Friends and folks in a Philadelphia / near Philadelphia: If you can, come out to the brand new @eddiebauer store, level 2, top of the escalator, in the @lordandtaylor in King of Prussia tomorrow. I'll be there 11-6pm answering questions about photography, working with Nat Geo, planning adventures, taking pictures, etc. There will be giveaways too! But we can swap stories and hang out. Would love to meet some of you! Please come say hi! #liveyouradventure
A bit overwhelmed this morning as photographs from my story in Missouri on football and injuries in small towns are on the front page of the @washingtonpost . This story only came to life because people who were - at one time - complete strangers chose to let me into their lives. What a privilege it is to be a storyteller and to be reminded that even in our tech driven world people will open up and share. That, to me anyways, is the coolest part of this whole deal. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to @jackie.bustamante and @tybustamante. Another huge thanks to @maryannegolon , who was willing to take a risk on me as a young photographer and who gave me the time to go back and complete this story. It was a dream come true to work with you, truly. Look forward to the next project : ) And one last thanks to @amyellisnutt , the writer whose words made this a story, not just news. #football#smalltowns#missouri#eldon
NEW YORK CITY, want to watch a film about orangutans doing cool things and hang out? Tomorrow night, 5:15 pm, at the IFC center in Greenwich Village we are celebrating the New York Premiere of our short film Person of the Forest. I will be there and so will filmmaker @melissalesh and explorer / orangutan researcher @rrsuro | thanks to @eddiebauer for making it possible for me to attend events like these. As an ADDED bonus , if you come and find me and tell you saw this post, ill answer any questions you may have about photography , National Geographic , etc.
Back home after 2 months of non-stop travel. As nice as it is to be home I can't shake from my head memories from the road, especially those moments when the sun breaks through the clouds and illuminates the landscape and makes you wonder whether someone is up there shining a spotlight down on earth to remind us that even amongst the chaos of our world there is beauty. @eddiebauer#liveyouradventure#clouds#sunrays#beauty#sun#travel#momentslikethese#momentsintime
One more day on assignment here in Missouri, back to Virginia tomorrow afternoon. Was treated to a gorgeous frost this morning, stopped me in my tracks - so I spent a few minutes taking pictures around my hotel. Just another piece of evidence that beauty is everywhere. @eddiebauer#liveyouradventure
As promised, another video of humpbacks gracefully swimming in the calm waters off of Tonga, an island nation in the South Pacific that has one of the largest concentrations of humpbacks anywhere in the world. The humpbacks you find here are resting , having traveled all the way from Antarctica, one of the longest migrations on earth. On most days you find mother humpbacks with their baby, and it is, without a doubt, the most special experience I've ever had with another living creature on earth. Just ten seconds will convince you these whales know more than we can even figure out. I don't know if science will ever fully uncover their secrets. And I'm fine with that, I love mysteries. @eddiebauer#liveyouradventure Shot in collaboration with @fonassociation
This is my friend Aaron Rodwell, one tough Aussie, a man who in 40 short years has lived 4 lifetimes. What I love about Aaron and people in general is they almost always have a side to them you don't see unless you put in the time , earn their trust, become their friends, and surrender to the place in which they live and how they live. The best pictures come when you surrender your preconceived notions, your stereotypes. As you can see, Aaron, as tough as he is, also has a gentle side, seen here as he calmly picks up the Baby saltwater crocodiles he keeps as pets and swims with from time to time. We can debate about the ethics of the pet trade but Thats not what this photo is about , it is about a man who clearly loves reptiles. Life is complex, no two ways about it. Thrilled to be going back to Australia in November to continue my work on saltwater crocodiles and people for @natgeo . Can't yet say what it is for , but I will most definitely share with you when I can. #crocs#crocodiles#nt#northernterritory#topend#surrender#australia#outback
Spend an hour with a praying mantis and then tell me humans are the only smart animals on earth. Most of us I think are comfortable saying elephants and dolphins and monkeys and birds are smart but how many would say the same of insects? Prairie dogs? Other rodents, any other animal you can think! @melissalesh and i want to find out. #liveyouradventure@eddiebauer
@melissalesh on a early morning walk in False Cape State Park, Virginia. False Cape State Park protects 6 miles of undeveloped coastline and is considered a barrier spit, not a barrier island because it is connected to the mainland. But if you combine its 6 miles of wild coast with the 23 undeveloped barrier islands along Virginia's eastern shore you have one of the longest stretches of undeveloped coastline / beaches on the East Coast, period! In four days of walking and swimming on the beach in False Cape we saw just one person, a middle aged lady who was riding her bike up from North Carolina. #loveva#VAoutdoors@visitvirginia#liveyouradventure
This snake has two common names: the water moccasin and the cottonmouth. The name water moccasin comes from the fact that when the snake swims ( it is a largely an aquatic snake) its entire body floats on the surface, which is quite unusual amongst swimming snakes. The second name, cottonmouth (see second picture), is derived from the fact that when this snake is threatened it opens its jaws as wide as possible to reveal a bright white mouth that looks like balls of cotton on a cotton plant. It also rattles its tail like a rattle snake when threatened, ask me how I know! The thing is these poor snakes, like most snakes, are very misunderstood - and disrespected. Cottonmouths really aren't aggressive , they just stand their ground -Something we humans could learn something about. Unfortunately, many people in the south still kill them on sight , usually by chopping their head off with a shovel or another sharp object. Even worse most people think every water snake they see is a cotton mouth and so they kill every water snake. Please please please, when you see snakes, just leave them be! If they are somewhere too close to your home move them with a long pole or paddle or call someone in your area who is confident doing so. By the way: Snakes in your yard is a good sign: it means less rodents and rodents are truly bad for your health if they infest your home. Thanks for considering this Photographed in False Cape State Park, Virginia. #loveva#VAoutdoors@visitvirginia
There is more to False Cape State Park than the fact no cars are allowed and you can camp on the beach. In a 20 minute, 1 mile walk one can go from a slightly brackish bay with ospreys and bald eagles and gorgeous marshes to the Atlantic Ocean - and on that walk you will cross several ecosystems, including rare dune habitats and very cool maritime forests dominated by live oaks, with twisted, tangled branches that give you the feeling you're walking through a land only real in fairy tales and dreams. #VAoutdoors#loveva@visitvirginia
False Cape State Park in southeast Virginia is arguably one of the finest state parks - hell one of the finest parks, period -I've visited in my lifetime. Not only is it one of the only remaining stretches of undeveloped coastline on the Atlantic coast, it is also one of the only parks in the United States that you can't access by car. To make it even better you can camp on the beach, as in right next to the ocean, waves crashing just yards from your tent. And did I mention wildlife? In three days we saw: otter, raccoon, cottonmouth or water moccasin snake, black racer snake, green tree frogs, southern leopard frogs, turkey vultures, red tail hawks, plovers, ghost crabs, and pray mantis. Plus dozens of awesome native plants like yucca , yellow jessamine, loblolly pine , sea oat grass and so on. This was my first visit to False Cape and I'm already figuring out when I can come back. Goes to show you that you can live in a state and still have so much to discover. Fellow Virginians, don't miss this place. Same to you folks living in other states. It is special and without comparison. #VAoutdoors#loveva#liveyouradventure@visitvirginia
For the last 6 years or so I've had a hard time noticing the beauty of small things. It became quite apparent when @melissalesh and I began making a life together and I noticed how she noticed the smallest things: a bug, the way light hit a leaf, the shape of a shadow cast, even the tiniest reflections. Even when she pointed them out I had a hard time appreciating them. It turns out I was struggling a low grade depression, and as William Styron wrote in his book darkness visible, it was as if the world had no color, Food had no taste, time spent with loved ones wasn't the same as years before. But the good news is all this is gone now, and when I'm out there these days I'm not only finding but smiling at those random, beautiful things that exist all around us if we take the time to stop and look around. Virginia's Great Dismal Swamp had these details, these small beautiful things in droves, and I spent an entire morning photographing things like this simple stick sculpture set perfectly, almost floating in the reflection of the sky on the lake Drummond. Do yourself a favor and visit the great dismal swamp. I recommend October : very few bugs, cool temperatures , changing color of leaves. #loveva#VAoutdoors#liveyouradventure@visitvirginia
More than 500 years old, this bald cypress tree in Virginia's Great Dismal Swamp has been alive twice as long as the United States has been a nation. It is one of a few dozen or so ancient cypress trees remaining in the area; most of them were logged for timber and The swamp is now about 1/10th of its original size. Think for a second of the history this tree has seen, been a part of: George Washington was here in the late 1700s' and later the swamp served as an important hiding place for slaves who had escaped the terror of ownership by other humans. While one can't say this exact tree helped the slaves hiding in the swamp , I like the idea that this mysterious place, a wilderness of tangled trees and thorns and snakes , helped move us forward on the long road towards justice. #loveva#VAoutdoors#liveyouradventure@visitvirginia
As Fall arrives and the sun seemingly spends more time on the horizon we are all treated to extraordinary early morning and late afternoon light. Yesterday, after spending the entire day on Lake Drummond in the Great Dismal Swamp , we were dead tired having canoed for hours, but we couldn't resist stopping and photographing this dirt track through a wet meadow section of the swamp that supports a wide array of birds and bugs. #loveva#VAoutdoors@visitvirginia
The question people ask me most is where I want to go next. It usually surprises folks when I say home, back to Virginia. I can't even begin to explain the feeling I get in my bones when my plane is landing at Richmond airport after a month or two or three overseas. It is perhaps the greatest source of conflict in my life: I love to travel but I also love home. Still haven't figured out the perfect balance. The question I get after answering home in Virginia is why Virginia ? Too many reasons for me to list here - But I'm going to do my best to explain with photos over the next week. Made this photo of a cypress tree reflection this morning!! on lake Drummond , one of only two natural lakes in Virginia. Lake Drummond is part of The Great Dismal Swamp, a place that takes you back in time with 500 year old cypress trees dotting the shoreline and small ditch like canals built by people like George Washington. #loveVa#VAoutdoors@visitvirginia
Joe , seen here, is a simple man. He and his family run a small crocodile farm an hour outside of Darwin, Australia. They are not rich and live a humble life. His farm and others in the region raise their crocodiles from eggs that are collected in the wild. Collecting these eggs is not an easy job , in fact it is wildly dangerous. They hang from helicopters and are lowered onto crocodile nests, the mother croc usually on the nest or nearby, ready to defend the nest at all costs . You'll see in this photo Joe is carrying a long stick - the stick is used for a slight slap on the crocs snout to scare her away. Usually it works. Sometimes though it doesn't and he goes in with a cage (seen in this photo) that protects him from all sides. The crocodile farming industry , made up of dozens of farms large and small, has created a 25 million dollar industry in the Darwin area , and thousands of jobs. Crocodile farming has been going on in the Northern Territory since the 1980s and in that time the wild saltwater crocodile population has continued to increase, evidence that the ongoing saltwater crocodile management program is working , that is to say the crocodile population in the wild is healthy and people of the region tolerate - and in many cases appreciate - that crocodiles exist in the waters of the region.
My story on crocodiles was a hard one to tell. I love them, they are my favorite animal on earth. The croc story was hard to tell because I had to photograph crocodiles being hunted and farmed - and as I've tried to make clear in previous posts : if I had the power to waive a magic wand and make the world perfect I'd end hunting and farming and everyone and all creatures would go about their days undisturbed. But that is not the world we live in. Living together isn't easy. Hell, even having roommates is hard! Ultimately I photographed the story on crocs in Australia because I felt - and still feel - it is an example of how people and wild animals that can be dangerous can live together. Again , I wish it weren't the case , but the farming and to some to some extent the very regulated hunting is what helps SOME people in Northern Australia justify the existence of crocs in the wild. What we really want to avoid is this: a poached crocodile, its head cut off and the body left to rot. Likely culprit? Fishermen or poachers. Here so much of the croc is wasted. A terrible shame and ultimately an even harder subject to photograph. #crocs#crocodile#australia#nt#northernterritory#topend#poaching#death#dusk shot with support of @natgeo and @eddiebauer
Laurence Durrell, the writer , once wrote that he believed landscape defined culture. What he meant is that if you took the French and sent them to Mongolia they would, in a few generations, become Mongolian and if you sent Mongolians to France, they would over generations, become French. If Durrell was right, All of the cornfields here in Wisconsin, largely un inspiring to look at, explain the overwhelming number of interesting and engaging people I've met. That is to say the cornfields create people in the mid west who are wildly interesting, even if it not at first apparent, because the landscape forced them to create new worlds between themselves to distract from the monotony. Wisconsin is not all cornfields, of course, and I was lucky enough to spend a afternoon on Lake Wisconsin. As the day settled down, just an hour before darkness set in , we were treated to a single ray of light that broke through the clouds as if to remind every place on earth is connected by the sky. On the road , next stop @mophotoworkshop in Missouri @eddiebauer helping to fuel the journey #liveyouradventure#wisconsin#madison#lakewisconsin#midwest#midwestphotographer#midwestlife#sunset#scenic
In Madison, WI for the week and had the chance to visit the International Crane Foundation and see a number of endangered crane species, including this grey crowned crane, which is found in eastern and Southern Africa, and is listed as endangered. We didn't interact with any of the cranes as they ask you not to , but I did take a few photos and videos of them. Most of the cranes weren't interested in the least in us humans but this particular crane immediately began pecking at my phone when I was filming it with my phone. We immediately left it alone as it was obvious the crane wasn't a fan of humans or was having a bad day or thought the phone was food. Nonetheless this short clip of it pecking at my phone makes me wonder what the crane is thinking. It was some feet away from the fence when I was filming it and came over immediately to begin going after the phone. Animals and their thoughts is truly one of the great mysteries in life. There is still so much to learn. #cranes#greycrownedcrane#wisconsin#birds#birdbrains#unitedstates#animalintelligence#animal_captures#liveyouradventure@eddiebauer
Recently hatched Baby saltwater crocodiles all huddled together in a bathtub.
Saltwater crocodiles are the most aggressive of the 23 species of crocodiles and as a result the most territorial. Even at this young age , seconds old, one of these little crocs will bite you - and it'll hurt! For the most part they seem to tolerate each other but occasional conflicts do arise. One of the most remarkable facts about saltwater crocodiles is that they start life so small and eventually grow so large. This means as they grow older they are taking on many different roles in the ecosystem, until, of course, they reach full size and become the apex predator of the rivers and swamps of northern Australia. Shot with support from @natgeo and @eddiebauer#liveyouradventure#crocodiles#crocs#reptiles#australia#northernterritory#babyanimals#babyanimal#instagood
As promised, another cool croc fact. Did you know that a saltwater crocodiles stomach acid has a ph of less than 2? It so acidic they can digest nails. What is even cooler though is that crocodiles can neurologically control blood flow using a heart valve that sends the blood around the lungs and straight to stomach and this allows them to secrete gastric acids at 10 times the normal rate! This special system enables them eat up to 20% of their body weight . So that is like a 200 pound man eating 40 pounds of hamburger meat in one sitting! Can't imagine how I'd feel - or whether I'd be alive - after doing that. The crocodile in this photo is named jaws, he's a captive croc that lives in a very large outdoor enclosure, and he's eating the leg of a feral pig his owner fed him. #instagood#saturday#saturdayvibes#crocodile#crocs#reptiles#facts#naturelover photo made with support from @natgeo expeditions council and @eddiebauer
A short break today from crocodiles, taking you back to the highlands of Ethiopia, the roof of Africa. This is one of the images that made the final cut but not the pages of National Geographic Magazine. Editing 150,000 images down to 14 was a wild process, Herculean too. Thanks to @kfmoran for taking on / leading that super human endeavor. She is a wizard if I ever met one. Even though this image didn't make it into the magazine, it is still one of my favorites . I remember trying for a week straight everyday as the sun set and a blue haze enveloped the plateau to get this shot . I got lucky this day because clouds and fog moved in and the monkeys were scared and huddled. Nearby Ethiopian villagers were walking home from weekly markets and their shadows sent this group into an absolute frenzy. Behavior wise it shows what Gelada's do everyday before bed: huddle together for safety and social interaction. The lighting was inspired by many of my heroes but especially @michaelnicknichols . And excited that this image is going to be published in a new @natgeo book this fall called NIGHT VISION. Additional support provided by @eddiebauer#liveyouradventure#friday#ethiopia#africa#monkeys#primates#natgeo#adventuretravel#wildlifephotography#naturephotography
TURN ON SOUND | Video @melissalesh & me | So everyone saw yesterday how saltwater crocodiles are extraordinary jumpers. Today, marvel at how quietly they can slip beneath the surface of the water, leaving only a few ripples, the ultimate enigma. Even more eerie is that this crocodile just dropped a foot below the surface, its eyes still fixed on us and yet we could not see it. In fact , crocodiles can sit right at the surface , just their nostrils above the water line for air, and wait motionless for hours until a unsuspecting prey item comes close to the waters edge. A 19 foot 6 meter saltwater crocodile can remain completely undetected in as little as 3 FEET ! of water! #instagood#thursdaymotivation#instanature#crocodiles#crocs#reptiles#australia#northernterritory#topend#liveyouradventure
A juvenile saltwater water crocodile and @melissalesh share a moment, each looking the other in the eye. This lasted for several minutes, the crocodile seemingly as curious as Melissa! I posted just recently about animal intelligence (the gorilla with the GoPro) and thought this would be a natural next to share with all of you who share the idea that animals have so much to teach us and we have so much to learn. And that animals are smarter than we think, and some, like sperm whales and dolphins as smart as us - just in ways we don't understand. In fact! Just a few days ago a scientific paper was published in the journal Animal Cognition that suggests all studies of primate intelligence over the last 2 decades were flawed and inadequate. Imagine that. What a mysterious world we live in. And did I mention 3 years ago a scientist discovered what he thinks is evidence alligators in Florida are using tools! #tuesdaymotivation#tuesdaymorning#instagood#instadaily#instanature#crocodiles#australia#liveyouradventure#reptiles#crocs#dinosaurs ever thankful today for the support of @eddiebauer who has made it possible for me to take on serious long term storytelling .
This is a follow up to the post yesterday, in a way. This post is for all of you out there who are trying to do something different: start your own business, become a painter, write a book, Etc. This isn't advice because I'm Not going to tell you what to do or not do. There are people far wiser and smarter and more talented that can help you with that. What I can say from my own experience is this: there is no application or interview or test or degree to become a photographer or painter or whatever. Nothing will certify you as ready to go out and throw yourself into the world as a photographer or painter or writer or business owner. There aren't concrete
Steps, there is no road map. It doesn't exist. This picture is the best way I can explain. When I first fell in love with crocodiles in 2013 I learned everything I could about them. Spent $400 I didn't have on amazon to get books to learn more. When I discovered in 2014 that mother crocodiles build , maintain, and guard their nests, I was blown away. I couldn't believe it. A creature thought of as a stupid , ruthless cold blooded killing machine exhibits advanced parental care? Holy shit. From that moment forward I thought about how I could make photos of a mother croc on her nest and of the hatching when she carries them to the water in mouth. I drew up plans in notebooks , talked with scientists , and thought about it whenever I wasn't thinking about something else. This photo is of a Baby saltwater crocodile hatching . Part of it is still inside its egg. I love that its mouth is open and it is calling out , a sound you never forget. BUT This is not my dream photo. And to be honest with all of you: i FAILED terribly at trying to capture all that I described above. I spent thousands of dollars of my own money, I lost cameras , I wrecked a car and almost killed my girlfriend, even built a tree fort 40 feet up a tree to try and document this extraordinary behavior. But luck , or whatever you call it, was not on our side. We failed. It broke my god damn heart , broke me down as a creative , as a photographer, as a human. That is all I know about how I somehow ended up where I am.