Photography can be a lonely journey for some. If you are just beginning your foray into wildlife and/or underwater photography, then please join Mike O’Leary and me as we host a free webinar on Saturday, August 24th at 3pm EST. With this webinar, Mike and I hope to answer any questions you may have in relation to starting out in wildlife or underwater photography, as well as how one can use the medium as a positive force.
This open dialogue between Fstoppers’ readers and writers will touch on various topics including: techniques, gear, making money as a professional, and ethics. As a species, mankind has advanced to a position of power beyond apex predator status. Even in the wilderness, we have the choice to have either a positive or negative impact on the habitat around us.
For instance, it is often stereotyped how some elite photographers may behave with some form of disdain or arrogance towards their clients or models. We can apply this same analogy to wildlife photography. In all cases, the subject should be treated with respect. It can be tempting to manufacture photo-worthy events or activity in the wild, but we must be thoughtful and considered in asking ourselves ideological questions. Some of these might include:
- Can photography really change people's behaviors and have a positive effect on environmental issues?
- Is photography really the best way to raise funds for conservation?
- Is it okay to bait an animal for a photo?
- Is manual intervention really that damaging to a creature who is already relatively accustomed to humans?
- What is the real price of photography safaris?
The answers to all these questions may land in a gray area. Our view might be wildly different to yours, but we think that this is a unique opportunity to come together as a community and discuss these deep and fascinating topics. Whatever your views are, we feel that, as photographers, we are in a position to give a voice to things that do not otherwise have one. Our images serve as important historical artifacts about the state of the environment and species at a certain point in time. Whether highlighting climate change, habitat destruction, or species' extinction, our roles as photographers are to document and share evidence of such tragic developments in order to raise awareness and hopefully spur action for positive change.
Photographing wild animals, whether on land or underwater, is one of the most fulfilling experiences any photographer can have, and it is our hope to introduce this experience to more people. We hope you will join us!
If you would like to sign up for the 40-minute webinar we simply ask that you have a keen interest in underwater or wildlife photography and have an active Fstopper's profile. When you sign up on either of our websites (Mike / Joanna), you'll receive an email confirmation and log-in details for the webinar.
Please note we intend to share the recording in a future article on Fstoppers.
About the Hosts:
Mike O'Leary | GreenGrafPhotography.com
Mike O'Leary is a landscape, architecture, commercial, and wildlife photographer based in Ireland. He is a two-time college dropout from media studies — specifically Video Production and Photography — in the early 2000's. Suffice it to say that his new found freedom away from home, and his boundless curiosity got the better of him while he was supposed to be studying.
The years after were spent bouncing from one job to another, not sure of what he was doing. Years later, Mike embraced his fondness for wildlife as a form of therapy, which led him to study biological and environmental science for two years, with the intent of becoming an ecologist. He realized after those two years that it wasn’t for him, and so his interest in the natural world waned for a while.
Fast-forward to four years ago: Mike picked up a camera again, this time intent on making a go of it. He was interacting with the wilderness again, but this time in a more artful way. Two years after starting his business, he received a phone call that changed his life. An acquaintance in South Africa needed help to raise funds to help protect the rhinos on the reserve he works on. He had come full circle. The two things that gave him the most joy in life had laid themselves before him. Mike has been to Africa three times in the last year, his photos have been used by a nonprofit and have also appeared in Playboy Magazine.
He has been bitten by the wildlife photography bug, but his enduring curiosity for ecology has added the complex and often-times controversial topic of conservation to his career path.
Joanna Lentini | DeepFocusImages.com
Joanna Lentini is a freelance writer and award-winning photographer specializing in underwater and aerial imagery. Her work encompasses conservation issues, outdoor adventure, and wildlife photography. In her spare time, she is the COO of the non-profit Oceans in Focus, which delivers ocean educational outreach programs to children.
She has collaborated with other artists on several expeditions to the Arctic to document the changing landscape. The work she produced during the Elysium Artists for the Arctic expedition was published in a coffee table book and was part of group exhibitions around the world. She also participated in the all-female Sedna Epic expedition to Baffin Island, Canada, which delivered ocean outreach programs to Inuit youth based in Iqaluit.
While she has been awarded in several international photography competitions, she was one of only a few women awarded in the 52nd annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
After spending many years living abroad and exploring Southeast Asia and Europe, she is back in the States and calls New York home.