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From Reef to Ridges: Explore Conservation Photography with Gab Mejia

From reef to ridge

I had spent nights and days in the mountains when, suddenly, a Philippine Eagle showed up and truly amazed me. Just witnessing it soar in all its majesty was a moment in my life that I would never forget — that rare creatures like these still exist and thrive on our planet. It is moments like these that make photographing the stories of nature so spectacular. These subjects give depth and meaning to the images and videos I have been privileged to create, to be able to share their story to the world so that they, too, can have a voice.

Taking a piece of the moment

I was a mountaineer first before I became a photographer and videographer. It was during my time in the mountains that I was truly inspired to get my very first camera and capture the beautiful moments I have personally experienced with these glorious landscapes. Each image is a scene frozen in time where I have learnt a thing or two about the world: from eating exotic cuisines, experiencing cultures, meeting new people, camping under the stars, climbing mountains, to diving into oceans and everything in between. Every place and moment of every picture will always be a living reminder that in all its entirety, it forms part of who I am today.

Go-to equipment

On these adventures, the Nikon Z 6 paired with the Zhiyun Weebill Lab are my go-to gears. The highly compact build of the Nikon Z 6 and Weebill Lab allows me to film everywhere and anywhere. Being super lightweight yet robust, it helps me shoot even while climbing high-altitude mountains or manoeuvring through thick rainforests. The amazing stabilisation also allows me to film on-the-go and keep my feet nimble in order to capture different perspectives, even when I am hiking or riding a fastmoving vehicle. From ridge to reef, the Nikon Z 6 and Weebill Lab combination truly makes capturing stories of nature that much easier.

The beauty of our planet

When it comes to finding inspiration, there is something inexplicable about the beauty of nature and our planet that fuels me in all my paths forward. From the sunrise in the high mountain peaks, the refreshing mist of waterfalls, to the charismatic and diverse animals and cultures around the world, there is just so much more to see and discover on our planet. Nothing can compare to the beauty of nature, and with everything that is happening today in our environment, we should do more with the best of our abilities and passions to make a positive impact in our planet before we lose it. That’s where conservation photography comes into play.

The true meaning behind conservation photography

One of the most challenging parts of conservation photography is being able to bring justice to the subjects you take with the inherent impact of your photographs and videos. Ask yourself: How will your photographs help conserve the dwindling wildlife on the brink of extinction? How will your videos empower the voices of these environmental communities that have been silenced?  Conservation photography is all about getting results in the real world. The true goal of this genre is to make a positive difference in our natural environment — whether it be by raising awareness, educating local communities, protecting the land, or influencing decisions of significant people in our mission to conserve our planet.

Believe the stories you have created

With all this in mind, my most important advice is to always keep on taking photos and exploring. Believe in the images and stories you yourself have made. Personal intuition and love for the photos and videos you create will be the best starting point in developing your passion for photography and videography. Never forget that it is not just about the beautiful images you capture but the powerful stories behind those photos that inspires and connects others to your image. This will give you your true purpose in your passion. Anyone can take great photos; the challenge is to try and change the world with it. 

About Gab Mejia

Gab Mejia is an international award-winning storyteller, mountaineer, photographer and conservationist. Having traversed many of the glorious landscapes that nature has to offer, he shares his passion for the beauty of nature by covering stories of our natural environment. Through his photos, he empowers and educates the youth to protect the ecosystems of our planet.