For the 10th Anniversary of Earth Hour, I’m joining the #MakeClimateMatter online community. This photo helps tell the human story of climate change. There is a need for urgent action around climate change. Earth Hour is the world’s biggest movement for taking such action. Sign up to take part on 25th March at 8.30pm at http://buff.ly/2mVbQes⠀
Photo: Fishermen in Pulicat Lake follow an ancient fishing system that dictates when and where people may fish. This ensures a sustainable catch. Southern India. @wwf_uk#climatechange
What is it about humpback whales that fascinates me so much? Perhaps the fact that they were almost wiped out from the face of the planet during the whaling era and that over the past 30 years they have made such an amazing comeback? Maybe it is how they are able to communicate over vast ocean distances and orchestrate global symphonies that only they can understand? On this day we enjoyed the spectacle known as “carrousel feeding” in which several humpbacks work together to “corral” a school of fish with bubbles. Their coordinated efforts created an unbelievable ballet under the canopy of the Great Bear Rainforest in beautiful British Columbia. Unforgettable!
With @SeaLegacy and @PaulNicklen in #@Gitgaat territory. *
A conch shell lies in the shallow waters of the Mosquitia Reef in Honduras, where vast underwater grasslands fringe the hundreds of islands that form this remote archipelago. Along with being an important Blue Carbon repository — this is the carbon captured by living organisms in mangroves, salt marshes, seagrasses and algae, the Miskito Indians that inhabit this region, depend on the bountiful marine resources of this coast. I was proud to work with Dr. Stephen Box of the Centro de Estudios Marinos, who has spent much of the past decade studying the coastal ecology of Honduras to support local efforts to conserve and manage the coral reefs, marine life, and mangroves upon which coastal communities depend. Join me! I'm presenting a free STEM workshop today, March 18, with @paulnicklen at the @Microsoft Store in Bellevue, WA at 10:00AM. Visit aka.ms/storeevent for more. @natgeo#MakeWhatsNext#sponsored
This is me, 25 years ago! Growing up in the mountains of Central Mexico to a middle class Mexican family, there was nothing in my upbringing that would point me to the sea and to a life of adventure working in photography and conservation. When I was in my Senior year in high school, a marine biologist came to speak at my school. He talked about how the ocean, being our planet’s largest ecosystem, is the most important life support system we have and one that if managed properly, can feed the entire planet for generations to come. Hunger and poverty are something I have worried about, so I thought that studying how the ocean can support humankind would be my best way to make a contribution. I graduated with a degree as a Biochemical Engineer in the Exploitation of Marine Resources and was disheartened by how carelessly and voraciously we, as a species, have decimated our marine resources through our current industrial fishing practices. That is how I decided to dedicate my life to highlighting the imperative of healthy ecosystems to maintain humanity. I continue to call on my training as biochemical engineer and my marine biology expertise to interact with scientists and understand their challenges, as they rely on me to tell the stories of their data.
Every step I have taken since then, from my years working with indigenous communities in remote parts of the world, to my passion for conservation, has led me to where I am today: uniquely positioned to tell the story of our oceans, from a very human perspective.
Join me for a free workshop at the @Microsoft Store in Bellevue, WA on 3/18. Visit aka.ms/storeevent for more. @natgeo#MakeWhatsNext#sponsored #fbf#itesm
Iconic stories, like the fabled friendship that my partner, photographer @PaulNicklen struck with a female leopard seal that insisted on feeding him penguins while he was trying to photograph it in 2006, are the kind of storytelling that create emotional connections with people. When @NatGeo asked Paul to return to Antarctica to see if that behavior was still there, I was privileged to have a chance to document it and to represent @Sea_Legacy and our efforts to push for a #MarineProtectedArea in the Antarctic Peninsula. When we first arrived to the spot where he had photographed leopard seals so many years ago, there were no seals to be seen. As soon as we got in the water, however, this large female immediately swam over to Paul. Thankfully, Paul had told me that this big “show of teeth" is more of a greeting than a threat display. Once her initial “hellos” were said, she went back to hunting for penguins and all we could do was smile and try and capture her grace, beauty and power in these icy seas. Moments like this, are impossible to forget.
While snorkeling to photograph the comings-and-goings of a penguin colony, I suddenly felt a tap on my arm. I thought it was my fellow photographer @ladzinski who was floating motionless nearby. Imagine my surprise when I looked up to find this very curious blue-eyed shag chick swimming around me. As this very curious young bird looked at its reflection on my dome, pulled at the cords on my strobe,s and poked me on the head with its beak, I had to hold back tears of laughter. Spending time with Antarctic wildlife as part of a team lead by @PaulNicklen for a @NatGeo assignment, has been one of the highlights of my photographic career.
Oh the joys of a dirt bath! I photographed this Johnny Rook, or Cara cara on a remote island of the Falklands archipelago (formerly known as Las Malvinas). As fun and interactive as these birds are to watch, they can also be a complete nuisance, as they are incredibly curious and intelligent, and thus able to wreck havoc if a vehicle, house or camera bag is left lying around. Being clever and effective hunters and scavengers, they are one of the most important causes of mortality for the chicks of penguins and albatrosses nesting on these islands. So goes the circle of life! With @PaulNicklen and @theWCS on #assignment for @natgeo.
Young Hawaiian explorer, Keānuenue De Soto, examines a tiny crab she just pulled from a tide pool. Anu, as her family affectionately calls her, is part of a large, traditional Hawaiian family with deep roots in the ocean. From their achievements in professional surfing, to their commitment to conservation, the De Soto family have saltwater running through their veins. Makaha Beach, Oahu, Hawaii.
I'm teaming up with @natgeo and @Microsoft on 3/18 to empower girls to change the world, stay in STEM, and be the ones to #MakeWhatsNext#sponsored
When @PaulNicklen was asked to return to Antarctica to see if the leopard seals he had photographed for a story he published in @NatGeo 11 years ago would behave the same, I was thrilled at the chance to document it. I never imagined I would get to experience first-hand how intelligent and communicative these animals are. Yes, I feel bad for the little penguin, but from the seal’s perspective, that is just lunch. What was amazing, is how excited the seal was to show me what an extraordinary hunter she is. She caught penguin after penguin and brought them over proudly for me to behold.
A beautiful iceberg reflects itself on the mirrorlike surface of the Antarctic sea. Like silent giants, these ice sculptures are birthed from the ice shelf of the continent and as they slowly melt, shaped by currents, storms, and winds, they remind us of how beautiful and fragile this ecosystem is. What I learned from a month spent photographing the Antarctic Peninsula for an #assignment for @natgeo, is how all elements of life here are tied to healthy ice. My hope is that our work will help protect parts of this important part of our ocean.
As we look towards a sustainable future for not only ourselves, as humans, but also for the creatures we share this planet with, I can't help but think, on this day, #worldwildlifeday, how we can lead by example while at the same time, be inspired by the youth in our community, locally and globally. The theme for World Wildlife Day this year is "Listen to the Young Voices". Almost one quarter of the world’s population is between the ages of 10 and 24 and these young people are a big part of my motivation for doing the work I do. Just as the youth can learn from us, we can learn from them, if we listen. I know that when I have the opportunity to work with young people, I gain insight, energy and drive to keep sharing stories from the wild with the world. ⠀
Photo: Black Browed Albatross, Falkland Islands.
Today is "International Polar Bear Day". Any day that increases awareness and knowledge around the dramatic drop in the polar bear population is a good thing, we need to do more, everyday. ⠀
These "white bears", as they used to be called, are facing extinction. ⠀
Polar bears are the most iconic species in the Arctic and if there is to be any hope for wildlife and biodiversity, we cannot afford to allow these animals to slide into oblivion. My hope is that my images are more than a record of their passing. My hope is that they become more like a banner to rally for their protection.⠀ @polarbearsinternational#polarbearday@email@example.com#savethepolarbears⠀
Photo: While Polar Bears feed mostly on Seal meat, this guy, in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, in Kaktovik, Alaska, makes a meal out of a whale carcass.
There is a common misconception that protecting our oceans, keeping them healthy and vibrant, means destroying our economy; that it's either, or. In reality, what we are working towards is showing the world that acknowledging the vitality and of our seas isn't about sacrificing economy, but rather, it's about creating a new paradigm for what drives our economy. ⠀
The NGO that my partner @paulnicklen and I formed in 2014, @sealegacy, is supporting a campaign that is currently underway to designate the #SalishSea as a World Heritage Site, through the United Nations. We know is that in order to make a difference and create the change that is going to protect the incredible diversity of life that thrives above and below the water, we need to have checks and balances in place that go beyond voluntary and we need the world to care what happens to one of the most beautiful places on earth. ⠀
Support the change we are trying to make by visiting www.wearethesalishsea.eco, to sign a petition and send a letter to government. The public has until the end of April to give the gift of the Salish Sea to the rest of the world.
Laundry in the Mandrare River - The only river in southern Madagascar and it is running almost dry. Berenty; Madagascar Southern Spiny Desert.
Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot; over 90% of its wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth. The island's diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife are threatened by the encroachment of the rapidly growing human population and other environmental threats.
For me, this is more evidence that the choices we make every day, impact our global community and that we are all connected through the world's oceans and waterways. #madagascar#mandrareriver#waterconnectsusall
Grizzly Bears of Ni'iinlii'njik (Fishing Branch) in Canada's Yukon - Elsewhere in Canada, Grizzly's are hunted for trophy but here they are protected so as a photographer, you’re able to get within 3 feet of them because they're not aggressive. They’re not afraid of humans. They’ve never been shot at. You can be a hunter and shoot a bear and be in close proximity to it, say 20 feet, but I tell you the bigger thrill is to sit quietly and have the bear come all the way up to you.⠀
The bears aren't there to eat people. They are calm and know that you’re sitting in one spot and not being aggressive. If they choose to come close, it’s on their own terms and humans are not a part of their diet. They’re there for fish and so as long as you stay in a prediable place and they can see you and smell you, they can dictate the terms of the encounter. #bearcavemountain#yukon@grizzlybears
"Lady with the Goose" taken in the Yunnan Province of China is one of my most asked about images. We sold two limited edition prints on the Opening Night of our first Fine Art Exhibition at @millergallery in Cincinnati @paulnicklen. The exhibition is on until February 18th and prints are still available for purchase, with all proceeds benefitting @sea_legacy
It is amazing to fly over this vast land of ice and volcanoes. The Southern end of the Andean Cordillera is as beautiful as the more northern peaks. I am leaving today on a month-long assignment for @natgeo in Antarctica and I hope that a month from now, when I get back the world hasn't completely gone crazy. With @paulnicklen, @ladzinski, @andy_mann for @sea_legacy
As if getting ready to take flight, a rockhopper penguin stretches its wings in a vocal display for a mate. It feels good to head back to some southern latitudes. Life here is rich and vibrant and so worth protecting! Very humbled to be working alongside some of my favorite visual creatives @paulnicklen@andy_mann, @ladzinski and @blackdot.
Photo by @CristinaMittermeier. What is your favorite species of penguin? Emperors are majestic; Kings are gorgeous, Rockhoppers are athletic, but for me Adelies, are the most entertaining. Their sassy, attitude and curious, intelligent demeanor make them a great subject and so much fun to be with. Their lifecycle is closely tied to the health of sea ice and that makes them most vulnerable and threatened species of penguin due to climate change. I am headed down to Antarctica #onassignment with @PaulNicklen, @Ladzinski and @andy_mann to create a portrait of this incredible ecosystem that may help protect it.
We are packing frantically to head back to Antarctica. We have a big expedition with big conservation goals and I couldn’t be more excited. With a team of 10 talented photographers and filmmakers we will tackle a magazine article for National Geographic, a series of short films, a VR short, and a conservation campaign, we will be busy working for a whole month and I can’t wait to show you what we come back with
Taking a trip down memory lane today and finding images I haven't seen in years, like these Tibetan boys I photographed in a remote village in Southwestern China. I was a young mother when I took this photo and had all three of my kids with me so it has hard juggling photography and motherhood. I wish I could go back to some of these places with a new appreciation and more time. #chinese#respect#culture#love@natgeocreative@natgeotravel@conservationorg
Every winter, large groups of Steller sea lions arrive to the Salish Sea on the coast of British Columbia. First the males arrive on their rocky haul outs and await patiently for the females to join them several weeks later. On this day, I sneaked up on them with my snorkel and got to spend a whole hour playing hide-and-seek with these young and curious animals. A real joy.
Today I marched in the small Canadian city of Nanaimo with about 2000 passionate Canadians. As a Mexican/American Female Conservationist living in Canada, the values, or lack of, that are now being represented in the White House are offensive to me both personally and professionally. It was my honour to walk in solidarity with millions of women, children and men from around the globe to show I am not okay with how society treats the oppressed, marginalized, abused or vulnerable and that where we are is not where we need to be as a global society. #pussiesagainsttrump#nastywoman#notmypresident#ilovecanada
It seems to be saying “hello little friend”, but what I think is really going through the mind of this King Penguin as it leans down to look at a lone krill that has washed up on the beach is “are you edible?”. Krill are the foundation of the ecosystem, and every creature from birds to whales depends on healthy krill populations, which in turn are tied to the fate of ice.
Hidden in remote parts of our planet, traditional indigenous people are still scratching a living from the earth and they are doing it in a way that is full of beauty and full of poetry. The Trio people of the northern Amazon now live in the Central Suriname Nature Reserve, which has been protected in perpetuity to preserve its natural and cultural wealth. At one point, it almost became a Malaysian logging concession but instead, conservationists won a battle to turn it into one of Earth’s largest rainforest protected tracts on Earth.
We spend billions of dollars sending missions to a Red Planet where there is no life. Meanwhile, on Earth, people live in tremendous poverty in places like rural Madagascar. Masks made out of powdered bark are used by women as sunblock, bug repellent and skin softener. I was also told they wear these masks, because “they look pretty”. I completely agree.
Meanwhile, on Earth, a “caboclo” which is how people of mixed Indigenous Brazilian and European ancestry are known in the Amazon, takes his horse for an afternoon bath in the mellow waters of the Xingú River. A few months after I took this photo, the Belo Monte dam went into operation and this part of town is now under 40 feet of water. #meanwhileonearth#amazon#brazil#stopbelomonte#horse#riverlife
Meanwhile, on Earth, as the foreman loudly directs the action, a group of Indian fishermen pulls a long net in hopes of a good catch. A handful of fish is all they get after a long morning of work, but with a lot of mouths to feed, tomorrow they will be back at it again.
Meanwhile, on Earth a Tibetan grandmother takes care of her grandchild in a remote corner of the southern Yunnan Province in China. In this highly matriarchal society, grandparents are key in ensuring that the family structure works for the benefit of all. Both parents are able to work because their children have a built-in support system right at home.
With all the recent interest in Mars and space exploration, I thought it would be fun to remind us of how special and beautiful our very own planet is. In this series I call “Meanwhile on Earth”, I will share with you slices of life from home. Two “Pantaneiros” or cowboys from the Pantanal, take a break while sipping a yerba mate tea, the traditional, and very addictive drink that so many people enjoy in the southern reaches of South America.
Time happens on a different scale for people who go to work without a “checkout” clock. Traveling and spending time with Inuit people of Greenland was like stepping into a time machine, where the ebb and flow of nature is the only scale for keeping time. Niihi, a master carver, hunter and dog musher quietly smokes his pipe as the sun sets on the western coast of Greenland. With @PaulNicklen, @enricsala, @NatgeoPristineSeas, @sea_legacy, @natgeocreative