Meet Our Experts:
An Interview with Ulla Lohmann
Photographer, filmmaker, and adventurer, National Geographic Expert Ulla Lohmann has sailed around the world and traversed the African continent using only biodiesel. She spends much of her time working with indigenous cultures in Australia and the South Pacific. Ulla will join our Australia expedition, sharing with students her stories of adventure and her contagious passion for photography and storytelling.
What were you most passionate about as a teenager?
I had three great interests as a teenager. Science, photography, and travel.
- Science: I especially loved fossils: When I was 15, I discovered a fossil and worked three years to reconstruct its skeleton.
- Photography: I got my fist camera at the age of eight, and I have been documenting life and telling stories ever since.
- Traveling: Growing up, I traveled a lot with my parents. At 18 I began my first journey around the world, which took me well over a year.
What is your favorite part of your job as a photojournalist?
Being curious. Such a big part of what I do is meeting new people, asking questions, learning about them — their way of life and their traditions. Every person I meet has so many interesting stories to share.
What is an important lesson you have learned throughout your travels and work as a photographer?
Don’t dream it; do it!
Describe a favorite or most memorable moment from a past NGSE trip.
Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, it was quite cold in the water. But many of the students braved the chill and continued to snorkel with me throughout afternoon. All of a sudden, I spotted a Green Turtle and called over the students. We all floated above the turtle who continued her path undisturbed by us. All of a sudden, a jellyfish crossed her way and in front of our eyes, the turtle swallowed the jellyfish entirely. It was a special moment.
What do you enjoy most about your participation in National Geographic Student Expeditions?
It is so rewarding to see how quickly the students’ images improve throughout the trip and how they develop their very own personal and fresh views of Australia. It’s also incredible how quickly we all become a team — the students, trip leaders, and I — and how memorable all of our shared experiences are.
Do you have any advice for our students heading out on a National Geographic Student Expedition this summer?
Be curious!!! Be ready to leave behind your old habits and dive into something completely new and beautiful. Be ready for adventure. See you in Australia!