A scalloped hammerhead cruises past a school of steel pompano on a rocky reef in the northern Galápagos Islands. Warmer sea temperatures can lead to higher parasite loads in sharks and also cause infections, visible as white patches on their flanks below the dorsal fin. These hammerheads are normally skittish but the need to visit cleaning stations serviced by various reef fish (they remove and feed on the shark's parasites) trumped any shyness. They completely ignored my presence and allowed me to record visual evidence of skin infections in dozens of hammerheads. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for the June 2017 story Galápagos: Life in the Balance. In collaboration with @darwinfound@saveourseasfoundation@pelayosalinas#galapagosnationalpark and @ecuadortravel#photooftheday#sharks#climatechange
The climate and oceanography of the Galapagos is incredibly complex and contrasting. The ocean surrounding the western Islands is so cold that warm water species like green sea turtles leave the sea to bask on beaches to heat up. At the same time the air temperatures are stifling hot and this "well insulated" sea lion has to venture into the water to cool off. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for the June 2017 story Galápagos: Life in Balance. In collaboration with @darwinfound#galapagosnationalpark@fonassociation#paulmangellfoundation@natgeocreative
During April/May 2017 I spent almost a month on remote Marion Island on assignment for @natgeo magazine. This South African Sub-Antarctic outpost is a true global seabird hotspot, with 28 breeding species. These Southern rockhoppers are one of four different penguins that nest on Marion Island. Photograph shot on expedition with the South African Antarctic Program and the SA Department of Environmental Affairs. #southafrica#seabird#marionisland
A Nazca booby stretches its wings after returning to Wolf Island after a feeding trip out in the Pacific Ocean. These seabirds often build nests in the near impenetrable thickets of Opuntia cacti. Shot on assignment for @NatGeo magazine. In collaboration with #galapagosnationalpark and @darwinfound@natgeocreative Follow the link below my bio for the full article Galápagos: Life in the Balance.
Galapagos giant tortoises sleep in a mud pool in Volcan Alcedo on Isabela island. A fumarole along the crater wall pipes hot steam and gasses hundreds of meters into the starry night sky. @darwinfound biologists Dr. Stephen Blake and Freddy Cabrera are studying how a changing climate is effecting tortoise populations. Nest temperatures during egg incubation determine sex, so predicted warmer air temperatures here could mean warmer sand and more female tortoises, skewing sex ratios. Changes in rainfall patterns can alter the timing of tortoise migrations and lead to flooding of tortoise nests. Shot in collaboration with #galapagosnationalpark and @darwinfound on assignment for @natgeo magazine. Check out my June 2017 @natgeo story Galápagos: Life in the Balance. See link in my bio. @natgeocreative
Marine Iguanas can dive to depths of over 30 feet (10m) and hold their breath for up to 30 minutes. These iconic reptiles are only able to spend a few hours a day in the ocean grazing algae for sustenance. In the western Galápagos the water is simply too cold for longer underwater excursions by a cold blooded reptile. The surgeonfish surrounding the iguana also graze on algae, but can feed all day long without freezing to death. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for the June 2017 story on climate change and the Galápagos Islands. In collaboration with @darwinfound#galapagosnationalpark#paulmangellfoundation@natgeocreative
The waters around the northern Galápagos Islands of Wolf and Darwin are one of few places in the world where mature adult whale sharks make regular seasonal appearances. This 6-8 foot silky shark is dwarfed by a giant 30 + foot female. Photographing theses giant sharks is difficult, the currents are ripping and they swim incredibly fast and show little curiosity for people. Shot on assignment @natgeo magazine for a story on climate change and the Galápagos Islands in the June 2017 issue. In collaboration with @darwinfound@saveourseasfoundation#paulmangellfoundation#galapagosnationalpark and @ecuadortravel
Marine iguanas are the world's only lizards that feed in the ocean grazing on seaweeds. This unique trait however comes at a price. The Pacific in the western reaches of the Galápagos Islands is cold and the iguanas can only feed for a few hours at a time. For the rest of day they embrace the sun baked volcanic rocky shores to regain as much heat as possible. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for the June 2017 story on climate change and the Galápagos Islands. In collaboration with @darwinfound@pelayosalinas#paulmangellfoundation@ecuadortravel#galapagosnationalpark
In the Galápagos some groups of sea lions have learned how to hunt yellowfin tuna. In small bands they intercept the schools and drive them into convoluted dead end bays. Here the sea lions trap them in crevices or push them onto rocky shores where they dispatch the fish with a bite to the head. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine in 2016. I believe this is the first time that this behavior has been photographed. Check out the June 2017 issue of @natgeo magazine for my story on Galápagos and climate change. In collaboration with @darwinfound#galapagosnationalpark@fonassociation@pelayosalinas#galapagosislands#allyouneedisecuador
A whale shark feeds near the surface off the coast of Djibouti in the Gulf of Tadjoura. The whale shark carries the title as the largest shark (and fish) in the sea. However, we still know very little about them. These gentle ocean giants, listed as Endangered by the IUCN, are becoming more and more popular with tourists. In Djibouti, whale shark aggregations consist mostly of young males and have been monitored by scientists for over a decade. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for a story on the Seas of Arabia in March 2012.
Waved albatrosses appear as mirror images of one another on Española in the Galápagos—a World Heritage Site since 1979. In a choreographed mating ritual, these goose-sized sea birds use their beaks to repeatedly gape, point and fence. Photographing critically endangered animals like the waved albatross is both a privilege and a burden. As a photographer, how can I best capture the beauty and wonder of an animal in a way that takes people’s breath away? How can I create images that foster awareness and appreciation, which ultimately leads to conservation action?
A humpback whale on the verge of a dive in Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest. The attached barnacles create an ephemeral waterfall from the whale’s fluke. These tiny freeloaders can collectively add around 1,000 extra pounds to the whales. However, for these 45-ton giants, it’s no big deal. The spot along British Columbia’s “nook & cranny” coast is a magnet for humpback whales, fin whales and orcas. First Nations peoples and other conservation organizations have negotiated with the government for decades to conserve this special place. While 15% of the Great Bear Rainforest forest is sustainably managed for logging, the remaining 85% is protected, giving everything from humpbacks to barnacles safe harbor. @pacificwild#GreatBearRainforest#Canada#BritishColumbia#whales
A floating mass of tens of thousands of squid eggs pushed by the current into a lagoon of Bassas da India. This tiny French atoll, with a landmass smaller than The Mall in Washington DC, is halfway between Mozambique and Madagascar. In a place that has become a ship graveyard, I found it incredible to come across such a fragile, yet intact mobile incubator. #squid
A female Steller sea lion speaks her mind to a bull. Stellers or northern sea lions are the largest species of sea lion. Males are roughly three times the size of females, weighing in at around 544 kg (1,200 lb). This image was shot in the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia. The 21 million acre hub of biodiversity is part of the last remaining coastal temperate rainforest on Earth.
Marine Iguanas can dive to depths of 30 feet (10m) and hold their breath for up to 30 minutes. These iconic reptiles are only able to spend a few hours a day in the ocean grazing algae for sustenance. In the Galápagos the water is simply too cold for longer underwater excursions by a cold blooded reptile. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for a forthcoming story on climate change and the Galápagos Islands. In collaboration with @darwinfound#galapagosnationalpark#allyouneedisecuador
A rocky pinnacle punctures the North Pacific Ocean just offshore from Triangle Island. The largest of the Scott Island group, it is situated 39 miles off the tip of Canada's Vancouver Island. Triangle hosts critically important populations of seabirds and sea lions and has been designated the centerpiece of the proposed Scott Island Marine Protected Area. Photograph shot in collaboration with @pacificwild a key conservation role player in the fight to keep British Columbia's oceans healthy. Follow @pacificwild to find out how YOU can help.
A green turtle rests underwater in the shadow of a mangrove tree. Convoluted bays and inlets penetrate deep into the harsh lava landscape of some of the most westerly Galápagos Islands. Many of these hidden realms are sanctuaries for sea turtles which probably seek them out due to the water being warmer than the adjacent ocean. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for a forthcoming story on Climate Change and the Galápagos Islands. In collaboration with @darwinfound#galapagosnationalpark@pelayosalinas and @ecuadortravel#allyouneedisecuador
Charles Darwin called marine iguanas 'Imps of Darkness' and was not a fan. He also referred to them 'disgusting and clumsy' lizards. I think he was wrong and I became completely smitten with these underwater algae munching Godzilla impersonators. They quickly became my favorite underwater photo subject. Dependent on cold water marine algae, increases in sea temperature have detrimental effects on marine iguana populations. If temperatures continuo to warm these Galapagos icons could become the first to disappear. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for a forthcoming story on Climate Change and the Galápagos Islands. In collaboration with @darwinfound#galapagosnationalpark@pelayosalinas and @ecuadortravel#allyouneedisecuador#conservation#climatechange#ocean
A shiver of scalloped hammerhead sharks swims off Darwin Island in the Galápagos. They are looking for a cleaning station along this rocky ridge where reef fish pick parasites and remove diseased skin (see white patches in this photograph) from these sharks. @saveourseasfoundation funded shark scientist Dr. Pelayo Salinas studies how water temperatures effect Galapagos shark populations and has observed that after prolonged hot periods skin infections and parasite loads seem more prominent. On our warming planet this could result in further pressures on these endangered sharks. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for a forthcoming story on Climate Change and the Galápagos Islands. In collaboration with @darwinfound#galapagosnationalpark and @ecuadortravel#allyouneedisecuador To gain further insights into the sharks of Galapagos please follow marine scientist @pelayosalinas
A large green turtle and a marine iguana are carried along the rocky reef by a strong submarine current. Both species feed on algae, but while the turtle can forage all day long, the iguana's seaweed feast is time limited. Despite being spread across the equator, the ocean off the Galápagos Islands can be incredibly cold. Marine iguanas only last an hour or two in the before they have to return to land to rewarm themselves. If they stay in the ocean too long they become sluggish and risk death. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for a forthcoming story on Climate Change and the Galápagos Islands. In collaboration with @darwinfound#galapagosnationalpark@pelayosalinas and @ecuadortravel Please follow them for more images and information about the Galápagos Islands. #allyouneedisecuador
My photograph of a pod of pelagic dolphins traversing an offshore gas field is one of the most poignant climate change images I have taken. The juxtaposition of marine biodiversity and industry on the high seas encapsulates the dangers of climate change on our marine ecosystems.
While natural gas is cleaner burning than coal, predicted CO2 emissions will still remain too high to prevent ocean acidification, sea level rise, disruption of upwelling currents and generally warmer seawater temperatures. All of which can negatively impact on the health and ecology of ocean wildlife.
Only by embracing renewable energy sources (solar, wind, tides, waves, geothermal) will we be able to ensure that our oceans remain healthy and thus in turn continue to sustain humanity on our blue planet.
For the 10th anniversary of Earth Hour, I’m joining the #MakeClimateMatter online community. Earth Hour is the world’s biggest movement for action on climate change. Sign up to take part on 25th March at 8.30pm at wwf.org.uk/earthhour
Humpback whales bubble-net feed on herring around Gill Island in Canada's Great Bear Rainforest. Situated deep in the heart of Gitga'at First Nations territory, this marine realm is one of the most critical whale habitats in North America. #canada#whales#greatbearrainforest#cetacealab@pacificwild
African Black Oystercatchers breed during the height of South Africa’s summer. They lay their eggs in a shallow scrape in the sand or on bare rocks, making them vulnerable to human disturbance. A 4x4 off-road beach-driving ban in 2002 has alleviated much of the stress on the oystercatcher populations. The waiting game for this photograph lasted hours until the tide was just right. This pair arrived to feed on the wave washed rocks just as I was on the verge of giving up. Malgas Island, West Coast National Park, South Africa. #wowsouthafrica
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There are few places on this planet where dramatic waterfalls pour directly into the ocean. Waterfall Bluff on the Wild Coast of South Africa is one of them. During the rainy season strands of rivers on the coastal platform braid together and race towards the Indian Ocean. Whether you hike to the base of the falls or opt for an aerial experience, this natural wonder is a reminder of the importance of protected areas. Waterfall Bluff, Wild Coast, Eastern Cape, South Africa. #wowsouthafrica
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Every winter southern right whales arrive along the South African coast to mate and give birth. The De Hoop Marine Reserve is the most important southern right whale sanctuary in Africa and is a real highlight to visit. Up to 350 whales have been known to frequent this protected area at any one time. To get this shot I joined nature conservation officials in a small helicopter to survey marine wildlife from the air. De Hoop Marine Protected Area, Western Cape, South Africa #wowsouthafrica
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Photograph by @thomaspeschak A curious African Penguin inspects my camera as I lie as motionless as possible near the summit of Mercury Island. This isolated outpost off Namibia's desert coast is a hotspot for seabirds and the centerpiece of the Namib Islands Marine Protected Area. @natgeo@natgeocreative@thomaspeschak
Twenty five miles offshore from South Africa's Cape Point lies the Canyon, a deep water feature that reliable draws tuna, sharks and seabirds. Long-finned Pilot whales are a rarer sight and I have only encountered them there twice in 15 years. The seabed around the canyon is probably rich in squid, which makes up more 80% of these whale's diet. Despite being called whales, they are actually one of the largest members of the dolphin family. We don't know much about this pelagic deep water habitat and protective measures are minimal. However in the face of the ever increasing global footprint of offshore mining we need to remedy these marine conservation deficits urgently. @natgeo@natgeocreative
A dusky shark punches through a baitball of sardines, hoping that some fish break rank and become easier to catch. This photograph is for fellow shark conservationist and photographer Rob Stewart @teamsharkwater who is still missing at sea after a deep dive in the Florida Keys searching for critically endangered sawfish. Anybody with access to boats, helicopters, airplanes in the Keys or who wants to help fund the search efforts should follow the link below my bio.
SHARK NIGHT These young Galapagos sharks were already super abundant during the day, but I had a hunch they would be even more prolific after dark. Sliding into the inky depths of Bassas da India's lagoon in the middle of the night was a surreal experience. A cinematic movie light, hung off a long aluminum pole (formerly the handle of a swimming pool strainer) and now imaginatively rigged to a sputtering generator on our small rubber boat, provided the only illumination. For hours I photographed countless of these sharks waltz in and out of the light. To fit the Instagram format this picture shows two individual vertical frames, shot minutes apart, side by side. Coverage from my @natgeo magazine story A Tale of Two Atoll's. #taaf#mozambiquechannel#sharks@thephotosociety@natgeocreative
Back at home, hanging with Hugo, Blue, Luna and Sunnye. Some years I am away on assignment shooting for more than 250 days, so time at my studio in a small mountain village, a few hours outside of Cape Town is always precious. @natgeo@natgeocreative@thephotosociety
This gigantic constantly shape shifting school of jacks/trevally inhabits the rich waters of Cabo Pulmo Marine Reserve. The dorsal fins of the uppermost fish break the oceans surface while deepest fish scrape their bellies on the sandy seabed 20 m below. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for a forthcoming story on Baja California Marine Reserves. In partnership with @maresmexicanos#mexico#cabopulmo#baja#conservation@thephotosociety@natgeocreative
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