Peeter Paaver: A scientist with a camera

Peeter Paaver, a junior researcher of geology at the University of Tartu, is the winner of the Science Photographer of the Year award of the Estonian Science Photo Competition held by Wikimedia Estonia. Let’s find out more about Peeter and his hobby(ies).

I graduated last autumn with a PhD in environmental engineering and today I work as a research fellow in geology, focusing on solid waste recycling and circular economy in the Estonian oil shale industry.

I have dabbled with photography and videography ever since high school, but took it up more seriously in 2016 as I hitchhiked from Estonia to Vietnam over the course of six months before starting my doctoral studies. Since then my portfolio in photo and video production has gradually expanded. At the end of last year I also launched my own brand.

In addition to my research and work as a photographer and videographer, I have organised student days in Tartu, play guitar in the punk band of geologists Eterniit, and keep myself occupied with plenty of other minor hobbies.

My usual mindset is “What do you mean it’s not possible?” and then I try to get things done myself or somehow find a way to make them happen.

Photography definitely supports research as well as all other hobby activities because good visuals and the accumulated image bank help to popularise science, promote the study of geology, and even provide illustrations for conference papers.

Similarly, years of research and other hobbies support the photographer’s profession in many ways. Firstly, by broadening one’s horizons and developing the skills and prior knowledge to search for different perspectives and ideas for taking pictures and, secondly, by developing the ability to quickly and efficiently search for information and understand how things actually work.

In addition, being educated as a geologist has certainly given me the opportunity to see and take photos of many interesting places, in Estonia and abroad, that an average traveller would not even know to visit.

The regularly updated portfolio can be followed:

📸 Here are some examples of my work:

The blue lagoon of Aidu quarry. Fieldwork in introduction to earth science.
Image credit: Peeter Paaver
Mountain ranges in Iran, Yazd desert. The winning Estonian Travel Photo of the Year 2017. Image credit: Peeter Paaver
The tour of Petra, Jordan for participants of the oil shale conference. The winning Estonian Travel Photo of the Year 2019. Image credit: Peeter Paaver
Everything is described and sediments documented in a fieldwork diary. Image credit: Peeter Paaver
Fieldwork in introduction to earth science in the sandstone quarry. Image credit: Peeter Paaver
Discovery expedition on inflatable boats along the banks of the Gauja River.
Image credit: Peeter Paaver
Evening after fieldwork, Arbavere research centre.
Image credit: Peeter Paaver
Searching for fossils during fieldwork in introduction to earth science, Aidu oil shale quarry.
Image credit: Peeter Paaver
Determining the dip angle and direction of sediment layers in the sandstone outcrop of the slopes.
Image credit: Peeter Paaver
Describing drill cores, Arbavere research centre. Image credit: Peeter Paaver
Geologists Tõnn Paiste and Martin Liira from UT in Estonia mine. Image credit: Peeter Paaver
X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis to determine a sample’s mineralogical composition.
Image credit: Peeter Paaver
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