Travel Virtually With LANL Physicist Martin Cooper Friday

A jaguar about to swim the Three Brothers River. A free Zoom presentation by Martin Cooper will take place this Friday. If you have already requested an invitation, you are asked to request again due to a technical glitch, by emailing Director@losalamosseniorcenter.com. Photo by Martin Cooper

By BERNADETTE LAURTZEN
Executive Director
LARSO

Many may know Martin Cooper as a LANL physicist, but this week you can see him through the eye of the camera lens, a virtual tour, from before the world changed the very meaning of travel.

Friday, seniors enduring the pandemic who find the need to “get out” are welcome to attend a Zoom presentation, hosted by the Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization (LARSO), at 5:30 p.m., available by emailing Director@losalamoseniorcenter.com.

“Beverly and I have evolved into dedicated wildlife photographers, and we seek out special places in the world to shoot exotic animals,” Cooper said. “Joining with fellow photographers Bob and Laurie Walker, also from White Rock, we signed up for a photo tour to the Northern Pantanal with professional photographer Roy Toft.”

Once they decided to go to Brazil, the trip was extended to include Iguazu Falls and the Southern Pantanal. The highlights included cruising the rivers of the Northern Pantanal and seeing many exotic animals. The team received a call that a jaguar had been sighted and rushed to the site to get a good viewing place. They watched jaguars patrol the river banks for prey for three days.

Cooper’s father instilled the spirit of travel in him since birth, but finances did not allow for foreign travel. The family did smaller trips a few times a year and he was bitten by the photography bug. He began as a young teenager with friends documenting backpacking trips through the High Sierras of California. The friends would come back and critique each other’s shots, suggesting ways to improve.

In 2009, some White Rock friends invited the Coopers to join them on a tour to Tanzania. Photography tours often include nice lodging and meals, but most have wildlife guides and a professional photographer. The Coopers have traveled this way to not only photograph exotic places, but to fully experience the culture. Locations include the Llanos, Spiti Valley and Taraja Land. The Coopers retired in 2013 and have since visited more than 50 countries, with a lifetime total country list approaching 100. 

A good trip for the Coopers usually yields about 10,000 shots of which about 500 are selected for future use. What does he do with all those pictures? The answer he makes a number of items for their family, including a yearly family calendar and greeting cards.

“I have written a number of table top books to document our best trips,” Cooper said. “I have used the off time from COVID-19 to write a children’s book called, ‘What Should I Call My Baby?’ for my grandchildren.”

Additionally, Cooper has had two of his images chosen as semi-finalists in the,  The contest is considered by many, one of the two most prestigious in the world.

When COVID-19 draws to a close, photographing the nesting Roseate Spoonbills in Florida and traveling to the Congo River Basin to see lowland gorillas are on the horizon.

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