How Did Asia Wildlife Photos Come to Be?
I’ve been living in Thailand for over a decade on hiatus from the USA. I spent the last ten years finding snakes and other reptiles, owls, slow lorises, wild cats, and amazing birds in Thailand’s dense rainforest.
For years I kept trying to figure out – How could I make enough money doing the things I love?
What I loved was: Photography | Outdoors | Wildlife | Computers | Teaching.
I spent years making different websites focused on one or two of these subjects. Then, I finally came up with the idea for this site – I could combine all of what I loved into this one focus. Asia Wildlife Photos was born.
I’ll be bringing you wildlife photography courses, photos, videos, and tips you can use to become a better wildlife photographer.
My Photography in 1990’s
Leaving Hawaii after being in the Air Force at Hickam AFB, Honolulu for 4 years, I wasn’t at all looking forward to going to New York City to live, but that’s what I did. In New York, I learned photography from two quite different mentors.
One mentor was a high-end fashion and advertising photographer with an incredible studio on West 33rd Street. The other was a paparazzi photographer who I walked the streets with for years as he showed me everything I needed to know about light and manual camera settings. This was the time of the Canon AE-1. Most of you won’t know what that is. Ha!
I had a Canon F-1. This was a rock-solid camera with a meter, but it was flooky and it was much better to just read the light myself and figure out the settings.
I took over 150,000 photos (mostly slides) in New York during my three years there. I developed most of the images myself in a darkroom where I worked at a custom color lab doing slide duplication. It was a really sweet deal because I would get free film from the fashion photographer, and then develop it for free myself at my other job. I would roam the streets and take photos of whatever was interesting to me.
Main Subjects Back then?
- accidents, crimes, celebrities
- homeless people and shacks
- flowers, anything super bright and saturated (fire hydrants, etc.)
Supercool Photography Opportunity
So there I was, building up some sort of color slide portfolio and living in the center of the world’s advertising photography market. I had a couple rows of photography books on my shelves, and I was consuming everything I could get on the subject of photography.
I thought my images were pretty good, but I didn’t have any objective opinion. I had a couple photographers I worked with at the color lab tell me they thought I had some talent.
One day as I contemplated my future, I said, “What the heck?” (to myself). I proceeded to look up my favorite photographer in NYC. I found Stephen Wilkes’ address and wrote him a letter, including about twenty images of mine in a huge black slide-portfolio.
He actually called me at home in a week and blew my mind. He wanted to meet with me, could I come by his STUDIO?
Stephen Wilkes (StephenWilkes.com) was (is still) one of the most amazing photographers in the advertising realm, ever. His uncle is Jay Maisel (JayMaisel.com), also one of the best photographers ever in that space.
I went over to Stephen’s studio (he had already shot for NIKE shoes and many other major brands) and my jaw dropped. There was so much equipment. The studio was unreal. He already had like a handful of full-time assistants, and I was to be part of the group, if I accepted what he was about to offer me.
He told me he liked my portfolio and liked my drive to succeed. He said I was welcome to hang around anytime I wanted. I was stunned. It was actually too much for me to handle. I was so intimidated by the guy’s skills and the imagined skills and training that his other assistants must have had that I couldn’t bring myself to go over and hang out there at the studio with everyone. I felt inferior. I’m sure I was in many ways, in hindsight too. But, that was the opportunity of a lifetime he was HANDING TO ME ON A PLATE… and I let it go.
I have done this a number of times to follow my own path. I have had a lot of really nice opportunities come up that I just pass by, taking them for granted, as I do my own thing instead. It was only due to fear this one time back in 1989. Since then, it has been more my stubborn persistence to insist on doing everything my way – to my satisfaction – whether I succeed or fail.
Ahhh, hindsight. Do I wish I would have taken Stephen up on the offer? I do. Instead, my life went in a completely different direction as I got a master’s in psychology in Florida and then got into computers, digital video, photography again, and then back to Hawaii for a couple years, and then now in Thailand since 2004 where wildlife photography and videography have played a large part.
Life always has surprises and opportunities – big, or small. Be careful not to pass up the big ones so easily. Big opps don’t come often!
I go out almost daily into the rainforest to see what I can find. I’ll share some of the photos here, but mostly at Instagram (see below).
I hope as a result of my courses and books, you learn some cool tips to make you a better wildlife photographer – and better photographer in general.
Please take the free opportunity to download my Wildlife Photos Video Tips package – it’s yours just because I love to help people become better!
I can be reached through the Contact Form for questions, collaborations, or problems.
I also have some other places you can find me: