in Boynton Beach, Florida , Mark Thomas learned to appreciate
nature at a very young age. Growing up in South Florida, only minutes from
the ocean, the Everglades, and the Florida Keys, afforded him endless
opportunities to observe wildlife during his youth. From the time he could swim
he was "shaking" small creatures
from the seaweed at the beach into a pail where he would watch them for hours.
When he got a bit older he began snorkeling and catching fish for his fish tank
at home. By the age of 13, he was already a certified SCUBA diver.
his high school years, He worked at a tropical fish store. This was the
perfect place for him to work. Besides being surrounded by the wildlife he
enjoyed, he was also able to share his knowledge and love of nature with others,
a trait he still possesses.
appreciation of nature naturally carried over into his adult life. While
attending Pharmacy College at the University of Florida in Gainesville, he found
himself surrounded by new environments to explore. Even with a demanding
academic schedule, he always found time to explore the nearby freshwater
springs and hardwood forests. One of his favorite places to visit was Paynes
Prairie Preserve, just outside of town. Highway 441 cuts right through the
preserve for a couple of miles. Along that short stretch of highway, especially after
a strong rain, dozens of animals could often be found. Turtles, frogs, alligators and
several snake species would "migrate" across the road. This is where
Mark first started taking pictures of wildlife. At that time, he had absolutely no thought of
becoming a professional photographer. He simply wanted to capture on film what he had
seen to show others.
graduated with Honors with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy. Mark worked as a pharmacist at a hospital in North Miami and at a retail
pharmacy in the same area. To the delight of the other pharmacists at the
hospital, Mark wanted to work the "graveyard" shift ( 10 PM to 8 AM )
fulltime. He now had an alternating 3 days on, 4 days off schedule, which made it easy for him to spend time in
one of his favorite places, Everglades National Park.
photographic skills rapidly
improved. It was no longer enough for him to simply get a nice picture
of an animal. He now felt the need to capture the true "essence" of each
subject on film. Through ongoing trial
and error (and lots of film), and with no formal training, Mark
mastered the critical elements of exposure, composition, and most
importantly, technique. As crucial as these technical aspects are to good
photography, it is his
passion for nature that truly sets Mark's work apart.
this time, Mark started thinking that maybe his work was finally
good enough to share with others. He began submitting his images to
magazines, calendars and contests and also started exhibiting his work at small,
local art shows. The response was immediate and very encouraging. Three very
prominent environmental organizations, The National Audubon Society,
National Wildlife Federation, and The
Sierra Club all published work from Mark's first submissions to them. He
also won 1st Place in the Florida
Wildlife magazine photo contest four years in a
now, it had become increasingly difficult for Mark to resist the
"call of the wild." He began to realize that he could no longer divide his
time between pharmacy and photography. To really succeed with nature
photography, he knew that he must be able to travel at any time of year, not
just during a two-week vacation.
December of 1992, with little hesitation, Mark chose to turn his avocation
into a way of life. This decision allowed him to exhibit at more and better
juried fine art shows, where
he has accumulated many awards, submit more work to publishers, and most
importantly, get out and shoot more! Now freed from the constraints of a "real
job," Mark was able to passionately pursue his photography. Ever drawn to
the ocean, he quickly mastered the skills needed for underwater
won 1st place in one of the categories of
the National Wildlife photo
contest. He also won 1st Place and
the "People's Choice"
award in the 1994 Outdoor Writers of America (OWAA) photo competition. Nancy Kee
of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) acclaimed Mark as "the find of the
year" after receiving their first submission of his work for their
travels have now taken him around the world. He has
visited every continent in pursuit of his passion. His photography knows few boundaries. He is equally at
home among the lions of East Africa, penguins of Antarctica, polar bears of the
frozen north, or the sea
creatures 100 feet beneath some tropical ocean.
images are now published regularly around the world. National
Geographic, National Wildlife, Nature's Best, Audubon, World Wildlife Fund
(WWF), Reader's Digest, Ranger Rick, and Sierra
are but a few of the many publishers
that use his work. He continues to exhibit at about 20 art shows
during the year throughout the eastern United States, but especially in Florida.
This aspect of the business is very fulfilling for Mark. It is at these shows where
has the opportunity to share his experiences with those who appreciate his work.
on nature photography is refreshingly simple... "Respect the animals,
their habitats, and the rights of the other people who have also come to enjoy
them. Besides simply trying to make a beautiful photograph, it is important to
me that each of my photographs also tells a story. Through my photography I hope
to help people become more aware of our wondrous natural world and how important
it is that we preserve it."
hope you enjoy your journey through my Website"