Co-founder of @Sea_Legacy and contributing photographer to National Geographic.
Ha'a Keaulana runs across the ocean floor with a 50-pound boulder in her arms while towing three solid Hawaiians in training to survive the massive surf waves of winter. She learned her amazing skills from her dad, legendary waterman, Brian Keaulana and her Grandpa, Buffalo. I did everything in my ability as a photographer to do justice to both their culture, and its connection to the sea. #MahaloNuiLoa my friends from #Makaha.
Ha'a Keaulana and Maili Makana dive under a wave near their hometown of #Makaha. They visit these waters almost every day to refresh both body and spirit, like the generations before them. It's not about the money, or the brands or surfboards, it's just an obsession — as if salt water ran through their veins. It was an honour to be welcomed into Hawaiian culture while working for @natgeo. As a polar specialist, it put me way out of my comfort zone. It was also nothing but fun and a story I'm proud to have covered.
Here is the little plane that Brian Knutsen and I flew around in which allowed me to capture the aerial images of narwhals in the previous post. Brian is on the sat phone getting instructions to install our new Rotax engine after the original engine failed catastrophically due to a carburetor icing incident. Not only is Brian my best buddy but he is an ace pilot and a gifted mechanic. My career has been made on the backs of friends, family, guides, explorers and just amazing people in general. I can never say thank you enough!!! I love you all. I ended up crashing and destroying this airplane when the engine quit while taking off a few months after this photo was taken. I was only mildly hurt. I bought another plane and crashed that one too. But, with no scars and some unique images, I would say the experiment was a success. Wait until you see the new airplane I am getting. So much #gratitude for this journey thus far.
When you look at narwhals while standing on the surface of the sea ice, you can barely see them as their tusks rarely break the surface. You can just make out the top of their backs as they catch a breath of air. However, when we took off in my little ultralight airplane and flew out over Lancaster Sound, we were treated to such incredible views of these magnificent creatures. How many of you knew that narwhals even exist? How many of you have a deep fascination with narwhals? Sadly, this image too is not in my book Born to Ice but I do love the simplicity of the water, their body position and the rings of water rippling from their heads. #borntoice#nature#naturelovers#cuttingroomfloor#gratitude
I remember this moment like it was yesterday. These unicorns of the Arctic rose from the sea, pointing their ivory tusks skyward as they came up for a breath. I am so in awe off these little whales but at the end of the day I had better images that bumped this moment from “Born to Ice”. I will continue to post images that never made the cut. The link in my bio shows some of the images that made the final selection in my fine art collection. With Brian Knutsen and @jedweingarten#borntoice#nature#naturelovers#book#fineart#love#beauty
My new fine art book, “Born to Ice” just arrived. One of the hardest parts about doing a book like this is seeing the hundreds of images that hit the cutting room floor. Just like this one. This book easily could have been about polar bears but I wanted it to cover both ends of the Earth emphasizing the interconnectedness of all species within their ecosystems. The team at TeNeues did a beautiful job of putting the book together. After being a journalist for over twenty years, it has been incredibly rewarding to go back through 2 million images and find my favorite fine art images. This one did not make the cut but it was close. I am very proud that @leonardodicaprio took the time to write the foreword. To see more images from the book, please go to the link in my bio. #nothepictureoftheday#gratitude#borntoice#nature#naturelover
@cristinamittermeier dives under a large crashing wave in #Makaha, Oahu, Hawaii. The Hawaiians of Makaha took us under their wing and taught us about their deep connection to the sea. We were debutants and we found ourselves in situations that we would never have thought possible prior to their guidance. Brian Keaulana was teaching us about three and four wave hold downs just prior to this big surf day. We were taught to stay near the bottom, avoiding the foamy white water until we could see solid water before swimming to the surface. #MahaloNuiLoa my friends from #Makaha. #gratitude#hawaii#freediving#surf#surfing#gratitude#aloha
That endless supply of gear needed while on assignment. Here, I am running my inflatable boat and literally a ton of gear up a river in the the Yukon Territory in search of denning wolves. Fortunately, we found lynx, wolves, moose, caribou, grizzly bears and other charismatic wildlife that are so crucial to bringing balance to this fragile ecosystem. Photograph by @matherpeter // #thejourneyneverends#life#love#beauty#yukon#adventure#explore#follow#tbt
On #InternationalYouthDay, I’d like to share an old photo of my youth. That is me at age 24 working as a biologist in Canada’s Northwest Territories holding a lynx. I just put a radio on this gorgeous animal so that we could release it back to the wild, track its movements and understand its home range size. I love science, and it has taught me a lot about the foundations of nature, how to identify the changes in numerous ecosystems, and animal behavior. I realized, however, that in order to make people care about nature, I needed to create an emotional connection through powerful visual storytelling. I am thankful that my upbringing, education, and passions led me to this realization, and I have never looked back ever since.
Sailfish are built for speed. Their long bills and aerodynamic bodies cut through water and reach speeds that are among the fastest in the ocean. Sadly, the vast majority of sailfish are caught by unsustainable fisheries. Driftnets and longlines are the major gear types used around the world to catch these billfish and devastatingly produce the highest by-catch rates of any fishing practices. You can help protect marine life like sailfish, by always asking questions and choosing seafood that’s fished or farmed in ways that have minimal impact on the environment. #SustainableFisheries week with @Sea_Legacy.
Photo by @jimmy_chin // Who are your heroes in life? Mine are those who set a bar so high in their respective pursuits that their accomplishments and milestones are completely unfathomable. Head spinning and incomprehensible. For me there is an athlete out there who makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up whenever I think of him. I am truly in awe. And, he is a humble and kind warrior in his pursuits. @alexhonnold is alone when he is up on a 3000 foot rock face. No rope, no metal devices except for his own nerves of steel. Equally impressive is my friend @jimmy_chin who hauls heavy camera gear up the face to film his friend. I have not been this excited to watch a film in a long time.Two exceptional human beings who I admire deeply. E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, the directors of “MERU,” comes FREE SOLO, a stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world’s most famous rock ... the 3,200-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park … without a rope. Celebrated as one of the greatest athletic feats of any kind, Honnold’s climb set the ultimate standard: perfection or death. Succeeding in this challenge places his story in the annals of human achievement.