About Birds, bugs and beaches, Aundrea Tavakkoly


 

Hi there - here's a little bit about me...

I have been a professional nature photographer since 2007.  I became interested in photography in 2002, back in the film days and was shooting black and white.  I fell in love with it - I loved shooting, I loved watching images come to life in the dark room. I loved it all.  I loved it so much that it was having a negative effect on my graduate studies...:)  When I first began my main subject was my grandfather - bless his heart for putting up with me.  After he passed away I looked around for other things to photograph - I've always loved being outside and a friend of mine introduced me to the wonderful world of birds, so I started pursuing that line of photography.  Along the way I discovered insects, flowers and landscapes and found them to be very rewarding as well.  

My photography encompasses my view of nature as both an artist and scienctist. I love  being out in the field shooting local landscapes in my home county of Santa Barbara as much as I enjoy being on the road and investigating new places and different types of animals.

The thing I love most about being a nature photographer is that there's always something new to learn. Whether about the environment, or animal behaviour I'm always seeing new things.  I'll take a picture of a bird or insect I'm not familiar with and it inspires me to learn about that creature.  It's the same for plants, and places.  I love learning the history of a place, such as how and when it formed, and what plants and animals live there. There's a whole ecology that goes along with each species and location.

At art shows I'm often asked what gear I used and how I got started. My first camera was Nikon, but I have since switched over to Canon - you can see my "big gun" in the picture above.  Both Canon and Nikon make excellent equipment.  My advice to people looking to get a new DSLR is to explore all the major brands and see which feels good in your hand, and has the lenses you will want to purchase in the future.  My gear feels like an extension of my hands.  I've used it so much that the buttons and adjustments are second nature to me.  But photography is less about your gear and more about how you see things... like paint is to a painter - the best paints will only make a painting as good as the painter is, a camera isn't what creates the photograph, the photographer is - though fortuitous accidents can (and do) happen.  

Every other Sunday I participate in the Santa Barbara Art Walk, located on Cabrillo street.   Contact me if you would like to see my work on a specific date.