A very nice opportunity has come my way, as friend Jamie Ezra Marks, Chief Creative Officer at Akers Media Group in Leesburg, Florida, recently approached me about shooting what is called ecotourism photos for one of their clients.
The idea of ecotourism has been around in one form or another since at least the 1980s - the notion of visiting as a tourist and responsibly enjoying the natural resources of a given location.
You can read an explanation of the term from The Nature Conservancy here.
Obviously, the important aspects of the Ecotourism movement are:
- Conscientious, low-impact visitor behavior
- Sensitivity towards, and appreciation of, local cultures and biodiversity
- Support for local conservation efforts
- Sustainable benefits to local communities
- Local participation in decision-making
- Educational components for both the traveler and local communities
The bottom line is: my job, should I choose to accept it - and I do - is to create photos of normal people having a lot of eco-friendly fun in very scenic spots around Central Florida.
Pretty sure I can handle that...
Like many of these kinds of assignments, details of exactly what I'm shooting, for who, and how the photos will be used need to be kept under wraps, at least for the time being. But rest assured that the timing and requirements of this job are perfect for me, and my experience planning and shooting feature magazine stories should go a long way in helping me get it done.
Now, if you've followed my career at all, or (hopefully) even if you've just viewed my Portrait Portfolio or my Magazine Covers Portfolio on the site here, you've noticed that I've shot a lot of work for Lake & Sumter Style Magazine. They've easily been my biggest client during the time I've lived in Central Florida.
What's interesting - without going into a long history lesson - is that the publication went from being owned by an Ocala, Florida based publishing company, to being bought by Akers Media based in Leesburg, Florida in 2010.
Which, considering once the magazine changed hands, and the new publisher decided to go with a staff photographer that most definitely wasn't me, meant my days shooting for them were probably over.
Except they weren't. Not exactly...
Due to a bit of good timing in 2010 - Akers' staff photographer left the company and they had yet to hire a new one - I was aksed if I could shoot the cover for their November 2010 Holiday Shopping issue.
I gladly jumped at the opportunity, and it became one of my favorite covers...
And so, up until this new assignment, that is all I have shot for Akers Media, but as any freelancer learns to do with a publication they really like and admire, I've made sure to stay in touch with their creative staff in the years since.
And am I ever glad I did!
Look for future blog posts as I begin my various photo shoots for Akers Media Group.
Do you have any experience with ecotourism, either creating photos or video to promote it, or simply with the industry itself? I'd love to hear any stories in the comment section below...
I am also continually looking for models and talent that might be interested in being featured in some of these shoots. I'd be happy to give you more information about what's involved and the use of the photos. Message me for details...
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All photos and original content ©Steven Paul Hlavac. All rights reserved.