Erik Jay was born and raised in Palos Verdes, California. Since day one, he has been given every opportunity and lesson that comes with respecting nature as his neighbor. His formative years brought curiosity, with answers brought through thoughtful parenting and education.
His fondest memories are walking through the tree lined areas and beaches with his father Edward, who taught him the valuable lessons that come with living in an area that has been loved and respected by generations before. Those lessons were the foundation that provided Erik with the appreciation to capture the elements of architecture and landscape of Palos Verdes; giving way for his first book, The Great Peninsula. Erik’s grandfather was a professional photographer who often partnered with Ansel Adams. He handed Erik his first camera and taught him the elements of landscape photography coupled with darkroom development. Throughout the years, Erik took his father’s teachings, his grandfather’s photographic eye and put it to use during solo explorations throughout the canyons and open fields. It was the perfect place for Erik to be in; trading in being awkward for being aware; exploring, learning history with hands-on relics while taking photos. Now, incorporating his love for animals and respect for wildlife, he has contributed to the photography of Coastal California: The Wild Life.
His reflections of childhood have carried forward with contributions and volunteering to local schools and local organizations. Erik continues to work with various students to help them build their own paths to artistic success while always acquiescing to his own evolution in the artistic world.
For over 15 years Andrew has been working throughout the United States and internationally as a freelance photographer, specializing in celebrity red carpets, runway shows, designer presentations, concerts, product launches, wildlife, and film/television behind-the-scenes. His love for photography began while living in Leiden, Holland. The lively culture and vast landscapes inspired him to capture moments of light and humanity during his daily wandering. Countless cameras, lenses, and film have accompanied Andrew on his photographic journey, and all these years later he still finds excitement in the latest gadgets and techniques in pursuit of the perfect photograph.
Mark Girardeau’s photography is rooted in helping others. He is the founder of Orange County Outdoors, which is a website that features wildlife, events, beaches, parks and other outdoor features specific to Orange County. Created in 2016 with an Instagram account, this website was created soon after and was inspired by his father’s passing from brain cancer in 2014. He noticed it was almost impossible to gather information online specifically pertaining to the wildlife in Orange County. Today Mark is a prolific photographer shooting all over the county and showcasing this beautiful community. He loves sharing his photos and videos of wildlife with people and doing his part to showcase the beauty of Orange County with the hopes he will educate others about taking care of the environment and the wildlife in it.
Jason Klassi is a prize-winning wildlife photographer, Emmy-nominated writer and author. He’s been camera trapping mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains ever since his peaceful encounter with one. Jason is the founder and President of Expedition Earth, Inc., a 501c3 corporation dedicated to enhancing life on Earth, in the oceans and in space. “I’m inspired by the animals that live among us but we very rarely see. To walk in their footsteps in the Santa Monica Mountains is a humble and profound privilege.”
Rich German has been a successful business coach, philanthropist, photographer, and entrepreneur for over 20 years. An avid paddleboarder living in Laguna Beach, California, he has been on the water nearly every day since 2010. An encounter with a pod of four orcas in 2015 garnered international media attention and connected him with some of the leading ocean conservationist organizations. When he learned firsthand about the peril our ocean and the marine life are facing, his hobby turned into a passion to protect them. In 2017, he founded Project O. Rich’s third book, Blue Laguna, chronicles his up close and personal experiences with dolphins and whales. The book is available for sale and 100% of proceeds go to Project O. Rich enjoys exploring his creative side by playing the guitar, painting, writing, and photography. When he is not working he can most likely be found relaxing on the beach or on the water.
Carlos Gauna, famously known as The Malibu Artist, is no stranger to being behind the camera and capturing once-in-a-lifetime moments. Before the pandemic, Gauna made his living photographing weddings. But when lockdown wiped out any new opportunities, he quickly chased his passion and new hobby, aerial photography of the Gray Whale migration past Malibu’s Point Dume. While filming the whales, Carlos witnessed one of the most mysterious, yet iconic, creatures of the Pacific Ocean, great white sharks. Carlos’ refreshing take on white shark footage is informative and educational and he never discloses his location—in order to protect the sharks. What could be used to sensationalize shark-human encounters, Carlos instead sends to scientists around the world for data collection, behavioral studies and supports conservation efforts like those of Shark Allies.
Johanna Turner grew up in a rural town in upstate New York and moved to Los Angeles in 2000. She was excited to move to California where mountain lions were rumored to roam. She began hiking in the local mountains looking for a mountain lion paw print. Hiking turned into tracking, and tracking turned into trail cameras.
She started camera trap photography in 2009 and since then has turned her passion into advocacy and conservation. Donated photos have raised funds to preserve hundreds of acres of habitat for wildlife with groups including Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy, Transition Habitat Conservancy, and National Wildlife Federation, and contributed to young artist programs through SAMO Fund. Johanna also serves Cougar Conservancy as an Advisory Committee member. Johanna’s images have been featured in Discover Magazine, published ecological studies and textbooks, and her video work for documentaries can be seen on Apple TV and National Geographic Channel.
Jami Leslie Feldman
Jami Leslie Feldman is a southern California based photographer, avid scuba diver, and Divemaster. Her photography passion began around age 11 in a black and white darkroom class. That inevitably evolved into underwater photography when she was scuba certified in 2008. She loves the beauty of the underwater world, the challenge of cold water diving, and the creative outlet it brings. Her goal is to help inspire, educate, and promote ocean conservation efforts through photography and video. And make you smile with a few goofy posts in between. She and her husband will dive as often as conditions (and a toddler) will allow so follow along on her social media channels to see what’s happening down in southern California!
Sandrine was born in France and moved to California 13 years ago. She discovered photography while a young girl in middle school and found a special love for wildlife photography in 2013. With wildlife photography came her passion for birds and for environmental issues. She is a volunteer for Sea and Sage Audubon and part of a team protecting threatened species on our beaches. She is married and has two sons, Antoine and Noah.
Growing up in the greater Los Angeles area (Ventura County) Connar has a deep appreciation for The Golden State and has a passion for capturing the beauty of the landscape and wildlife. He plans to use his photography to help others. From working at the National Park Service, to raising awareness about military and first responders who deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder—PTSD—he continues to think of ways to do that. He was a volunteer photographer for the National Park Service and during that time, he shot many of the beautiful landscape photos in the Santa Monica Mountains Fund section and beyond. He attended Conserve School and graduated in Spring 2013 (The CS6 program), then received his Associates in Science in Film, TV, and Digital Media from Moorpark College in 2016. He is a graduate of California State University-Channel Islands, with a Bachelor’s of Studio Art, focused in photography.
Joe is a nature and wildlife photographer, biologist, and founder of Eco Exposure Photography. His pursuit of his subjects have taken him across the globe and into a variety of habitats from frigid oceans to sweltering rainforests. Joe’s images have been published in a variety of magazines and journals, displayed in zoos and aquaria, and widely used among the scientific community. Joe seeks to showcase the incredible natural diversity of our planet and hopes that his images will help provide a voice for the animals, while educating and inspiring a sense of wonder, conservation and responsibility for our natural world.
Scott Alexander Jack
Scott graduated from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia in 1979 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Photography. He has spent the last 40 years as a Professional Sports Photographer. Now, retired, he has dedicated his photography to wildlife and macro imaging.
Morgan Rector is a photographer, scientist, and teacher in Monterey, California. Through photography, she strives to capture wildlife and wild places in a way that will inspire a drive to protect these creatures and areas. Her passion for conservation also extends into other areas of her career, driving her to work as a scientist, high school teacher, and even to co-found a science education non-profit, OceansMicro.
Since 2001, Gena has worked as a sea otter biologist, studying sea otters in such locations as the Aleutian Islands, Russia’s Commander Islands, San Nicolas Island off the coast of Southern California, and along the Central California coast. After years of studying sea otters in the wild, she has witnessed first-hand the chronic nature of disturbance by human recreation activities. In early 2014 she first began to pursue the idea of organizing a program specifically dedicated to alleviating this disturbance through education. Gena has directed the Sea Otter Savvy program since 2015 and currently serves as Director and President of the Board of Directors.
Heather’s interest in sea otter conservation and ecology has developed through her undergraduate degree at UC Santa Cruz, internship through the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and graduate research at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. As the Science Communication Director, Heather refines science communication strategies, oversees creation and promotion of science-related materials, leads science-related media relations, and develops special projects for outreach that will support Sea Otter Savvy’s mission. As the Research Scientist, Heather continues her research interests in human disturbance to sea otters.
Wendy Sparks & Jeff Torquemada
Jeff and Wendy are nature photographers and wildlife conservationists. They use their images to promote an awareness and respect for all things wild and want their photographs to provide people with a reminder of the importance of connecting with wildlife on an emotional level. Their goal is to educate people to be respectful while observing or photographing fauna. Photography has allowed them to gain a more intimate perspective on wildlife without human interference.
Emily Rice & Dan Robinette
Emily Rice and Dan Robinette are two California wildlife biologists who like to capture their experiences with nature through photography, plant and seaweed pressings, and cyanotype prints. They spend much of their free time adventuring up and down the California coast. They have joined their artistic talents to form Shots and Crafts 805 and produce pieces of coastal art. Emily was born in Maryland, earned her B.S. in Wildlife Science at Virginia Tech, and then started her career on North Carolina’s barrier islands where she studied shorebirds and seabirds. She moved to San Diego in 2011 and studied the California least tern and Western snowy plover before moving to the central coast of California. Dan earned a B.S. in Marine Biology and M.S. in Biology from California State University, Long Beach before starting his career studying seabirds along California’s central coast. He spends much of his time studying the diet and foraging behavior of nearshore seabird species. He is fascinated by the roles these species play in the nearshore marine ecosystem and uses their behavioral patterns to understand how changes in ocean conditions affect the populations of the fishes they consume.