Finding your own path with nature photography


Nature Photography Day: Finding your own path with nature photography

By Alaïs Nevert

Ocean Bridge Ocean Ambassador and #ParksLife Ambassador

This is the third article in a three-part series focusing on Nature Photography Day, celebrated every year on June 15.
Part 1Part 2

As a child, I dreamed of being an adventurer, a scientist, a biologist and all kinds of other imaginary careers that would allow me to spend my days in the wild studying animals and plants. Sort of a cross between Indiana Jones and Snow White—and able to communicate with animals! However, I had to face the reality that I was terrible at science. As I was feeling overwhelmed in math and physics and lagging behind in biology, it was made clear that a scientific path was not opening up for me and I opted to study literature and cinema instead. But my dreams of nature had not disappeared.

I was a little lost at university, but then an email from the film department changed my life. Parks Canada was looking for students to fill videographer positions during the summer. The next few weeks were a frenzy between the end of semester and the application process. Suddenly, I was packing my bags and preparing to leave the house for the first time with a small PowerShot compact camera in hand. Until that summer, I had intended to get into video production and cinema. But as I was exploring the unusual and fabulous landscapes of the islands of the Mingan archipelago, in the province of Quebec, I began to gravitate towards my camera. Suddenly, I wanted to photograph rather than film.

I returned from this experience transformed; I had a new passion, and more than that, I was reconnected with my childhood dreams. My role as photographer and videographer in Mingan had opened the door to a world that I thought was inaccessible. Throughout the summer, I had met and worked with scientists and conservation officers. I had taken part in inventories of species at risk and I had documented, with my camera, the presence of many animal and plant species specific to the park’s ecosystem. I had learned their names, their characteristics and I could identify them.

The following year, my grandparents gave me a DSLR camera for my graduation and my nature photography adventures started again: a second summer in Mingan, then one in Ontario, the next in Saskatchewan, and yet another in Nova Scotia. Summer after summer, I returned to Parks Canada, with my trusty camera in hand ready to photograph new species. Each of these photos, and each of the conversations they sparked, was like turning the pages of an encyclopaedia that developed before my eyes.


Eight years and many adventures later, my faithful DSLR camera finally tired out, but not without having marked my journey. It is thanks to my camera and to nature photography that I was able to reconnect with my childhood imagination. With my camera, I traced my own path towards a profession in the environmental world and I now work for Parks Canada in youth engagement, helping other young people who seek to join their experiences and passions, to find a path that will lead them to the career of their dreams.

There is more than one path to achieve your dreams and by persevering, you will find yours.

All photos by Alaïs Nevert



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