Ecologist, art director and storyteller. Though seemingly different in nature, travel Instagrammer and adventure enthusiast, Charles Post, embodies all three of these occupations. Born in San Fransisco, Calif., and currently residing in Bolinas, Calif., Post beautifully captures the California coast and its surrounding lifestyle through the lens of his camera. Post has accumulated quite the Instagram following and takes great pride in his travel photos, as well as his physical work outdoors as a biologist / ecologist.
Katin had a chance to chat with the explorer a bit, to find out more about what makes him tick.
Your Instagram reflects the ultimate adventurer. Have you always enjoyed exploring the great outdoors?
The outdoors have always been my place of inspiration and recharge. At around age 4 or 5 I started bird watching with my grandmother and fishing with my dad nearly every day. Our local lakes, streams, forests and beaches became my world, and the plants and animals that called these particular patches of earth home captured my attention in a dramatic way.
How did you decide to start an Instagram dedicated to adventure and outdoor exploration?
I didn’t make a conscious decision to curate an adventure and outdoor themed gallery. Instead, I created a space to share what I’m passionate about. My early years running around with buckets, nets, binoculars and a fishing pole evolved into a life oriented around the environment, and in particular, I began to focus on the confluence of society and the natural world; I’m intrigued by this juncture simply because it provides an opportunity to communicate and expose elements and dynamics within the natural world in a way that may influence public perception and shape the way we interact with nature for the better.
You also surf, I see. When and how did you first get in to surfing?
I didn’t grow up around surfing, so my interest really peaked once I started hanging out on the beaches of Cape Cod. My grandparents spent much of their year in a tiny town called Wellfleet, Massachusetts, and each summer I would spend three months staying with them, ripping around with my cousins and a wild bunch of East Coast kids. Once some of my friends started surfing, naturally, I was keen to give it go. When I was about 13, I knew I was hooked.
Photo by: @meg_haywoodsullivan
So what does the term “Explorer” mean to you?
An explorer is someone who’s a trail-blazer, someone with their eyes fixed on a goal, who lives a fulfilled life with an intention to create, inspire and experience. Often times this word is specifically paired with the outdoors, but I think the drive to see new places, meet new people, experience and learn new things, translates just as seamlessly. On a more personal level, the word explorer reminds me that I have this life to live to the fullest, and striving to reach my potential represents the journey at hand.
Your Instagram says, "Ecologist + Art Director + Storyteller.” We can see your artistic photo style and your incredible storytelling abilities via your Instagram, but could you elaborate further on the Ecologist side?
Those early years primed me for a life rooted in the natural world. Naturally, once I was formally exposed to the field of ecology while studying at university, I was all in. Over the past 7 years I have studied ecology at UC Berkeley and as a field biologist with research teams from institutions like the University of Utah and conservation groups like the Audubon Society. My expertise is on freshwater ecology and songbirds and more specifically the ecology of birds that live in and around freshwater, namely the American Dipper.
As a storyteller, art director and ecologist, I strive to create content that tells a meaningful story, one that not only reveals our subjects and the landscapes they call home or explore, but also the ecological underpinnings at play – the aspects that make that patch of earth like no other, the history of land use that has shaped the trails they walk on, or the conservation measures that have returned the howl of our gray wolves to each mornings dawn chorus. There is a rich ecological fabric to expose, and by doing this, we may inspire a new generation of eco conscious stewards.
Photo by: @forestwoodward
What ’s something people might not know about you from your Instagram?
I’m an American History nerd! My girlfriend, Meg Haywood Sullivan, and my close friends know about my reading tendencies, but I’ll bet most people don’t know that I like to spend my free time reading books about the American Revolution, Lewis and Clark, John Muir, and the Civil War. I actually spent much of last year working as a Graduate Student Instructor for a course on American Environmental History at U.C. Berkeley. So I guess my secret hobby, unbeknownst to the Instagram world, is spending a lot of time researching, reading and studying American History.
Best advice you ever received and from who?
Gary Snyder, often descried as the poet laureate of Deep Ecology, once told me, “do well, and do good work,” - those words are the words I live by. Another inspiring bit of advice was offered by my uncle, founder of Nomadics Tipis, who told me to pause and ask myself, ‘am I fulfilled?’ This question speaks to the notion that living life with fulfillment as a proxy for well-being may afford a clear path into a happy and content future.
What’s next on the horizon for you? Any new adventures, photo projects, etc.?
The next three months are going to be spent on the road. Starting August 1st, I will be departing from our small home on the foggy northern California coast as we head East to the Sierra Nevada mountains, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana for a month long film project with Treeline Outdoors, Travel Alberta and Outside Magazine. We will be working on a film project that aims to expose and peel back the ecological layers of the northern rockies from our perspective on foot, horseback and from the air. As this project winds down in late August, we will make the trek home before loading up for a photo trip to Alaska with Huckberry and Chris Burkard. By mid September, we will be heading to New England for the fall. My best friend is getting married; we will visit family and continue working on two-year project that profiles stewards and their relationship with the landscapes they call home.
Photo by: @meg_haywoodsullivan
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