Meet the Explorer: Tyler Schiffman

Conservation Photographer & Videographer |Ocean Addict | Traveler

Every once in awhile I stumble over a profile of someone with great content, an awesome outlook on life, and conservation in mind. The kind of person that makes the world a better place in so many ways. This folks, is Tyler Schiffman. His dedication to spreading awareness and incredible shots of nature combine to inspire and evoke a movement from within. Enough said, Tyler…take it away!

Short Biography

Tyler Schiffman has devoted his career to taking photographs and making films that will make a true impact in our world. He captures the unique moments both below and above the ocean’s surface.  He has interned with the esteemed travel photographer, Chris Burkard, and was a cinematographer on numerous projects, including a unique series about National Geographic figure Kimi Werner as she seeks to live a sustainable lifestyle.

Through his work as a freelance photographer, his photographs have been presented at the United Nations and featured in publications such as National Geographic, The Atlantic, Business Insider, Insider, Nature Conservancy Magazine, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Hawaii Skin Diver Magazine, Malibu Magazine, Surfrider Foundation and Los Angeles DailyNews. Tyler graduated from the University of Southern California where he studied environmental science and filmmaking.

What do you do for a living, how did you end up in that field? 

I am a documentary filmmaker and underwater photographer.  My career started when I was in college at the University of Southern California.  I was studying Environmental Science and Health with a minor in film.  I had my path set for marine biology but realized that this research I was doing in a lab that could have major impacts in our world was not reaching the mass audiences.  I realized that through media I could make the biggest positive impact in this world and devoted my career to doing so.   

When did you first start enjoying the outdoors?

Ever since I was a kid, my family and I would go on camping trips to Yosemite and my dad would always take me to the beach any chance he had.  This is when I began to fall in love with the ocean and I haven’t looked back since.  

What is your favorite place to explore? 

Over time I have fallen in love with the Central Coast of California and whenever I have the chance I always head into Big Sur

How many of the 50 United States have you visited? Favorite?

14, and my favorite will always be California.  

How many countries, where? 

Too many to count, but I will say my favorite so far have been Palau and Costa Rica.  

Best hike you have ever had? 

My favorite hike has to be Limekiln state park in Big Sur.  It is almost like a fairy-tale land when walking through the trails.  

Essential items for summer hikes/winter hikes in your opinion.

For summer hikes: Shorts, some type of lightweight sunproof shirt, sunscreen, water, small backpack and a good pair of lightweight breathable shoes.  

For Winter Hikes:  Pants, waterproof hiking shoes, lightweight jacket (my go to is Patagonia Micro Puff) and a beanie.  

Most comical hike/adventure story? 

Is when I was doing the Julia Pfeiffer loop hike and ended up going the wrong way.  A majority of the eight – mile hike was uphill when all I had to do was go right at the fork which would have been only a mile up hill.  

Scariest hike/adventure story?

I was out on a free dive with one of my good friends, Ryan, just off the coast of Malibu. He was spearfishing and I was taking photos. Early into the dive he had shot a pretty big fish. We were swimming along and I spotted a tope shark swimming through the kelp forest. They are very calm, curios and harmless. The shark would disappear into the distance and reappear out of the murky water. We continued on our dive and I started to notice that the shark was getting closer and closer. I told him we should head in and we decided to call the dive. We had not seen the shark for a few minutes but I knew it was somewhere near. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the grey silhouette appear with a tenacity I had not seen before. Before I knew it, the shark was within five-feet of us and coming straight for Ryan’s fish. I kept my ground with my camera in my hands and waited for what was to come next. In a matter of seconds the shark was inches away from the front of my lens and I gave it a little nudge. The shark took off in full speed and was never seen again.

Upcoming trips planned?

Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Africa but now with Coronavirus who knows when those will be.  

Favorite outdoors gear/lifestyle companies? Any local? 

Patagonia is always my go to because of their quality and mission.  

What does conservation mean to you? 

Conservation means having a voice for the planet.  We can’t communicate with the natural world and conservation is speaking up for it.  

What can we do to make sure our parks and wild lands stay clean and pure forever?

For everyone to be mindful of their footprint.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in daily life and forget about the impact we all have on this planet.  If once can be mindful with their purchases and make small changes to save the planet we can all come together and make a difference.  It starts with awareness then implementing life changes.  

Tyler, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your insight and thoughts about our natural world. Looking forward to seeing your future travels and content, Cheers.

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