Monday, August 17, 2015

National Geographic Live Presents: My Nine Lives with Steve Winter

Behind every great National Geographic story, there is a storyteller who travels to the wildest places on earth to bring home epic tales of adventure and discovery. Returning for its second year at the Esplanade Concert Hall, National Geographic Live Singapore will feature one of National Geographic’s veteran photographers – Steve Winter who’ll share stories from life behind the lens on 25 August 2015

In this not-to-be-missed presentation, Big Cat legend Steve Winter will share his intense encounters and astonishing images of the big cats of India, Brazil, and Hollywood.

Steve Winter is one of the world’s most extraordinary wildlife photographers. For Steve, doing whatever it takes to document these majestic creatures in the wild is all in a day’s work, whether it’s camping at 15,000 feet in -40 degree temperatures or being charged by rhinos. Part of each assignment is simply trying to stay healthy – and stay alive.

Steve will share his gripping tales live on stage, from coming face-to-face with tigers in India’s Kaziranga National Park – one of the last places where tigers still share the land with elephants, rhinos, and deer – to capturing nocturnal adventures of a mountain lion in the Hollywood hills.

Steve Winter has been charged by a grizzly in Siberia and trapped in quicksand in the world's largest tiger reserve in Myanmar. He's flown over erupting volcanoes and visited isolated villages where residents had never before seen a blond foreigner—or a camera.

Throughout it all you can’t help but be inspired by Steve’s mission: to share the beauty of big cats whilst reinvigorating efforts to save them. 

“By saving the world's top predators, we save huge forests, rivers, wildlife, and ultimately, our planet,” says Steve Winter.

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Here, Steve Winter shares more about him and his work in an interview.

1. What would you say is the most memorable moment in your storied career as a photographer with National Geographic Society?

Every story has a memorable wildlife encounter. Some are scary and others are just amazing. But the most important ones end for me with an amazing image. I was watching a tiger hunting elephant babies one day and he was unsuccessful as the matriarch would not allow him to get close to the young. As he walked away after an hour I took a photograph of why tigers have stripes – camoflague – a tiger walking thru burnt grasses – amazing.

Photo Credit : Steve Winter

2. Tell me about your relationship with your Dad. I understand he was the one that planted the passion for photography in you.

That’s right, he was a big influence. My father was an amateur photographer, so I ended up reading his books and magazines. It never crossed my mind to be a wild life photographer, it was more documentary and social photography I liked. At 7 years of age he got me my first camera, and then at the age of 8 I decided I wanted to work for National Geographic – I’ve now been working for them for 24 years!

When I was young my father and I used to enter Kodak photography competitions together, he always ended up coming first! But I came a close second.

3. How did you manage to score a role with National Geographic and how does an aspiring wildlife photographer start to follow in your footsteps?

Following my dream. I wanted to be a NGM photographer since I was 8 years old – you need to believe in yourself and your dream and never ever give up!!

I started out working on small stories pieces for the magazine and then changed my concentration from people to animals.

For aspiring photographers, learn to be a visual storyteller. Learn to tell visual stories close to where you live. If you can find something near you and tell a compelling story close to home you will not need much money and you can put the time into learning about your subjects and understanding their lives.

4. What is the furthest you have gone or done to capture the perfect image? Similarly, how close to the jaws of Death have you come just to capture that perfect shot?

Working with wild animals can be a bit dangerous and you need to work with local people that know the area and animals. You need to have a very high level of trust in their abilities, as your life is in their hands. Getting charged by rhinos was the scariest situation I’ve been in while in the field. We were out in India with an anti poaching patrol riding on elephants when we came across a highly territorial rhino. The rhino chased us on elephant back for over 400m and bit the elephant’s trunk! I went flying, just managing to hold on to a thin bit of cloth. I thought I was going to die! This was just the start of the trip; I had 5 more weeks in field. During the trip I had to replace my jeep door twice due to rhinos charging! Unpredictable animal behavior is the worst. You simply cannot be prepared, but you just always have to be prepared for that sort of thing- like the boy scout motto!

5. The title of your exhibition is My Nine Lives with Steve Winter. How many more lives do you think you have left?

I hope many more! I feel very lucky to be doing what I do, and I hope to it for many more years to come!

6. What would you say is your favourite animal and why? 

I appreciate the beauty of all big cats, but tigers are very close to my heart.

7. Wildlife photography is the field that defines you today as a person. But when Steve Winter is not following animals, what other photographs do you like to take? Also, what do you do in your free time? 

Chilling out reading or watching movies. I love HBO and the BBC, My wife and I are currently enjoying Homeland, Orange is the new Black and Game of Thrones. This winter has been pretty cold where I live (New Jersey), so we’ve had lots of time to catch-up on our favourite programmes. I love taking all types of images. I actually started out taking social and documentary photographs. I got into wild life photography quite by accident. I had a commercial shoot in Costa Rica, working with scientists in the rainforest. The forest blew me away with its incredible diversity. And coming from being a photojournalist covering politics and the economy spending my days with passionate and dedicated researchers in the rainforest really excited me. Also one of the scientists I met told me of a story that had both wildlife and people – about the quetzal – the sacred bird of the Maya that had never been photographed by NGM – that began my career in wildlife. I did not take a photograph of an animal until I was 34 years old – while I was on that trip in Costa Rica. It was of a marine turtle coming back into the sea at dawn after laying its eggs under the sand on a beach.

8. What would you like to be remembered for? 

Trying to save big cats and the landscape they call home. I spend a lot of time in the field getting difficult images. My work as media director for Panthera, a nonprofit dedicated to saving wild cats, helps bring these images and the work of their scientists and field staff to the world.

9. You’ve travelled all over the world and have seen and experienced many things the average city dweller will never be able to fathom. What advice do you have for the world, especially when it comes to wildlife and the environment? 

I'd ask people to get involved in the conservation issues they feel close to, anything from protecting land in their communities to saving tigers, placing pressure on decision makers to address climate change or pollution issues—the key is passion. There are many ways to participate, to help, close to home or on the web. For those that can donate money, I'd warn them to make sure that money actually goes to the organizations with boots on the ground—to scientists and local people that are making a real difference.

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We strongly suggest that you do not miss this once in your lifetime show to be up close and personal with Steve Winter.  Tickets are selling out fast so grab yours today!

My Nine Lives with Steve Winter
Date: 25 August 2015, Tuesday
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, Concert Hall
Ticketing details: Tickets are priced from $39*General tickets sales begin on 15 June 2015 and can be purchased from SISTIC.

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Incidentally we have a pair of tickets to be given to 1 lucky winner to experience this extraordinary encounter with the greatest wildlife photographer.

Giveaway Details

Prize : A pair of tickets to watch My Nine Lives with Steve Winter
Contest Ends : 20 August 2015 @ 2359hrs
Open : Singapore
How to Enter : Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below
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Disclaimer : We were given tickets to watch My Nine Lives with Steve Winter for the purpose of this post and giveaway, no other forms of compensation were received. All opinions are 100% ours and all photos in this post unless otherwise credited, are copyrighted and belongs to the DinoFamily, you may not use any of the photos for any purposes without seeking our approval.