(Note: I would like to clarify that I already went on this trip. I'm under the impression some think I have yet to go when I had previously stated that I went in May so I apologize if I wasn't being clear on that; I do hope people read my entries since I definitely put a lot of effort into them. Thank you.)
Some of my watchers may remember that I had a print sale being held to raise money for a trip to Australia. Well, I am extremely happy to make the long overdue announcement that the print sale was a success and that in May I was able to realize my dream of visiting the Australia Zoo. I apologize for not doing this sooner, but summer has been crazy. In the next few weeks I will be posting journals/blog entries along with photos from my trip starting with the first entry below.
However, that is not all. Some of my more observant watchers and lovely print sale patrons will have remembered that I offered a 3-month Premium Membership to DeviantArt for one lucky individual who purchased my work. Well, I'm happy to announce that the deviant that has won the subscription by random draw is:
Congratulations, Falcolf! To everyone else, if you are disappointed that you didn't win, keep watch on this journal because I will have another special announcement soon where you can have the chance to win one of your own! For now, please enjoy part 1 of my journal highlighting my trip to Australia and how I got there.
Thank you to everyone for watching and helping make a dream come true.
Trip to Australia Journal - Part 1 - A Journey's Beginnings
It would be wrong of me to say that this epic journey began on an airplane or in a car. It would also be wrong of me to say that it began with a contest announcement by the Australia Zoo or with a photography sale to raise money for a trip across the sea. No, the first steps on my pilgrimage to the Australia Zoo began well before these things. There could be many places where I could trace the genesis of my journey so I suppose it is arbitrary to find a starting point. Nonetheless, it would be prudent to tell the tale of another journeys beginnings.
Somewhere in Australia in 1992, a newlywed couple was on their honeymoon in the Queensland Outback. This couple was unlike any other not just because of their curious choice of scenery, but because of what they would achieve together. Their names were Steve and Terri Irwin and instead of a traditional honeymoon, they chose to help track a crocodile that was seemingly doomed from potential poachers. With cameras in tow, they filmed their exploits giving birth to what would become the hit television documentary series The Crocodile Hunter.
Steve Irwin in particular, with a passion and enthusiasm for sharing the worlds animals up close with his audience and a larger than life attitude, helped to spearhead the incredible success of the program. Though Steve would be parodied, poked fun at, criticized and misunderstood, the popularity he gained would be used to promote the conservation of many different species, particularly for stigmatized animals like snakes, sharks and crocs. It was Steves mission to share the amazing traits of the worlds animals with his audience whether filming in the wild for his documentaries or at his home, the Australia Zoo; he believed that exciting education coupled with conservation messaging could beget an increasing love and understanding for animals, giving way to their protection.
There were many factors that led for me to develop a passion for animals, particularly tigers, though the work of the Irwins played a key role. As an audience member, I fell in love with the Crocodile Hunter films and was extremely responsive to the messages that Steve Irwin was trying to convey. I opened up to the idea that even the big scary animals of the world can exhibit some of the greatest virtues and have other incredible traits worthy of appreciation. I also was given a foundation upon which to build a strong desire to get involved in the conservation of these animals.
I dedicated my life to tiger conservation, though I continued to follow the works of the Crocodile Hunter and the diaries of the legendary Australia Zoo. Watching Steve Irwin on the television, I wanted to be able to travel to the Australia Zoo to experience his philosophy for myself; I also had dreams of meeting him and the Irwins.
I will never forget the sadness I felt when the world lost Steve Irwin in 2006, my first day at university. Though it was a tragedy for all the worlds animals and those he left behind, Steves passing helped to inspire me further; his voice grew stronger within me, his lessons resonated more deeply and my resolve to carry out his mission grew that much more.
During the years at university, I worked hard to develop myself both within the confines of my classes, but also outside them, dedicating my time and striving to make a difference for tigers and in other causes. Never could I have guessed that, just after my last day at university, my work would have taken me to Australia to finally fulfill my dream and experience what Steve and his family had built. Passion and enthusiasm, through action and persistence, helped carry me from the personal tragedy of Steves death to the personal triumph of living Steves mission and reaching my own goals previously thought to be impossible.
This is the story of finally visiting Australia and the famous Australia Zoo.
New for 2010 are some special animal Polaroids available for purchase. Get up close and personal with 10 fantastic animals showing off for the camera. They make for great, unique souvenirs and could be fantastic decor for your den!
These cheeky creatures are available FREE with the purchase of an 8x10 or 11x14. On their own, they are:
1 for $5
4 for $10 or
All 10 for $20!
I hope you'll consider taking home a few of these fantastic furry faces!
12 months, 12 of your favourite HeWhoWalksWithTigers photos customized by month!
1 for $25
2 for $45
3 for $60
4 x 6 Print
1 for $5
2 for $8
3 for $10
5 x 7 Print
1 for $8
2 for $14
3 for $18
6 x 8 Print
1 for $10
2 for $16
3 for $20
8 x 10 Print*
1 for $20
2 for $30
3 for $40
*with free animal polaroid!
11 x 14 Print*
1 for $30
2 for $50
3 for $60
*with free animal polaroid!
Prices are in US dollars. Shipping will be calculated based on buyer's place of residence to ensure the lowest possible cost. I will ship anywhere in the world. Prices will change subject to any changes in production costs, including those which drive costs down.
Paypal is preferred. Please contact me by note or email (hewhowalkswithtigers [at] gmail.com) to discuss alternative methods. My Paypal account is the same as my email so on the off chance you feel like throwing money at me, that's the place to send it.
Why buy from you? What do you have to offer that others don't?
I would like to think that my work speaks for itself. However, there are more reasons. When you buy prints from me, you know that you are supporting someone you know rather than some large multi-national corporation. Also, as I'm currently in the hunt for a job, the income I get from my prints is very much appreciated. When I do find work, the income I'll receive from my prints will help me work towards buying a more advanced camera, which will ultimately assist me in providing more photos of greater technical quality. Furthermore, this will help in my goal on DeviantArt of raising more awareness for conservation and the animals I photograph.
When in high-school, I wanted to be a wildlife photographer. I took courses in photography and art, but after finding out about tigers and how endangered they are, I decided to dedicate my life to saving them. However, I still am involved in photography as a hobby. It is through my photography I wish to inform people about the world's most endangered animals and inspire people to help.
To find out more about how and why I got started with tigers, please visit this [link]
I volunteer for numerous conservation organizations, traveled to Asia to assist conservation efforts, spearheaded public involvement initiatives and am now on the cusp of beginning a career in helping protect wildlife. I hope you will join me on my journey to help create a clean, sustainable future where all humans and wildlife can flourish. It is up to us.