Catching Up With KEEN Ambassador Jasper Doest

Jasper Doest, one of our ambassadors since 2010, is a dedicated photographer from the Netherlands who is attempting to share the beauty, fragility and excitement of this big natural playground we live in through his work.

Here’s a story from Jasper that wonderfully captures a day in the life of a wildlife photographer:

When I started with photography some years back, I was always on the lookout for the most perfect picture. Even for a short walk in the park, I’d bring my camera, never knowing what great opportunity might expose itself.

Fortunately that changed. I found out that life (as is photography) is not about the result, it’s about the journey. More and more I find myself walking around with just a little point-and-shoot camera or even without a camera, living the experience. When I am able to capture the essence of that experience in photographs and share that with others, my mission is fulfilled. There’s no need to search for the perfect image, as perfection doesn’t move the heart by itself. The techniques are just tools to help you achieving your goal.

Last year I had the chance to pet a whale…pet a whale…pet a whale. It sounds crazy I know, and I’m not the kind of person who travels around chasing animals in order to touch them. I was on a little boat in Baja California, telling myself I would never pet a whale, thinking,”the whales out there are not waiting for a guy from the other side of the pond to come over and get all touchy”. Well, that turned out to be very different.

foto 2

We were surrounded by whales, approaching the boat and then it just happened. It came straight at me and I saw myself reaching out to the tip of his nose and….petted it. What an experience, to touch this an animal from another world, being the size of a schoolbus.

Walvis aaien

And the experience got even better that same night. Imagine sleeping in a cabaña at the beach of a remote lagoon, the sky filled with an uncountable amount of stars. I stood along the shore, covered in darkness. From a close distance, you could even hear the whales breathing in the lagoon. Goosebumps, I can tell you that.

foto 3

That scene, that night, the stars, those whales. That experience is something that is just impossible to capture in a photograph and I’m so glad that I didn’t even try. Otherwise, I would have missed the experience of a lifetime.

I’m in a plane while typing this. Now I’m off for another exciting trip. Gotta go and play some more. See you out in the field. Enjoy!

To view more of Jasper’s photography, check out his website: