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Ralph Lee Hopkins
USA

iLCP FEATURED FELLOW for June 2014

Santa Fe, New Mexico-based photographer Ralph Lee Hopkins travels to the world’s wild places with Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic. He is founder and director of Photography Expeditions for the Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic alliance.

Ralph’s background in geology led to a deep appreciation for landscapes and wild places. He was a photographer/geologist on the 1990 Colorado River Expedition with the US Geological Survey matching historical photographs from the 1889-90 Stanton Expedition and contributed images to the book GRAND CANYON, CENTURY OF CHANGE (University of Arizona Press. 1996). He is co-author and photographer of the popular guidebooks HIKING COLORADO’S GEOLOGY and HIKING THE SOUTHWEST’S GEOLOGY (Mountaineer’s Press, 2000, 2002). An inspiring teacher, Ralph leads workshops with Arizona Highways, Lindblad Expeditions, National Geographic Expeditions, and Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. His photos are represented by the National Geographic Image Collection and are published in major nature and photography publications.

His current work focuses on conservation and environmental issues in the Galapagos Island, Ecuador, and Baja California, Mexico. His work in Baja was published in the recent story “Is Baja on the Block?” (National Geographic Traveler, Nov/Dec 2008).

***
iLCP: What conservation issue are you most concerned with right now and why?
Ralph Lee Hopkins (RLH): Proposed development and mining issues in Baja California, Mexico, continue to be my main focus, especially near Cabo Pulmo National Park. With dozens of mega-devlopments being planned along Baja’s wild coast, now is the time to try and influence the scale and style of development. Conservation success stories are too often only temporary, so it’s impotent to keep telling the story of why Baja California is so special and in need of protection.

iLCP: What do like best about being in the field?
RLH: Being out and about working with my camera is why I’m a photographer – it’s who I am, and what I live for. It’s easy to sit back and get depressed about all the issues. I sleep better knowing that I’ve tried, in a small way at east, to do my part.

iLCP: What is your best scary/funny/inspiring story from the field?
RLH: I think photographing from airplanes and helicopters with doors off is the scariest thing I do. The funny thing is, I feel safe and protected as long as I’m making pictures, concentrating on what I’m doing with the camera and communicating with the pilot to get the plane in the right place at the right time. As soon as I lower my camera and have a moment to think about what I’m doing, that’s when I get freaked out. It’s nuts, actually...

iLCP: What value do you see in an organization like iLCP?
RLH: In my view, iLCP plays an important role in connecting conservation groups with photographers who can help in their campaigns. And iLCP also helps support photographers in their work in so many ways, from managing funds, to archiving images and getting the word out.

iLCP: What do you get out of being a member of the iLCP Fellowship?
RLH: Collaboration. For me, it’s all about having help and working together. iLCP has been critical to my projects, not only being a responsible fiscal sponsor for my grants, but also in managing the image archives I’ve created for both Baja and Galapagos.

iLCP: What makes a great Conservation Photographer?
RLH: Passion and persistence. There’s no substitute for passion, and without persistence, you’ll never see a project through to the end. But it’s the passion that keeps us going.

iLCP: Where in the world you haven't photographed yet is at the top of your wish list, and why?
RLH: Underwater – I’d like to learn to dive. I’ve spent my career shooting landscapes and wildlife. Now with today’s digital cameras and high ISO shooting, I’m very interested in exploring the underwater world.

iLCP: Anything else you'd like to comment on?
RLH: My hope for the future is that conservation groups will continue to grow and improve the working relationship and support of photographers and iLCP. Too often we are asked to donate our work for “the cause,” which I often do when there’s a real sense of urgency. However, to become viable over the long-term, photography and visual story-telling needs to become a line-item in all grant proposals. Over time I hope we can educate donors about just how critical is to provide real support to conservation photographers and iLCP, especially the younger, emerging photographers. Without support, we will all disappear.

  • Voices of the Galapagos
    Video
  • Baja All-Exclusive
    Video
  • Cabo Pulmo Multimedia
    Video
  • Cabo Pulmo Multimedia en Espanol
    Video

Voices of the Galapagos

by iLCP


The film showcases the people who live on the Galápagos Islands and highlights their perspectives, goals, and on-going efforts to preserve the place they call home.

iLCP Fellow Ralph Lee Hopkins set out to tell the story of the Galápagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site protected for all humanity. He wanted to make photographic images that capture this fragile eco-region, its rich biodiversity, the people who live on the islands, and the threats the archipelago faces today.

During many consecutive trips to the Galápagos, Ralph found the threats and the challenges: unsustainable development; overfishing; invasive species; increased tourism, and a rift between decision-makers and those who live on the islands. He also found a network of international conservation groups working with Galapagueños who are passionate about saving a place they love. Today, new coalitions are improving environmental education; organic farming; recycling; GPS tagging of sharks and other sensitive species; high-tech monitoring of the Marine Reserve, and enforcement of environmental laws.

The Alliance team included writer Carol Ann Bassett; iLCP Director of Communications and Production Jenny Nichols; videographer Jeff Litton, and Ralph Lee Hopkins, who created the Alliance Project with the iLCP to produce this documentary. One outcome of the Alliance is “Voices of the Galápagos.” The film showcases the people who live on the Galápagos Islands and highlights their perspectives, goals, and on-going efforts to preserve the place they call home.

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Baja All-Exclusive

by Carmina Valiente


A short from the documentary "Baja All-Exclusive" that shows the other face of tourism development in Baja California Sur, México.

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Cabo Pulmo Multimedia

by iLCP Multimedia, Jenny Nichols


What would you do if your home was threatened?Naturally, you'd protect it.

Stand up with the community of Cabo Pulmo!

The final decision has not yet been made. You can help save the reef at Cabo Pulmo. The alliance “Cabo Pulmo Vivo” brings some of the most important regional organizations, academic institutions, and iLCP Photographers to stewardship the reef: Amigos para la Conservación de Cabo Pulmo, Niparaja, Pronatura Noroeste, Wildcoast, CEMDA, DAN, Los Cabos CoastKeeper, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Go to !Cabo Pulmo Vivo¡ to sign a petition, make a contribution, or volunteer.

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Cabo Pulmo Multimedia en Espanol

by iLCP Multimedia, Jenny Nichols


¿Qué harías si tu casa estuviera en peligro?Obviamente, la protegerías.

¡Haz algo! ¡Tú puedes ayudar a salvar el arrecife de Cabo Pulmo! Visita la página web de !Cabo Pulmo Vivo¡ y añade tu firma a la petición, contribuye con un donativo o trabaja como voluntario. 

Amigos para la Conservación de Cabo Pulmo, Niparaja, Pronatura Noroeste, Wildcoast, CEMDA, DAN, Los Cabos CoastKeeper, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. !Cabo Pulmo Vivo¡

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iLCP at International Conservation Caucus Foundation Oceans Gala
May 2, 2012
iLCP at International Conservation Caucus Foundation Oceans Gala
May 2, 2012
iLCP is proud to work with some of the world’s most influential conservation photographers to educate...
Partial Authorization for Cabo Cortes
Mar 7, 2011
Partial Authorization for Cabo Cortes
Mar 7, 2011
Fay Crevoshay
Partial approval to begin construction of the mega resort, Cabo Cortes in Cabo Pulmo, Baja.
Galapagos: Islands at Risk
Jun 25 ~ Jan 25, 2012
Galapagos Islands
Images by iLCP Fellow Ralph Lee Hopkins are found throughout a new report, “The Quarantine Chain: Establishing an Effective Biosecurity System to Prevent the Introduction of Invasive Species into the...
Baja: Cabo Pulmo Alliance
Feb 3 ~ Feb 3, 2011
Baja California, Cabo Pulmo
What would you do if your home was threatened? ...You'd protect it! Stand up with the communities of Cabo Pulmo.
Balandra RAVE
Sep 15 ~ Sep 18, 2007
Balandra
Supporting citizen action in created a protected area in Balandra