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.

 

Mother Nature and Us !! Who knows where are we going ?

March 19, 2017  •  1 Comment

The line-upThe line-upThe lineup and it's wolf pack any given day at Manly Beach NSW

After sharing with you my passion for surfing and marine conservation, the health benefits and joy obtained from riding waves, together with the growing surfing community on previous posts; I felt I should continue this post by writing about  a specific topic that is a current global concern.

Plastic usage, waste and how much this issue is affecting the planet.

I have been familiar with plastic pollution and waste management since I studied my BSc. But it was not until I started travelling that I realised how wide plastic pollution has spread around the globe. I experienced places like Indonesia, Morocco and some places in Australia with their coastlines full of plastic during my travels. You have probably heard this before, the ocean will send back to shore anything that doesn't belong to it, specifically the plastic waste that is able to float which according to the environmental protection agency (EPA) is over 46 percent.

Can you imagine our coastlines around the globe full of plastics and debris ? That is a scary picture and my aim in this post is to encourage as many as I can to prevent this plastic world image from happening.

I understand it is difficult to stop using plastic products; with all the plastic bags, cups, containers, and many other products out there you might be wondering how can we do this, but let's stop to think about the business's providing these products. What positive effect can we make if a good number of us stop using plastic products? If a good number of people embrace a no plastic attitude, I believe that these companies might be forced to find another solution to replace these products.

You probably are familiar with the term Life Cycle Analysis, in case you are not, in brief this is the study that aims to assess environmental impacts related to every stage of a product's life, from raw materials to final disposal. Plastics can take from 20 to 450 years to decompose depending on their chemical composition and some can take much longer. Check the postconsumer article here for more information about it.

So think of the amount of plastic waste one person can produce in her or his life. Then try to imagine a percentage of all that plastic getting lost in the bottom of the sea and the other in landfills. The waste management we are talking about is huge. Just to give you an idea nearly 3 million tonnes of plastics are used to bottle water every year and on average an Australian family produces enough rubbish to fill a three bedroom house in a year.

Where are your thoughts on this so far? here are some ideas;

  1. We can start by reusing plastics we already have at home, then take them to be recycled to guarantee a sustainable final disposal.
  2. We can maybe replace our plastic usage for a recyclable choice; for instance, we can start  bringing a cup to get our coffee every day and not buying more water in plastic bottles. That would be a very big amazing contribution, imagine no more plastic lids and cups, that will make a difference and I am sure our mother nature will be very happy and thankful ;)
  3. Encourage friends and family to follow your no plastic vibes! This will also be very good, the more people we can get involved, the bigger and quicker the change :)
  4. Beach clean ups, why not?  By taking plastic out of the way while you are at the beach, we are not just helping lots, but are also being a role model that can encourage others :)
  5. .. would you like to add more thoughts in number five ?  please participate, the only way we can do this is by joining good vibes and forces.

Plastic pollution is a fact that is really affecting marine wildlife and our health in many parts of the globe, remember what Silvia Earle says at the Mission Blue documentary, No Ocean No Us!  So why not let's be part of a sustainable change that leaves a legacy we can be proud of? 

Many thanks for stopping by, have a great week and please leave your comments to support this much needed global plastic clean up.

All the best,

Airan

Ocean Art & Nature Photography here :)

 

 


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

March 01, 2017  •  2 Comments

77This photo is part of one of my assignments while I was doing the NatGeo photography course. My aim was to work out composition of the same subject at different times of the day. In this case, the volleyball pole with number 7 was the subject with Manly beach in the background. The surfer was a nice extra added without asking him to pose for the photo, it just happens while I was taking the morning photo :)

Surfing for Everyone :)

While my last two posts shared the beauty of surfing, its health benefits, warm ups, some cool surf training exercises, what is it that connects ocean lovers and marine conservation; this post  explores how people from all ages and fitness levels are taking on this beautiful sport, Surfing.

During the last decades or so many people have been taking on surfing, from little toddlers to 60, 70 , 80 years old ladies and gents. I think is awesome that you can be sitting out there waiting for a wave next to people from different walks of life such as doctors, teachers, students, engineers, travellers, business guys and plumbers to name a few. We could  perhaps have many differences in nationalities, race, political mindset or religion but we all have one thing in common and this is the love we have towards surfing and the ocean. It is great to see how this amazing movement is changing the perspective towards surfing around the globe.    

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to chat with a couple of surfers at the Rip Curl Shop in Narrabeen NSW. I was looking forward to get some thoughts and ideas on people's individual preferences for surfing, the type of boards and waves they like to surf, season preference and favourite surfing destinations. Also, I was keen to know about the joy and difficulties of learning to surf.

Among this group of surfers was a lady in her late 60's who started surfing less than 10 years ago, she mentioned that she had to go through a couple of years of physiotherapy to recover from a back injury before taking on the waves, but she was very determined to learn and made it happen. After a couple of surf sessions she was able to stand on the board, describing it as a beautiful life changing experience. Inspiring! :)

"We are a lucky bunch" said a 68 years old longboarder. Thanks to the wide variety of surfboards we have these days, people have the choice to go for smaller size boards allowing a longboarder to surf with a shortboard wide and thick enough to get on the wave easy. One idea we all agreed was that, surfing is a way of life now more than ever and it's available to anyone who wants to give it a try.

I had the great opportunity of becoming an ASI level 1 surfing instructor last September 2016 and I have to say that the amount of gratification we receive as surf instructors is awesome, very special and beautiful. There is nothing better than to experience someone getting up on the board for the first time with a big smile :)

My passion for surfing has been shaping  my life from an early age. Starting from a huge love for the ocean, the career I studied at Univ, the need to live by the beach hence where I currently live, the travel destinations I go, the clothes I like to wear, the movies I watch, the competitions I follow, the training I choose and more. Not to mention, all the peace, calm and focus I get every time I ride a wave. I won't be wrong by saying that this is a way of life for sure !

I truly encourage you to go for it, nearly everyone is surfing now, you just need some tuition and the will to learn, the swimming strength and all that will come after, don't worry. Surf instructors like myself are always very keen to show you the easiest and safest way to start with this sport. One thing that you have to bear in mind if you're thinking on starting to learn this sport is not to be afraid of the ocean as it will eventually become your second home. Respect it, love it and you will be up for an awesome experience.

Are you ready to join this fun and healthy sport, would you like to feel more inspire? check out events like the  Australian Open of Surfing taking place at Manly NSW this week. Check for surfing classes near home or in your next trip. You won't regret it, surfing can change your life as it changed mine.

Thanks a lot for reading guys, this is the last of this series of posts however I will come back very soon with more. In the meantime, I wish you health and love, all we need to live a fulfilling life by leaving a beautiful footprint in this world :)

Please feel free to leave your comments and sharing my post, It would be great if you could help me to inspire others.

All the best,

Airan


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