Where can people follow you online, and who are your followers?

I can be found on Instagram @deirdredenaliphotography and I use that screen name pretty much across all platforms. My followers are folks that love nature, wildlife and playing outside!

Why did you start documenting your outdoor adventures and sharing them on social media?

Since the beginning of social media times way back when, I really loved the way it allowed me to connect with people all over the country and all over our planet. Sharing my world has been a great way to get folks excited about nature. I can show off cool critters, educate a bit about misunderstood species and even share moments of wonder and awe that some may never get to experience in their life. It’s all about connection for me.

How do you promote responsible recreation and good stewardship?

I’m a professional wildlife photographer and outdoor writer and have built my career on good ethics and practices in the outdoors. And I’ve been loud about that. I am a Nature First photographer, and a Leave No Trace educator. I’ve written many pieces on the merits of responsible recreation and have had the opportunity to speak many times on the stewardship of wild places. On my website I have a running total of the pounds of trash I’ve packed out of nature and I also donate a portion of all of my book and print sales to various organizations that promote land stewardship and getting kids from diverse communities outside.

What does nature and the outdoors mean to you?

Nature and the outdoors are everything to me. In the best of times they are my friends to play with. In the worst of times they are comforting arms holding me close. From my earliest memories it has been this way. I’m not sure who or what I would be had I not been exposed to nature and outdoor recreation as a very young child.

Where is your favorite place in Arizona to recreate and enjoy the outdoors?

I am passionately in love with the Tortolita Mountains. And the borderlands of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument are the reason I moved to this glorious state. In both of these regions the magic is endless.

What does it mean to be a Sonoran Insiders ambassador and why is it an important role to you?

Being a Sonoran Insider is a powerful title to me; it represents being an ambassador to the places and creatures that I love. This role is important to me because it’s a way to become more educated on things that matter, so I can better educate the people who follow along with my adventures. I love that this role fosters genuine connection between curious folks who care about Arizona. And I really appreciate the opportunity to build community and have unique experiences.

What else would you like people to know about you?

I am extremely into Type II fun and have been lucky to build a life all about that. I love backpacking, hiking, biking, paddling and scrambling with reckless abandon! My love for Type II fun comes in second to my love for animals. Spending time observing wildlife and capturing them through my lens is the greatest joy of my life. I am autistic and have never quite fit in with what is deemed normal in this world. That has helped me to connect with animals in a special way and I take great pride in showing off the beautiful and special aspects of misunderstood species. Because I have often been misunderstood. I am a bit of a nerd about tarantulas and can often be found looking for arachnids wherever I roam. Currently, I am studying the biodiversity of the Madrean Sky Islands through a long-term photography project and just cannot believe how special Arizona truly is. I think a lot of us calling Arizona home feel that way!