Talking with the Artists: Timucuan Parks Foundation’s “Celebrate & Explore Our Wilderness Parks” Traveling Exhibition

Our “Celebrate & Explore Our Wilderness Parks” Exhibition at the Beaches Museum will be wrapping up soon. The last day for you to visit the museum and see the display is November 7. Don’t miss your chance to see the wonderful art and photography from local artists including Kathy Stark, Tom Schifanella and Will Dickey, as well as information on the Foundation, our partner focuses and Northeast Florida’s wilderness parks and preserves.

We have been talking with the artists to give you a little more insight into how they work. Last week it was Will Dickey, this week we are learning more about Tom Schifanella.

Tom Schifanella, Award-Winning Creative

Tom has a passion for capturing images that tell stories about the vibrant world around us. The award-winning advertising agency creative enjoys photographing images of nature through both still photography and drone footage, many of which have been featured in exhibitions and publications. He is one of 25 photographers included in National Geographic’s Planet or Plastic?, an international photography exhibition raising awareness of the global crisis in plastic waste. Tom is also the author of the book “Sacred Waters,” a Florida paddling guide.

What inspires you?

The beauty and diversity of planet earth is my inspiration. I’m continually fascinated by the infinite variety of flora fauna, shapes, forms and patterns that are found in the natural world. My goal as a photographer is to capture what I see with great feeling and share the images with others.


What is your creative process?

Tom’s creative process

For commercial assignment work, my first step is to visualize the look and feel of the images I want to capture by making thumbnail sketches. I keep them in a sketchbook, making notes and refinements along the way. These sketches help guide me through the assignment and often lead to other ideas as the shoot progresses. For landscapes and nature photography, I begin by being open and receptive to the environment I’m in. Observing a scene, being patient and letting things develop on their own help the mind and the eye to be ready. Once I see something that makes an emotional connection with me, I begin to shoot. In a way, I don’t look for the photograph, the photograph finds me.

Why do you feel it’s important to protect and celebrate the nature found in our parks?

I’m reminded of a passage from the Episcopalian liturgy which refers to our planet as “this fragile earth, our island home.” The planet we live on is indeed fragile and we must be good stewards of it for future generations. Organizations like the Timucuan Parks Foundation are the first line of defense in protecting and preserving the natural spaces that we hold dear.

To learn more about Tom and his work, visit

Timucuan Parks Foundation’s 20th Anniversary “Celebrate & Explore Our Wilderness Parks” Exhibition is at the Beaches Museum at 381 Beach Blvd. in Jacksonville Beach. Admission to the museum is free thanks to the generous donation of Maxwell and Edna Dickinson. Visitors will have the opportunity to purchase TPF’s “Special Places” coffee table book which Tom Schifanella and his company helped to create. If purchased through the TPF website, a portion of the proceeds directly supports the wilderness parks. For more information on visiting the exhibition, go to or call (904) 241-5657.