My name is Max Nichols, and I am a 16-year-old wildlife photographer living in California, with a focus on conservation and storytelling. From an early age, I have been fascinated with nature and the world around me. I grew up watching nature documentaries and reading my great-grandfather's massive birdwatching tomes, and it was only natural that this love of nature would influence my photography. My first camera was my dad's point-and-shoot, with which I photographed the birds and critters that inhabited our family farm.
For me, conservation and mindfulness go hand in hand with photography. First and foremost, I am a conservationist. My first priority is the wellbeing of my subjects, and while as a photographer I am obsessed with perfect lighting and beautiful composition, I always, always consider my subject. When photographing, I not only want to capture that elusive “perfect shot,” but want the animal to go about its life undisturbed and uninterrupted, to be at peace with my presence. My main goal is the welfare and wellbeing of any animal I photograph and as such, the moments in which animals allow me into their world are among the most precious and memorable I possess.
I am a contributing photographer for The Canid Project, a group of wildlife and conservation photographers sharing the stories of wild and urban canids—and their interactions with us—through writing and photography. More recently in my journey of storytelling, I contributed to the UK-based Outdoor Photography magazine with a "Moment in Nature" article, in which I wrote about my experiences photographing the coastal brown bears of Lake Clark National Park, and about appreciating nature in a larger context.
My favorite animals to photograph are foxes and owls, specifically red foxes - I love watching and capturing family dynamics, and seeing the tenderness and playful spirits of kits and parents alike. As for owls, I love them because of their elusivity and forward-facing gaze - they are such mystical and spiritual birds. My two favorite owls would have to be the Great Gray and the Northern Saw-Whet Owl, neither of which I have yet photographed!
When not photographing, I love hiking, skiing, reading, and traveling the world with my family.