“Born Yesterday” This tiny elephant calf is just one day old and all the adults in the herd are feeling very protective, surrounding the newborn at all times. This little one is trying to control its rubbery-looking trunk as it probes around Mom’s underbelly, looking for an opportunity to nurse. It will take a few weeks before this young elephant learns to manage its trunk’s many muscles—which number in the tens of thousands! I share this in celebration of Mother’s Day—and in honor of all mothers, animal and human. Follow me @ChristineEckstrom and @FransLanting for more intimate stories from the world of elephants.
Video by @ChristineEckstrom Kilauea is still erupting on the Big Island of Hawaii, and no one knows what may happen next. Frans Lanting and I covered Kilauea's last major eruption for @NatGeo, and here’s a video impression I made from the edge of the active lava lake that formed. We were out there with permits in the company of volcanologists and we relied on their judgment for our movements as you can hear in the clip. This is not something you should ever do on your own. Volcanoes command respect and in Hawaii, nobody takes chances with Pele. Follow us @ChristineEckstrom and @FransLanting for more stories of our restless planet. @NatGeoCreative@ThePhotoSociety#Kilauea#volcano#Hawaii#Lava#Explore#OnAssignment#Amazing
Video by @ChristineEckstrom Hawaii is red hot again with the new eruption of the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island, which started last Thursday and is intensifying. Our hearts go out to all the people in Hawaii whose lives have been impacted by this eruption—please stay safe... @FransLanting and I covered Kilauea's last major eruption for @NatGeo, and here is a video of what we experienced then. As lava gushes from a cone inside the volcano’s crater, we hiked downslope with a team of geologists to see a river of lava pump out from the base of the volcano and snake across the landscape. Follow us @FransLanting and @ChristineEckstrom for more images and videos of our living planet.
@FransLanting and I created the LIFE symphony to celebrate the wonder of life on earth, and on Tuesday night it was performed in Rome, with Tonino Battista conducting the Parco della Musica orchestra. This clip showing the many faces of primates is from the final movement, “Planet of Life,” which looks at how the conditions that enable life on earth to exist have been created—and sustained—by the collective power of life itself. I share this in celebration of Earth Day, April 22. Let’s make every day Earth Day! Learn more about life in the link in my bio, and follow us @FransLanting and @ChristineEckstrom for more images and stories of the majesty of our planet. @ThePhotoSociety#EarthDay#EarthDayEveryDay#LIFEsymphony
Volcanoes are exhilirating places to document, but tough on lungs and cameras, so @FransLanting and I had to wear gas masks to deal with the caustic fumes on top of Kilaeua when it was erupting. This volcano is one of the images featured in our LIFE symphony with music by Philip Glass which will be performed in Rome, Italy, on Tuesday April 17 as part of the National Geographic Science Festival. LIFE is a celebration of our living planet from the Big Bang to the present. The last movement will be streamed live via Facebook around 9.45 PM Italy time. Check the link in my Instagram bio to learn how you can see it. Or go to to www.lanting.com to learn more about LIFE. Photo by @GBradLewis@FransLanting@Natgeocreative@ThePhotoSociety#Earth#Evolution#Geyser#Amazing#Wonder#Naturelovers
Photo by @FransLanting To see six healthy, nearly full-grown cheetah cubs in the wild is a rare sight—from a distance they almost look like a pride of lions. Most cheetah mothers do not succeed in raising more than one or two cubs to independence during their entire lives. But the mother of these cubs was an exceptional female, a true Supermom, who could hunt day after day for a family of seven while keeping them all safe. That is no small feat with lions, hyenas, and other lethal adversaries roaming around. Follow us @ChristineEckstrom and @FransLanting to learn more about the challenges cheetahs face in the wild. @Natgeocreative@Thephotosociety#Cheetah#BigCats#BigCatsInitiative#Endangered#Wildlifephotography
Cheetahs like high vantage points where they can scan for prey and consider their next moves. One day a young cheetah I’d been tracking in the Maasai Mara on assignment for @natgeo bounded up on my vehicle as if it were a termite mound or a tree—favored lookout points for cheetahs. He had no interest in me. I was delighted to see him this way, taking advantage of an opportunity to get a better view. I felt no threat and moments later, he jumped down and continued on. The first rule in working with wild animals is to let them be so you can document them as they are. Follow us @ChristineEckstrom and @FransLanting for more images and stories about cheetahs. @thephotosociety@natgeocreative#cheetah#wildencounters#bigcats#serengeti
Video by @ChristineEckstrom Experienced cheetah moms, like all good mothers, are both vigilant and tolerant. Watch how this mother puts up with the antics of her cubs until they wear themselves out and suckle and go to sleep. What you don’t see here is how this mother is constantly scanning the horizon for signs of trouble. The fate of cheetahs as a species depends on the ability of a small number of exceptional females to nurture cubs to independence and to keep them safe while doing so. We call them “supermoms.” And any mother who is juggling child care with earning a living and other responsibilities, can relate to that. Follow us @ChristineEckstrom and @FransLanting to see more playful cheetahs.
Video by @ChristineEckstrom and @FransLanting Zambia’s Luangwa River supports an amazing population of hippos. They cluster in places where the water is deep enough for them to submerge themselves. Here’s an impression of one really large gathering along a bend in the river where we camped on assignment for @natgeo. It gets noisy when hundreds of hippos are talking to each other in guttural grunts punctuated by amusing squeaks and we had a hard time sleeping. Hippos get sunburned easily, so they stay underwater during the day and wait until nightfall to come out of the water to graze. They spook easily, so we had to be careful with our approach. This video was captured with a camera in infrared mode. Follow us @ChristineEckstrom and @FransLanting to see more videos and stills of wildlife spectacles in Africa. @thephotosociety#Hippo#Zambia#LuangwaValley#Wildlifephotography#Safari
Tap your screen to hear the music! This is an excerpt from “LIFE: A Journey Through Time,” a multimedia symphony we created with Philip Glass. Frans Lanting’s images are projected on a large screen while the orchestra performs Philip’s music. You can see the orchestra with conductor Carolyn Kuan at work in a black and white insert. This short clip from the first movement features volcanoes. LIFE is a lyrical interpretation of the story of life on Earth from the Big Bang to the present. Our LIFE symphony has been performed worldwide and will be staged again in Rome, Italy, on April 17 during the National Geographic Science Festival. Check the link in my bio for more details about the show—and go to @FransLanting to see more clips from the LIFE symphony. @thephotosociety#Earth#Volcano#Evolution#Wonder#Inspire#Beauty#Nature