People often ask me how I became interested in amphibians and reptiles, animals most people fear above all else. I can only answer it’s been a life-long interest, one fostered by my Dad, who was one of the most influential people in my life. Always encouraging, we both shared a love of nature and the outdoors. He said when he was ten years old, he wanted to be a herpetologist when he grew up. After a long stay in the hospital at age 15, he decided to pursue medicine and keep his love of the outdoors and reptiles as a hobby. His son became the herpetologist. He always encouraged me to pursue what I loved in life. He said successful people do what they do best. That guidance and encouragement is the reason why I am where I am today – a wildlife biologist/herpetologist living his dream in sunny Southern California.

I vividly remember seeing a bullfrog for the first time when I was 3 years old while vacationing in Vermont with my family. I can still feel the euphoria that came over me when I saw that awesomely huge beady-eyed frog. It happens to me now whenever I see a creature I’ve never seen before or when I’m just hiking and exploring a new area. Most come to southern California in search of fame and fortune, I came for the lizards and frogs.

Although the first time I enjoyed photography was during a trip to the Canadian Rockies when I was a teenager, my passion started a bit later in life.  My family and I took many trips throughout my childhood, including a very memorable one to the southwest U.S. There I saw many lizards I’d dreamed about seeing from the time I was 6. We also took trips to Hawaii, Maine, Florida, and the Caribbean where I was always made sure to take photos of all the wildlife we encountered. However, it was really during a trip to the Costa Rican rainforests, participating in a tropical herpetology course, my passion for photography took off. It’s been a love affair ever since.  Give me a camera, sturdy hiking boots, and field guides to the local flora and fauna, and I’m just as excited as when I saw that bullfrog for the first time. I’m so fortunate and lucky to have been able to turn my passions into a career.

Amphibians and reptiles are a source of fear among many people around the world. While the conservation movement is gaining ground, it often focuses on animals people find more attractive like mammals and birds. The plight of amphibians and reptiles is very real and just as important as other species. Many are in tremendous decline and may soon become extinct, some before they’re even discovered. Some are indicator species, among the most sensitive in the region, acting as early warning signs to biologists of environmental changes such as global climate change. Hopefully my photography will raise their profile and make people more aware of their existence and importance. I view these animals as some of the most fascinating and amazing creatures in existence and hope others will share my sentiment. It’s very important people realize the effect they have on the environment and all its inhabitants before it’s too late.