SHU Student Creating Nature Documentary

By Bryana Cielo
Editor in Chief

Because the coronavirus has cancelled most classes and jobs, many are making the most of the extra time that we all have been given — one of them being Sacred Heart sophomore and Spectrum assistant photo editor Tomas Koeck. After an unsatisfying freshman year at Penn State University, he transferred to SHU for a new start this past fall, and he got just that: a new start, and the opportunity to work on an exciting project. Koeck decided to create a nature documentary.

“Upon beginning my enrollment into Sacred Heart University, it was Professor Rick Falco who helped spark the drive and pathway for me to begin my own nature documentary,” Koeck said. “Rick Falco is among the leading figures of inspiration for photography and capturing images in my life and I credit this film’s production beginning ideas and guidance from his generous direction.”

As of right now, there are three other people involved in the project: Professors Richard Falco, Joe Alicastro and Gary Russo. Koeck credits all three professors for their crucial roles in providing motivation and insight on the project.

Russo said, “I’ve told Tomas that in the not-too-distant future, I fully expect to see his work on National Geographic . . . or CBS Sunday Morning, or similar distribution platforms. His passion feeds his talent. You don’t just view Tomas’s work, you experience it!” Falco agrees.

Alicastro said, “Tomas is an excellent photographer. His current project on owls is absolutely of National Geographic quality. His immense talent is coupled with a strong work ethic and endless enthusiasm. I am looking forward to him joining my TV News Magazine class in the fall and welcoming his contributions to The Pulse.”

Koeck has been in collaboration with two organizations: Connecticut Audubon and TAMRON lenses, who have both aided him in finding species to capture and providing him with the proper equipment. He has already found a publisher to work with him. He credits his work being featured on some of Instagram’s most prominent nature photography accounts for the audience he has created in such a short time: almost 2,000 followers.

“Not much else makes me happier seeing the smiles and ‘wows’ that come out when I show people my images. But it is not for the sake of what I am producing, rather a tribute to the great natural world that exists around us every day. My goal is to hopefully someday help create change through my images by capturing nature’s beauty,” said Koeck.

“Lots of young people, when they become egomaniacs, they think too much of themselves. He has maintained his humility and his desire to become better every time and that is quite unique at this stage. He’s an all-around really good human being,” said Falco.

The documentary will include different sections: great horned owls, underwater footage of reefs of New England, and man’s relationship with nature. Koeck hopes to release it in spring of 2022.

Russo speaks to Koeck’s passion for nature photography.

Owls are his focus…and he continues to go above-and-beyond (literally — climbing matters, etc.) to photograph these creatures in their natural habitat,” said Russo.

Falco believes Koeck’s contribution can be valuable in other projects as well.

Tomas also volunteered to be a part of my documentary team for the Easton Courier. He’s just a go-getter. He’s serious about what he wants to do,” said Falco. “He is the exception to every student.”

At this stage, the documentary is at what is called a “radio cut.” Koeck has interviewed various members of the Audubon and has small clips to put together.

“Although the scope and workload of this project is immense, I am confident that if I put my efforts into the right areas, this could be a great production for Vision Project and Sacred Heart’s School of Communication and Media Arts,” said Koeck. “Now all I have to do is DO IT!”

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