For photographer Shaun Antle, the COVID-19 lockdown was as difficult as it was filled with opportunity and time. “I had been into photography for the better part of 25 years,” says Shaun. “I just loved the thought of capturing life’s moments and the world around me, so as a kid, as soon as I could have a camera, I had one.” Shaun spent his early years taking pictures of friends and different locations during family trips to Newfoundland. His Newfoundland roots can be found in the name, Oh Me Nerves. “It’s a common expression for when things are wearing on you, and with photography, whether it’s waiting on wildlife, or seeing something amazing, your nerves are always firing somehow some way.”

When the pandemic hit, Shaun found himself with more free time and struggles with his mental health. “I turned to photography as a therapeutic way to escape all the noise caused by depression and anxiety. It was then that I found a passion for capturing birds. From there I started taking pictures of all kinds of wildlife.” Currently, Shaun’s go-to camera is a mirrorless and crop-sensor Canon R7 paired with a Sigma 150 to 600 telephoto lens. And he has no hesitation in traveling to find a great location for taking photos. “There’s not a lot of wildlife in Corunna, so I occasionally head out on expeditions to places like Ontario Parks and Point Pelee; either solo, with the family, or with my good pal and fellow photographer Tim Dezan.”

Shaun has also started to get his work out to the public. Aside from having a number of his pictures featured locally in the Sarnia Journal, Shaun has also had the good fortune to have his work featured by Canadian Geographic. That was a game-changer! “My four top goals as a photographer are to be featured by Canadian Geographic and National Geographic, and then to be published in Canadian Geographic and National Geographic. After two years of really starting to take this seriously, I have accomplished the first of those four. ”

To help introduce people to his art, Shaun has created a home studio/gallery. “We painted the studio and put in gallery-style lighting,” Shaun says. “I want to have parties where people can come for wine and snacks and check out my work. The idea is to change it up regularly, so they see the different art.” Although Shaun isn’t interested in shooting weddings, he has branched out to doing headshots and lifestyle shots with families and pets, both in-studio and outdoors.

Before the holiday season, Shaun put together his first calendar featuring his photographs and it was a massive hit. “To drop $600 or $700 on 50 calendars not knowing if you’ll be able to sell them was a big leap of faith for me and my wife, Tara,” Shaun says. “Before I received the first 50 I had sold them, so I ordered 100 more and before the order had even been placed, I had to order 300 more. This year I am hoping to start with at least 500.”