My journey with photography


I never thought of being a photographer. 

In fact, I never had a camera before 2015. Back in school, in the 90's, I remember borrowing my mom's camera, still on film, and taking it to a party or trip. When I came back and developed the film, almost all the pictures were either burnt or out of focus. I didn't understand what ISO or speed was... I just gave up! 

Everything changed in 2012 when I went to that congress in Argentina, and it was whale season. I had never seen a whale in my life, and the possibility of maybe seeing them filled me with hope.

I thought that I couldn't go there without a camera to record the moment. But as a master's student on a scholarship, buying a camera was completely out of my reality. I borrowed it from a friend and went to Puerto Madryn. When I got there, I managed to take some pictures (most of them are useless) and recorded my first whales and dolphins. Being able to keep this memory and carry the whales everywhere and show people (especially my family) the natural beauty of Patagonia and the cetaceans I had seen was a wonderful feeling.

Then, in 2013 and 2014, in my first visits to Abrolhos, the feat happened again. Still without a camera, I borrowed one and was able to record my first humpback whales. That feeling was growing in me, but my photos were still bad, without focus, without framing, without anything... and of course, I wanted the magic of a superzoom camera.

It was when finally, already in 2015, as a researcher at the Humpback Whale Institute, having an adequate salary and a growing desire to learn to photograph, I decided to buy my equipment. I didn't know what I was doing, did little research, and had no one to ask. I ended up buying what was within my budget and what might be adequate to record the whales. But I wanted more. I wanted to learn how to use the camera settings to use it in manual mode to record the whale flows and have several scientific records. Being able to contribute to the scientific knowledge of humpback whales was my main motivation to learn. But how to achieve this result if not by studying? 

It was then that I started to study and read about photography, watch videos on the internet, understand better what each function is for, and even read the camera's manual. But what really changed my skills was having met some photographers who crossed my path during the years 2015 and 2016. These excellent, professional, and very knowledgeable photographers gave me valuable tips that completely changed my conception of photography and made an upgrade in my beginner's technique. During this same time, I was introduced to the concept of editing and raw photos... so many words that did not inhabit my dictionary and now are part of my day-to-day life. 

As these few years went by between not knowing anything about photography to what I know today, a lot of things changed inside me. I began to realize that photography was no longer just a scientific tool, but a conservation tool. I was starting to take beautiful photos like the ones that adorned my bedroom wall and in the National Geographic magazines that inhabited my childhood bedside table. I was taking pictures that I was proud of, that provoked reactions and emotions in people. I was managing to transport people to that frozen moment on the screen of the computer and cell phone, even if only for a few moments? Photography has the power to shorten distances that once seemed infinite. Photography has the power to freeze time.

 I still don't consider myself a photographer. Above all, I am a Marine Biologist. But photography has become a passion and a growing hobby within me, because much more than a frozen image, photography can be a powerful message. Through it, I can share and spread knowledge, it is through the photos, it is through the whales themselves, that I can fulfill one of my missions on this planet, which is to make people fall in love with them, just as I am. 

And maybe one day the whales will be able to swim in a safe and secure ocean.

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