Today I’m happy to welcome the newest member of Photography Life’s growing team of writers and photography experts: wildlife photographer Nicholas Hess! I’ve been stunned by the quality of his wildlife photos and was thrilled when he agreed to join the team. Here he is now to introduce himself.
Hi all! My name is Nicholas Hess. I’m a young photographer most interested in reptiles, amphibians and underwater photography, though I appreciate all aspects of wildlife and nature photography. As an aspiring conservationist, I hope to highlight the beauty of our natural world in my work.
I am a student at Eckerd College in Florida pursuing a major in marine science, and minors in journalism and Spanish. Despite my busy schedule, I spend as much of my free time as possible out adventuring and finding cool animals to photograph.
My love for nature and photography began when I was around eight years old. I found an old 2 megapixel Canon Powershot that was lying around the house and deemed broken. I gave it a couple knocks on the coffee table and it came back to life. Quickly I began taking photos of the lizards and bugs in my yard that always had my interest.
Around the same time, my dad surprised me with a tiny baby snake, which became my adored pet I named Hissy. That snake sparked my passion for herpetology and strengthened a love for animals I already had. With tremendous support from my parents, I was able to develop my love for snakes and photography into a passion for wildlife photography. Now, 12 years later I have had the privilege to find and photograph an enormous array of wild animal species, from California to the Galapagos Islands.
So far, I have been an obligate micro-four thirds shooter having owned both Panasonic and Olympus bodies. This is partly attributed to the fact micro four thirds setups are relatively affordable, and because when I was much younger, the lightweight stature of micro four-thirds let me carry gear on long hikes. Micro-four thirds technology has kept pace with technological advancements, and I am very happy with the setup I have today.
I am still developing my underwater camera rig. In the past, I have been making due with a budget setup, shooting with olympus tg cameras, and most recently a Sony RX-100 IV in a Meikon housing. I use Sea & Sea strobes connected via a fiber optics cable to illuminate my subjects underwater. The underwater gear I have worked with has been limited to what I can afford, and little by little I am improving my setup and skills as an underwater photographer.
Although I do not hesitate to photograph any aspect of the natural world, most of my photography is of reptiles and amphibians, or underwater. The under-appreciated animals like snakes and sharks are what interest me the most. These typically feared animals do not receive the respect and appreciation they deserve, and I hope that my photography helps bring attention to them and their beauty.
I have been fortunate to find myself up close and personal with my subjects in many wildlife encounters, from tracking bushmasters (the largest vipers) in the Costa Rican rainforest, to freediving with hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos Islands. I find myself getting more than just photos out of these encounters, as each moment in nature teaches me more about the earth we live on, and fuels my drive to protect the treasures still present.
I hope to perpetually pursue my passion for photography as I develop a career in conservation. My aspirations are to combine the two and work professionally in some way as a wildlife photographer or videographer. With luck, I have some time to figure these things out.
For now, and for the foreseeable future I look forward to sharing what I know about photography and wildlife with you all here on Photography Life. I’m sure I will learn a lot in the process of writing, and I look forward to growing my skillset along the way.
I invite you to check out my website to see more of my work. You may also follow me on Instagram and Flickr where I am active, or subscribe to my YouTube channel which is currently in the developing stages. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me on any platform or in the comments! I am happy to discuss any and all things photography or animal related. I look forward to engaging with you and sharing what I’m passionate about.
Editor’s note: When publishing this article, I saw that Nicholas’s website has many beautiful and unique prints for sale at reasonable prices, found here. I encourage you to buy something if it strikes your interest, to support this young artist and new member of the Photography Life team!