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Geography professor’s photo gets published by the Los Angeles Times

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Geography professor’s photo gets published by the Los Angeles Times

The LA Times winning photograph, the shadows of two trees on the ground and a one tree in focus with a sand hill in the background.
“I’ve traveled to 153 countries of the world and I’ve traveled to 30 countries in Africa. And in Africa, Namibia is my favorite country of the 30,” Ebiner said.
Photo courtesy of Matthew Ebiner

The LA Times winning photograph, the shadows of two trees on the ground and a one tree in focus with a sand hill in the background. “I’ve traveled to 153 countries of the world and I’ve traveled to 30 countries in Africa. And in Africa, Namibia is my favorite country of the 30,” Ebiner said. Photo courtesy of Matthew Ebiner

The LA Times winning photograph, the shadows of two trees on the ground and a one tree in focus with a sand hill in the background. “I’ve traveled to 153 countries of the world and I’ve traveled to 30 countries in Africa. And in Africa, Namibia is my favorite country of the 30,” Ebiner said. Photo courtesy of Matthew Ebiner

The LA Times winning photograph, the shadows of two trees on the ground and a one tree in focus with a sand hill in the background. “I’ve traveled to 153 countries of the world and I’ve traveled to 30 countries in Africa. And in Africa, Namibia is my favorite country of the 30,” Ebiner said. Photo courtesy of Matthew Ebiner

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Before 57-year-old El Camino College professor Matthew Ebiner discovered his love for geography, he found a passion for photography that has yet to die out.

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El Camino geography Professor Matthew Ebiner, 57. “Geography is a mixture of studying nature and culture, and Namibia has both of those,” Ebiner said. Photo credit: Alexa Kinoshita

After transferring from Mt. San Antonio College where he majored in photography for a year, Ebiner earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in geography at UCLA.

“I was planning to go into (photography) as a profession, so I pursued that for a little while and then I decided against that. But, I didn’t lose the love for photography,” Ebiner said.

Since 1986, Ebiner has pursued a career as a full-time geography professor at El Camino.

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“I want the students to be aware of how beautiful and interesting the world is,” Ebiner said. “And so it’s kind of a cliche, but I’m trying to open their eyes to the world.”
Photo courtesy of Matthew Ebiner

“I want the students to be aware of how beautiful and interesting the world is,” Ebiner said. “And so it’s kind of a cliche, but I’m trying to open their eyes to the world.”

With knowledge in both fields, Ebiner has been able to incorporate photography into his geography lessons for students.

“Its been a lifelong interest of mine even though it hasn’t been my career. But it’s been a big tool since I use my photos in my lectures,” Ebiner said.

“They really relate to the lectures that he’s teaching,” geography major, Brianna Redmond, said.

“One of his main purposes of traveling is to bring good material, and you can definitely tell,” Redmond added.

In September this year, Ebiner introduced his passion for photography to a wider audience, outside of his classroom.

Over the summer, winter, and spring breaks, Ebiner hosts a travel company that he created in 2010, called “GeoTours”.

This tour was not only open to the public, but to his students as well.

During this past summer tour in August, Ebiner traveled for 20 days around Cape Town, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Batswana.

“I’ve traveled to 153 countries of the world and I’ve traveled to 30 countries in Africa. And in Africa, Namibia is my favorite country of the 30,” Ebiner said.

From this trip, Ebiner witnessed the traditions that Namibia held, in its wildlife and people.

“Geography is a mixture of studying nature and culture, and Namibia has both of those,” Ebiner said.

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Matthew Ebiner with one leg on a log smiles in between the two trees that created the shadow on the ground in his LA Times winning photograph from Namibia, Africa.
Photo courtesy of Matthew Ebiner

He encourages people, including his students, to travel because it’s a “wonderful way to learn about the world and to have a better appreciation,” Ebiner said.

After driving 2 hours in the dark and walking 30 minutes in the early morning, Ebiner captured a photograph of the Namid-Naukluft National Park in Namibia with only his Galaxy S9 phone.

In a contest that the Los Angeles Times announced in the Travel section, where contestants sent in photos from their vacation destinations, Ebiner was 1 of the 15 photographers chosen to have their summer picture published.

More than 1,700 photographs were sent to the Los Angeles Times, but Ebiner only sent in one.

He intended to submit more than one photo, but it was one of his “favorites for the summer,” Ebiner said.

“I like that he used leading lines, where the photo starts at the bottom and leads my eye toward the main subject. You could also see the contrast in colors complements each other well,” photojournalism major Jun Ueda, said.

“Since he included the shadows in the photo, he really wanted to emphasize reach or growth,” Udea added.

After being contacted by the Los Angeles Times about making the first cut, Ebiner felt grateful for the recognition he received.

“I do exert a lot of effort in getting good photos. I get up early or go on foot to a spot that has a really nice view” Ebiner said. “But to get the best possible photo, sometimes you do have to work hard, and so when you get a little bit of recognition, it’s encouraging.”

During his time in Namibia, his DSLR camera had caught a speck of dust that was stuck to the sensor, making it nearly impossible to take a picture without a small dot appearing in the photos, Ebiner said.

However, his phone was the exact tool needed to take the photo when his professional DSLR camera couldn’t be used.

“Nowadays, phones take great photos. You don’t need to have a major telephoto,” Ebiner said.

To read the Los Angeles Times article that Ebiner’s photograph was published in, click the link here. http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-summer-vacation-photos-20180916-htmlstory.html

To find out more information on Matthew Ebiner “GeoTours”, the link is here. http://www.geotours.us/

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Geography professor’s photo gets published by the Los Angeles Times