Working for National Geographic is a demanding school, on a par with the means that are provided to photographers to cover their subjects. Over several months, through each of the seasons, I did a reportage in France on the regions of the Languedoc Roussillon and Midi Pyrénées, assembling material for a book for National Geographic. I wanted to see the Mediterranean coast from the air, this tenuous border between nature and the earth, between the wild and the works of humankind. While I was in a helicopter rented by National Geographic I captured this flight of pink flamingos who had found refuge in the peaceful Camargue, a bit of arid wilderness between Arles and Saintes Maries de la Mer.
Photo By @DavidDoubilet // A curious American crocodile greets us on a night dive in the rich mangrove systems of Gardens of the Queen, Cuba. Diving with these
ancient reptiles on their terms in their back yard is a rare and welcome opportunity. We are careful to work as a team and to keep the large camera housing between yourself and the croc. This wonderful creature swam between us, stopping only moments to see what we were
and then moved on. This remote marine preserve located fifty miles south of Cuba is a Caribbean eden looks much like it did when Columbus discovered it an named it for his Queen: Jardines de la Reina.
The rich reefs and dense productive mangroves help sustain an intact food chain that supports large population of apex predators. To explore and meet other Gardens of the Queen creatures see the @natgeo story Caribbean Crown Jewels in Nov issue and @natgeo.com
With @NatGeoCreative@ThePhotoSociety #Ocean#Crocodile#Cuba#JardinesdelaReina#Extreme#Edge#Teeth#Smile#ApexPredator#NationalPark for #moreocean follow @DavidDoubilet
Photo by @migeophoto // July 26, 2010 – Yukon to Cordell, Oklahoma – 84 miles // Today was tough. We have reached an awkward stretch of land that tessellates off into the distance, every mile precisely like the last. It reminds me of cycling in a gym. You pedal and pedal but don’t move an inch. Cordell, Oklahoma appeared on the horizon like a mirage. The road dead-ended at the Washita County courthouse, an imposing building that rose out of the center of town like a lighthouse emphasizing to travelers that: Yes, life does exist out here. Tonight, like many nights of the trip, I took an hour to detach myself from our traveling commune and explore the city streets. I have slowly learned what I should expect on these outings–a water tower, a volunteer fire department, a few bipolar cats. Locals will give me a quizzical stare and I’ll have a moment of wonder if I see the survival of the small town newspaper. There are always the local shops that sell a wide array of products that can only be summed up as ‘stuff.’ When I was on my way back to the church, I noticed a train car was abandoned on its tracks just a few blocks down the road. While I took the detour, a pickup truck pulled up behind me filled with a family of classic faces. They were piled into the front seat like an image that only exists in my imagined history of the United States. // These stories are from my cross-country bike trip with @bikeandbuild in 2010. In this image, two riders prop up their legs to release the lactic acid. See more under the hashtag #bikebuildtps
Photo by @GerdLudwig // Perhaps the most aptly named geographic landmark in the world, the Cherokee Indians called the Great Smoky Mountains “Place of Blue Smoke” due to its perennial blanket of smoky-blue mist. Today, the Great Smokies’ signature blue fog is being replaced by a toxic yellow haze produced by power plants, ozone pollution and automobile emissions carried by winds from distant cities. These air-born pollutants are not only degenerating the visibility of its impressive views, but damaging plants, degrading water and soil, and increasingly putting human health at risk. Even at the park’s highest elevations along Clingman’s Dome Road, some blossoms are still able to thrive among the dying trees, despite the foggy weather. @natgeo@natgeocreative@theimagereview#GreatSmokyMountains#mist#haze#nationalparks#pollution#elevation#forest#fog#Cherokee#travel#NorthCarolina#Tennessee#landscape#blossoms
Photo by @GerdLudwig // on assignment in Russia. In the living room of their small apartment in Zelenograd in the outskirts of Moscow, a dedicated young cosplay couple - he a banker and she an interior designer - act out a cosplay performance. Cosplay, a shortening of the words costume and play, is a performance art during which participants wear costumes, masks, and accessories to depict specific characters. Cosplayers are a subculture who convene at festivals or perform on or apart from stages. The characters stem from comic books and cartoons, live-action films, or video games. Cosplaying initially became a popular culture phenomenon in Japan but has since spread worldwide. The photograph appeared in my recent story on the Putin Generation, which examines the attitudes and outlooks of young people in Russia and was published in the December issue of @natgeo.
Instagram now has a new feature making it possible to post multiple images as a gallery - view my latest post using this new feature to see more cosplayers in Moscow at @GerdLudwig.
Photograph by @andyparkinsonphoto/@thephotosociety
Two puffins in flight – This image was captured many years ago on the Farne Islands in Northumberland, UK. Whilst it is undoubtedly a fantastic place for wildlife photography I would probably recommend trying to schedule your visit for an overcast day, especially if your primary goal is photography. Your time on the island will always be limited to the hours of about 10am-3pm (unless something has changed in recent years!) and as such, with most of the seabird nesting times occurring in the height of the summer months the light can be quite harsh and shadowy on these days. On this particular day I had arrived on the island in thick cloud but then the sun started to burn its way through and I ended up being forced to work in light that I would usually try to avoid. Of course images such as these do require a significant amount of luck and in this instance these two puffins took off simultaneously and flew straight down the barrel of my lens as they made their way out to sea. A strong wind made their flight path predictable and whilst I like most of the images’ attributes I am less keen on the quality of the light. Nevertheless, the extremely colourful puffins coupled with the blue sky and the green vegetation at least create a colourful image and as far as flight shots go I can see that it does have merit. If you’d like to join me to photograph these colourful and charismatic birds this coming summer then I have just a couple of places left on my photo tour to the Shetland Islands this coming July. For more information you can email me at email@example.com or you can join my mailing list by clicking on this link and filling in your details http://www.andrewparkinson.com/#/contact/4566036726 Alternatively you can #followme at @andyparkinsonphoto to keep up-to-date with my images @andyparkinsonphoto@thephotosociety@natgeo#puffin#andysphototours#FarneIslands#ethicsbeforeimages#phototips#educateandinspire#nature#naturelovers#wildlifephotography
Photo by @FransLanting // Kanzi is a uniquely talented bonobo. He was born in captivity and learned how to communicate with humans at an early age, mastering a vocabulary of symbols developed by Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh at her research facility. Over a period of 30 years, Kanzi has had many complex conversations with Sue that reveal his emotions and his ability to empathize with others. When I spent time with him, I was struck by his social intelligence. He was totally tuned in to the intentions and emotions of people around him, including me. Along with common chimpanzees, bonobos are our nearest of kin, but we have not exactly treated them like family. In the wild, bonobos, also known as pygmy chimps, only occur in a remote part of the Congo Basin, where they are threatened by civil unrest and the bushmeat trade. Follow me @FransLanting to learn more about bonobos and to see how closely related we are.
Photo @pedromcbride // Crumbling Reflections: Much has changed in Cuba over the 17 years I have visited this island. But much has stayed the same. Time still ticks at a Cuban pace and old cars still run… I don’t know how... and while pockets of new construction and renovation exist thanks to a growing tourism boom, most buildings are crumbling and cracking under the Caribbean climate. But amidst the hardship, nostalgia and messy vitality, the Cuban people keep moving, like their cars. And somehow, they do it with a colorful friendliness and warmth that always amazes me. To see more, follow @pedromcbride#cuba#havana#photo#workshop@natgeoexpeditions#reflection#photooftheday#petemcbride
Photo By: @mclain.david / @thephotosociety
An Inuit hunter ferries his sled dogs from Kiatak island Greenland, where they are kept for the brief summer, back to Qaanaaq, in preparation for the coming winter. Dogs first appeared in Greenland about 5,000 years ago and have been used ever since by the Inuit to hunt and pull dogsleds. The breed is remarkably pure as no dog is allowed to enter Greenland and any dog that leaves Greenland cannot return. While Americans tend to think of dogs as pets the Inuit see them as working dogs and partners in a subsistence lifestyle and age old hunting traditions. The pack of dogs in this boat is capable of pulling a dog sled that weighs a thousand pounds.
Photo by @joepetersburger / @thephotosociety // FROZEN BUBBLES // We have a long winter in Hungary after many years. Not much snow, but at least cold, as winter should be. Weeks in a row with lower than freezing point temperature in average, with no wind. There is a lake in the middle of the village I live. Thanks for the weather there was a fantastic quality of ice on the lake. Smooth as glass and transparent. I checked, if I find something interesting, but it was not a good time for landscape, or any wide angle shots. So I looked after details at the section of the bank where stones protect the dam from erosion. Those stones are covered with algae, who do not stop photosynthesis even at low temperature. They produce oxygen bubbles, which normally rise up to the surface and disappear. Now they could not, but frozen into the ice. Please #followme at @joepetersburger to keep up-to-date with my images! @joepetersburger@thephotosociety@natgeo#hungary#ice#frozen#oxygen#photosynthesis#bubble#winter#travel#educateandinspire
Photograph by @andyparkinsonphoto/@thephotosociety
Mute swan cygnet with a neck warmer – During the summer of last year I was seeking to put the finishing touches to a mute swan story that I had been working on for some 3 years. One of the aspects that had to date eluded me was the first few days of a cygnets life, as they explored their new world for the first time, all under the protective watch of their attentive parents. I knew that the intimacy with which I would have to work would require a significant bond of trust and that this in turn would require a huge investment in effort. Every day for weeks I would visit the nest site and as hatching day approached this increased to twice daily visits, taking time to sit and talk with the parents as they incubated their clutch of eggs. When hatching day did finally arrive I then spent all day every day with the adult swans, documenting intimately, and I hope sensitively, their developing relationship with their precious offspring. In this moment a young female cygnet, the last to hatch and always the most clingy, is scrambling on to her mothers’ back, a place that she sought like no other. Her mums neck meanwhile is draped around her, her head tucked toward her body as she preens. I was incredibly privileged to be trusted in the way that I was, effectively as one of the family, the most memorable moment undoubtedly when I was left in charge of this little female on the nest, just hours after hatching, as the parents took the other two older cygnets onto the water. I had seen at previous nest sites how quickly a magpie or crow will fly down and attempt to snatch any unguarded cygnets and so I took my responsibility seriously, the adult swans completely trusting that she would come to no harm. Using natural frames such as these are always useful when creating intimate portraits and there is no more beautiful arch in nature than the gentle sweep of a swans neck. Please #followme at @andyparkinsonphoto to keep up-to-date with my images @andyparkinsonphoto@thephotosociety@natgeo@natgeocreative#wildlife#nature#naturelovers#muteswan#ethicsbeforeimages#phototips#educateandinspire#wildlifephotography
Photo by @amivitale on assignment for @natgeo // Caretaker Li Feng cradles her precious charge by the window of Bifengxia’s panda nursery, the most popular stop for visitors touring the facilities. More than 400,000 people visit each year to glimpse and snap photos of China’s most beloved baby animals.
Photo by @gordonwiltsie // A #polar traveler appears to be jogging on water as he runs across a deep blue, bare #ice#glacier near the #PatriotHills, deep in the interior of #Antarctica. Here, incessant winds racing downhill from the South Pole have polished the surface like glass and daring pilots use this as a runway for large, wheeled aircraft bringing mountaineers, researchers and other travelers to the continent. It is so slick that many visitors bring gum-soled mukluks to keep from slipping onto their tails.
Photo by @migeophoto // July 27, 2010 // Owensville to Lake Ozark, Missouri – 62 miles // In my head, I thought I knew how America would shift and change as we cycled west. I had developed a mental image based on everything from clipart maps on diner placemats, to the stereotypes presented in Disney movies. Now I am actually seeing it. The northeast until Ohio all felt the same. Once we crossed under the “Gateway to the West” in St. Louis everything changed. We are currently on Route 66 and our conversations often drift back to the country’s history. What were the pioneers thinking when they saw the landscape steadily dry up into desert? These days, every inch of road is surrounded by a barbed wire fence, so we are discovering ourselves more than any patch of soil.
I didn't anticipate our endless list of injuries. Backaches, knee pain, hand numbness, chafing, extreme hunger and sever exhaustion. Oh, and a stiff neck. Yesterday during our ride a piece of gravel flew out of the back tire of my friend Ryan's bike and hit me in the eye. I couldn't open it for the rest of the day. Losing depth perception while speeding down hills at 40mph is not the safest way to spend the afternoon. Eventually Adam tied one of his leg warmers around my head in a makeshift eye patch. // These stories are from my cross-country bike trip with @bikeandbuild in 2010. In this image, two riders prop up their legs to release the lactic acid. See more under the hashtag #bikebuildtps
Amazon River Dolphins from below, Brazil. Photo by Kevin Schafer – @schaferpho – Choosing images to illustrate a story in National Geographic is a collaborative effort, involving the photographer, several editors and a designer. With limited space, and many thousands of available pictures to choose from, making the final selection can be a daunting task. Sometimes, otherwise worthy pictures have to be left out, especially if they don’t advance the narrative. Such is the case with this picture, shot on assignment for @natgeo on Brazil’s Rio Negro. It was one of my favorite images from that project, yet never appeared in the magazine. Why? Simply because there were other underwater images that better told the story we wanted to tell, about these dolphins and their lives within the flooded forests of the Amazon. In this image, a pair of dolphins circle directly above me, as I hung on a rope ten feet down. The blood red color is entirely natural, captured without filters or gimmicks, caused by the midday sun passing through the tannin-rich water of the Rio Negro, here “eclipsed’ by the dolphin directly above me. #boto#amazondolphin#nikon
Photo by @FransLanting // From a helicopter hovering over a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park, amazing patterns become clear. Steam rises from the boiling blue water in the center and the stains along the edges are created by bountiful bacteria which thrive in this extreme environment. Follow me @FransLanting for more images from our living planet.
Photograph by @andyparkinsonphoto/@thephotosociety
Red kite during a blizzard – I wish I could say that I’m surprised that the often reported ‘worst winter in years’ has, as it does every single year, failed to materialise but I remain hopeful that it might yet make an appearance. So far we have awoken to one decent fall of snow but, living as we do on the top of a hill, what snow did fall was gone in a few hours whilst down in the valleys, where a lot of my favourite go-to sites are, had next to none. I had thought about heading over to Mid Wales for the day, to Gigrin Farm and the red kites as they did have some snow forecast but it just seemed like too much of a risk. Rhayader, the tiny Mid Wales village where Gigrin farm is located is quite elevated and as such does get some decent snowfall most years and it remains a fantastic location to try and capture images of these beautiful raptors in falling snow. This was captured the last time that I visited, several years ago, and it shows the moment that a wild red kite is beginning to turn in Mid-air as it begins one of its dives. The main issue in these situations is always to try and compose the kite where you want it in the frame. Much the same as how I’ve shot diving gannets in the past I tend to use the focus lock buttons that are to be found on the lens barrels of most large telephoto lenses. Tracking the kite I try to anticipate when the kite is about to dive and then, as quick as I can I recompose and hit the shutter. I know that I’ve cropped a little off the right hand side of this image, if only to exclude a little of the featureless white sky creeping into the top right corner, but the technique is worth exploring and there’s no better place for practicing reliable flight shots than Gigrin Farm. Please #followme at@andyparkinsonphoto to keep up-to-date with my images @andyparkinsonphoto@thephotosociety@natgeo@natgeocreative@thephotosociety#redkite#ethicsbeforeimages#phototips#educateandinspire#nature#naturelovers#wildlifephotography#wildlife
Photo by @rubensalgadoescudero on assignment for @natgeotraveller //
An 'oozie' (elephant handler) rides his elephant after having collected him early in the morning in the forest near Maing Hint Sal elephant logging camp. Elephants are left to roam freely from the early evening until the next morning. Myanmar has ended up with the largest population of captive Asian elephants in the world, the second largest population of Asian elephants overall. For decades, while the rest of the world modernized, Myanmar’s working elephants continued to live old-fashioned lives: As many as 5,000 of these animals still pull logs out of the forest just the way it was done a century ago'' #elephant#myanmar#burma#forest#natgeotraveller#photography
Photo By: @mclain.david / @thephotosociety //
A biker makes their way past Uluru, or Ayers Rock, in the Northern Territory’s of the Australian Outback. The 550 million year old sandstone monolith is sacred to Aboriginal Australians who have been continuously living in the area for over 40,000 years.
Photo by @GerdLudwig. This photograph was taken while teaching a workshop onboard a cruise ship during its voyage along the Norwegian coast from Trondheim to Tromsø, in conjunction with the German edition of National Geographic @ng_deutschland. Whereas most of my time was occupied with attending to the students, I managed to take a few images myself. This stunning piece of coastline caught my eye one cloudy morning.
Photo by @amivitale on assignment for @natgeo. A cub gets weighed at Bifengxia. In the wild, once they’ve grown to adulthood, female pandas may weigh up to 220 pounds and males up to 250 pounds, and they’ll range from four to six feet long.