Carlton Ward Jr@carltonward

@NatGeo Explorer | Photographer | Focused on #FloridaWild

519 posts 67,946 followers 403 following

#repost: Thanks @insidenatgeo for making this video before my talk at #NatGeoDC this Tuesday (link in my bio)
Eighth-generation Floridian @carltonward uses photography to inspire conservation efforts in his home state—and he's encouraging citizen scientists to follow suit. #insidenatgeo #FloridaWild @fl_wildcorridor video by @grizzlycreekfilms and @jddavenport

National Geographic Society

I’m giving my first public talk at National Geographic - WILD FLORIDA: Hidden in Plain Sight - Tuesday, March 20 at 7:30 PM [link in my bio for tickets and details]. Please join me if you can and share the event with DC area friends. Thanks you! Follow in the footsteps of bears and panthers with National Geographic Explorer Carlton Ward Jr. on epic treks to discover forests, swamps, rivers, and ranchlands hidden in the heart of Florida. Learn how he’s using photography to elevate critical conservation issues while revealing the wonders of a world on the brink of being lost. Co-presented with the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. @dceff_org @natgeo #natgeoDC #FloridaWild #KeepFLWild @fl_wildcorridor @ilcp_photographers @natgeocreative

National Geographic Museum

At the base of a cedar tree, biologist Bill Tate nets an Okaloosa Darter, a small, endangered fish that had been a catalyst for stream restoration throughout Eglin Air Force Base, which protects 95 percent of the species' total habitat. Bill taught us about his work with USFWS during the 2015 @fl_wildcorridor #Glades2Gulf Expedition. #floridawild #keepflwild

Eglin Air Force Base, Florida

I shot an assignment on the Gulf of Mexico a few years ago for the Nature Conservancy and wanted to show off a favorite place in my native Florida— the coral reefs of Dry Tortugas National Park. The park preserves seven islands situated 70 miles west of Key West where the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic ocean meet. It’s a magical place where the reefs have been spared some of the destruction present elsewhere in the keys. On the west side of loggerhead key, the coral rises close to the surface with the iconic lighthouse casting a shadow over the shallows. I swam for two days over these reefs looking for the right angle for a split-level photo. When a meter-long barracuda appeared in my view finder, I kicked against the current and lifted my water housing into position with the dome port rising partially above the wavy surface to capture this frame. Please follow @carltonward for more #hiddenwild @nature_org @drytortugasnps #gulfofmexico #coral #lighthouse #barracuda #FloridaKeys #drytortugas #FloridaWild #KeepFLWild

Dry Tortugas National Park

Bobby Lee Fulford leads his horse from the barn in the pre-dawn twilight at Alico Ranch in South Florida where he and his crew will spend the day gathering cattle from the woods, marshes and pastures. @FL_WildCorridor #everglades #evergladesheadwaters #floridawildlifecorridor #cowboy #pathofthepanther #FloridaWild #KeepFLWild @natgeocreative

Hendry County, Florida

The dry season is settling in and it might not rain again for a few months. I’m always sad to see the water go but also excited for the opportunity to reset camera traps in some special places that rising swamp waters pushed me to evacuate last June. Here I’m testing a camera in early June hoping a panther might still come but accepting that it probably wouldn’t. Telegraph Cypress Swamp at Babcock Ranch State Preserve. #pathofthepanther @fl_wildcorridor #FloridaWild #KeepFLWild @natgeocreative @natgeo @freshfromflorida @myfwc

Babcock Ranch

#Repost @fl_wildcorridor
Coming soon...We'll be doing a systematic check-up on the ❤️ of the Corridor—a critical crossroads for water and wildlife in the center of the Florida peninsula. Stay tuned for updates on our 2018 Expedition! #loveFL #KeepFLwild #wildaboutFL


This handsome male panther triggered one of my camera traps set beside a cypress swamp in Southwest Florida. I love the moment as he skirts the edge of the water and the reflection of the trees. But I’m also frustrated because the right flash didn’t fire. The left and background flashes works fine, but the failed right flash made left half of his face deeply shadowed. Do you think that ruins the photo, or does the dramatic effect work? Looking forward to your feedback! #pathofthepanther storytelling project with @natgeo @fl_wildcorridor #panther #everglades #FloridaWild #KeepFLWild


One of my camera traps is set deep in the Fakahatchee Strand on a flooded trail where I hope to capture a panther walking in water. That prospect has become more challenging as water levels have begun to drop. In the last 2 weeks I got 4000 photos of wading birds and they smoked my flash batteries by the end of the first week. I’m frustrated by the birds, this pesky persistent great blue heron in particular. But it did make some nice selfies. #swamplife #heron #pathofthepanther #FloridaWild #KeepFLWild @fl_wildcorridor #cognisys #scout


This bobcat visited one of my camera trap sites on a narrow trail by the edge of the swamp at Babcock Ranch. Bobcats live throughout most of the the continental United States plus northern Mexico and southern Canada. Named for their short “bobbed” tails, bobcats range in size from 10 to 30 pounds. They eat mostly small mammals and birds but have been documented taking down full sized deer. Bobcats were endangered by the fur trade in the early 1900s but have recovered throughout most of their historic range. A current threat is habitat loss. Panthers and bobcats once shared habitat throughout America and can do so again if we protect the Florida Wildlife Corridor and other large landscapes throughout the country. #bobcat #pathofthepanther #FloridaWild #KeepFLWild @FL_WildCorridor

Babcock Ranch

More favorites from my 2018 Florida Ranches Calendar. Please see my essay in the Tampa Bay Times (link in bio) about the importance of these lands for saving wild Florida. >> The 2018 Calendar is dedicated to Alto “Bud” Adams, Jr., an iconic figure in both the ranching and environmental communities who died last year. These photos are of the Adams Ranch, which is a priority for protection through Florida Forever and the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program. The Adams Ranch covers more than 40,000 acres throughout Osceola, St. Lucie, Okeechobee and Madison counties. As of 2017, Adams Ranch has put 6,290 acres of its ranching operations in Osceola County, on the south side of pristine Lake Marian, under a conservation easement. With the fourth generation of the Adams family overseeing the operation, Adams Ranch remains committed to preserving natural vegetation and wildlife and its Florida heritage. As Bud Adams has written, “Our planning and preparation is not in years, it is in generations.” Pictured enjoying grapefruit with son, Alto Lee Adams, III, Bud’s legacy is his family and their land, which now depends on public investment by lawmakers to be protected from development that threatens to consume 5 million acres or rural Florida by 2070. #ranch #AdamsRanch #legacy #floridawildlifecorridor @FL_WildCorridor #FloridaWild #KeepFLWild.

Adams Ranch, INC

More favorites from my 2018 Florida Ranches Calendar. Please see my essay in the Tampa Bay Times (link in my bio) about the importance of these lands for saving wild Florida. >> As the sun rises, Blackbeard’s Ranch is gradually bathed in golden light, accentuating the tops of the long leaf pines on the savanna. The 4,500-acre ranch, just north of Myakka River State Park, contributes to an important regional wildlife corridor and is home to burrowing owls, Sherman fox squirrels, swallow-tailed kites, Florida panthers and bears. The ranch protects headwaters of the Myakka watershed, essential to the health of the Charlotte Harbor estuary and Gulf of Mexico. Blackbeard’s Ranch is a working cattle ranch with supplemental sod and timber operations in addition to producing certified wildflower honey. Cowboy David Patton has been running the cow crews for Strickland Ranch and Blackbeard’s Ranch for many years in addition to managing his own ranch. He’s a master at handling cattle and cow dogs. The ranch raises Braford, Brangus and Beefmaster cattle in pastures interspersed with oak hammocks, palms and pines. @fl_wildcorridor @carltonwardgallery @flcattlemen

Manatee County, Florida