Archive for the 'Lectures' Category

Q&A with Marine Photographer and Environmentalist Bob Talbot!

In advance of his special lecture at the Aquarium on April 22nd (Earth Day), we chatted with world-renowned marine photographer/filmmaker and dedicated environmentalist Bob Talbot about what inspires his work and how he uses the power of film to advocate for our blue planet!

Bob Talbot

How did you first become interested in photography?

I began snorkeling when I was eight years old. When I was thirteen I became a certified diver. The following Christmas I was given my first camera. I enrolled in an after-school photo class and soon realized that photography was the perfect medium for me to share what I was experiencing in the sea with others.

How did you start in underwater photography/filmmaking?

Soon after I began diving I met a fellow student that who had also just begun diving. Inspired by Jacques Cousteau, we photographed whatever we could in the waters off the coast of southern California. When we were fourteen, we acquired a sixteen-foot inflatable boat that opened up a whole new world to us. We now had access to the whales and dolphins that eventually became the main focus of my work.

When we were nineteen, I got my hands on a wind up 16mm movie camera. With no idea precisely where we were going, we loaded up a Datsun pickup and “trailered” the inflatable to Vancouver Island in hopes of filming orcas in the wild.

 That trip was the first of several to the Pacific Northwest to photograph orcas. It was a fool’s undertaking, fueled only by youthful enthusiasm and the passion to get an image on film. Those early days of trial-and-error honed the skills I use today. There was no formal training to become a marine wildlife photographer—an odd combination of photographer, naturalist, boatman and filmmaker.

 The sea was our playground, our classroom. And it taught us as much about how to learn as it did anything else.

What inspires your passion for ocean conservation?

I’ve been drawn to the sea since I was a child. Long before I understood its importance to life on this planet, the ocean was a source of comfort and inspiration. Its inhabitants never cease to amaze me—it’s liquid form an ever changing piece of art to be shared with the world. So I suppose on one hand my passion for ocean conservation is purely selfish. Though much more important is how critical the sea is to the survival of all living things.

Bob Talbot Photography

There is a part of me that has come to the intellectual realization that what we have done to the sea is a natural progression of evolution. But in my heart I can’t accept this. We know of no other planet where life now exists. I simply can’t stand by and watch the destruction of such a unique and vital place.

 How do you hope to inspire conservation in others?

I hope to inspire people with immersive film experiences that provide context and perspective through compelling stories. Old school conservation has become passé. I feel that we have reached a point in time when the environmental movement needs to reinvent itself.

I believe the way to move forward is to present issues in a clear and non-judgmental fashion, while providing logical and effective action to bring about meaningful change.

 What do you love most about the natural world?

 Purity and truth.

 If you could only capture one animal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Why? 

 Orcas. They are the animals with whom I came of age both in my life and in my work.

 Their power, intelligence, grace and form continue to inspire me.

Join us for Bob Talbot’s Upcoming Lecture!

What: “The Power of Film: Inspiring Action for Monterey Bay”

When: April 22nd, 7pm EST

Where: National Aquarium and a livestream online via Google Hangout!

For more information of our Marjorie Lynn Bank lecture series, visit aqua.org/lectures!

Q&A with Photojournalist and Ocean Advocate Brian Skerry!

In advance of his special lecture at the Aquarium on March 18th, we chatted with photographer Brian Skerry about what inspired him to pursue a career in photojournalism and how his work inspires others to protect our oceans!

brian skerry photographer

What first interested you about photographing marine wildlife?
From a very young age, I was captivated by marine wildlife. There was something mysterious to me about the sea and the creatures that lived there and I had a great desire to spend time with these animals and learn more about them.

If you had to pick one subject to photograph for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
A difficult question for sure, but I think I would say sharks. For me, these animals represent the perfect blend of grace and power and I’ve never tired of photographing them.

brian skerry and shark - photography

If the folks who engaged with your photographs could take away one thing about our oceans and their future, what would you hope for it to be?
That Earth’s ocean is a very, very special place, but it needs our help to survive.

How have you seen the areas your work represents change in recent years?
I began simply wanting to make beautiful pictures of animals or places that interested me. While I still have this desire, I have seen many problems occurring in our ocean and I feel compelled to tell these stories too, as a way of effecting positive change.

brian skerry photography

How does your new book, Ocean Soul, help to further your mission to increase protection of special ocean places?
A book has a long shelf-life so it can attract new readers over time. A book like this also allows me to tell my story; my journey of ocean exploration, the animals and places I’ve seen and how I have begun to connect the dots with species and ecosystems.

Join us for Brian Skerry’s Upcoming Lecture!

What: A lecture from “Ocean Soul: A Photojournalists Journey,” book signing to follow

When: March 18, 2014 at 7 pm EST

Where: National Aquarium
A livestream will also be available online.

To purchase tickets for this event, please visit aqua.org/lectures

Don’t Miss the Rest of Our Spring Lecture Series!

After welcoming Dr. Sylvia Earle to kick-off our 2014 Marjorie Lynn Banks Lecture Series, we’re excited to share the diverse group of speakers that will be rounding out the remainder of our season!

The theme of this year’s series is “National Marine Sanctuaries: Special Ocean Places and Their Champions.” Our nation’s vast ocean riches are protected by a system of National Marine Sanctuaries, cherished by people around the country and safeguarded by a team of global ocean leaders. These sanctuaries represent some of the best places in our ocean environment such as humpback whale feeding and birthing grounds, shipwrecks of national interest, coral reefs and kelp beds.

In partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, National Aquarium is excited to offer lecture attendees the chance to meet ocean experts who work on the front line of ocean conservation and exploration. Our year-long series brings to you the luminaries, scientists, explorers and artists who protect and use these special places to drive change toward a sustained ocean and a sustainable future!

Find out more about our upcoming lectures:

March 18, 2014 – Ocean Soul: A Photojournalist’s Journey
Featured Lecturer: Brian Skerry

Brian Skerry is a photojournalist specializing in marine wildlife and underwater environments. Since 1998, he has been a contract photographer for National Geographic Magazine. He will present a gripping portrait of the ocean as a place of beauty and mystery, a place in trouble, and ultimately, a place of hope that will rebound with the proper attention and care. Skerry has witnessed these rebounds in our own National Marine Sanctuaries and marine reserves areas around the world and uses his stunning photography to advocate for continued and increased protection of special ocean places. His work is currently on display at the Smithsonian Institutions’ National Museum of Natural History’s Sant Ocean Hall in an exhibit called Portraits of Planet Ocean.

April 22, 2014 – The Power of Film: Inspiring Action for Monterey Bay
Featured Lecturer: Bob Talbot

As a world-renowned marine photographer, award-winning filmmaker and dedicated environmentalist, Bob Talbot is using the power of film to advocate for National Marine Sanctuaries and uses his gift to tell a story of change and recovery in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. In Talbot’s remarkable career, he has combined his unique visual style and storytelling ability with state-of-the-art entertainment technologies to create intimate ocean experiences on film. National Aquarium visitors can enjoy Talbot’s work at the entrance to the Blue Wonders wing on our video wall.

May 7, 2014 – Humpback Whale Rescue in the Hawaiian Islands
Featured Lecturer: Ed Lyman

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary’s Large Whale Entanglement Response Coordinator, Ed Lyman, will share stories of trying to free whales from entanglement, and the value of science aimed toward protecting these gentle giants. Lyman manages a community-based response effort to release entangled large whales around the main Hawaiian Islands. He also assists NOAA Fisheries in addressing large whale entanglement response in Alaska and the US West Coast. Ed Lyman has participated in more than 70 large whale disentanglements.

To reserve seats for any of our upcoming lectures, visit aqua.org/lectures!

Lecture Re-cap: “Hope: A Plan for Our Oceans”

The most important thing that we extract from the ocean is our existence.

Last night, American oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer, Dr. Sylvia Earle kicked-off our spring lecture series with an amazing session titled “Hope: A Plan for Our Oceans”!

national aquarium lecture sylvia earle

Dr. Earle’s lecture focused on the concept of embracing ocean “hope spots” around the world, aquatic treasures like our own National Marine Sanctuaries. Hope spots are special places that are critical to the health of the ocean, Earth’s blue heart.

Here are just a few highlights from Dr. Earle’s inspirational talk: 

  • Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872. It took 100 years after that for our nation to establish the first National Marine Sanctuary.
  • Sixty-four percent of the world’s oceans lie beyond national jurisdiction.
  • About half of the oceans’ coral reefs are gone. This tragedy is is due to issues like ocean acidification, habitat degradation and overfishing.
  • Since the foundation of Mission Blue in 2009, 51 hope spots have been declared worldwide. These areas give all ocean lovers and conservationists hope for the future. As Dr. Earle reminded us last night, the time to act on behalf of the ocean is now!

For those of you who weren’t able to attend or tune into our special lecture last night, a full video is available to watch here: 

Join the conversation online about the importance of marine-protected areas using #HopeSpots!

Join Us for a Special Lecture with Famed Oceanographer, Dr. Slyvia Earle!

The National Aquarium is proud to partner with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (NMSF) to offer a glimpse into contemporary ocean issues in the 2014 Marjorie Lynn Bank Lecture Series, beginning with oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle!

Dr. Sylvia Earle

The year-long speaker series will highlight the diverse network of the National Marine Sanctuary System and will give guests the opportunity to learn from ocean experts who are working on the front line of ocean conservation and exploration including luminaries, scientists, explorers and artists.

Earle, an American oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer, kicks off our Spring series with her session, “Hope: A Plan for Our Ocean” on February 27th. During the lecture, Earle will share her experiences exploring “inner-space” to rally support for hope spots, which she describes as special places around the world that are critical to the health of the ocean.

Earle has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence since 1998, and was named Time magazine’s first “Hero for the Planet” in 1998. Her recently-released film, Mission Blue, traces her journey from her earliest memories exploring the ocean to her days leading a daring undersea mission. Check out this special clip of Mission Blue: 

Tickets for Earle’s lecture are available for purchase here (admission is $20 for National Aquarium members and $35 for non-members). The entire presentation will also be streamed live at aqua.org/lectures.

We hope you’ll join us for the special kick-off of our Marjorie Lynn Banks Lecture Series! 


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