Joe Riis National Geographic Photographer talks about his wildlife journey

Joe Riis enjoying the Singapore Zoo workshop

Joe Riis enjoying the Singapore Zoo workshop

Imagine waking up in the middle of the Gobi Desert with only the mission and passion in life to photograph one of the rarest bears on the planet. Well, this an assignment that Joe Riis was pursuing even as he took time out for a workshop and seminar in Singapore.

Joe is only 28-years old, the youngest National Geographic wildlife photographer. Naturally you wonder how does a 28-year old land what has to be a childhood dream job working in the great outdoors capturing and documenting the life and sometimes plight of the animals we share the planet earth with? For Joe, who was not all that interested in photography when he was younger started taking photos of things around his home. His greater passion at the time was biology and conservation.

Joe’s first feature was on the migration of the Grand Teton Pronghorn. It is as good as his backyard with home being the neighbouring state of South Dakota. This was a project he set his sights on even before National Geographic. He received a grant from National Geographic Young Explorers Expedition Council and worked full-time on it for 15-months.

Joe worked as an assistant to other National Geographic photographers, Steve Winter and Joel Sartore¬†before he got his own assignments. Joe’s first National Geographic magazine assignment was in Mongolia.

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Joe Riis shows off one of his favourite shots capture at the Singapore Zoo workshop.

Taking some time out between assignment, Joe was in Singapore to promote The Young EOS Photographer Awards. Organised by National Geographic Channel and Canon Singapore Pte Ltd, the workshop was held at the Singapore Zoo and a seminar at LaSalle College of the Arts.

Joe reviews a shot with participants at the Zoo workshop

Joe reviews a shot with participants at the Zoo workshop

The day at the zoo gave young adults the opportunity to meet Joe and get tips on photography techniques. By the way, Joe has no formal photography training. With Canon Singapore Pte Ltd on hand, there was also opportunity to test drive some of the gear that Joe uses for his own assignments. Getting up close and personal with equipment we mere mortals can only dream of owning. The Canon EF300 f/2.8 L II looks like a monster but I was comfortable hand carrying it for about an hour with my 1D Mark3. It is a crazy lens and if I really had an everyday use for that lens and use it to make money it would be in my possession. I’ll settle for my Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS for now, which feels heavy by comparison to the 300mm.

A bird nest high in the trees shot with the EF300 f2.8 IS II

A bird nest high in the trees shot with the EF300 f2.8 IS II

 

A 100-percent crop of the bird nest shot

A 100-percent crop of the bird nest shot

If you are between the ages of 13 and 25 years and interested in photography, check out The Young EOS Photographer Awards. You have until 3 June 2013 to submit photographs. You will find all the details of the contest at, www.celebrationofcolor.com .

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