Alvaro Cubero’s heart is split between his motherland of Costa Rica - where tropical jungles house otherworldly species of birds - and Africa, where the savannah supports some of the world’s most iconic large mammals.
As a professional and talented wildlife photographer, specialised nature guide, and motivational speaker, Alvaro’s passion for the great outdoors is evident in everything he does.
His images capture an artful appreciation of animals in their natural habitats, where they belong. Each frame carries the ability to connect people with wild and endangered species they might never have physically seen, awakening the desire to want to protect and conserve it.
It is this power that drives Alvaro to keep travelling to the world’s most exquisite animal kingdoms and using his camera for conservation.
We were thrilled to chat to him about this approach to his work, his background, and his most outstanding experiences in the wild.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Alvaro Cubero and I am a young wildlife photographer and professional Naturalist Guide from Costa Rica (Central America) and TEDx Speaker. I was born and raised in the nature of the Costa Rican rainforest.
I lead photography workshops around the world in Costa Rica and another 12 international destinations. With 8 destinations only in the African continent.
Can you tell us a little bit about your professional background
My technical profession is audiovisual production but currently I mainly do wildlife photography and international travel tour operator and I graduated as Naturalist interpreter and guide for neotropical biodiversity.
What or who in your life influenced you to pursue this route
Well of course I have some of the greatest photographer names around my head like Sebastian Salgado, Paul Nickel and Tim Laman, but everyday I am really glad to discover new photographers that take advantage of the new technologies in order to innovate.
Anyway a huge inspiration for me was the Australian photographer Peter Dombrovskis because of his dedication not only for the photography but the conservation, he is for me the real conservancy photographer. Huge inspiration.
Currently, what is the inspiration that keeps you motivated and passionate about your work
I am like a little child with a new toy every time that I discover a new specie, always that I saw a new documentary production, an instagram post or any other article that shows a new amazing wildlife specie that attract my attention, I start to research, where, when and which place is the best.
I spend a considerable amount of time looking at the work of other photographers and other “branches” of the arts from music to theater.
Every artistic expression has the power to inspire me in my pursuit of the next amazing shot.
What is the most impactful aspect of your work
The most amazing thing about my work is the sense of impact that you can have on other people. People that sometimes never will meet a species if you don’t show in your photos, I traveled thousands of kilometers to get there and see some animals and sometimes the people in the village nearby this species of animal had never determined that species or had ever actually seen it.
I really love the power of photography and how it can affect the way that people understand biodiversity with only one photo.
Where is your favorite place you’ve traveled and why
Zimbabwe for sure, this amazing place shows me the real wild Africa, I have been before in other places of the African continent but at the end of the day I always feel this “human being” touch in the lodges, the wildlife refuges that are fenced and others.
But in the floodplains of Mana Pools I feel Africa in all its splendor. The walking safaris, the human-animal relations and the amazing scenario, it's just something that I can never get out of my head.
Tell us about your strangest experience while traveling
Well, several experiences for sure when you are trying to get a shot of wild animals, but I will always remember my first time in Madagascar in 2017, that year was an outbreak of Bubonic Plague, I just arrived in the country 1 month after the outbreak began.
It was really stressful, with all the tourists wearing mask, I travelled with special medication just in case and this almost spoiled my experience in the country but finally the amazing and endemic nature surpass the troubles and in some moment, I was surrounded by lemurs, chameleons and this amazing trip became one of my favorite ever because I not only learn about wildlife and photo but I learned about life, grateful and inspiration.
Why do you feel that wildlife conservation is important
As a wildlife photographer my subjects are life things, animals, ecosystems, all these amazing but ephemeral things, this means that all the animals that I catch with my camera can disappear in any moment, some more threatened than others.
I always considered my camera and photography equipment as a tool, like a shovel or a spoon, what makes this tool special is the photographer, the mind behind the lens, the creative person that holds the camera and there, there is a special message to give to the people.
You can never protect something you don’t know, so many people don’t know anything about the animals, the biodiversity, the habitats, so as wildlife photographers one of our responsibilities is being a spreaders, an ambassadors of the nature, show to the people what is out there and why is so important to protect it.
Photography is a wonderful and important conservancy tool.
What is your favorite Wild in Africa bracelet style and why
The Nkombe Rhino Bracelet is by far my favorite, I love the rhinos and its design makes me really close to them, the white color with touches of black are really elegant.
Whenever I look at my bracelet I immediately get transported to the large African savannas full of rhinos imagining how it was 200 years ago.
Are there any animals you feel especially passionate about
My totem animal is from my country Costa Rica, is a bird called Resplendent Quetzal (considered as a GOD for the Indigenous Mayan Culture) one of the most beautiful birds in the world, the male of the specie has an amazing long feathers in his back and flight like a “feathered snake” in the sky.
It was the first bird that I took photos professionally and every time that I see this bird is like my first time.
Can you share your future plans and hopes for yourself
I really want to split my heart in my two homes, Costa Rica and Africa, one of my plans is trying to figure out how to live the half of the year in Costa Rica and the other half in Africa, but so far it is only one of my dreams.
I really hope to share my perspective of the world with my photos and not only take “nice and pretty photos” I want to tell stories, share the world and yell really loud about what we need to protect not with my voice but my photography work.
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