The beautiful Aurora Borealis (northern lights) appeared overhead the other night as we were cruising on an expedition ship in a remote fjord in western Greenland. It’s always a treat to see this beautiful, otherworldly display. The show was mesmerizing, as the lights danced all over the sky. What’s particularly interesting about these images is that we were on a moving ship, so these are shot handheld. A tripod would have been useless, as it would have transferred the engine rumble to the camera. I didn’t think I’d come away with much, as you usually need a long exposure and a tripod to capture this spectacle. But pushing the iso up into the 6400 range, with a wide, fast lens, and a half second shutter speed, I walked away with some keepers. My hit rate was maybe one out of thirty, but that’s good enough for an otherwise impossible situation. It just goes to prove, today’s cameras and lenses are pretty incredible pieces of equipment that can handle extreme situations. @natgeo@natgeocreative@natgeofineart#onassignment@natgeoexpeditions#NationalGeographicExplorer#Greenland#Aurora
Tomorrow I am headed back on assignment to a very beautiful place, and I am excited. Greenland is the largest island in the world (not counting Australia or Antarctica, which are continents), yet is one of the least densely populated places in the world. Translation: there’s a whole lot of ice and more muskox, walrus, and reindeer than people. In fact, the largest national park in the world (the Northeast Greenland National Park) resides in Greenland (this park is bigger than all but twenty nine countries in the world!). Suffice to say, the scale of Greenland is hard to wrap one’s head around. I’ll be on the west side, near the Ilulissat Icefjord (where this shot was taken a few years ago). I’m praying for more beautiful sunsets behind sculpted icebergs. #onassignment@natgeocreative@natgeo@natgeofineart@natgeoexpeditions#NationalGeographicExplorer#greenland
I remember this feeling so well. I had never been in a hot air balloon before, and to be frank, I am not a huge fan of heights. But I am so glad I chose to go up in it because it was one of the most peaceful, beautiful experiences I’ve had. Floating silently above the earth under a balloon, seeing it from a new dimension, reminded me of what I love about scuba diving: that feeling of being part of another layer of this earth, if only for a brief while. Perspective is everything, and opportunities to expand ones world view should never pass undone......whether walking a mile in another one’s shoes, swimming a mile in another one’s fins, or flying a mile on another one’s wings. And of course, the dry desert of southern Namibia is a great place to spread ones wings. On a side note, those mysterious circles dotting the desert are called fairy circles. To this day, the origins of these strange formations haven’t been fully explained (as far as I know). Perhaps it really is fairies that create them. @natgeo@natgeocreative@natgeofineart#onassignment
The road winds on. This shot is from a recent assignment in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Ever since I first set eyes on this park, I knew it was a special one. It has everything..great wildlife, amazing hiking, beautiful layered views around every bend, interesting early settler history, and of course, great driving roads. I love these old, rocky viaducts covered in vines along the road to Cades Cove. Shot with my favorite camera: the Fujifilm GFX 50S medium format beast. #onassignment@natgeocreative@fujifilmUS@fujifilmx_us#fujifilmx_us@natgeo#love@natgeofineart
The shark whisperer. It’s not often you meet someone who has a friendship and a trust built up with sharks. But on Fakarava atoll, in the Tuamotu group of islands in French Polynesia, I found just such a person. The nurse sharks here knew him, and could lie for an hour or more while he gently stroked their head and talked to them. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he brought them fish scraps from the local fisherman as well. But beyond the need for food, these sharks truly seemed to want to be near him...to gain his caress and huddle in his shadow. It was quite an amazing sight. Perhaps we have it all wrong...maybe sharks are just the canines of the ocean. #onassignment@natgeo@natgeocreative#ngexpeditions@natgeoexpeditions@natgeofineart#frenchpolynesia
I love scuba diving. The feeling of being weightless, deep down in another world, is so amazing. And the more I do it, the more addicted to it I become. On my recent assignment to French Polynesia, I ended up diving almost every day. It was pure bliss. Normally, I love just exploring the underwater world...spotting colorful fish and other interesting creatures among the coral formations and overhangs. But one dive in French Polynesia changed me forever: when I dove with 6 different species of sharks (including the massive tiger shark)! Now, all I want to do is dive with sharks and watch them gracefully swim. I have a bit of a shark obsession, to put it mildly. On a side note, today is the last day to get 20% our beautiful national parks coffee table book! We are giving this discount in celebration of the 102nd birthday of the US National Parks. Just enter “NPS102” at check out. Link in bio. 🙏
Grand Teton National Park is, without a doubt, one my of my favorite places in the world. The sheer natural beauty of the mountains, as reflected in the Snake River, is one of the great views in all of the national park system. This morning, at Oxbow Bend, was a sunrise to remember. Anytime you go to Oxbow Bend it will be crowded with photographers trying to capture this famous view. But @istefpayne and I were there at the height of fall foliage during our 2016 expedition to visit all of the national parks, and there were even more photographers than usual. But what unfolded before our eyes, as the sun started to rise, the dramatic colors in the sky complementing the colors on the ground, took our breath away. Please join me in wishing a happy 102nd birthday to the @nationalparkservice !! Thank you for taking care of our treasured lands. 🙏 In celebration, we are offering 20% off our beautiful national parks coffee table book. Use code “NPS102” at checkout. Sale ends Sunday at midnight pacific time. Link in bio.
In order to get a different view of this beautiful island of Moorea in French Polynesia, I took the drone (DJI Mavic Pro) for an early morning flight. The views were phenomenal looking back at the island from out over the ocean, hovering about 400 feet above the water. These little drones can so easily get views of places where before it would have taken a lot of expense and coordination to rent a helicopter or airplane. And @djiglobal just announced the new Mavic Pro 2, with a 20mp Hasselblad camera. Giddy up! #shutupandtakemymoney#onassignment@natgeo@natgeocreative#ngexpeditions@natgeoexpeditions@natgeofineart