I am a scientist, an adventurer, and an artist. I strive to explore the world, understand its intricacies in exquisite detail, and use my experiences and knowledge to create artistic expressions of the natural world, and my relationship to it. My hope is that my artwork inspires a sense of curiosity in my viewers, inviting them to ask questions, encouraging them to explore, learn about, and respect and preserve our world. I do most of my photography in the wilderness, far away from the beaten path. It is in these places that I find inspiration by exploring the unexplored, and understanding the unknown.
Art has always been a large part of my life, and I can confidently say that in addition to the countless hours I have spent out in the woods, my photographic style has been largely influenced by my experience in painting, jazz guitar, and engineering. Eventually, I settled on nature photography for my creative outlet as it combines my passions for the natural world, discovery, innovation, excitement, and inner peace.
In a single outing I can experience the thrill of a close encounter with a bear, dream up new ways of capturing light and form, and relax beside an alpine tarn - no other activity provides me with the diversity of experience that nature photography does. I started with bird photography, a result of my interest in painting birds, but quickly progressed to incorporate the rest of the natural world into my photographic vision.
I now spend as much time as possible photographing on backroads and in the backcountry, exploring places far from tourists and crowds, free to create my art at my own pace. I wish I could say I did photography for some good reason like environmental awareness, but in truth the driving force behind my photography is simply a passion for the natural world and an expression of my creativity. My hope is that these images, created from the heart, will touch and inspire others to appreciate, and care for, the world around them.
1. WICH IS THE CENTRAL QUESTION IN YOUR LIFE AS A PHOTOGRAPHER?
I have two primary goals in my photography.
The first is to capture the essence of true wilderness, with the hope of inspiring others to venture out into the world and see what it has to offer.
The second is to take images that inspire the viewer to ask questions, and as a scientist, I take this opportunity to explain something about the natural world.
2. WHO ARE THE PHOTOGRAPHERS / OR OTHER ARTISTS THAT INSPIRE YOU?
Truth be told, I am more inspired by the natural world itself than any particular photographers!
3. WHAT MAKES AN EXCELLENT PHOTOGRAPHER?
Being a photographer is about more than having a camera. It is about having an important story to tell, and having a unique vision on how to tell that story.
4. WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT DECIDING TO BECOME A FULL-TIME PHOTOGRAPHER?
I am part scientist, and part photographer, and I don't know any other way of life. The hardest part is finding time to do the things everyone needs to do - like cleaning the dishes and doing my laundry!
5. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU IN YOUR WORK AND WHAT IS DEMOTIVATING?
I am motivated by exploring new places, and thinking of new creative ways to photograph interesting natural phenomena.
6. WHAT ARE THE MOST PASSIONATE MOMENTS IN YOUR WORK?
Being alone, in the wilderness, and the time to explore. One never knows what incredible scene - big or small - will be around the next corner!
7. WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES IN YOUR WORK? Balancing my photography with my scientific endeavors, and the rest of life.
8. HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR ARTISTRY? I have been making images seriously since 2006, but my artistic journey started long before that with painting and music. Photography was the art form that stuck with me, because it allows me to pursue a deep and strong connection to the natural world.
9. WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR PERSONAL LEARNING IN PHOTOGRAPHY THAT YOU WOULD CONVEY TO A "NOVICE"?
Photograph what you love to photograph, and develop your personal voice. Don't spend too much time on the internet, and don't listen too carefully to what other photographers have to say. Just do your own thing.
10. WHICH ARE THE DRIVING FORCES FOR YOU PERSONALLY AND IN YOUR WORK?
My primary motivation is being out there, exploring, and making photographs that tell a story. Upon coming back home, I use my images as an opportunity to learn, and to teach, about the places I've been and the things I've seen.
11. WHICH FEELINGS DETERMINE YOUR WORK WHEN OUT IN THE FIELD?
When I travel to make images, the primary feeling I look for is solitude. I cannot make an image in a crowd of tourists. I am most at home when no one (aside from a friend or two) is around, and those are the moments when I can lose myself in nature.
12. ON WHICH CRITERIA DO YOU JUDGE YOUR OWN WORK AS SUCCESSFUL?
For an image to be successful in my eyes, it must be unique, aesthetically engaging, and carry a deeper message than simply being a beautiful scene. For me, that deeper message is typically either about the feeling of wilderness and solitude, or about the inner workings of the natural world.
13. YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK AND THE BEAUTY OF OUR PLANET, NATURE: WHAT CONNECTION DO YOU SEE?
My hope is that my images help make that connection in two ways. First, I hope people see my images, and become inspired to see these kinds of places for themselves. Only then will they truly understand why we need to protect nature from humanity.
Second, I hope my images inspire people to learn more about the natural world, and thereby become inspired to do what they can to minimize their impact.
14. ASSUMING YOU WOULD HAVE 15 MINUTES ON A TV BROADCAST AND PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD COULD LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WERE SAYING, WHAT WOULD BE THE CORE OF YOUR MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE?
Explore nature, ask questions, and learn about the world outside through firsthand experience.
»I have two primary goals in my photography. The first is to capture the essence of true wilderness, with the hope of inspiring others to venture out into the world and see what it has to offer. The second is to take images that inspire the viewer to ask questions, and as a scientist, I take this opportunity to explain something about the natural world«.
- 2015 | BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, finalist (land)
- 2015 | BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, finalist (details)
- 2011 | Nature's Best, highly commended (man in nature)
- 2010 | Art of Science at Caltech, Winner
- 2010 | BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, highly commended (wild places)
- 2010 | Nature's Best, highly commended (plant life)
- 2010 | Center for Fine Art Photography, 'Motion Exhibition'
- 2009 | BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, runner-up (animals in their environment)
- 2009 | BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, highly commended, (wild places)
- 2009 | BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, highly commended, (in praise of plants)
- 2009 | Editor's Pick, 5 times, Nature Photographer's Network (now a moderator)
Project: Alone in the Universe
One of my favorite photographic subjects is capturing the moments when I am in wild places, contemplating my place in the universe. I like to wonder about where I, as one single human being, fit in. It is difficult to capture this feeling, but sometimes I stumble upon another denizen of the Earth—perhaps a tree, or another animal, or some invisible spirit—that seems to be in the same frame of mind. These moments speak to me, and I use them to convey the enormity of our world, together with its beauty. As I continue to spend time in wild places, I am always on the lookout for these special moments.
Project: The Underworld
Below the Earth’s surface lies an inspiring network of canyons and tunnels. These twisted passages offer a mysterious path through geological time, as they expose the sediments that were laid down over the course of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of years. I enjoy exploring these canyons, watching as the light bounces off of the walls and creates a rainbow of colors as it scatters. In photographing these scenes, I try to capture the elegant curves, the mystery of each bend, and the details of rock and ice that have been so carefully sculpted by mother nature.