Frans Lanting@franslanting

National Geographic Photographer || Author || Speaker || Creator of images, stories and events to inspire wonder and concern about our living planet.

305 posts 631,694 followers 219 following

Video by @ChristineEckstrom and @FransLanting Protein is hard to come by in the forest where chimps live in Senegal, and one important source for them is termites, which are plentiful here. To catch these nutritious insects, they go fishing in termite mounds, using a plant stem as a tool. They insert the stem and angry termites cling to it with their jaws. It’s a clever way to get them out, but it takes precision to do it right. Chimps learn this skill when they're young—and you can see in this video how 1-year-old Fanta is trying. We showed you in a previous post what happened when Fanta discovered water. Here, she watches how adults catch termites and tries to mimic them. She is not very good at it yet, but practice will make perfect. Follow me @FransLanting for more stories about chimps and other inhabitants of wild Africa.

@natgeocreative @thephotosociety @janegoodallinst #Chimps #Rootsandshoots #Family #Learning # Wonder


This is Mike, a young male chimp we got to know in the Fongoli region of southeast Senegal. We worked with him and his family for six weeks, following them on foot through their forest. There are less than 200 chimps left in Senegal and their future hangs in the balance, just like it does for all chimps in Africa. Habitat loss and the bushmeat trade are the major threats to their survival. As we gather together with family during this holiday season, let’s embrace our next of kin on the great tree of life. We can all help chimps survive by supporting the individuals and the organizations that protect them and the forests they depend on. Check the links below for the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots, and Jill Pruetz’s Neighbor Ape project in Senegal, which we support through online. Follow me @FransLanting for more images and stories from our family tree. @ChristineEckstrom @janegoodallinst @rootsandshoots @world_wildlife @conservationorg @leonardodicaprio @racingextinction @WNF #chimps #Africa #Senegal #wildlife #conservation


Video by @ChristineEckstrom and @FransLanting When the female chimp we knew as Farafa led her young infant, Fanta, to a secret waterhole, we were treated to a display of play that made us wonder about the nature of chimps —and our connection to them. Fanta was just one year old and had never experienced a water hole before. While her mother watched she explored the water with a leaf, but then she discovered her own reflection and began to interact with it, making funny faces and ultimately kissing herself, like a child might do in front of a mirror. When we showed this video to Jane Goodall she was as enchanted by this display as we were. Field work with chimps is hard, but glimmers of insight into our fundamental kinship make it all worthwhile. We do not think there is much that separates us from chimps—what do you think?
@natgeocreative @thephotosociety #chimps #Jane #Janegoodallinstitute #Rootsandshoots #family #Play #Wonder #Gratitude


Usually we are behind the camera, but here is a rare look at both of us. When I met @ChristineEckstrom, she was a staff writer at @NatGeo Books and I was a freelance photographer for @NatGeo Magazine, but ever since we joined forces in life and work, we have combined our skills—and expanded them. While I create photographs, Chris covers our subjects on video, so we can tell our stories using multiple media together. Our gear keeps evolving, but our mission has remained the same throughout the years: We want to share the wonders of our living planet at a time when its future is imperiled—and make a difference where we can. We’ve dedicated our lives to that. And we hope you can help us spread the message.

Sometimes our fieldwork involves lots of support, but when we tracked chimps in Senegal, we had to be minimalist. The chimps were shy and did not tolerate strangers besides the two of us, researcher Jill Pruetz—whose work was crucial to ours—and two local assistants, Mboule and Johnny Kante, who helped us greatly with tracking and carrying the heavy loads of gear we needed for long days in the forest from dawn till dusk. In this image we’re smiling for the camera, but if you look closely you’ll see our clothes are drenched in sweat. It takes teamwork to do what we do. You can catch a glimpse of an exhausted Johnny in one of our recently posted video clips. Mboule was a wonderful man and chief of the nearby village of Fongoli, who passed away recently. We miss him! Please stay tuned for more images and stories from wild Africa. @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Africa #Gratitude #Teamwork #Wildlifephotography #Creativity


Video by @ChristineEckstrom with @FransLanting Male chimpanzees are competitive and often fight for dominance, but in the savanna woodlands of southern Senegal, where we tracked one group of chimps for 6 weeks, we found a secret waterhole recently filled with rain. In the brutal summer heat it provided precious relief and squabbles were suspended for a temporary truce. We hid our cameras under rocks at the edge of the waterhole and watched from a distance to give the chimps privacy. This amazing behavior had never been captured before and it shows that even male chimps can get along when they want to. Stay tuned for more unique chimp behavior. Images and stories from this project are also featured in our new book “Into Africa.” Check the link in our Instagram bio to learn more.
@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #ape #chimp #wildlife #wildlifephotography #assignment #challenge #wild #waterhole #men #competition #cooperation #peace


Video by @ChristineEckstrom with @FransLanting. Working with chimpanzees in the wild is tough. We tracked one group of chimps in Senegal for six weeks from dawn to dusk with researcher Jill Pruetz on assignment for National Geographic. It was hot and humid, we carried heavy packs, and the chimps moved fast and far. In the end I had lost nearly 20 pounds of body weight, but we had gained precious insights about the intimate lives of our nearest relatives on the great tree of life. In this video you’ll get an idea of the challenges. In next posts we’ll follow up with other videos that show some of the unique behavior we were able to capture. Stay tuned! Images and stories from this project are also featured in our new book “Into Africa.”
@natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #ape #chimp #wildlife #wildlifephotography #assignment #challenge #wild


Photo by @FransLanting If this photo was made at Loch Ness it might create a sensation. But instead of a dinosaur it shows an elephant crossing the Chobe River between Botswana and Namibia with only the tip of its trunk visible above water. This boundary area is a crucial corridor for multitudes of elephants migrating between these two countries across fertile river floodplains and into their dry hinterlands. More than 100,000 elephants congregate in a region that may be the last best place for elephants in Africa. This image is featured in our new book “Into Africa," which has just been released. Follow me @FransLanting for more images and stories of wild Africa and to learn about the book.

@natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety @leonardodicaprio @savetheelephants #Africa #Elephants #Botswana #Namibia #Conservation #Wild #Hope


Photo by @FransLanting Illuminated by my torch, the whirling flight patterns of moths and other insects trace stroboscopic pulses against the night sky during a long exposure. It was made possible by the remarkable sensitivity of the latest generation digital cameras I use now, whose sensors are so good that I can capture images in near darkness. This image is featured in our new book “Into Africa," which has just been released. It is based on our @NatGeo exhibition of the same name. To see more images of wild Africa and to learn more about the book follow me @FransLanting.
@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Botswana #wonder #nature #creativity #naturephotography


One day I peered down into a clear lagoon in the Okavango Delta and noticed how a patch of water lilies was anchored in desert sand. An idea took hold. I slipped in and sank to the bottom. Looking up, I saw that the lilies symbolized the essential wonder of the delta: This great wetland, with its abundance of life, is really just a thin sheet of water stretched across Kalahari sand.
This image is featured in our new book “Into Africa,” which has just been published. If you are in the Netherlands, please consider joining me on Saturday October 28 at Cinemec in Ede, where I will do a presentation about “Into Africa,” sponsored by @NatGeo. Books will be available for sale and signing. For event details, go to A reminder to all our friends in the Netherlands and Belgium: Tomorrow, October 25, is the last day you can vote for your favorite images shortlisted for this year’s WNF-Frans Lanting Award. Go to to see the images that are vying for the top awards and cast your vote.
@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Okavango #Botswana #Nature #Wonder #Kalahari #Beauty #NaturePhotography #PhotoContest #PhotoAward


I am pleased to announce the publication of our new book, INTO AFRICA. The result of many journeys across the continent over the past three decades, it captures the wonders of wild Africa—and shows what is at stake in the twenty-first century.
The trade edition of the book is published in English, German, and Dutch editions, and is now available in stores and online. French and Chinese editions are in development for next year. In collaboration with our publisher, Insight Editions, we have also produced a luxurious Collector’s Edition of INTO AFRICA. This exclusive edition of the book is limited to 250 numbered copies and will be available in November. Copies can be pre-ordered now from our studio and delivered in time for the holidays. Click on the web link in my Instagram bio for more details.
I hope you will enjoy our new book!

@thephotosociety #Africa #wildlifephotography #nature #gift #wonder #beauty #holiday

Bonny Doon, California

In the week to come we will celebrate the natural heritage of Africa in connection with the release of our new book, “INTO AFRICA," which covers more than 30 years of our field work on that great continent. We want to draw attention to what is at stake for its wild places and its wildlife as Africa modernizes fast. In this image towering sand dunes roll down to the South Atlantic Ocean on the wild Skeleton Coast of Namibia, in the southwest corner of Africa. This area was once known as the Sperrgebiet—German for “prohibited zone”—and was off limits to outsiders for more than a century as an exclusive diamond-mining concession. A few years ago the government of Namibia turned this area into a new national park, part of a bold effort to protect its entire coastline. We hope that Namibia’s commitment to conservation can serve as an inspiring example for other nations. Go to the link in my Instagram bio to learn more about our “INTO AFRICA” book. Follow me @FransLanting for more images of wild Africa. @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety @leonardodicaprio #Africa #Namibia #SkeletonCoast #Conservation #Explore #Safari


Inside every one of these orange globes is a future fish—it’s the miracle of life in front of our eyes. These are steelhead trout eggs incubating at a fish hatchery on California’s central coast. Steelhead and coho salmon are raised here for reintroduction into local streams where their populations have been dramatically reduced due to habitat degradation and drought. Young coho and steelhead migrate downstream to the ocean where they mature, and then return to their native streams to spawn—a life cycle that links land and sea and depends upon the health of both. I made this image for our project, “LIFE: A Journey Through Time,” which is a lyrical interpretation of the history of life on earth. We are pleased to announce that our film about the making of this project, “The Evolution of LIFE," will be screened during the Santa Cruz Film Festival, this Sunday, October 15th, 2017. Please check for more details. Follow me @FransLanting for more images from The LIFE Project.

@natgeo @thephotosociety @natgeocreative @natgeotravel #Fish #Salmon #Steelhead #Coho #California #Ocean #MontereyBay #Evolution #Egg #Miracle

Santa Cruz, California

Recognizing everyone as an individual and as a member of a family is one of the profound contributions Jane Goodall has made to our understanding of chimpanzees. Instead of assigning them numbers as scientists were supposed to do, she gave them names. Her work, and that of the gifted Dutch cameraman Hugo van Lawick, who was able to visualize what Jane felt, changed the way we look at chimps--and it influenced how I look at all animals. I post this image of Nickel, a female chimp in Senegal, and her newborn infant Teva, in honor of Jane Goodall and to celebrate the new NatGeo film “JANE,” which premiered Monday in Los Angeles. Follow me @FransLanting for more images of animals as individuals. @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Jane #chimp #ape #gratitude #family #baby #animal #celebrate #inspire #naturelovers


“Eye to Eye” Inside every animal is an individual with its own emotions. When I photograph animals I try to bring out their personalities just as people photographers do that with their subjects. In Senegal I connected with an old male chimpanzee named Ross by researcher Jill Pruetz, with whom we collaborated on a story for @NatGeo. I post this image in honor of Jane Goodall and to celebrate the new NatGeo film “JANE”, which premieres today in Los Angeles. Jane's pioneering work, and that of her partner, the gifted Dutch cameraman Hugo van Lawick, who was able to visualize what Jane felt, changed the way we look at chimps--and it influenced how I look at all animals. Follow me @FransLanting for more images of animals as individuals.
@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #JaneGoodall #chimp #ape #gratitude #animal #celebrate #inspire #naturelovers


The quiver trees in the northern desert of South Africa look more like sculptures than living things. At day’s end, I juxtaposed a grove of shaded trees against the backdrop of a sunlit rocky hillside to express the miracle of life in the desert--thriving where you least expect it. This image is featured in our “Into Africa” book, which will be released in October. Follow me @FransLanting for more images of wildlife and wild places around the world.

@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #SouthAfrica #Nature #Wild #Succulent #Aloe #creativity #naturephotography

South Africa

A ribbon of water winds across dry plains surrounding Botswana’s Okavango Delta as morning mist shrouds the contours of the landscape. The delta is an intricate tapestry of dry land and wet land, with ever shifting boundaries defined by the ebb and flow of water. Fed by a river that begins a thousand miles away in the highlands of Angola, the delta spreads out across the Kalahari Desert sands of northern Botswana. The miracle of water in the desert attracts animals from antelopes to elephants—and supports a thriving regional economy based on high-quality, low-impact tourism. This image is featured in our new book, “Into Africa,” which will be released in October. Follow me @FransLanting for more images of wild places around the world. 
@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Okavango #Nature #Botswana #Dawn #Explore


The cat called cougar thrives throughout the Americas but they are very good at avoiding people. I live in prime cougar habitat and for a number of years I have deployed camera traps to try and capture an image of this elusive cat. One day a young cougar did what I dreamed it would do, and turned to cast a wary look back at my remote camera—creating a portrait of secrecy foiled.
@natgeo @thephotosociety @natgeotravel @natgeocreative #mountainlion #california #santacruz #MontereyBay #wildlifephotography #nature #BigCatInitiative

Santa Cruz, California

Iguazu Falls is one of the most spectacular natural wonders in the world. It straddles the border of Brazil and Argentina and attracts millions of visitors from all over the world. Yet this magnificent expression of wild water on an epic scale is vulnerable to the effects of climate change. A few years ago a severe drought impacted the two rivers that feed Iguazu Falls so dramatically that the thundering falls were reduced to trickles for months. The water did rebound when rain returned to the region upstream, but it is sobering to realize that even the most powerful phenomena in nature are affected by our collective impact on the planet. Follow me @FransLanting for more images and stories about our changing earth.

@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Brazil #Iguaçu #Iguazú #Waterfall #Beauty #naturelovers #Wonder #climatechange


Wrangell-St. Elias in Alaska is the largest of the US National Parks—it is six times the size of Yellowstone. Four mighty mountain ranges converge here, topped by 18,008-foot-high Mount St. Elias, shown here—the highest peak in the US after Denali. Follow me @FransLanting for more images from parks around the world.

@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety  #WrangellStElias #Alaska #Mountains #NationalPark #beauty #nature #colors #explore

Mount Saint Elias

Backlighting reveals the soft contours of a valley in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park that used to be covered by glaciers but is now blanketed with trees and glacial lakes. This did not happen as a result of the accelerated climate change we’re witnessing now, but it gives us an idea of the landscape transformation we’re going to witness during our life time across the Arctic. Follow me @FransLanting for more images of our changing planet. 
@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety @leonardodicaprio #Alaska #Arctic #ClimateChange #light


On Sep. 22 we celebrate World Rhino Day — She is massive, armed with horns and protected by thick skin, and yet she is utterly vulnerable. One ear is pointing my way, the other faces backwards. Rhinos make up for not seeing well with a sharp sense of hearing. Her calf is just curious, and has no clue what is facing them. But we know what is happening to them across Africa and Asia. Rhinos are in imminent danger of extinction in the wild. And that is why we need to celebrate World Rhino Day—to draw attention to them and to the people and organizations that are making a difference where it matters, in the hallways of governments and in the front lines of protection on the ground. I hope you will support them so that rhinos will get a fighting chance. Follow me @FransLanting for more stories about rhinos and how you can help.
@natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety @worldrhinoday @wildaid @world_wildlife @SaveTheRhino @lewa_wildlife #wildaid #wild_net #Rhino #WorldRhinoDay #SaveTheRhino #AspinallFoundation #celebrate


The spiny desert of Madagascar is as otherworldly as it appears. More than 90% of all plants that thrive here are found nowhere else on earth—not even in other parts of Madagascar. The striking sights in this unique landscape include the twisted tentacles of the octopus tree, which resembles a cactus but it is not. It is one of the many astonishing examples of Madagascar’s parallel evolution. Lifeforms different in origin may end up looking alike when faced with similar conditions over long periods of time. Follow me @FransLanting for new discoveries from Madagascar.

@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Madagascar #discover #explore #nature #wonder #amazing


Fall colors erupt when plants quit producing chlorophyll as days grow shorter. The yellows and reds we see are stages in this seasonal retreat of life. In the Arctic, the height of fall color comes and goes in a matter of days. In Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, I captured the fleeting nature of this phenomenon by contrasting the peaking colors on the slope in the foreground with those already fading on the opposite side. Follow me @FransLanting for more images of our living planet.
@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety @leonardodicaprio #Alaska #Arctic #ClimateChange #light


An enormous ice arch dwarfs a zodiac with photographers who joined me for an expedition to the east coast of Greenland. That morning we were the first people to witness the aftermath of an event of epic proportions. A glacier that had long dammed a giant lake had melted and collapsed, releasing a massive amount of water into the Atlantic Ocean, adding yet another notch to sea level rise. As we moved upstream, we could see the “bathtub rings” of the former lake high up on the walls of rock and ice. It was sobering to think that this had happened just days before and to see firsthand how rapidly Greenland’s ice cover is melting. Follow me @FransLanting for more stories of our changing planet.
@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety @leonardodicaprio #Greenland #Ice #climatechange #earth #picoftheday #nature #explore


Meltwater carves streams and gathers in lakes on top of a glacier in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. From the air the changing face of ice in the Arctic becomes apparent. Follow me @FransLanting for more images of our changing planet.
@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Alaska #Arctic #Glacier #ClimateChange #WrangellStElias


I played a game of hide-and-seek with this hippo floating in the Congo's Garamba River near the Sudanese border. When he submerged, I moved closer; but when he surfaced with a snort--I held my breath. When you work with big animals up close, it's important to know when to move and when to stay still. Follow me @franslanting for more images of Africa's wildlife.
@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Hippo # Congo #Garamba #wild #power #attitude

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Wildebeest are crossing the Mara River in an annual cycle that speaks to the abundance of life on the Serengeti Plains. I share this image in honor of renowned filmmaker Alan Root, who passed away recently at his home in Kenya. Alan led an extraordinary life and during his long and illustrious career he broke new ground time and again, inspiring countless filmmakers and photographers, including me. In the early 1960s Alan worked with Michael Grzimek on the Oscar-winning film “Serengeti Shall Not Die,” which was the first media production to draw international attention to this fabulous ecosystem. Alan later made his own film about the wildebeest migration which he produced, like many others, with his first wife, Joan. Alan never stopped dreaming and scheming. When he was 80 years old, he was making plans to cover the wildebeest migration again, but this time he was determined to follow them on foot. Read Alan’s book “Ivory, Apes and Peacocks” to learn more about this remarkable man and go to YouTube to see his film, “Year of the Wildebeest.” Follow me @FransLanting for more images and stories about the natural world.

@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Serengeti #Africa #Wildebeest #Migration #Inspiration #Wildlifephotography #Explore #Conservation


Photo by @FransLanting A herd of red deer is running through the marshland of the Oostvaardersplassen Reserve in the Netherlands against a backdrop of wind turbines and power lines. The connections between nature and culture--and the conflicts between them-- are everywhere in this densely populated part of the world. I would like to invite all photographers based in the Netherlands or Belgium to submit their best images of nature--and its relevance for humanity-- to be considered for the annual WNF-Frans Lanting Award in Photography. Together with fellow photographers @HumbertoTan, @JasperDoest and other experts we will look for the most interesting submissions. The deadline for sending images is September 6. Go to to learn how to enter. Or click on the link in my Instagram bio above. To my Dutch friends and followers I’d like to say: Doe allemaal mee en laat zien dat ook in Nederland en Belgie natuur nog overal is. Ik kijk uit naar jullie fotos!! Follow me @FransLanting for more images of nature from around the world.
@natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Netherlands #Belgium #Oostvaardersplassen #photography #naturephotography #wildlifephotography #photoaward #creativity #nature #nflmuseum #wnfnederland


Palm trees dot a savanna in southern Madagascar. Once this great island supported an amazing cast of animal characters from pygmy hippos to giant tortoises with lemurs the size of gorillas and flightless elephant birds mixed in. They disappeared after humans colonized Madagascar some two thousand years ago. In many ways Madagascar is a microcosmos of our planet in peril. I’m about to go back there to document changes in our lifetime. Follow me @FransLanting to see what I will find.
@thephotosociety @natgeotravel @natgeocreative #Madagascar #discover #explore #nature #wonder #amazing


A roseate spoonbill bathes by splashing up water with its scarlet wings in a backwater of Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands where I’ve hidden myself in a blind. It was beastly hot and I remember wishing I could have joined that bird for a bath. But in the end the wait was worthwhile. Follow me @FransLanting for more images of wild creatures and wild places around the world.

@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Brazil #Pantanal #wildlife #wildlifephotography #nature #naturelovers #beauty #colors #birdphotographybrazil