Mike Kirkinis is a deeply committed conservationist and photographic safari operator.
With the relentless poaching onslaught on Africa's wildlife, Mike has over the past 30 years, in partnership with a number of leading conservationists and philanthropists, played a very active role in the development and implementation of wildlife conservation and rural community-based projects . This is the field where Mike has devoted the majority of his time and efforts.
Mike grew up in a number of countries and was educated at international schools around the world. By the age of 18 he had lived in some of the world’s great cities; Athens, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Rio amongst them.
He began his photography at the age of 12 and has learnt photography right up from the very basics, starting off in his own darkroom, developing and printing photographs and transparencies.
His favorite cameras are by far his 1954 Leica M3 film camera, Leica M9 and Monochrom digital cameras, combined with several superb Leica lenses. His collection also includes several antique Leica cameras from the early 1930s.
His cameras include two medium format classic Hasselblad cameras and several superb Carl Zeiss lenses, as well as a Sony A7R with several modified Leica R lenses and a one-off DIY modified Zeiss 300mm f2.8 Tele Apotessar. This manual focus lens is his favorite lens for wildlife photography.
"I really enjoy the challenge of photographing my subjects with a manual focus lens, and manual exposure settings. It can be extremely frustrating at times, but when you do get it right the reward and feeling of satisfaction is absolutely fantastic! This is where digital photography opens up immense opportunities other than simply point and shoot. The ability to instantly view a photograph and to make the necessary corrections and learn from one's mistakes is simply amazing.
I feel that in order for us to excel at what we do we must constantly set ourselves challenges and keep pushing ourselves further. I believe that with digital photographic equipment and software it's all become too easy, with auto focus and "auto everything", somehow there's the danger that we'll lose touch with the art of photography itself."
All the photographs on this website have been taken with manual focus lenses and in most cases with manual exposure settings.
All of the animals depicted on this website have been photographed in their natural habitat and in their natural wild state.
In the early 90's Mike started Passage To Africa, one of Southern Africa's leading photographic safari operations, to cater for the growing luxury safari market, and to allow him the opportunity of spending more time in Africa’s wilderness.
One of the safari industry’s leading personalities, Mike is involved in both the marketing of extraordinary safaris and in consulting to the ecotourism industry. Very much the modern bushman, Mike is equally at home in the hustle and bustle of New York, or the vast emptiness of the Namib Desert; conservationist, raconteur, and helicopter pilot, Mike also leads and guides photographic safaris for those who enjoy the finer things in life.