Hello and Welcome to my Photo Eco Blog!!! Please feel free to participate and leave your thoughts and comments. The idea behind this blog is to create a  space open to all those photography and nature lovers, in which  we can express ourselves by discussing and bringing all sort of inspiring ideas, creativeness, and solutions that can help us to drive our interests and passion.  A sustainable world means working together to create prosperity for all, therefore I’m confident that this space will encourage many to come up with fun projects  to help keep the environment that we can develop together or help each other to make it happen.

As you will realise, I’m a nature lover and photo addict, therefore I will be sharing my journey and ideas with you all whilst  writing about creative ways to capture a moment in challenging conditions such as in big swells, storms, poor visibility, light and more. Also, I would love to get you involved in environmental discussions and ways to create awareness of environmental protection through photography. I’m looking forward to give this a try and to engage with you in amazing discussions on everything our mother nature has to offer.

 

The Wonders of Surfing, what everyone should know !! Part II/III ;)

February 22, 2017  •  1 Comment

Entering into my TempleEntering into my TempleThis image as its name describes is a representation of my playground and temple. The ocean for me is the best place to be, I don't feel well when I stayed out of the water for long. As an environmentalist and ocean photographer my main goal is to bring to you the beauty and strength of the ocean to inspire and encourage you to love it and protect it.

How much does the ocean cost ?

Following part I of this series of posts where I shared the beauty of surfing, health benefits, warm ups and some cool surf training exercises, during part II, I am aiming to touch your heart by writing about, marine conservation and of course surfing. Marine conservation may not be something that everyone is comfortable with, however please stay with me, I promise I will make it fun :). That's right, to all ocean lovers out there, this post is for you !

My passion for the ocean and surfing started around 25 years ago when I was a kid. I was with my parents on a trip to Brazil, exploring the north coast of Sao Paolo until we got to Ipanema beach, it was here when I first saw a surfer riding a wave. I was instantly hooked, the waves were big that day and while others cautiously wanted to stay away from the beach I wanted to get in.

My hometown in Lecheria - Venezuela did not have many waves and since I could not spend much time doing surfing there I started sailing and diving finding another ways to experience the ocean and be part of it.

These marine activities and interaction with the ocean created an unique connection, inspiring me to want to create a real change to preserve these environments. This experience inspired me to pursuit a career in environmental sciences, renewable energy and marine photography to support the harmonious development of earths ecosystems and here I am, that's how everything started.

We are lucky to have an increasing amount of people around the globe working towards the protection of earth's oceans. One of my favourites is Sylvia Earle and her Mission Blue crew. Their goal is simply to increase marine protected areas, decrease negative impacts from activities like overfishing  and to promote conservation awareness to minimize the amount of debris in the ocean. It might sound easy but unfortunately it is a challenge that many fight to overcome. The following organisations are also doing amazing things to encourage a real positive change towards this topic. Please do check them out and be inspired:

  • The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS),  a national charity dedicated to protect ocean wildlife and their homes.
  • Mission Blue, another inspiring organisation, an initiative of the Sylvia Earle Alliance working towards exploration and protection of hope spots around the globe. (not sure what a hope spot is? click on the link )
  • Sea Shepherds, our marine conservation warriors, a non-profit organisation whose mission is to end the destruction of habitats and killing of marine wildlife.
  • Ocean Ambassadors, another inspiring group of people providing mobile education platforms to create jobs, close landfills and create renewable energy systems.
  • Also, well known organisations like WWF, Greenpeace, National Geographic, UNEP, EPA and (PCFML), on these links highlight their important work and contribution to marine conservation.

By now you might be asking yourself, what is your take on all this? I just want to invite you to give something back to our beautiful mother nature by supporting any of these organisations and help stop whale killing, end the destruction of marine habitats or stop the outrageous developments in the barrier reef. Anything that can add value to the many amazing projects implemented around the world to keep our ocean alive and healthy.

Your actions and support will make a huge difference. If you’re not sure how to start, you  can do it with something as simple as avoiding the  use of  plastics and encouraging your kids and friends to do the same. Just by changing that ugly plastic shopping bag for a cool looking recyclable one you’re already helping the planet. We are not looking cool anymore using plastic straws, so why bother? Let’s leave them in the shop :)

Please answer yourself, how much does the ocean cost to you? I am not really aiming to tell you what to do through these lines, I just honestly believe that the time of leaving this topic to be solved by others has passed, there is just one global connected ocean and it needs our help today !! However, if you’re still not sure your help will really make a difference, I’d like to invite you to see the trailer of  this video and share it with your friends as it shows how our world is already looking in some places. Can you see this happening at your local beach? Try to imagine all this plastic being washed out at any part of the Australian coast one day, not a nice a picture.

Most surfers have grown to be marine ambassadors or have a deep feeling for marine conservation, however you don't have to be a surfer to support and be part of this change. Therefore to conclude, I would like to spread some love by inviting you to watch this inspiring documentary about the ocean health status, inspiring actions and beautiful marine wildlife. An inspiring piece of work put together by scientists and non - scientists to invite this generation to preserve what we enjoy and see today, so our successors have the gift to do the same.

I hope that after reading this content, links and watching the videos you have fallen in love more with the ocean and are considering to become one of its protectors.

Thank you, I hope my post inspired you, part III will come soon. I would love to hear what do you think about the first two posts, any ideas or comments please do fire them in, don't be shy, help me out to spread the word :)

All the best guys,

Airan


The Wonders of Surfing, what everyone should know!! Part I/III :)

February 12, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Do you agree that the richest person out there is not necessarily the one with the biggest wallet, but the one whose life is in good balance between health, education, family, work, support to others and fun times. When I think of what surfing means to me, I think of this beautiful place where we can go to find part of this balance.

My post aims to take you through the beauty of surfing, its health benefits, the importance of warming  up and some of the different types of training available to stay surf fit.

For me, riding waves brings me an amazing feeling of peace -  like gliding over the face of the sea submerging myself into blue or green pipelines of a waterworld full of energy, I call it surfers paradise. For years, I have been looking forward to get better at surfing, radical manoeuvres and all that. However, years of practise have taught me that being a surfer is much more than that; I feel that the surfing spirit is out there when I am paddling any wave that comes with no stress for making radical turns and just letting the ocean taking me for a ride.

 Whether I am exploring a new spot or surfing at the local break, 1 ft plus is all I need to feel the freedom surfing and the ocean have to offer. For what is more, the health benefits of surfing are really amazing.

The Better Health Channel here explains that surfing help us to:

  • keep our cardiovascular fitness nice and strong from paddling.
  • Strengthen our shoulders and back from paddling. For example, my Rip Curl GPS  watch shows me that I usually paddle around 7 km on a two hours surfing session, that's to give you an idea on how much we could paddle on average.
  • Strengthen our legs and core while riding those awesome waves.
  • In addition, it is estimated that an average surf session of 90 min will help you burn between 270 - 400 calories for a person whose weight is 60 and 80 kg respectively. This off course can vary depending on the surf conditions, breaks and water temperature among others.

I also believe that surfing is a great way to release stress, put your ideas together and get rid of depression. Cheaper than a shrink some people might say :)

It is truly amazing how many health benefits we can get out from this beautiful sport, it is a fitness playground, great for all the fun addicts out there.

Like in every sport, warm ups and training are both important elements for keeping you going. By including four to eight minutes warm up sessions before you go into the water you can;

  • Prepare your tissues and muscles to reduce the chance of injuries.
  • Your body will work more efficiently when it is warm, as it reaches a steady state of energy production, allowing you to experience great improvements in your performance.

 As you’d probably know, there are very simple warm up exercises out there, I want to share with you some of the ones I practise daily to make sure my body continues responding well in each surfing session:

  • Light beach jog, 5 -10 min before your session.
  • Light mobility exercises such as arm swings, leg swims and lower back stretching will get you ready for your first wave.
  • The Taylor Knox program mentioned below is also great for a full warm up before your surf. 

 Link to the Complete Guide for Surf Fitness, enjoy :)

Other few tips that I’ve got from conversations with some fellow surfers could also give you some ideas on how to keep a good balance and stay healthy, fit and mindful. The following disciplines have provided them with the right tools to develop better in the water:

  • Muay Thai, my fellow surfers claim that the physical and mental discipline that this sport involves helps them with their surfing performance.
  • High Performance Surf Training (HPSC). If you live in Sydney, you can practice this training at the HPSC in Cromer NSW with Matt Grainger and his team.
  • Brazilian Jiu jitsu, this sport has helped surfers with strength, flexibility and focus.
  • CrossFit, a full body training program practiced by Big Wave Surfer Shane Dorian will keep you very strong for the long paddles and high intensity sessions in or out of the water.
  • Breath Enhancement Training (BET), I have been following the BET program by practicing at the pool and at home since I did the course last August, my performance and breath recovery has become very strong and I found that the health benefits are really amazing.   
  • Taylor Knox Surf Fit Video; I have been training for over 18 months with the Taylor Knox Surf Fit program and my balance and strength have improved significantly. See three of the twelve exercise on the slide show in this post.
  • Skateboarding; I personally love to do skate surf with my carver skateboard, it's super fun and keeps me switched on for my next surf.

So as you can see surfing is much more than a sport, it is a way of life. You can take it as you like and there is no need to get into big swell, air manoeuvres or 10 ft pipe rides to enjoy the many benefits of this sport. As long as you connect with the true surfing spirit I am sure you will have the healthy dose that will help you to keep balance between busy lifestyles, health and fun times.

Thank you for reading, sharing and commenting on my post guys! I hope you found this content of any use. Also, remember surfers are Eco Warriors, so please pick up any piece of rubbish floating on the line up, on the way to the beach or out. Wetsuit sleeves and boardshorts pockets can hold lots of stuff!

All the best and I will be back for part II of this post where I will bring interesting and useful content for you.

Airan

 


Where does marine pollution come from?

January 23, 2017  •  1 Comment

 

It is difficult to believe that most of the marine debris travelling across the ocean and trapped in thousands of shorelines around the world have begun its journey on land.

According to an article published in the ocean facts section on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website (NOAA), eighty percent of pollution to the marine environment comes from the land.

I would like to think that most of the time all that plastic, oil run offs and debris have ended up in the ocean by accident. However, in cases like this shopping trolley that I found at the bottom of the sea in Manly NSW, it is hard to believe that it just fell in there by accident.

How did this trolley end up in there? Maybe kids or adults were playing and lost control of it and let it sink;  I am very happy I found it and took it out of the water, I felt a great responsibility to do it as soon as possible after I saw it in there. I am sure that is what any ocean lover out there would have done. But now, what is really important is our marine conservation awareness so these things do not happen and this is the purpose of my post today.

The submerged trolley in question was found the evening before I was searching where to take the shot with the sunset and boats accompanying this post, I didn't have enough buoyancy on me the first night so I came back the next day with more gear to take it out of the sea.

It was a summer holiday day in Manly and the beach (harbour side) was packed. I felt shy taking that piece of metal with plastic and wheels out of the ocean, I could not believe what I was taking out of the water, and you can imagine the face of everyone at the beach looking at me walking with a salty and sandy shopping trolley.

 Friends, there is no doubt that the ocean and seas are full of debris, so the question is, what do we do about it?  I believe that every little bit of help counts very much, if we switch on our conservation mode we can all take part in the recovery of Earths Marine Ecosystems, we can make a difference and I am aiming to inspire you with this little action today.

We can start by being more conscious about the products we use, the way we handle our waste and how we teach our kids to care about this beautiful planet. The point of putting together the photos in this post is to show how beautiful the sea can look on the surface without really exposing what pollution lay underneath. So why not take some rubbish out of the sea every time you go to the beach? This will help even more and hopefully inspire others.

I am sure you probably read or heard this somewhere else, I would like to invite you to be the change you wish to see.  It would be lovely to leave the world healthier than when we arrived by leaving a good legacy behind. Simple actions as taking debris out of the sea is very easy and can even be fun and very fulfilling.

Help us to create an inspiring conservation chain by sharing this post and sharing your photos doing your part. Go for It! It feels Awesome.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my first post of 2017 folks, stay tuned for more. Love, health and peace from Manly NSW, Australia.

Airan

Marine Gallery Collection


Textures and Shapes over Manly, traveling Australia capturing its magic !!

December 18, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Christmas is just a few days away and I would like to share a bit of magic I captured at the beginning of December at around 05:40 am   whilst swimming offshore in Manly beach NSW, Australia.

Have you ever had that feeling or the need of waking up to simply admire the sunrise? Even for those who are not early birds and prefer to stay in bed a bit longer, this is something everyone should experience at least once in their lives if no more. The night before I captured this shot I had a feeling that a special sunrise was waiting for me the next morning, it was like if  nature was calling and I just needed  to be there. I prepared the camera, wetsuit and flippers for the next day and when the alarm went off at around five o'clock I opened one eye and didn’t feel like going outside so I thought I could as well go shooting another day. However, that same feeling that made me prepare the gear the night before kicked me out of bed without realising, suddenly I was half awake and half asleep wearing my wetsuit and full of energy, walking towards the beach.

The magic started when I had my first glance of the soft colours coming before sunrise, it was around 05:25 and the sunrise was not coming until another few minutes, so I took some shots of seagulls passing by and sandy textures while putting on my swimming fins; and then I jumped into the water. Then I was fully awake! and loving the fresh feeling of salty water and sea breeze when entering the ocean, probably the best way to wake up and start your day.

I started swimming out looking for a good angle to capture our stunning friend, but suddenly I realised I was too south of the beach and I needed to swim north to be able to capture those few minutes of light, colours and magic every sunrise has to offer. Once I managed to find that perfect spot, the sun started to rise  just in time for me to capture what I would probably call  the most beautiful sunrise I have seen so far. A number of emotions took over, letting me convert a bunch of colours and feelings into one of my best shoots. I felt love, inspiration, happiness, health and so much energy that I had to remind myself that I was there also to take some photos.

One can never tell how far your heart can take you until you experience moments like this. I’m sharing with you all the final result with the photos on the right  so you will hopefully be inspired to enjoy the gift mother nature brings to us each morning. I love the silky ocean look, red, magenta and yellows colours and shapes captured on these images, a magic moment frozen in time. The paddle boarder was a bonus; a special touch adding life and soul to this masterpiece called life by the sea.

So, are you waking up tomorrow to check out your sunrise wherever in the world you are right now? I hope my post has inspired you to follow your heart and go out there to get your dose of energy, love, happiness and much more the sun has to offer. What is best is that it is free and  each of them are a once in a lifetime event so  why not capturing them with your eyes, lens and soul for eternity?

Have an awesome week world and please feel free to share your photos and comments. If we don't speak before Christmas,  have a very beautiful and happy Christmas, do what you love the most and give a hand to anyone out there who need some love this season !!

Peace !!

Airan

Sunrise Magic at Manly Beach NSW


How to tell great stories through photography !!! The Photo Essay

December 04, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Telling a story with pictures. How awesome is that!?

Being able to express the story of a place or an event in time through photography. What is more, being able to show different cultures and lifestyles by capturing that special moment.

One of the things I love the most about still photography is that the images we capture today are like a sustainable footprint that freezes an unique moment in time. This type of photos are a vivid representation of how the world looks today, they form part of our legacy, good or bad. It's amazing to think that future generations will  be able to look back and appreciate how much or little the world has changed, and hopefully be inspired to preserve mother nature. One of my main drivers as a photographer and environmentalist is to work very hard to show the world as it is today. I am looking forward to create awareness about the importance of preserving wildlife and nature by inspiring others through photography stories and essays, inviting people to enjoy natural habitats in a sustainable way.  

So, shall we take our photography beyond the shot?

During the last few days I have been working on my first photo essay. A super exciting project that took me days to bring to life and which I am now happy to share with you. Do you know the difference between Photo Essay and Photo Story? This is one of the many great things I learnt whilst doing The National Geographic Master Photographers online course so if you are not familiar with the concept, read through. A Photo Story has a clear beginning, middle and end, it could be captured over a short period of time, during the weekend for instance. While a Photo Essay is a collection of photos focused on a specific theme. The story line might be not obvious combining storytelling with fine art and is recommended that when you choose your next photo essay a subject you really care about is selected - you might be working with it for a long time :)

I personally love to photograph the ocean and marine life, its majestic colours and harmony flowing by in front of my lenses. You might like to capture the ocean as well or maybe your favourite subject is landscapes, people, culture, travel, wildlife and many more. The great thing of all this is that we are all able to tell a story with our photos creating our own 21st century archive of images and storytelling.

Selecting the photos I used for my essay wasn't easy but going back and looking at all my work was a very energising experience. I started with 50 photos that were already filtered from among 500 and for the purpose of this essay I just needed it to be five.

It was so difficult to let go of that favourite photo, but I learnt that in order to improve our photography, one needs to be its toughest critic in order to bring and create really special images and stories that last for generations capturing people hearts by inviting them to come back to your work over and over again.

As you can see on the photos in the slide show, I used for this essay a photo with a beautiful sunrise and surfers waiting for the waves as the opening shot and a sunset photo full of colours falling behind the town to close the story.

Another awesome thing I learnt from NatGeo is to add portrait orientation to our photo essay so we have an interesting visual variety in the story. I mostly create images in landscape orientation but the two portrait photos selected for this essay aims to bring a sense of place and time complementing the story very well.

 Preparing and learning about photo essays and its unique technique has been a great, fun and fulfilling experience. I am aware that there is still a lot to learn and master on this subject. My curiosity and passion is keeping me awake and excited thinking about my next subject; where will be, when, how, why, what...

I am looking forward to share with you the essay once it is reviewed and to bring more content and photos to share with the community.

Thank you for stopping by this week guys, I am really looking forward to your comments and feedback. I am always open to improve and learn more about this fascinating subject. 

Have a great week and all the best,

Airan

Portfolio