Joshua Asel first started his wildlife and conservation photographer career by documenting birds of prey during the Pacific Flyway migration, tracking wildcats for Felidae Conservation Fund as far away as the High Andes in Argentina, and photographing for the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory. He primarily focuses on threatened, endangered, keystone, and bellwether species of coastal habitats, which happens to contain his favorite types of wildlife and habitats on Earth. Currently, Josh is working on Sea Otter conservation with Defenders of Wildlife and aims to promote themes of rewilding for other near-extinct species. Josh also recently received his Marine Ecology Naturalist certification and is thankful to be sponsored by Nikon USA, represented by Wildscreen Exchange, and serve as an Ethics Advisor for the North American Nature Photography Association.
Even when I was a very young lad living in the middle of the San Jose, California metropolis, my parents had a hard time peeling me away from watching National Geographic wildlife documentaries; animals always made more sense to me than humans did. I grew up as a fine artist, thinking that’s what I was going to do with the rest of my life. But about eight years ago, after I had a massive adrenaline rush from photographing just a dove flying by, I knew wildlife and conservation photography was what I was born to do. So, I dropped out of college the next day and started pursuing the creation of images that support and promote wild animals. As a self-taught photographer and tracker, I focus on dedicated visual conservation stories by working with individuals and organizations whose research covers Threatened, Endangered, keystone, and bellwether species. My commitment to saving wildlife and growing ethical practices stems from needing to fulfill my duty to God and natural love of all things wild. Since starting my journey, I’ve thankfully evolved into an award-winning photographer, Nikon USA Professional, Ethics Committee Member at NANPA, large carnivore tracker, and instructor. I founded Wild Expectations Media Cooperative (currently under renovation), am represented by Wildscreen Exchange, am also a founding member of Wild Idea Lab, and have appeared on multiple judging panels. My publications include National Geographic Education, Defenders of Wildlife, Improve Photography, Alaska Airlines Magazine, Outdoors California, and The Press Democrat, among others.
I first heard about Pacific Wild through one of my favorite photographers ever, naturally, Ian McAllister. It was easy to see from his dedication that Pacific Wild was and is performing conservation work of my favorite ecosystems at the highest level. Not only that, I came to find out that the people working at Pacific Wild are clearly kind and caring. This is why, beyond any reason of a doubt, I knew I wanted to support and develop a working relationship with them.
A campaign that I am working hard to become involved with is the Critically Endangered California Condor Non-experimental Population (NEP) reintroduction back into the Northern California coastline. It’s so unique because it’s a project that was conceived and developed by the Yurok Tribe in 2008, which coincides with their own heritage revival. Since then, fiteen other agencies have come together to try and make this dream a reality by this year. Other campaigns that I happen to love or want to be involved with in the future include Pacific Wild’s Save BC Wolves, various shark conservation projects, Tompkins Conservation to create new National Parks, the Philippine Eagle Foundation, and Mission Blue’s campaigns to create more Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s). All in all, I want to become an underwater ocean conservation photographer more than anything to support ocean different types of restoration campaigns.
Wild animals that I personally resonate with the most are mountain lions, jaguars, sharks, golden eagles, orcas, condors, and otters. Obligate carnivores have my heart, what can I say!