Many in the Milford community know Joey Melin as the Milford School District Officer responsible for all 7 schools in the Milford District. Currently in the position for the past 3 years, Melvin has been recognized for his work implementing comprehensive school safety plans for each Milford school and hosting cyberbullying outreach programs for Milford parents and students. What many do not know, is in addition to Melvin’s passion for law enforcement he has a strong ambition to become a well-know wildlife photographer.
Born out of his love for hunting, his pursuit of outdoor photography started at a young age as Joey began to spend most of his time outdoors. As his love for nature grew stronger, Joey decided he wanted to document his time outdoors and started shooting with the first camera he could find.
“Hunting was my inspiration, when you spend a lot of time outdoors you see something magical,” commented Melvin. “I find that to this day when I’m out on a hunt I bring my camera. Even on days when I leave with no harvest, I leave with memories I can share.”
As he matured as an artist, Joey moved to more advanced equipment and has now been featured in several publications including American Waterfowl Magazine, Delaware Beach Life, Outdoor Delaware Magazine and Ducks Unlimited. Joey takes a majority of his photographs at Prime Hook Wildlife refuge just south of Milford and enjoys capturing photographs of waterfowl and other wildlife.
“My favorite wildlife to photograph is waterfowl because it is so challenging,” commented Joey. “Getting that perfect wildlife shot is totally dependent on the elements, everything has to be in line. Even when the camera is on the perfect subject there may be no lighting or too much lighting.” After 10 years of photographing wildlife Joey now spends most of his time scouting, timing and studying the weather.
Melvin enjoys accompanying family and friends on hunts and capturing candid shots of the hunt without the subject matter knowing. He tries to capture that feeling between the hunters, their dogs and nature.
“There is nothing more true than seeing people react naturally when they do not know they are being photographed,” commented Melvin. “Many times when we are done with a hunt I will order prints for people there that day. To see them interacting with their son or their dog naturally means a lot to them.”
The next step for Joey is to continue his ambition of publishing a book comprised solely of his outdoor wildlife photographs. His advice for amateur photographer, just like himself 10 years ago, is to take photographs everywhere, all the time.
“Keep a camera with you at all times,”commented Melvin. “You don’t know when the opportunity will come.”