DJ King Photographics
I'm blessed to live in Te Waipounamu (the waters of greenstone) - the South Island of New Zealand. The abundance of unique wildlife, especially birds and insects, throughout wild coastal expanses, serene alpine environments, and extensive glacial and cloud-forest-swathed valleys, makes this an Arcadia for natural historians, photographers and artists. (Not to mention surfers and many other outdoor enthusiasts!)
Many of New Zealand's species are endemic, meaning they aren't found anywhere else (kiwis, Celmisia and Raoulia spp, Hochstetter’s frog). Most of the rest are indigenous - meaning they migrate here to breed or feed, or otherwise occur naturally here, but may be found elsewhere, too (shortfin eels, swamp harriers, silvereyes).
There are many introduced species, all of which, save some cultivated species, are invasive (rats, stoats, possums, wild goats and pigs, rabbits, among many others). New Zealand is regarded as second-only to Hawaii in terms of species loss through introduced pests.
However, New Zealand has an extensive network of largely volunteer-driven community programs, and a number of agencies and NGOs strive to preserve what they can, eradicate pests, and replant. In particular, the creation of predator-free island conservation sanctuaries has afforded some species their last chance.
Our conservation groups have often faced Herculean obstacles, but have endowed New Zealand with a steady betterment to welfare, endangered species, and ecological regeneration. Without their sustained efforts, New Zealand's verdant geography would be very much poorer, a fact that Kiwis are justifiably proud of. Many of my photographic sites owe their continued existence to such endeavours.
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Aside from botanical forays, and sneak attacks with camera and tripod on unsuspecting fungi and invertebrates, I head out tramping, kayaking, biking or climbing, indulging a love of wild things, hoping to capture snippets of natural history, document things pristine, and present some of the case for conservation.
The rest of the time, I satisfy an appetite for galleries and museums, good cafés, Victorian cemeteries, and photographing folks. I also write, create graphics and illustrations - with an emphasis on biology; and cook, which I use as a therapy.
I trained as an Australasian (or Oceanic) anthropologist, conducted research on life here in the South Pacific, and have travelled extensively around New Zealand and wider Oceania, and in a few spots elsewhere in the world.
I have particular interests in ethnobotany, funerary rites, welfare economics and architecture; how people choose to communicate, how we communicate involuntarily, and how we spend our lives in the spaces we create. I am currently completing qualifications in ecology, botany and biological anthropology.
I cannot imagine life without travel and the eternal pursuit of the remote - I got my first camera, travelling, at 10, and never looked back. We precariously dwell on such a beautiful, and complex planet, it is my honour to show what I see of it.