Jason Fitzgibbon

Jason Fitzgibbon

Beer Enthusiast, Biker, Biologist

Jason Fitzgibbon spends his weekdays as a wildlife biologist, specializing in the management of threatened and endangered plant and animal species throughout Southern California. Along the way, he’s acquired a passion for outdoor photography, a lifelong partner in his wife Annie, and an adorable big red wolf named Tindle. Recent projects of his include studying grunion and island foxes on the Channel Islands, and monitoring mountain lion movements in the eastern Sierra Nevada region.

When did you love of travel and photography begin? I purchased my first digital camera when I was 17 years old, mainly as a means to document an upcoming mountain bike trip across the southwestern United States. It was after that trip, as I was going through my photos and playing around with them in Photoshop (on my Dad's computer) that I realized how much I enjoyed being able to relive my travels through photography. From that trip on, I've been traveling camera-in-hand, trying to find and compose the fondest memories from my travels. Can you describe a typical day on the field? As a wildlife biologist, the vast majority of my time at work is spent outside. The variety of my day to day activities as a biologist can run the gamut; from surveying large chunks of land for threatened or endangered plant and animal species, to mapping vegetation communities, to monitoring water and habitat quality in streams and rivers, or even to hanging out all night in an abandoned mine, using specialized equipment to detect and monitor local bat populations.

What drew you to this profession and lifestyle? Thanks to my father, my childhood was constantly entwined with outdoor activities; like mountain biking, surfing, camping and fishing. That relentless exposure to the outdoors, coupled with my Dad's inquisitive and scientific parenting tactics, really laid a framework for me to pursue a career in the natural sciences. Once I had found out that being a biologist was actually a real-life job, I knew it was something that I needed to do.

For this set of pictures you were in Iceland, what can you say about this special place? Iceland is surreal. It's a place steeped with rich biological, geological and archaeological histories, and one of the few places I've visited that still seems so rugged and raw and empty. Sure, it has its touristy spots, but a five, or ten, or twenty mile hike in any direction from the main road will treat you to expansive, empty landscapes, for as far as the eye can see.

How did you plan/organize your trip? A with all of our trips, we simply order up topographic hiking maps for the regions we plan to visit, then plot some areas and trails we'd like to hike (usually as far from popular spots as we can get). Once we've got a decent collection of potential hikes plotted, we embark on our trips with an open schedule and fit in as much as we see fit. We've found, that without a concrete schedule, it's far easier to adapt to the weather and conditions once you're there, and optimize your hikes accordingly.