National Geographic Travel Photographer Susan Seubert in Panama and Costa Rica

National Geographic Travel Photographer Susan Seubert in Panama and Costa Rica

¡Hola!

I just returned from an amazing photography expedition in Panama and Costa Rica where I served as the Photography Expert for National Geographic on board the small ship, the National Geographic Sea Lion.

Our journey started in Panama City where we spent a morning strolling through Caso Viejo before paying a visit to the Biomuseo, a museum designed by Frank Gehry and dedicated to Panama’s biodiversity.

A street in the historic district of Panama City, Central America

A street in Caso Viejo of Panama City, Central America

Panama hats for sale in the historic district of Panama City, Panama, Central America

Panama hats for sale in the historic district of Panama City, Panama, Central America

The Museum of Biodiversity, designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, in Panama City, Central America

The Museum of Biodiversity, designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, in Panama City, Central America

Panama city as seen while Transiting the Panama Canal, Panama including views of Frank Gehry's colorful Bio Museum

Panama city as seen while Transiting the Panama Canal, Panama including views of Frank Gehry’s colorful Bio Museum

We transferred to Colón, located on Panama’s Atlantic Coast, where we boarded the ship and started our transit through the Panama Canal.

Transiting the Panama Canal on board the small passenger ship the National Geographic Sea Lion, Panama, Central America

Transiting the Panama Canal on board the small passenger ship the National Geographic Sea Lion, Panama, Central America

Our first land stop was at Barro Colorado, an island in the man-made Lake Gatun, located in the middle of the canal.

The island is the site of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute which is dedicated to studying tropical forest ecosystems.  It is here where we saw Tent-making bats, birds like the Rufous motmot as well as Mantled howler monkeys.

A newborn howler monkey with its mother at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Barro Colorado Island, Panama

A newborn howler monkey with its mother at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Barro Colorado Island, Panama

The Rufous Motmot, a species of tropical bird, photographed at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Barro Colorado Island, Panama

The Rufous Motmot, a species of tropical bird, photographed at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Barro Colorado Island, Panama

After we passed through the third and final lock, we headed up the Pacific Coast of Panama and Costa Rica, stopping at beautiful parks where we swam, hiked and enjoyed the tropical beauty of the area.

Isla Coiba National Park, Panama

Stand Up Paddle-boarding and kayaking at Isla Coiba National Park, Panama

Isla Coiba National Park, Panama

Isla Coiba National Park, Panama

Casa Orquidea Botanical Gardens, Costa Rica, Central America

A Black-mandibled toucan at Casa Orquidea Botanical Gardens, Costa Rica, Central America

Caletas Reserve, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, Central America

Caletas Reserve, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, Central America

Caletas Reserve, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, Central America

Horseback riding at Caletas Reserve, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, Central America

Casa Orquidea Botanical Gardens, Costa Rica, Central America

A beautiful beach sunset at Casa Orquidea Botanical Gardens, Costa Rica, Central America

Susan Seubert Speaking at the OPTIC Event in New York City, May 3rd and 4th

Please join me in New York City on May 3rd and 4th for the first annual OPTIC event!  This is a free, 3 day conference taking place in venues around B&H Photo in Manhattan.  OPTIC is sponsored by B&H and Lindblad/National Geographic Expeditions.  OPTIC stands for “Outdoor Photo/video Travel Imaging Conference.”  I’ll be there alongside some of my friends and colleagues: Dan Westergren, Ralph Lee Hopkins, Art Wolfe, Cristina Mittermeier, David Middleton and Bob Krist, and am also looking forward to making new friends.

I’ll be giving two lectures over the course of the three day event.  You can see a detailed list of times and venues here.

On May 3rd, I’ll be giving a presentation about how to build a travel story.  I have been a contributing features photographer to National Geographic Traveler for 11 years.  Drawing from that experience, I’ll offer tips on how to best cover a travel story through photography.  This lecture is designed for anyone, from the casual point-and-shoot photographer to the advanced amateur or pro.  I firmly believe that we can all learn from one another, so I hope to elucidate by sharing my experiences as a professional travel photographer.

On May 4th the title of my presentation is, “Food Photography to Catch the Local Flavor.” I’ll show how food can be a unique way to document a culture or enhance a travel experience.  From technical tips about how to make food look great to documenting traditional harvesting methods as a gateway to a larger cultural dialogue, I’ll share what I’ve learned to enhance your travel experience through your lens. Like the previous day’s topic on travel stories, this presentation is designed for anyone at any experience level who is interested in improving their images.

There are 19 speakers slated for this event and I encourage you to look at the web site and tailor your days based on your interests.  Also, B&H will be hosting a trade show and likely have some great deals on gear.  With this arrangement, you can immediately add to  your kit based on the advice from all of the speakers.  I know I’ll likely be doing some shopping!

Thank you for visiting my blog and see you in New York!

 

Photographer Susan Seubert speaks for National Geographic Seminar on The Travel Assignment

Lower Vieux Quebec, also known as Quartier Petit Champlain, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Lower Vieux Quebec, also known as Quartier Petit Champlain, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada          image copyright © 2014 Susan Seubert

Public speaking, for me, was once a terrifying prospect.  Standing on stage in front of an auditorium full of strangers, lights low with maybe a dim spotlight on me, huge images projected on the screen behind me: this scenario was petrifying. Yet over the years, it’s become much easier for me to stand in front of an audience and speak.  Perhaps it’s from practice or maybe it’s simply the passing of time, but either way I am now much more familiar with myself and what I do than I was when I gave my first formal lecture.  It was to the Society for Photographic Education’s Conference at Evergreen State College in Washington.  I was 22 years old and had to excuse myself after the first sentence came out of my mouth as I thought I might pass out.

Thankfully, that was not the case these past two Sundays when I had the opportunity to speak alongside National Geographic Traveler’s Director of Photography, Dan Westergren.  I had been asked by the National Geographic Seminar program to prepare a day long talk about “The Travel Assignment”, something with which I am now familiar.  The day was broken up into several segments in order to address the subject in as comprehensive a manner as possible in under 6 hours.  Dan and I took turns speaking depending on the subject. Occasionally we would interject a relevant story or address a specific audience member’s question during the other person’s presentation.  My subjects were the following: “How Portraiture Can Inform a Larger Narrative;” “What I Carry in My Daily Camera Bags and Why (using pictures to illustrate not only the gear, but also examples using different lens lengths, hello Canon and Think Tank!! );” and finally to present two stories shot on assignment for the magazine.  Dan’s topics were: “Photos We Love and Why;” “Histogram, White Balance and Composition;” “Mirror-less Cameras;” “Using Light;” and “Essence of Place.”

A highlight of the program for me was Dan’s opening sequence of, “Photos We Love and Why.”  November 2014 is National Geographic Traveler’s 30th Anniversary, and I am humbled and pleased to have one of my images included in their 30 Greatest Travel Photos in 30 Years.  Because these were the images Dan chose to show as part of the program, I was able to explain the behind-the-scenes of my image chosen, and Dan described the criteria he and his editors use in the selection process for the photos published in the magazine, and how those criteria had changed over time.  Considering that over 30 million images have been submitted to National Geographic Traveler and of those, approximately 34,000 have been published in those 30 years, I feel very fortunate that one of mine landed in the chosen 30.

In both Los Angeles and Portland, our audiences were terrific!  Everyone was engaged, positive, asked great questions and seemed pleased to have spent an entire Sunday in a darkened room, looking at pictures with Dan and me.  In fact, one of the winners of the 2014 National Geographic Traveler Photography Competition was in attendance at our Portland seminar. One of the many benefits of attending these seminars is that we allow a good amount of time for questions where anyone in the audience can ask and we are right there to answer.  Our goal is to be there to not only provide insight and information about the world inside National Geographic Traveler Magazine, but also to tailor the day for interaction with participants.  I always dine with the guests so we can possibly continue talking during lunch. Participants also received a handout which has not only the information we address during the seminar, but also a list of resource web sites for Travel Photographers.

I look forward to my upcoming speaking engagements. I will discuss my work during Portland’s upcoming Photolucida. I am scheduled to give a talk to the students at the Pacific Northwest College of Art during one of their “Career Chat” programs and also at the Froelick Gallery where I’ll be having a show of my work in April. I will be giving another seminar for the National Geographic Seminar program this coming spring. As the schedule becomes available, I’ll be posting about it on my social network pages as well as on this blog.

Presenting my portrait images at the Skirball Auditorium in Los Angeles for National Geographic Seminars, "The Travel Assignment"

Presenting my portrait images at the Skirball Cultural Center Auditorium in Los Angeles for National Geographic Seminars, “The Travel Assignment”

Thank you for visiting my blog and have a great day!

Photographer Susan Seubert teaching for National Geographic Seminars

As I was preparing for my forthcoming National Geographic Seminars, I realized that in the last 10 years I’ve photographed over 30 feature stories for National Geographic Traveler Magazine, ranging from Beaujolais to Bangkok to Birmingham. 🙂

I look forward to sharing my experiences, tips and tricks of the trade for all who attend the National Geographic seminars on The Travel Assignment in Los Angeles and Portland.  For the schedule of events, click here.

Monks during prayer at Wat Suthat Thepphawararam a royal temple of the first grade, one of ten such temples in Bangkok.

Monks during prayer at Wat Suthat Thepphawararam, a royal temple of the first grade, one of ten such temples in Bangkok.

An art-light installation designed by San Antonio artist Bill Fitzgibbons called "LightRails" in the 18th Street viaduct near Railroad Park in downtown BIrmingham, Alabama. Organized by non-profit organization REV Birmingham, the lights are installed to encourage pedestrian traffic and link First Ave. North and the East Gate of Railroad Park.

An art-light installation designed by San Antonio artist Bill Fitzgibbons called “LightRails” in the 18th Street viaduct near Railroad Park in downtown Birmingham, Alabama.

The village of Oingt, located in the southern part of the appellation of Beaujolais.  Pictured here is a Fete de Conscrit.

The village of Oingt, located in the southern part of the appellation of Beaujolais. Pictured here is a Fete de Conscrit.