Phillip Colla, Natural History Photographer

I am a natural history photographer and writer. Selected galleries of my work can be found here. I focus on wild marine animals, the California kelp forest, remote eastern Pacific islands, National Parks of the American West, the night sky, and aerial panoramas. I am fortunate to have visited many spectacular terrestrial and underwater settings as well as to have encountered a variety of threatened and endangered animal species in the ocean. During the last 30 years my natural history photography has appeared in National Geographic Magazine, BBC Wildlife, Vanity Fair, Sunset, People, National Wildlife, Islands, Ocean Realm, Ranger Rick, Reader’s Digest, Welt der Wunder, Science, Nature, The New York Times, many diving and ocean-oriented magazines, as well as various advertising and publicity campaigns and many aquaria and museums around the world. My photography has received awards in past Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Nature’s Best, Ocean Views and National Wildlife Federation competitions.
My natural history photography website, one of the first online stock photography websites and searchable picture catalogs, debuted in 1997, many years before most photo agencies had any web presence. Fully responsive and driven by a sophisticated, custom image search capability, receives over 2 million visitors annually and typically appears higher in search rankings than the largest commercial stock photo companies. Along with over 1,000 natural history photography blog stories, presents more than 40,000 of my stock photographs available for editorial use, commercial application or for purchase as fine art prints. With the exception of the blog, all of is my original code and design using PHP, SQL, HTML, CSS and Javascript and designed to rank well in search engines where most of my licensing business originates.
Strengths of mine include an understanding of the underwater dynamics of socializing and competing humpback whales, using breath-hold diving in the open ocean to obtain spectacular images of marine animals such as blue whales, ocean sunfish and drifting zooplankton, and the ability to combine personal experience and factual research into exciting natural history writing. My fitness and experience is well-suited to a variety of challenging environments including the open ocean, temperate and tropic underwater habitats, deserts, coastal regions, mountain and sub-arctic terrain. I am probably the only photographer in the world whose catalog includes underwater images of all of the following: blue whales (the largest animal ever to have lived), rare endangered Guadalupe fur seals, Pacific white-sided dolphins, socializing groups of sperm whales, a newborn gray whale calf in the wild, humpback whale competitive ("fighting") groups, the odd ocean sunfish (Mola mola), distant and pristine Rose Atoll National Wildlife Sanctuary, and Olympic champion swimmers accompanied by wild dolphins. I live near San Diego, California with my wife Tracy, spending as much time as possible outdoors.
Periodicals / News / Wire:
BBC Wildlife, National Geographic Magazine, Vanity Fair, Scientific American, Reader's Digest, Tauchen (Germany), National Wildlife and International Wildlife (NWF), Nature, Science, People, The New York Times, United Press International, USA Today, Ranger Rick and My Big Backyard (NWF), Surfers Journal, Welt Der Wunder (Germany), Sunset, All Animals, Ocean Realm, Islands, Skin Diver, Scuba Diving, Sport Diver, Dive (UK), Unterwasser (Germany), Marine Photo (Japan), Backpacker, Australian Geographic, Sea Magazine, GEO, Nature's Best, Highlights for Children, Natural World (UK), Living Planet (Australia), Surfing Girl, Carve Surf (UK), Boards (UK), Wildlife Conservation, Sports Illustrated for Kids, National Geographic Kids, Outdoor California, California Wild, Saltwater Sportsman, Sportfishing, Pacific Coast Sportfishing
Advertising / PR / Marketing:
Pacific Life, Smith Barney, Patagonia Inc.
Books / Calendars:
BBC Books, World Books Publishing, National Geographic Society books and calendars, World Wildlife Fund, American Greetings, Time Inc., Prentice Hall, Cambridge University Press, John Wiley and Sons, Houghton-Mifflin, McGraw-Hill, US Postal Service, Orion Books (UK), Enslow Publishers, Thomson Learning, Pearson Education, Guiness World Records, Scholastic, McDougal Littell, Voyageur Press, Nature Company Guides, Trident Press (UK), Grange Books (UK), Heinemann (UK, NZ), Dorling Kindersley (UK), Colin Baxter (UK), Sichtweise Verlag (Germany), Lonely Planet Guides, Stone Creek Publications, Mondadori (Italy), Kodansha (Japan), Portal calendars.
Gov / Museums / Aquaria / Scientific, Environmental and Research Organizations:
National Park Service, US Department of the Interior, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Aquarium (Baltimore), Georgia Aquarium (Atlanta), John Shedd Aquarium (Chicago), American Museum of Natural History (NY), Monterey Bay Aquarium, Florida Aquarium, Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, Royal Ontario Museum (Canada), Scripps Institute of Oceanography Steven Birch Aquarium, Newport Aquarium (Kentucky), Denver Museum of Natural History, Los Angeles Zoo, Columbus Zoo, Houston Zoo, Artis Zoo (Amsterdam), Oregon Zoo, Calgary Zoo, World Wildlife Fund, Sea Shepard Society, Defenders of Wildlife, International Fund for Animal Welfare, ASPCA, Wildlife Conservation Society, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Point Reyes National Marine Sanctuary, Southern Methodist University, University of Southern California, Catalina Conservation Society, Ocean Conservancy, Oceana, New England Aquarium, Siam Ocean World, Harvard Museum, Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research, Project AWARE, marebus / World Ocean Review.
New Media / Online / Creative:
Walt Disney Imagineering, Epcot Center Florida,