About Kathleen Hertel – Adventurer

My story started when I was 3 years old… I was standing on the steps at the Shamu show at Sea World Orlando. I was completely in awe of these beautiful creatures and from that point on set out to figure out a way to work with them.

Fast forward 16 years to my sophomore year, I was majoring in Zoology at Towson University. I was taking my first class in the program and ended up with a big fat F… It seemed that my future would need to be altered a bit… So I did what every parent dreams of for their child and became an art major. Specifically n Photography. Much to my and my parents surprise, I actually made a successful living out of being a wedding and portrait photographer.


Six years ago, everything changed. My husband and I went up to Canada to go Kayaking with Orca’s for 3 days. While we were out in the kayak our guide told us to bring up our paddles and be really quiet. There was a small pod of orca’s heading right for us and if we were quiet and didn’t move they may come near us… We sat in the kayak my heart beating a million miles a minute as the sounds of the whales breathing came closer and closer. To the right of us we saw them dive under the water. My breath held, I watched as a large female swam under my kayak and turn to her side making eye contact with me. I can still remember that moment vividly. Feeling a connection with a wild animal… there is nothing like that in the world.

Fast forward six months, I was in the shower feeling empty. A little over a year before I lost my mom to cancer. And while I was sad without her, one of the hardest parts I was dealing with was that she died so young. She was just 58 when she died. While I was growing up she told me of all the places she wanted to go someday. She never made it to any of them. I was 31 years old and had so many dreams of places I wanted to go and I was afraid that I would just let my life pass by. So I talked to my husband and three weeks later I was on my way to South Africa for a Photography workshop and cage diving with great white sharks.

And then I caught the bug… At this point I had travelled to 6 continents so I thought well I might as well make it to number 7 so I booked a trip to Antarctica. And then a trip to the Arctic… and then back to Africa to trek with Gorillas… 

I was in Uganda hiking through the dense jungle when we finally found a family of Gorillas. I sat there and watched them. It was like watching humans. Their movements, expressions, and way they took care of their young mirrored a human. As I was sitting photographing a mother and her baby one of the younger Gorillas Raha made his way towards me. As he got closer our guide told me to move my camera. Raha came closer and closer till he was sitting right next to me. He looked over his shoulder at me and tapped me on my knee three times before flipping around.


This was the moment. I decided that I would take my photography to the next level and travel the world to photograph wildlife and landscapes that were disappearing. I’ve now focused my photography on capturing emotional images of wildlife and the world. I want to share the world with people who can’t get out and travel. I want to educate people on what is happening in the world both with climate change and learning about different cultures. I want people to see what these animals, places, and people looked like before they are gone.

So come with me on a journey around the world…