The Power of Nature Photography from 5 Photographers Who Love What They Do

The Power of Nature Photography from 5 Photographers Who Love What They Do

Nature photographers capture the moments that most of us won’t have a chance to see in our lifetimes, and for that we are grateful. Plus, who doesn’t love photos of adorable bear cubs or a close-up of a cheetah running full speed?

But when we asked each nature photographer from The List about why they love this niche so much, they talked about a deeper sense of purpose. The incredible power of nature photography lies in its ability to remind us that we’re not the only ones who call this planet home, and we have a responsibility to take care of it. The images they make are not just inspiring and beautiful, they are crucial to the future of our world.

Feature photo by Christian Vizl

Ian Plant

Primary location: Minneapolis, MN
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“Whether hanging over the rim of an active volcano, braving the elements to photograph critically-endangered species, or trekking deep into the wilderness to places most people will never see, world-renowned professional photographer Ian Plant travels the globe seeking out amazing places and subjects in his never-ending quest to capture the beauty of our world with his camera. Ian is a frequent contributor to many leading photo magazines, Managing Editor of Outdoor Photography Guide, a Tamron Image Master, and the author of numerous books and instructional videos.”

What do you love about the nature photography niche?
“I feel a real connection with the natural world, and I absolutely love being in beautiful places or seeing incredible wildlife. There’s something indescribable about it; there’s something awe-inspiring about being surrounded by towering mountains, something heart-pounding about standing in front of a mighty waterfall, or something so peaceful about watching young mountain gorillas play, unaware of the critical role they play for the future of their species. And being able to capture that feeling or  moment with my camera — to preserve it forever and share it with others — is a privilege, and an honor that I find humbling. The challenge is to tell the story of my subject in a way that connects emotionally and visually with viewers.”

Photo by Ian Plant
Photo by Ian Plant

Christian Vizl

Primary location: México City, México
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“Christian Vizl is an award-winning underwater photographer. He was born in México City, has a degree in Business Administration, and trained as a diving instructor, cave diver, rafting guide, and sailor. He was a member of CEDAM, a Mexican organization devoted to marine archaeology, and he has lived all over the world.

What do you love about the nature photography niche?
“Every since I was a kid, as far back as I can remember, I was attracted to the sea. I dreamt about what lay beneath the waves, and how it would look if suddenly all the water vanished, leaving in stasis all the animals and living creatures. In this way, I could walk inside the ocean and see every animal, suspended for a moment in time and space.

I have devoted my life to exploring and contemplating the amazing beauty of the ocean, and it has been an incredible journey that has brought me a deep feeling of connection with nature. Sadly during my lifetime I have witnessed the ever-increasing devastation that we humans are creating on this planet. Today the world’s ocean is in grave danger. Overfishing, pollution, plastics, radiation, climate change, acidification and other human pressures threaten the fundamental nature of the ocean, and it’s animals are being pushed to near extinction. 

The higher purpose of my images is to be a voice of the ocean and for the ocean. I believe photography is capable of real service to humanity, promoting empathy and initiating change, so my main purpose as a photographer is to create poetic images showing the incredible beauty of these animals. They can change our perception and spark the love and empathy we all have inside. If we want to have a future in this planet, we need to understand that our lives are interconnected to all living animals, and our own well being is directly linked to the well being of these animals. As Dr. Sylvia Earl stated, “No blue no green, if the oceans die, we die.”

Photo by Christian Vizl
Photo by Christian Vizl

Frans Lanting

Primary location: Santa Cruz, CA
Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

“Frans Lanting has been hailed as one of the great nature photographers of our time. His influential work appears in books, magazines, and exhibitions around the world. Lanting’s work is commissioned frequently by National Geographic, where he served as a Photographer-in-Residence. For more than 30 years, Frans Lanting has traveled around the world to document wildlife and wild places from the Amazon to Antarctica with images that convey a passion for nature and a sense of wonder about our living planet.”

What do you love about the nature photography niche?
My interest in nature nature developed when I was young. As long as I can remember I have loved looking at animals. But my educational background is in a different field; I have a master’s degree in Environmental Economics. I did research at the University of California in Santa Cruz about environmental policy. I became inspired by the work of artists and activists in California and decided to plunge into photography. As they say, the rest is history.

Photo by Frans Lanting
Photo by Frans Lanting

Xavier Ortega

Primary location: Barcelona, Spain
Instagram

“Xavier Ortega is a Barcelona-based photographer who found his passion for wildlife after a trip to Kenya and Tanzania where he had close encounters with the animals of the Masai Mara and Serengeti.”

What do you love about the nature photography niche?
“I see photography as a means of capturing the beauty of the world. It awakens my curiosity, and it’s able to show magical and unique moments. 

I bought my first analogue camera to record my first trip abroad. It was a safari in Kenya and Tanzania, and I instantly fell in love with Africa. I knew I had to capture this beauty with my camera — the migrations, the wild animals, the savannah — it all left me speechless. I have visited Namibia, Botswana and Zambia and returned several times to Masai Mara in Kenya. Photographing wildlife is very emotional. Every image is unrepeatable and you never know what you’ll come across.”

Photo by Xavier Ortega
Photo by Xavier Ortega

Ben Hall

Primary location: Manchester, UK
Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

“Ben Hall has gained worldwide recognition as one of Britain’s leading professional wildlife photographers. His images are often surprising, always striking and ever striving to awaken people to the diversity of the natural world. With a lifelong passion for the natural world, Ben has used his skill in photography to capture many stunning images. He is driven by the need to protect and preserve Britain’s last fragile ecosystems, as testified by his work for the RSPB, various Wildlife Trusts and other conservation organizations.”

Photo by Ben Hall
Photo by Ben Hall

    

Check out our Instagram for more beautiful shots from these photographers and the blog for more highlights from other members of The List.

      

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