking classes with notable nature photographers.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Dr. Bob Esbensen stops in a field at Deer Grove Forest Preserve in Palatine to take a picture as a bird flies overhead. "Sometimes they can be here for just a fleeting instant and you have just a very short period of time to get your shot. I like the challenge of that," Esbensen explained.

       Dr. Bob Esbensen stops in a field at Deer Grove Forest Preserve in Palatine to take a picture as a bird flies overhead. "Sometimes they can be here for just a fleeting instant and you have just a very short period of time to get your shot. I like the challenge of that," Esbensen explained.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Veterinarian Dr. Bob Esbensen, of Palatine, checks the ears of Tate, a domestic longhair cat. Esbensen works exclusively with cats at the Arlington Cat Clinic in Arlington Heights that was started with his wife, Dr. Gloria, in 1988.

       Veterinarian Dr. Bob Esbensen, of Palatine, checks the ears of Tate, a domestic longhair cat. Esbensen works exclusively with cats at the Arlington Cat Clinic in Arlington Heights that was started with his wife, Dr. Gloria, in 1988.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • A frog peeks out from pond water at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg in 2008.

      A frog peeks out from pond water at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg in 2008.
    photography by Bob Esbensen

  • Video: Moving Picture: The Cat Doctor

 
By Gilbert R. Boucher II
gboucher@dailyherald.com

Bob Esbensen of Palatine always knew he wanted to care for animals, and with that purpose, he became a veterinarian. But later in life, that interest in animals led him down another path -- to develop his photography skills and become a wildlife photographer.

Esbensen wanted to be a veterinarian from the time he was a kid. He had a kennel job at Palatine Animal Hospital when he was in high school, which nurtured his interest in caring for animals.

"I always wanted to help animals and that is how I got into veterinarian medicine," Esbensen said.

He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1981 with a degree in veterinary medicine. At veterinarian school, Esbensen met his wife, Gloria, and together they opened the Arlington Cat Clinic in Arlington Heights in 1988. The animal hospital specializes in the care of cats including surgery, ultrasound and endoscopy.

Shortly after he graduated from college, Esbensen got his first camera, a Minolta Maxxum SLR camera, and he started using it during fishing trips.

But it wasn't until Gloria took him into a shop in Galena that Bob's interest in nature photography took a major turn.

"She said 'I've got to show you this one shop. You'll be really interested in this.' and she takes me into Images of Nature, Thomas Mangelsen's shop, and there were just these incredible pictures," Esbensen said. A short time later, he got a digital camera, a Nikon D70S, and a 300 mm lens to capture animals in the wild.

He sought to improve his skills by taking classes with one of the Nikon-sponsored workshops, nature photographer John Shaw's workshop and the Yosemite Photography Workshop with Phil Hawkins, focusing on landscape photography.

"I just enjoy being outside and getting into nature, especially with the animals and the wildlife," Esbensen said as he walked around Lake Arlington Park. "Sometimes they can be here for just a fleeting instant and you have just a very short period of time to get your shot. I like the challenge of that."

His interest in taking pictures of wildlife has taken him to Alaska, California, Wyoming and South Dakota in search of capturing more unusual animals, such as bears, antelope, and bison.

And on the weekends, he can be found walking the woods with his camera at a summer home in western Illinois waiting for that fleeting moment when a hummingbird or a bullfrog makes an appearance.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here