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Executive: Dr. Erin Long, dermatologist at Intercoastal Medical Group. Long has been with Intercoastal in Sarasota for eight years.

Diversion: Photography. Long picked up photography in 1999 while she was in medical school at Washington University in St. Louis, but she had less time when she started her residency. Post-residency, however, she got into travelling, and photography once again became important.

Big cats: Long went on her first African safari in 2010 and loved it. She has since gone on one on a nearly annual basis — five times in six years — and has another trip planned. “It's fun to share my travel and passions with my patients,” Long says. She has pictures scattered throughout her office, each representing a different country.

Long's photo of two lions fighting is featured in Africa Geographic.

Africa Geographic: Over the past five years, Long has seen unique aspects of Africa, from sunsets to animal fights. One of her two favorite photos is a picture she captured of a lion fight, featured in Africa Geographic magazine. Her other favorite picture, she says, is a leopard walking straight at her. “The most important thing is to be shooting photos of something you enjoy,” Long says. “You need to know what you're trying to capture in the photo.”

Along with the lion photo, Long says this photo of a leopard walking at her is one of her favorites.

Chomp chomp: Long is an official photographer of the University of Florida gymnastics team, where she has had opportunities to shoot photos of the team winning the Southeastern Conference and national championships. It's more of a hobby than a side job. “I don't get paid by them because I don't want it to be another job,” she says. “Once you start getting paid, it becomes more of a job and less fun.”

Long is a photographer for Florida's gymnastics team.

Perfect timing: Photographing gymnastics events poses a different challenge than an African safari because of lighting. Photographers can't use a flash, meets are indoors and the action moves very quickly, making it a tough task to take a great picture. But Long embraces the challenge. “I love capturing the beauty of athletics,” she says. “Just to be able to capture a leap in the perfect split position or to be able to capture one of the gymnasts upside down on the balance beam.”

Visual elements: Photography and dermatology, despite one being work and the other being fun, are actually pretty similar, Long says. “They require you to have an experienced eye to figure them out,” Long says. “Like in photography, whether it's a good picture and how to compose the picture, in dermatology, you're using an experienced eye to diagnose skin lesions.” Long says she took a lot of dermatology photos during her residency at the University of North Carolina.

Good escape: The pressure of being a physician can build up, but photography helps Long cope with it. She particularly enjoys the gymnastics meets. “It's a good escape on the weekends to get away from the pressures of medicine and to do something different,” Long says.

Follow Steven Benna on Twitter @steve_benna


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