Behold the immensity before you, how its untrammeled diversity draws you to the horizon. Rejoice because you cannot embrace so much beauty in just one life. See yourself in the eyes of whomever mirrors your reflection.
Photograph by @andyparkinsonphoto // Mountain hare close up – It’s fair to say that pretty much one of the very first rules in wildlife photography is to try and get the subjects eye sharp. Well, it must also be said then that in this image I have failed spectacularly on rule one because this mountain hares eyes are definitely not sharp, not even close! I could list all of the reasons why I failed, incompetence, equipment etc but the truth is that, even with this fundamental flaw there is still something about this image which I like. The hare kind of looks like its half awake and whilst it’s actually about to yawn it does have that slight look of a sneeze about to happen, where you get yourself all ready for a nice satisfying sneeze and then it disappointingly disappears! I guess for me its saving grace is that the focus appears to have locked on to the open mouth, the only slight punctuation of colour of the pre-yawn, so whilst the eyes are soft, due largely in part to the massive focal length and resulting limited depth of field it still has enough character about it to work. I suppose then that this image serves as a timely reminder not to delete images too quickly out in the field and instead to wait until you get them home and on to a big screen. Only then can the real potential qualities of the image be seen, along with its flaws and only then can you make an informed decision as to whether to keep it or delete it. I now only have very limited availability for my mountain hare workshops coming up this January/February and so if experiencing these animals first hand, up close and hopefully in the snow is something in which you’d be interested then please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for those dates that are still available. Alternatively of course you can still #followme at @andyparkinsonphoto for more photo tips @andyparkinsonphoto@natgeo@thephotosociety#mountainhare#andysphototours#scotland#cairngorms#cairngormsnationalpark#ethicsbeforeimages#educateandinspire#nature#naturelovers#wildlifephotography#tigertime#phototips#wild_animalsgram#animalonearth#wildlifeaddicts_#animal_beauty#nature_brilliance#nationa
Southern River Otter, Chiloe Island, Chile – Photo by Kevin Schafer – @schaferpho@natgeo // This is one of the most endangered otters on the planet, known only in a few remote streams in southern Chile. I recently spent a week searching for them and during that time had little more than a handful of fleeting glimpses. Happy to have those, of course, but as always, time is the most important tool in a wildlife photographer’s toolkit.. All the lenses and all the latest equipment are really no substitute for time: time enough to learn an animal’s habits, time enough to get a variety of lighting and weather, time enough to witness and capture unusual behavior. And yes, time enough to get lucky. In this case, I was lucky to get a few portraits (and even fewer in focus). Simply said, doing a full story on this rare species would take months. #endangeredspecies#chiloe#wildotters
Perhaps the most aptly named geographic landmark in the world, the Great Smoky Mountains span between the borders of North Carolina and Tennessee. In 1930, Great Smoky Mountains National Park became one of the largest protected areas of the eastern United States. It encompasses 814 square miles of lush landscapes (with more tree species than in all of northern Europe), abundant wildlife (65 mammal and 230 bird species), and spectacular scenic beauty. The mist of water droplets from low-level clouds is a significant source of water, making the Great Smoky Mountains the area with the highest amount of rainfall in the Southeastern US, approximately 60 inches (150 centimeters) annually. Unfortunately today, the Great Smokies’ signature blue fog is often being replaced by a toxic haze produced by ozone pollution and automobile emissions. Follow me at @gerdludwig to see additional images of the Smokies that I recently posted.
Photo by @rubensalgadoescudero // 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.
The Trump administration announced this week that it would lift a ban imposed by the Obama administration on importing elephant heads, feet and other body parts severed as trophies after the animals are shot for sport in Zimbabwe. A few weeks ago the administration said it would end a similar ban on imports from Zambia. Lifting this ban could endanger gains made by governments and environmental groups to protect elephants from illegal trade in ivory and other body parts.
Photo by @PaulNicklen / / Based on my years as a biologist, I estimated this bear in Svalbard, Norway to be over 800 pounds. Did you know that a polar bear's stomach can hold an estimated 20% of its body weight? In this case, that would have been 160 pounds of seal meat and blubber. A polar bear generally eats this much only when its energy demands are high. A bear can assimilate 84% of the protein and 97% of the fat it eats. •
Photo by @daviddoubilet An African elephant enjoys the cool waters of Botswana's Okavango Delta. I was surprised when the elephant began to push its tusk in and out of the sandy bottom polishing them until they gleamed. One of our most memorable moments on @natgeo assignment happened in Botswana as we documented the hidden depths of the delta. It was the dry season and wildlife was struggling, walking miles between water and their food source. Many animals died. We watched a group of elephants slowly approach and form a circle around a dead elephant. The matriarch picked up a bone and passed it to the next elephant until all had held it and the last one gently put it back where it came from. We had witnessed a "mourning circle". The experience has stayed with me since. Elephants are extremely intelligent, fiercely dependent on family structure to survive, they experience joy and grief on our level and they are endangered, their numbers plunging uncontrollably throughout Africa from poaching. The recent US Administration's proposal to support trophy hunting in a critically unstable Zimbabwe collides tragically with urgent conservation efforts to keep these magnificent creatures on this planet. // from @natgeo assignment The Miracle Delta. // with @the_explorers_club@thephotosociety@natgeocreative // #elephant#africa#beloved#endangeredspecies#Zimbabwe#Botswana for #moreocean and storytelling follow @DavidDoubilet
Photo by @migeophoto // Journal // May 2015 // The line for the David is long. Before we found it, my boyfriend (at the time) and I got into an argument because I was hangry. I spent most of the time in line mad at myself for being mad. After an hour, a large school group decided to cut right in front of us. The museum was closing soon and we feared we wouldn't get in. We unionized with the other international travelers around us and marched to security. This brought us back to center. We cut the school group. Upon entering, my first thought was: He lives up to the hype. Like The Grand Canyon, Paris, and now, this statue. I was in awe. He is a Universal lover. Wanted by all, towering out of reach in suspended animation. Those hands, that vein. I see him stepping off the platform. We circled him twenty times, like the shot of a dramatic Hollywood kiss. "What's your favorite angle?" I asked. We walked directly behind him. I laughed. "Yeah, that is a great butt." "What's yours?" We circled back around. "This one," I said, and took this photograph. // #david#statueofdavid#michelangelo#renaissancesculpture
Photo by Stephanie Sinclair @stephsinclairpix@tooyoungtowed // Sisters Yagana, 21, Yakaka, 19 and Falimata, 14, were all abducted and held captive by Boko Haram until their escape. “After invading Bama, the Boko Haram insurgents came to my house, one of them saw me and said, ‘I want to marry you,’” Yakaka told me a year ago. "I said, ‘My parents will not give me to you. Then he said, ‘O.K., that is easy. Let me kill them, so that you will now be the one to decide.’ We got married in the Sambisa forest. Three months later, my husband was killed. I was pregnant by that point.” The kidnapping of young girls by Boko Haram, was not uncommon in northern Nigeria, yet it was only when the group abducted 276 Chibok schoolgirls from their dormitory in 2014 that the world took notice. With the mantra #BringBackOurGirls, the issue exploded on social media. But with little news from the remote region, the public’s interest waned. Nearly four years later it’s now becoming apparent that the Chibok abductions were just one instance of a profoundly disturbing tactic: child marriage used as a weapon of war -- a practice that has lead to the kidnapping of thousands of girls in the region.
FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY you can purchase an 8.5x11 signed print of this image by visiting www.TOOYOUNGTOWED.ORG/PRINTSALE. @tooyoungtowed is currently supports about 75 scholarships for vulnerable girls in the villages where our images are made - including the tuition for all of the girls featured in this story. We also host girl empowerment photography workshops that help vulnerable girls gain the skills to become budding photojournalists, learn tools to manage their trauma and express themselves, advocate for the rights of girls’ and become mentors to subsequent workshop participants.
Photo by @PaulNicklen / / What is your happy place? For me, it’s being surrounded by top predators in the ocean. I love them for their beauty, intelligence and ability to survive, but more importantly, I love to look into their eyes and know I have been put on this Earth to give them a voice. If we can protect sharks then we can protect entire ecosystems and, in turn, we protect the lungs of the planet that keeps us alive. Here, silky sharks interact with us after a long dive in Cuba's Gardens of the Queen #turningthetide with @sea_legacy With @andy_mann@cristinamittermeier@sam_kretch@aluciaproductions@mdalio and @Iankellett_story
Photo by @migeophoto // The Azores are a string of small volcanic islands in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. They resemble Hawaii, but they are alive in a witch's brew of weather. Clouds drop in and fly out, commuting across the ocean at high speeds. Wind and rain pop up out of nowhere, and the lush landscape speaks of boundless hydration. Their economy has shifted and evolved from pineapples, to cows, to tourism. With the recent influx of visitors, locals have begun to question how to support the expansion. For Cristina, it is a welcome but worrisome venture. “It’s a little bit scary. I hope we follow the path of nature and sustainable, not mass, tourism. Nature is the most precious thing the islanders have.” Using local wood and other materials, she has crafted beautiful interiors for three small cottages she rents to travelers. Looking out the windows, all you see is a field of wildflowers. // #azores#sustainabletourism#sustainableliving#portugal#azoresislands
Photo by @JodiCobbPhoto // Please join me at the @Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC on November 13 for a retrospective talk about my life and work for @NatGeo over three decades. It’s a journey through 65 countries, lifting a curtain on hidden worlds, showing the realities behind the masks, veils and curtains of cultures worldwide: the lonely lives of Japanese Geisha behind those perfect masks , the women in Africa and China who were scarred and mutilated in the name of beauty, and the horrific and tragic world of human trafficking worldwide.
Shooting the “Enigma of Beauty” story I gained insights into how and why we change ourselves physically to attain the status and power of beauty. I photographed the bound feet of Chinese women, the scarification and lip plates in Africa, the neck rings of the Paudang tribe in Thailand, and American girls still in diapers being prepared for beauty contests.
My work also took me into the ugly and clandestine world of human trafficking, where millions of people are exploited daily: bought and sold against their will, held captive, brutalized and exploited for profit. I wanted to photograph the victims without re-victimizing them, and also show the saviors, the people running shelters and aid organizations. But I needed to portray the perpetrators. It’s hard to look evil in the eye and know that your subject would literally sell you into slavery, given the chance. But I kept in mind why I became a journalist and photographer in the first place: to change the world, even a little, by shining a light into some of its darker corners.
Through my life in photography I’ve seen so much beauty in this world, and also the damage done by the darker instincts of humankind. I’ve also witnessed the incredible power of photographs. They stop the world. They freeze the frame and command you to look—and think. They make abstract issues real, have faces and hearts. They can change your minds and your actions. They can make YOU change the world. And I hope you will!
Planting Rice, Madagascar – Photo by Kevin Schafer – @schaferpho@natgeo // Although I am primarily a wildlife photographer, I cannot resist the human faces I often encounter during my work around the world. On this day, driving along a rough country road in Madagascar, I came upon a family planting rice in a muddy ditch alongside the road. Rice is such an integral part of the Malagasy diet that it is grown virtually anywhere there is available water. Splashed with mud, and working hard, this youngster took a moment to generously give me the gift of a warm, spontaneous smile. It was one of the nicest moments of that entire expedition, for which I will always be grateful. #malagasy#peopleofmadagascar#facesofinstagram
Photograph by @andyparkinsonphoto // Brown hare with a walking stick - During the winter of 2011-2012 we had an unusually harsh winter in Derbyshire which carpeted the ground with snow for weeks on end, even down to the lowest altitudes. During this prolonged cold snap I spent six weeks, working every day, with these brown hares as I knew that it was an opportunity that, with our warming climate and generally wetter winters, might never present itself again. The blizzard that I and the hares found ourselves in that afternoon was ferocious, the biting wind gusting up to 65mph and my face was been relentlessly whipped by the icy, windblown snow. Unsurprisingly my first instinct was to seek shelter and I assumed correctly that this would also be the natural instinct of the hares. A nearby woodland seemed the logical place in whose margins to shelter and so I tucked myself away, concealed among the spindrift. It only felt like a matter of moments before distant shapes started to appear out of the gloom as it appeared that the hares, en masse, were starting to head for the same protection. This particular hare, upon reaching the shelter of the wooded margins decided to stop and have a wash, right in front of where I lay. Afterwards, as it shook the snow from its paws I fired a burst of frames, catching one image where the hare looks like it is waving, and this one where it looks like its leaning on a walking stick. There was only one stick protruding from the snow anywhere near this hare and by extremely good fortune it ended up right under its paw, an image that began with hard work and a bit of logic but one that would never have come to fruition without good, old-fashioned luck. Because of the walking stick and the hares slightly huddled, snow covered appearance this image is known affectionately as ‘old man hare’. Please #followme at @andyparkinsonphoto to keep up-to-date with my images and thank you for all of your support so far @natgeo@thephotosociety@andyparkinsonphoto#brownhare#derbyshire#itsallabouttheluck#luck#winter#UK#nature#naturelovers#wildlife#wildlifephotography#wild_animalsgram#animalonearth#wildlifeaddicts_#animal_
Photo by @jimmy_chin @kalenthorien scoping the wild Athabasca Glacier, one of the toes of the Columbia Icefield. One of the more popular glaciers in North America, the Athabasca is receding at a rate of 5 meters per year.
Photograph by @paulnicklen // It is rare that I have to desaturate a sky so I don’t get accused of over-cranking the colors. As I was photographing half and half splits in the Gardens of the Queen, Cuba, the guides started calling us back to the boat as a huge thunderhead was beginning to sweep over us. I quickly grabbed this shot and made my way back to the boat in time to be heavily pelted by hail pellets. Lighting flashed all around us and it was a marvelous moment in nature. #followme on @paulnicklen to see more.
Photo by @migeophoto // Walking by the port, I saw this dog swimming in circles and then diving down to the inlet floor. After snapping a few photos, his owner walked up to me and told this surprising story: Bodie is a border collie that has lived on a sailboat for over a year. His owners decided to travel the world, but they knew Bodie would need constant exercise during the trip. Border collies are extremely active and, instead of playing fetch and running, they taught him to dive for a small piece of rope. At that point, I noticed the hint of yellow in the darkness below and understood why Bodie looked a little frustrated. “This area is deeper than I thought,” his owner said. // #azores#azoresislands#portugal#waterdog#bordercollie#worldtraveler#sailing
Photo by @TimLaman. Anna’s Humminbird visiting flowers of Hesperaloe. How to get a shot like this? Find the right flower, the right light, the right background, and wait for the hummingbird to come back… then she’ll likely be in the right spot for a small fraction of a second so don’t miss it. It takes scouting and time and usually coming back to the same spot over a few days, but to me, a shot of a bird in the wild with natural light is what I find most satisfying. #TL_WildlifePhotoTips. Shot at Sunnylands as part of a project I’m working on this year over multiple visits documenting the bird life of this sanctuary in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Learn more about @Sunnylands and how you can visit at their website www.sunnylands.org. #sunnylands#annenberg#birdsofsunnylands#birds#coachellavalley#palmsprings#ranchomirage#desert