At Aera we’re constantly inspired by functional tool watches and the people who use them. The everyday adventurers, the travellers, the escapists. The individuals who make the best possible use of the ultimate commodity – time.

Our very first Aeranaut is the wildlife and conservation photographer Steve Woods.  Steve was born in Birmingham, UK and is now based in Vancouver, travelling to wherever his ecological work takes him.

In collaboration with Aera, in support of raising funds for the local inhabitants, Steve recently returned to the Maasai Mara and stayed in Emboo River, the area’s first carbon-neutral camp. “It’s the first fully-electric camp in the Mara,” he says. “So, everything is a circular system. It’s all solar-powered – all the hot water, all the lighting, absolutely everything. Electric safari vehicles, too. It’s incredible.”

Steve has documented his time and work in the Mara and you can find it below


What was the plan for this trip to the Mara?

“With my photography, the one thing that people really engage with are the predators – the lions, the leopards, the big eagles. They all create emotional reactions, so that’s what people get interested in. But at the same time, I really wanted to show the culture around that. Because out of every $10 that goes into the Mara for conservation, $9 goes to animal conservation and $1 goes to the community. And that’s a real problem. Because they’re still stuck in poverty.

Is that because people think of ‘conservation’ as ‘animal conservation’?

“Yes, and animal conservation starts with the community. It starts in the villages. It’s really important to see the symbiosis between the Maasai people and the wildlife, that connection into nature. Because they’re the guardians of the space. The wildlife will not be able to survive if they don’t prosper.”

How did you work on ground out there?

“We worked with the Maasai tribespeople, to work out what their issues and problems were, and work out how we could help them. I bought these big lights so we were able to set up a photoshoot in order to really show how amazing and beautiful these people are and get some amazing images around them. Later I’ll be able to sell some prints, in order to push some money back their way.” 

What’s the key to taking a great photo?

“You have to get on the same level as whoever you’re photographing – be that the local population, or the wildlife. The moment that everyone’s seeing each other as an equal, then really wonderful things can happen. And that’s when you start to elicit really interesting stories. There’s pictures of the Maasai warrior women that I took out on the plains at sunset over there… these amazing women. Imagine the stories that they’ve been through. So it’s about paying your dues and showing reverence. You’re aware of how minuscule you are compered to them and what they do. They are just as important as the wildlife. For the wildlife to survive, it begins with them.”

Does time seem different out there?

“It stands still. The indigenous people spend so much time in that ecosystem that they see things we don’t see. If you’re at one with another animal or the landscape, you don’t need to lead such hustle and bustle lives. They find it very strange to how much we rush.” 

Did that apply to your personal experience in the Mara?

“Everyone always thinks, what I do, as a wildlife photographer, is all action, action, action. It’s not like that, really. It’s a lot of just sitting down and waiting. And being patient and seeing what’s going to happen. So that’s another kind of example of slowing down and taking the time to just be present in thinking about what’s going on.”

Is that something we can all take from your work?

“That’s a message I think applies to so many people in our reality now, be they in London or New York or Vancouver, or any big city. This idea behind the constant rat race and just being able to have the power to change that, in order to be able to slow things down. I think people would appreciate that. Slowing down a little bit.”



The P-1 Pilot is a modern, minimal take on the archetypical Pilot. Housing a Sellita SW200-1 movement, the sleek brushed 904L stainless steel case features a three-hand display, a clean open dished dial and high-visibility white Arabic numerals highlighted in hand filled, white Swiss Super LumiNova®.