I figured I would let you know a little bit more about myself, especially since most of this information is probably already scattered around the internet anyway. I was born on June 12, 1985 in Munich, Germany – yes, presents are always welcome :). I have an older brother (a world class sailor) and a younger sister (an amazing artist). My interest in wildlife began before I can remember, and animals hold an extremely special place in my heart. The love of the outdoors and nature probably arose from the local lakes, hiking the in Alps, and our backyard pond. The beauty and diversity of animals became really apparent to me at the Munich Hellabrunn Zoo. I have mixed feelings about zoos now, I really hate seeing the animals caged up, but I do think they can provide the benefit of getting people excited about nature to the point where they want to preserve it.
One of my favorite places to go at the zoo was the Raubtiergehege (Carnivore Cages). It was a concrete building with steel bars, and it stank, really really badly. I loved that smell though, it meant that no one else would be there and that I was surrounded by true predators. It housed the lions, tigers, and leopards. Thinking back, it really was a very bad place for those amazing creatures to be, but it made me fall in love with animals, specifically all the wildcats. The structure has since then been brought down and newer, better exhibits have been built for these carnivores. I do still go back and visit the Munich Zoo, which brins back memories of my early childhood.
I moved to the United States when I was ten years old. The move was extremely hard on us children. We left our best friends back in Germany and moved to a country we knew nothing about, least of all spoke its language. After a few years though we were speaking English fluently and started to really appreciate our new home. For myself, the vast wilderness of the States is just breathtaking and the biodiversity is unbelievable. California has so many different ecosystems and did I mention its on the coast! We lived eight hours away from it by car in Germany, now we could walk there.
After attending a private German-American school for three years, I went to Mission San Jose High School in Fremont. Then I went on to study Behavioral Ecology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The layout of the campus, encompassed by nature was the perfect fit for me. In my second year I really started to get interested in photography again (before then I just dabbled around) and I would spend many hours looking for bobcats. Maybe I should say that I got better at tracking here than photography, I really didn’t take too many pictures since I only saw two bobcats for a few seconds each at my time at UCSC.
Then I bought my first digital SLR, a Pentax ist*Ds. I started taking hundreds, better yet, thousands of images and I really started to learn how to operate the camera and how to achieve the kind of images I was imagining. A couple years later I switched to a Canon system and really started to explore more photographic possibilities. I am most definitely still learning, and feel that I always will be, but that’s part of the fun of it. Photographically I am always excited to try new things!
At this point I am focusing my photography on the endangered wildlife that lives in the area, to try and showcase them and their need for conservation. I am currently in the last stages of photographing for an exhibit at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History called Endangered Neighbors. It is a project close to my heart, I approached the museum four years ago asking them if they would be interested in an exhibit that covers the threatened and endangered wildlife of the central Coast, highlighting their natural history, why they are endangered, what people are doing to save them, and what the general public can do to protect them. They agreed and we are finally starting the development phase of the exhibit. Look for it in summer 2011!
As time progresses there will be more events and happenings, but for those you will have to read future blog posts…