Archbald resident Nathan Jordan is only 23, but he had a clear picture of his future. The photographer and college student can often be found capturing any number of exotic animals on film. Check out his work on nathanjordanphotos.com and read on to learn how he developed this unique hobby and what he hopes to do in the future.

Q: How did you first start as a photographer?

A. I always wanted a digital camera when I was younger, but decided to wait until I was older and more responsible before getting one. I received my first Canon T6 camera for Christmas from my father and two days later I was in Costa Rica for a study abroad with the best chance to learn how to photograph wildlife and landscapes. I have always been an animal lover, so wildlife, landscapes, plant life and practically anything in the natural world was my main focus subject wise. I used to only photograph things outside because I had no clue how to work with studio lights, but now I mainly work in my own “studio.” All of my equipment is portable to travel to where my subjects are. I originally started with a Canon T6 and the basic kit lenses, but now I shoot on a Canon EOS R with the Canon EF 100 mm f/2.8L IS USM macro lens. My studio lighting currently consists of Godox v860ii speedlights, but I hope to upgrade soon.

Q: Why did you decide to specialize in animal photography?

A: I work heavily within the exotic animal industry and own numerous exotic reptiles and invertebrates myself. I had a bunch of subjects to practice on at home and have connections around the world to travel and photograph almost any species in captivity. I only started studio-style animal portraits in November 2019. Some of the rare species I have photographed are Mangshan vipers, currently (there are) less than 400 in the wild, and Peruvian walking sticks, which come from a location that is smaller than 5 hectares. The hardest animals I have photographed would be all mamba species. Due to their extremely potent venom, and lighting speed reflexes, they pose a challenge. While that may sound terrifying, I want to emphasize that these animals truly are magnificent.

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years?

A: I am currently in college as a zoology major, and will either pursue a PhD in a related field, or will continue with photography. Ideally, I would be traveling the world photographing animals both in captive collections and in the wild. I would absolutely love to work for Canon or National Geographic. My ultimate goals as a photographer are to work for either of those organizations, as well as to continue educating people about the importance and beauty of these commonly misunderstood animals.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?

A: I am completely self-taught with a little bit of guidance from fellow photographers. My biggest piece of advice to all photographers is to continuously practice. I would shoot every day I had a chance, and then watch videos online to figure out how to learn new editing styles. The saying “practice makes perfect” means everything in the world of photography. Becoming a professional is extremely difficult, but if you have the motivation, you can do it.

Q: When you’re not taking photos of the region’s creatures, what do you like to do?

A: I currently work full time in a research laboratory, am a full time student, and also recently took a part time job with the company Tract to create educational videos about animals for younger students in schools around the school. Aside from that, I very much enjoy hiking, kayaking and numerous other outdoor activities.