9 April, 2018
Influencers, Travel

We Talk Sustainability, Photography, and Travel with National Geographic Photographer, Keith Ladzinski

9 April, 2018

Check out Keith Ladzinski’s Photo Exhibition ‘A Fragile Planet’ at The Haven, Jacada Travel’s Central location

Photography and travel walk hand in hand through Keith Ladzinski’s breath-taking landscape and wildlife photography. As a globally published adventure photographer and filmmaker, Keith’s journey has taken him through some of the world’s most untouched places. Thankfully, he’s had his lens at the ready, so we’re privy to the stunning sights!

To celebrate its 10th Anniversary, Jacada Travel partnered with Keith to showcase the importance of environmental protection and conservation around the world. Head over to The Haven, Jacada Travel’s Hong Kong location, to see the full photo exhibition of ‘A Fragile Planet’ before Saturday 26 May 2018. All proceeds will be donated to photographer-led nonprofit, Sea-Legacy, and Hong Kong specific volunteer-group, Eco Drive. Both organisations focus on sustainability and environmental protection, so it’s clear to see how they align with the values that Keith and Jacada Travel share.

We were lucky enough to chat to Keith Ladzinski about his thoughts on sustainable travel, pursuing a passion, and the art of photography

Read more: Anti-Poaching and Aerial Filming: 5 Minutes with Ben Simpson, Sir David Attenborough’s Helicopter Pilot

Keith Ladzinski - Interview in HK

You’ve been a photographer for National Geographic, the New York Times, ESPN magazine, Discover Magazine, amongst countless other publications. Tell us a bit about what encouraged you to become a photographer and filmmaker.

I got into photography after playing around with my brother’s new camera. I was about 18 or 19 at the time. We grew up in Colorado, so I’d always taken the scenery around us for granted. My brother and I are really close, so when he came back from college with a new “toy”, it didn’t take long before I was experimenting with it. Taking photos gave me a sudden “hey, this is really fun” moment. I started as a skateboard photographer, and here I am in Hong Kong – I had no idea it would lead me here.

What keeps you inspired? Personally, and professionally.

You get addicted. Photography is so much more than a job for me. Honestly, even if I didn’t get paid to do it, this is how I’d spend my time. I’d be looking at the world through a camera, seven days a week, either way. 

Keith Ladzinski in hk - Jacada Travel

What’s your favourite part about it?

It silences the mind. It’s incredibly therapeutic and stress-relieving and puts everything in perspective for me. I feel immensely grateful that my job gives me so much exhilaration and freedom. I know how lucky I am to do what I love every day.

‘A Fragile Planet’ features photos  from Asia, Africa, South America and both Poles, all showcasing the beauty of world. Can you tell us about a particularly memorable moment you’ve had?

Honestly, picking just one memorable moment is like picking a favourite child – there’s so much I want to hold on to forever! Thankfully, that’s exactly what photography is working to do: capture it all. It’s all about reliving a moment and that’s one of the many reasons I love it.

photo exhibition of ‘A Fragile Planet’ - Jacada Travel

What have you learnt shooting with National Geographic?

It’s been the greatest honour to contribute towards National Geographic. It teaches you so much about yourself. The magazine is all about staying authentic, so no digital manipulation is allowed. It requires every raw photo, and every single photo. I can shoot anywhere between 70,000 to 90,000 images on one trip, so I feel sorry for the editors going through it all! You’re legally not allowed to delete or edit anything, so the whole process is exposing. The standard definitely keeps me on my toes!

Read more: 7 Sustainable and Eco Hotels to Put on Your Travel Bucket List

What was the most challenging environment you’ve had to overcome?

Mud. Mud is not your friend. You’d be surprised, but most other environments are manageable with a little preparation. Jungle environments mean mud gets everywhere. I’ve still got lingering bits in the creases of some equipment…

Keith Ladzinski at Jacada Travel

What 3 tips would you give to budding photographers (or everyday Instagrammers) to get the most epic shot?

  1. Shoot what you like. You’ll produce your best work when you’re capturing something you’re interested in. Whether that’s the environment or food – gravitate towards that.
  2. The focus is key, but the surroundings matter just as much. Never underestimate your background (it’s your canvas) and light (it frames everything)
  3. Moment matters. Nothing beats capturing authenticity – sometimes that means being patient and waiting for the storm to pass, literally.

National Geographic Photographer Interview

We love that your work promotes environment protection simply by sharing the beauty of it all. You started 3 Strings Productions to specialise in video and cutting-edge adventure story-telling. Can you tell us more about that decision?

I’ve always wanted to shoot photos that connect with people on an emotional level, so video was a new way to tell a story. When the fear of not knowing about video was translated into passion, some really special stuff started happening. I love that the hunt for video is different – you’re looking for different angles and exciting movement. Video also allows for collaboration. Photography is often a one man/woman show, so it’s fun to switch it up and feel part of a team. 

What’s your top travel destination?

This is another tricky one to answer, but I’d go with South Africa or Chile. 

Keith Ladzinski - National Geographic Photographer at The Haven Jacada Travel

Hong Kong is filled with globetrotters. What ways would you encourage being sustainable on the go?

Care about your carbon offset. Jacada actually offsets 100% of carbon emissions from every trip sold – so it’s definitely possible. There are also tons of little things that eventually become the big things. Even bringing your own water bottle and knowing how to best recycle makes a difference. Bringing rechargeable batteries has also been a saviour with all the camera equipment! I think it’s important to get used to making little compromises for sustainability.

Read more: Ditch the Plastic: 5 Things to Help You Live More Sustainably in Hong Kong

How would you encourage our readers to actively support environmental protection and conservation?

There are so many incredible organisations – supporting their mission and educating yourself is the best starting point. Sea-Legacy, which began by two passionate photographers, is all about recognising that all have a part to play in the planet. It’s great to see initiatives all over the world. Coming to Hong Kong, it’s so important seeing groups like Eco Drive working to make positive changes.

If you’re looking to see more of Keith Ladzinski’s photography, head over to The Haven, Jacada Travel’s Hong Kong location. The stunning photo exhibition of ‘A Fragile Planet’ will be showcased until Saturday 26 May 2018.

All images courtesy of Keith Ladzinski Photography.

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