Field Journal Reco: My Octopus Teacher

Over the past couple of nights, I’ve watched the movie, My Octopus Teacher on Netflix. . If you haven’t run across it yet, I highly recommend it as it’s a beautiful portrayal of field journaling at its finest.


This journey starts with a man struggling in life. He looks back on when he felt alive as a child, following the clues of passions from his past. For him, it was the ocean and the kelp forests. By revisiting the same area, he found an octopus that caught his attention with unusual behavior. It triggered his curiosity. And that’s how field journaling begins – by noticing something.

He then follows this octopus throughout the rest of her life. And through this journey, he finds himself and his passion for his work again. His connection there allowed him to connect to others in his life. He learned he’s not apart from others but is a part of others – of nature.


I also love this movie because it’s another example of modern field journaling. He uses his camera to create videos and still photos instead of notes and sketches. He collects specimens and creates a map of the forest and the interconnections between species he finds.

While sketching and taking notes is a key part of traditional field journaling, it only makes sense to add in photos, audio notes, or videos with modern technology.


But as always, the connections happen most intently when you work with those raw notes (in whatever form) and give yourself time to contemplate what you see. This is where the actual value comes for field journalers because this is where the insights and understandings happen.

His “journal” is this film. It’s the unfolding story of exploring and finding wonder and the joy of living, definitely worth the watch.

SnowMoon Photography

Be Outside • Take Notes