Donna and Stephen James O'Meara are a husband and wife team of award-winning photographers specializing in volcanic eruptions around the world. In 1994, the O'Mearas founded Volcano Watch International, a research organization dedicated to better understanding Earth's active volcanoes. The organization uses the O'Mearas' volcanic images to educate people around the globe about volcanic dangers and help save the lives of people who live on or near volcanoes. The O'Mearas are also part of The National Geographic Expeditions Council and National Geographic Society contract photographers.
On their second date, Donna and Stephen O’Meara flew to the erupting Kilauea volcano on the Island of Hawai’i. It was the first time Donna had photographed a bubbling lava lake, and she instantly fell in love with volcanoes — and Stephen. A year later, in 1987, the couple married on the slopes of Kilauea. Both wore tennis shoes in case they had to run to safety.
Since that day, the O’Mearas have dedicated their lives to photographing and unlocking the mysteries of volcanic eruptions. In 1994, they founded Volcano Watch International, a research organization dedicated to better understanding the Earth’s active volcanoes. The organization uses the couples’ images to educate people about volcanic dangers and to help save the lives of people living near precarious volcanoes. It is estimated that more than 10 million people worldwide live in active volcano danger zones.
Photographers, scientists, videographers, recipients of National Geographic Society grants and the subject of documentaries, the O’Mearas experience the dangers and discover the mysteries of volcanoes every day from their home on top of Kilauea.
Paul Nicklen uses his camera to reveal the nature of a world melting away under human-induced global warming. Whether ice-diving, covering hundreds of miles of terrain in -40F temperatures or mastering aerial shots from his ultra-light plane, Nicklen has specialized in photographing polar regions since 1995. Nicklen's childhood in Canada's Arctic prepared him for cold and remote surroundings. From the local Inuit community, he learned the Arctic survival skills that have guided him on his expeditions as an adult. His images reflect a reverence for the creatures inhabiting these isolated environments, and his unique background enables him to take on the most inhospitable places on our planet.
From polar bears roaming the northern tundra to leopard seals hunting for penguins in the southern seas, Paul Nicklen captures images from extreme environments few of us will ever witness.
Growing up in an Inuit community in the Arctic, Nicklen is uniquely qualified to tell the stories of the polar regions of our planet. A former marine biologist, Nicklen realized he could make a greater impact in his quest to raise awareness of climate change and protect polar species and their habitats with his camera.
Nicklen’s relaxed Canadian demeanor belies his intensity on assignment. Intimately familiar with the Arctic, he immerses himself in his work, intrepid even when stranded on an ice floe, falling through the sea or suffering one of his countless bouts of frostbite.
Nicklen’s passion is fueled by the urgent need to save these distant and remote lands before they are lost forever.
Michael Nichols, dubbed the "Indiana Jones of Photography" by Paris Match magazine, is an award-winning editor at large and a veteran photographer for National Geographic magazine. Devoting himself to producing photography that effects environmental change, Nichols' work documenting nature and environmental stories has taken him to the most remote corners of the world. In 2007, Nichols founded the annual LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph in Charlottesville, VA, a three-day celebration of peace, love and photography.
Michael Nichols, a native of Alabama, is an award-winning photographer and editor-at-large for National Geographic magazine whose work has taken him to the most remote corners of the world.
Nichols has devoted himself to producing photography that affects environmental change. His work with conservationists, such as J. Michael Fay and Jane Goodall, has resulted in numerous books, as well as the creation of 13 national parks in Africa and reform in chimpanzee conservation.
From 1999 to 2001, Nichols documented Mike Fay’s Megatransect expedition across Africa. Fay walked 2,000 miles from the Republic of the Congo’s deepest rainforest to the Atlantic coast of Gabon to study Africa’s last great wilderness.
Nichols has photographed 25 stories for National Geographic and the large public response to “Ivory Wars: Last Stand in Zakouma” (March 2007) helped raise awareness and funds to protect the elephants of Chad.
Clyde Butcher's photographs explore his personal relationship with the environment. For more than 40 years, he has been preserving landscapes on black-and-white film. Butcher has been honored by the state of Florida with the highest award given to a private citizen: the Artist Hall of Fame Award. He was also privileged to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American NaturePhotography Association and named the Humanitarian of the Year for 2005 by International University. The Sierra Club honored him with the Ansel Adams Conservation Award, given to photographers whose talents have contributed to the public awareness of the environment.
Clyde Butcher’s photographs explore his personal and profound relationship with the environment. For more than 40 years, Butcher has preserved untouched areas of the landscape onto black-and-white film. Capturing his images with an 8” x 10” and 11” x 14” view camera, Butcher prints his limited editions on fiber-based paper toned with selenium for archival purposes.
“Wilderness, to me, is a spiritual necessity,” says Butcher. After his son was killed by a drunk driver, the photographer fled to the wilderness, searching for serenity and equilibrium. “The mysterious spiritual experience of being close to nature helped restore my soul.” It was then that Butcher discovered the intimate beauty of the environment. “My experience reinforced my dedication to use the art of photography as an inspiration for others to work together to save nature’s places of spiritual sanctuary for future generations.”