Trekking in the Khumbu region of Nepal with a rather big and heavy lens. Gokyo Lake in the mid-background, and the tallest peak in the far back is Everest/Sagarmatha.

Trekking in the Khumbu region of Nepal with a rather big and heavy lens. Gokyo Lake in the mid-background, and the tallest peak in the far back is Everest/Sagarmatha.

Hello/你好/hola/नमस्तेnamaste/བཀྲ་ཤིས་བདེ་ལེགས,-tashi delek/こんにちは-konichiwa/สวัสดี-swasdi/שלום-shalom!


My name is Jonathan. I am a traveling photographer and videographer with an education in earth sciences and conservation, trained in permaculture and systems thinking, with a passion for wilderness, community development, and sustainable food & urban systems. In the past several years, my work and interests have presented me numerous opportunities to places around the globe for learning, serving, and sharing in all forms. One of my major recent collaborations is with Conscious Impact, a grassroots organization dedicated to rebuilding community in a rural village in Nepal following the devastating 2015 earthquakes through earthen building materials and techniques and global collaborations. I am currently in Christchurch, New Zealand, learning about the effects of the 2010 & 2011 earthquakes, and how the community has responded to the crisis through grassroots initiatives, social enterprises, and putting people before economic gains while dealing with trauma and shortcomings. 

Services Offered:

  • Event, wedding, nature, and time-lapse photography and videography
  • Photography lesson and workshop (1 on 1 and small group)
  • Stills and video editing 
  • Enlargements on different mediums
  • Printing advice
  • Social media and marketing consultation 
  • Speaking/storytelling on photography, community development, environmental sustainability, and places & people I've had the opportunity to visit/live and meet

-> Contact me to chat about your needs and vision!

I am sure that those pictures will leave my children with very good childhood memories in their future lives. When I showed my children the pictures, they laughed and saw it again and again.
— Zhi Qiang

About Me, continued:

I started taking photographs as a young teenager. I often credit my mom's point & shoot 35mm film camera as well as the Sony Mavica floppy disk digital camera in the late 90's that captures images at a whooping 0.3 megapixels(!). I am self-taught, and proudly so. After working and saving up in the summer in 2005, I picked up my first DSLR, and since then it's been an avalanche of learning and improving. My first paid gig came a year or two later, and after more than a decade now, it's still a happy long-term relationship. 

I grew up in Hong Kong and Los Angeles, though don't particular feel at ease or comfortable in urban centers anymore. In the last few years I have lived mostly in Seattle in the US as well as in rural Nepal. Since graduating in 2010 from University of California, San Diego and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography with a degree in Earth Sciences and Environmental Systems, I have worked in the realms of community development and environmental education locally and globally while doing photography on the side. Whilst in Seattle I was actively involved at the Beacon Food Forest, a community-driven, open-for-all, food-producing garden and forest in the city. I love that place. I had the opportunity to serve on its Site Development and Steering Committee for a year, and together with my neighbors we did some radical things to bring folks of all backgrounds and social-economic levels closer in a safe space that (re)connects people to one another, to food, and to nature. 

In response to the devastating earthquakes of April and May 2015, I have spent much time in the village of Takure in the Sindhupalchok district of Nepal with the organization Conscious Impact, where I've lived and rebuilt alongside locals and international volunteers while documenting the collaborative work. Together with the Conscious Impact team, we have leveraged social media to spread the word, tell stories, and continue the funding for the rebuilding project. Besides the Beacon Food Forest in Seattle, I haven't found a better, more meaningful way to use photography and social media for social and environmental good alongside selfless individuals with the common goal to help and serve others.

I also love bicycles, cycle touring, backpacking, wilderness, and am fascinated by big mountains, as well as the wisdom, culture, and way of life of indigenous peoples all around the world. Traveling has added tremendous global perspectives and knowledge I wouldn't have gained from formal education. Through my work and travels, I have spent time with the indigenous Emberá, Guna, and Ngäbe-Buglé peoples in Panama, the Ahka people in northern Thailand, and the Ladakhi, Spitian, and Sherpa peoples of the Himalayas, and hopefully soon will learn about Māori people and their rich history and culture. 

Sometimes I like to geek out on gear. Especially outdoor gear and lenses. Over the years I have slowly learned that it's still first and foremost the photographer, the time and place, the lens, then lastly the camera. The camera helps create the image no doubt, but just as you wouldn't complement a chef for his/her *amazing* frying pan/iron skillet/knife, a photographer's tool is simply that - a tool. A quality camera only takes quality images if you bring it with you and gets utilized. The best camera is quite often the one in your hand. 

Note that this site is newly rebuilt as of August 2017, and may not yet have the latest works, past and present. Social media would more likely showcase the newest captures. Follow these links to my LinkedInFacebook, Instagram, and Vimeo.

I've had some great opportunities in recent years to present my work and stories of places and people I've been and crossed paths with, and thankful to have had 2 recent talks be recorded/recapped - at PechaKucha Christchurch in September 2017 and Ministry of Awesome's Coffee & Jam in December 2017.

Please get in touch for commissioned work, printing, licensing, and collaborations to discuss your needs.

Jonathan’s ability to share the energy, beauty, and love of a moment through film and photo is truly something cosmic.
— AJ
[Jonathan] is really gifted, he shoots pictures not only with his professional skill but HEART, he doesn’t mind to get all wet or dirty as long as he gets the best angle or distance for the pictures, I am very satisfied with Subtledream Photography and definitely will refer to my family and friends.
— Dennis T.

Me, in photos:

Photo credit: friends and strangers from all walks of life. Notable mention: Graham Wynne top row left (both).

I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Jonathan recently and I can honestly say he is one of the best photographers I’ve ever worked with. Super-talented, hard-working and fun to be around - Jonathan also has the magic ability of being in the right place at the right time. I can totally recommend him for any photography work - let him share his vision of the world with you!
— Graham W.
To look in Jonathan’s camera, is like looking into his heart - for that is where he perceives the world from. Always finding a way to capture expressions of the ‘love bubble’ that is the scenery of his own existence.
Merging simultaneously with his camera and his surroundings, he has the rarest talent; to make every being feel like they are a miracle - perfect in their own unique way. Rather then noticing a photographer, his undivided attention encourages all to be more of what they already are. To notice the bright colors of life unfolding around, and shining its light straight back in true freedom of expression.
— Inga P.
Jonathan is an amazingly talented photographer, who not only captures the essence of the subjects in his pictures, but truly makes every effort to connect, learn, and better understand them. He has the biggest heart for all walks of life on this planet and is able to capture the beauty of the world seen through his eyes. I’ve had the great opportunity of doing a photo shoot with Jonathan and it was one of the funnest shoots I’ve ever done. I highly recommend his work to anyone who crosses paths with him. He will bring out the best in you and everything around you.
— Cynthia L.
I have a senior dog that I’d been meaning to do a photoshoot with, so when Jonathan told me he’d be in town, I jumped at the chance to book a session with him. I’m so glad I did! The photographs and prints that I got from him were STUNNING! Aside from being tack sharp and well-composed, they also demonstrate Jonathan’s knack for capturing moments perfectly (no small feat considering how difficult animals can be to photograph). Stellar images aside, Jonathan is professional, punctual, and fun to work with. I definitely recommend him and his work!
— Lesley P.
Jonathan has photographed my family twice and each time was a wonderful experience! He is fantastic with kids, he gets their attention, and of course he works his magic and gets the most beautiful photos. Jonathan is great to work with. I don’t know how he does it but he always has amazing photos. He is able to capture scenery and light at just the right times. I am never disappointed with Subtledream Photography, and will definitely work with Jonathan again and again.
— Lyric A.

More testimonials and reviews via my Facebook page.

The best camera is the one in your hand.
— not me, just simple truth

Instagram @subtledream