When you think “wildlife photographer,” you probably aren’t picturing someone staring at their laptop screen from their high-rise apartment building in Canada’s largest city…But that’s exactly where I was when I submitted my proposal for the OM-5 Tell Your Story project.

My goal? To tell stories of “Connections in the Wild,” by capturing social dynamics and behaviours among wildlife. I hoped that if I could photograph moments of connection between my subjects, I could ultimately make us feel more connected to them.

With a brand new OM-5 in hand, the encouragement of my mentor (and wildlife photography hero!) Brooke Bartleson, and the support of what felt like the whole OM SYSTEM team behind me, I set out to make my project come to life. Along the way, I learned some valuable lessons that I wanted to share…


Sweat The Small Stuff

For the first time since I picked up my camera, I had a specific photography goal to guide me. And because of that, I ended up spending time with species I normally might have passed right by.  

I stopped for every gaggle of geese, every family of groundhogs, and every flock of pigeons I came across – hoping to see how these social species would interact with each other. 

This gave me a whole new glimpse into their wild worlds! By the end of the project, some of the photos I was most excited about weren’t of bears or moose… They were of the little critters we often overlook! They were living their intricate lives around me each day, but I had never fully stopped to pay attention before. My OM-5 helped me appreciate these moments (and these animals) that I would not have otherwise.  

OM-5 | M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm F4.0 PRO
1/500s | f4.0 | ISO200]
OM-5 | M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm F4.8-6.7
1/50s | f5.6 | ISO5000]

Always Bring Your Camera 

Many of the most exciting moments in wildlife photography happen when we least expect them to. The OM-5 really was a game changer for me, in that it was so lightweight and versatile that I ended up bringing my camera everywhere (and I mean everywhere!). Running errands? Walking the dog? Kayaking? My OM-5 was slung over my shoulder.

This led to photo opportunities I normally would have missed! Like finally getting a quick shot of my neighbourhood skunk while out on a dog walk, or of the painted turtle who needed a hand crossing the road. With my OM-5 in-hand, I was ready for the unplanned moments and unexpected encounters.

OM-5 | M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm F4.8-6.7
1/100s | f5.5 | ISO6400]
OM-5 | M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm F4.8-6.7
1/6000s | f6.2 | ISO6400]

Look For The Little Moments

The most magical moments often felt small and fleeting, but also part of a much bigger story. Like the way an elk’s eyes never left her calf while she grazed. Or the way a fox kit playfully grabbed onto his unsuspecting sibling’s tail.

These interactions happened so fast, I almost missed them! But they left me in awe of the undeniable bonds and beautifully complex relationships that exist between the wildlife.

OM-5 | M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm F4.8-6.7
1/1000s | f6.2 | ISO3200]
fox kits
OM-5 | M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm F4.8-6.71/2500s | f5.6 | ISO1250]

Appreciate Life’s Seasons

I worried the summer months might pose daunting challenges for wildlife photography. I thought about long days and harsh light. I worried spring babies would be bigger, more independent. That parks would be more crowded. That there wouldn’t be much to see (let alone photograph).

Now, I can confidently say, I was so wrong! There was still so much life happening around me, even if it took a bit more work (and meant setting the alarm a bit earlier!) to find my subjects. Spring babies were growing up, becoming more curious and brave. Young bulls’ and bucks’ antlers were growing in, as they practiced sparring with other bachelors in preparation for the rut. Through this project, I was reminded of the beauty in all of life’s seasons.

OM-5 | M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm F4.8-6.7
1/2000s | f6.1 | ISO6400
OM-5 | M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm F4.8-6.7
1/500 | f6.5 | ISO 640

The “Wild” is All Around Us

As someone living in a big city, most of my subjects are urban (like me!). The wildlife I typically see aren’t bears or wolves – they’re squirrels, mallards, and house sparrows. Early on in the project, I worried I wasn’t finding enough “exciting” animals. When I shared these concerns with my mentor, Brooke (who is known for capturing moments with very exciting subjects), she shared an important reminder (and perspective check):

“What speaks to me most about your images so far is that these are relatable photos. The way I see it, most photographers don't have access to the larger wildlife in rural/remote areas, but everyone has the opportunity to photograph local/urban wildlife. I think images like what you've gathered so far will resonate with the majority of viewers, and ultimately hopefully inspire them to take ordinary encounters and turn them into extraordinary shots.”

Brooke reminded me of the reason I picked up my camera in the first place: to show people that you don’t need to be deep in the wilderness to connect with nature and wildlife — you can start by looking in your own backyard! While many of us don’t have regular opportunities to photograph moose, grizzlies, or bison, we do all have wildlife around us! There are so many thrilling moments happening all around us every day – we just have to look for them.

grizzly bear
OM-5 | M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm F4.8-6.7
1/500s | f6.3 | ISO200

My dream for this project was to show others how much we have in common with the creatures we share our world with, and to help us reimagine how our existence is intertwined with theirs. But even though I set out to capture connections between wildlife, this project left me feeling more connected to the wild world than ever. 

Bio - Cari Siebrits


IG: @wildlifewithcari

Cari Siebrits is one of the photographers selected to participate in the OM-5 Tell Your Story project. She is a wildlife photographer and writer, passionate about promoting peaceful coexistence between humans and the wild world. Driven by her lifelong awe of wildlife, and guided by her commitment to ethical photography and compelling storytelling, she’s an advocate for conservation, sustainable living, and public education. Through her images, she hopes to share intimate moments in nature that connect communities with the wildlife around them.