In Conversation with National Geographic Photographer Steve Winter - Alvinology

In Conversation with National Geographic Photographer Steve Winter

This article was written by Goh Guo-Hua and first published on ASIA 361.

National Geographic photographer Steve Winter will be in Singapore to talk about his show-stopping camera romance with the world’s fatale felines, at the Esplanade Theatres for one night only on 25 August 2015. He has made a name for himself in photographing the big cats of the world.


I got a chance to speak with Steve himself about his work and conservation of these critically endangered animals.

Asia 361: What kit do you use in the field? What is your favourite accessory?

Steve: Canon equipment. The extenders to make your equipment more versatile

Asia 361: What is your “go-to” equipment when you have to grab and run?

Steve: 24-105mm, 70-200 f2.8 with a 1.4x extender

Asia 361: What was your most challenging assignment? Most rewarding?

Steve: They are all challenging as I try to push the limits. Some challenges are physical and others specific to the location such as Los Angeles where cameras have to be set up and not be interfered with by human traffic. The last assignment on leopards will be published in the December issue of National Geographic.

Asia 361: What was your most encouraging development/ incident that you have witnessed in your career (in terms of wildlife photography/ conservation)?

Steve: Smartphones have had the most impact on photography by making photography available to all. For conservation and wildlife photography, remote cameras have made the biggest differences.

Asia 361: Do you feel that in this day, journalism of this sort can still make a difference?

Steve: Yes, of course; if not, journalism is not worth practising.

Asia 361: Do you feel like a force for conservation or an observer?

Steve: An active participant, as my whole career has been focused on making a difference.

Asia 361: I have read that you have had aspirations to work for Nat Geo from a young age. What advice do you have for those of the current generation who wish the same?

Steve: Develop a unique visual eye. Study composition from the masters of painting and photography and how it tells a story. Find a story close to home, find a subject and spend a long time, in depth with your subject.

Asia 361: I see that you have had a traditional education in photography, how has all the disruptive technology available these days changed that path?

Steve: It’s not disruptive but a positive progression. It makes life easier. For example, National Geographic has published i-Phone photos and I use drones a lot. It helps to engage readers.

Asia 361: Describe your style.

Steve: My style changes everyday. Don’t limit yourself. Keep learning and developing.

Asia 361: Which is your favourite animal?

Steve: My dog Lilly.

Asia 361: Is there hope for coexistence between the animal and human world?

Steve: There is more interaction than we know. For example, Los Angeles has cougars living in high human population centres and Mumbai has a healthy population of leopards. Yet this isn’t known to the general public and not many are even aware of these relatively high numbers of predators living nearby. I would say that the coexistence is happening but the challenge is the connection between the two worlds, understanding how vital the natural world is. If you protect the top predator in each ecosystem, all the flora and fauna supporting them are also protected and in doing so, we are also protecting and sustaining humankind.

Listen to the full interview here:

What: Steve Winter’s My Nine Lives

When: 25 August 2015, Tuesday, 7.30pm

Where: Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, Concert Hall

Ticketing: Prices start at $39. General tickets sales begin on 15 June 2015 and can be purchased through SISTIC online.

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