Teens can get a bad rap. But this is a tale of a group of compassionate teen girls who started the day as strangers, learned and shared experiences together, and left as friends. Inspired to take a nature photography workshop from world-renown wildlife photographer, Suzi Eszterhas, young women from a range of 150 miles gathered together in Moss Landing, California. Of course they learned about photo composition. But they also came away with tales of the grit that it takes to become a professional nature photographer. Perhaps most importantly, they left with a deep understanding of how photographs can tell a tale and encourage people around the world to make a difference.
Sometimes, you just have to go old school and start in a classroom. Suzi shared stories about the challenges she had to overcome to become a professional wildlife photographer, and the unique issues that she has to face as a woman in this field. A photography workshop isn’t complete without pointers about lighting, composition and ethics, something absolutely critical when spending time with wild animals.
After getting inspired in the classroom, we took it outside for some practice in the field. It’s easiest to start with subjects that aren’t moving, such as leaves, trees and grasses. We explored textures and patterns, and tried to find perspectives we hadn’t examined before.
Fancy equipment isn’t required. Sometimes an iPhone is all you need to capture the beauty around you or tell a story.
While some of our students had taken photography classes before, many were brand new to the field, and simply eager to get started.
After spending time at the nature preserve, we had a change of scene for the afternoon portion of our workshop. We boarded an Elkhorn Slough Safari boat, and headed out into the Moss Landing Harbor.
There was so much wildlife to take in that it was hard to decide where to look. California Sea Lions called for our attention, but it was difficult to compete with the adorable sea otters and their pups. Pelicans flew overhead, gulls bobbed at the surface, and cormorants dried their wings in the sun.
When the day was done, we disembarked the boat and the girls met with their waiting families, eager to share tales and photos of their adventures.
Until next time…