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Meeting Photographer Thomas Peschak

FIN Tastic Allstar Ella recently got to meet Thomas Peschak and hear him speak. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

This week I got to attend a Nat Geo Live event in Toronto with the incredible photographer Thomas Peschak. It was an amazing night! Thomas is really funny, and he made me feel like I was on his expedition with him as he told the stories behind some of his most famous photographs.

There were lots of shark photos, and he made people in the audience feel like they were right there with him as he showed video of sharks feeding in a bait ball, and as he explained the story behind his famous photograph of him in a bright yellow kayak and a large White Shark following along behind him. It was really incredible to see and hear the reactions of people in the crowd as they first saw the photos. A lot of people were shocked to see he was in the water with so many sharks feeding on a bait ball, and there were gasps when he showed the video of him swimming in front of a White Shark as it approached him. Then something really great happened, as he explained how he was nervous in the water as the White Shark approached him, and his heart was racing, and he felt butterflies in his tummy you could see people nodding because they would feel that way too. Then he stopped and looked right out at the crowd and said that he wasn’t nervous because there was a 20 foot White Shark swimming toward him, he was nervous and anxious that he wouldn’t be able to get the perfect photo. He said he was way more nervous talking in front of people than he is being in the water with sharks. There was a boy sitting beside me who looked at his Dad and said “you see Dad, you don’t need to be afraid of sharks!”

I know he changed more than one mind about what sharks are really like that night, and I was so happy to be able to see people change their view of sharks. I got to see fear turn into fascination.

As he was almost done his talk someone asked what we as regular people can do to help save the oceans. His answer was simple, but so important. He said that everyone has the power to help with conservation. Thomas then said something that explains conservation perfectly. He said that “Conservation means inconveniencing yourself, but for a greater good”. This was the best explanation I have ever heard of conservation. He explained how not always being able to eat exactly what we want to help protect the ocean may be considered inconvenient, but if we want to turn things around for our planet, that this is the price we must pay.

I got to meet Thomas after his show, and he was just as funny and nice in person as he was on stage. He really cares about animals and our planet, and he wants to show people through his photos that things aren’t always as they seem. Sharks aren’t the scary people eaters that movies and TV want you to think they are. Most importantly he showed us that there is so much worth fighting for, we just need to take action!

You can follow Ella's adventures on Instagram @EllaSavestheOcean

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