Of all of the species i have spent time in the sea, pinnipeds have provided the most laughs. i have been diving with these sea lions for many years, and it is an experience that is tough to beat. all i know is that it is challenging to photograph when your mask is full of water from laughing so hard. thank you @instagram for giving us a shout-out today! #follow us on @sea_legacy as we use the power of visual storytelling to celebrate and protect this beautiful british columbia coast.
A large male polar bear noshes on some bearded seal ribs. judging by the size of the remaining carcass, this seal may have weighed up to 600 pounds. to thrive in the planet's harshest environments, polar bears need to eat as much as they can to support themselves with energy and f*t reserves as kills like this come rarely. #turningthetide with @sea_legacy
Just returning to vancouver after a wonderful two days in #dubai where we attended the @hipaae photography awards. very happy that my friend and secretary general of the competition @ali_bin_thalith who is a great underwater photographer and an even finer human presented me with these two awards. my carry-on is a little heavy. never got the grand prize but received a first place for my body of work on climate change and a second place for a decisive moment of a leaping penguin. i also had a wonderful day with the the crown prince of #dubai@faz3. the photo contest is his and he lives a life with purpose. he cares about photography and our oceans and i am proud that one of my narwhal fine art prints hangs on his wall. it was a nice break and a nice accolade but there is much work to do. #turningthetide with @sea_legacy#gratitude#nature
Antarctica feeds my soul, senses, and camera more than any other place on earth. it is all about the wildlife, the encounters, and the experiences. in 2006, i had my first encounter with the supposedly fearsome leopard seal. on that expedition, a huge leopard seal took me under her care for four days and constantly tried to feed me penguins. i have been in the water with hundreds of leopard seals since and i have never known the leopard seal to be anything other than inquisitive, intelligent, playful, curious, gentle and an incredibly cool top predator of icy seas. they always make me laugh and smile just as this one did when it struck this pose. when you look at elephant seals, fur seals, and crab-eater seals, they are covered in scars and bite marks from their constant quarrels. when you look at leopard seals, it is rare to find a bite mark or scar on their bodies. they mostly communicate through gesture and display. they don’t want to bite, and they don’t want to be bitten. just as @goranehlme showed me the way of the leopard seal in 2006, i felt honored to be able to show the leopard seal to @cristinamittermeier, @andy_mann and @ladzinski. please follow @sea_legacy to see more photographs like these from our extremely talented collective and help us to continue #turningthetide.
A caribou races across the tundra in the high arctic. with climate change, one of the biggest threats to caribou is the explosion of mosquito populations. the swarms of mosquitoes get into their eyes, ears, and nose and are such a nuisance that they have a hard time eating. i have been able to walk right up to caribou that have gone crazy due to mosquitoes.
I watched this bear from my kayak while hiding behind a chunk of sea ice for a long time and he never realized that i was there. these are often my favorite encounters. i want to be a ghost or a fly on the wall and not interfere with wildlife while they do wild and natural things. with @jedweingarten.
Some wildlife portraits are just meant for instagram. as i entered the temperate waters in the northwest corner of the falkland islands, hundreds of fur seals raced passed me, playfully bluff charging, blowing bubbles in my face and chewing on my fins. then, this juvenile casually and calmly descended from the surface and parked itself in front of my camera and stared at its reflection in my dome. with @cristinamittermeier and @sea_legacy.
Warm water currents travel up the coast and mix with the cold nutrient rich waters of bc providing the perfect soup to sustain and nourish a large biodiversity of life. here, northern right whale dolphins effortlessly glide through the cold waters. this species uniquely does not possess a dorsal fin. with @cristinamittermeier, @sea_legacy, @aprilbencze and @oren.lawson.
An incredibly impressive male walrus in svalbard, norway flicks his three foot long ivory tusks skyward as he flops onto his back for a more comfortable sleeping position. i love trying to elevate the image of these species by photographing them from a low angle.
Narwhals jockey for position and gently cross tusks as they push for a breath of air. they are diving under the sea ice in an attempt to access the thick schools of polar cod. soon after taking this image, i slipped into the water and was caught in the middle of two courting male narwhal. one narwhal never realized that i was there and started to rub my neoprene clad head with its tusk. i am comfortable in saying that i am the only person on the planet who has found themselves in this position.
There are all types of leadership in this world and then there are those who just throw caution to the polar wind and charge. with leopard seals constantly patrolling this rookery, it takes incredible courage to leap off of an icy cliff into cold antarctic waters full of predators. but, they have no choice as they need to bring back krill to their hungry chicks. what penguin would you be? #leadership#adventure#explore#bw
Sometimes all it takes is a little leadership to get past that next hurdle. adelie penguins huddle together at the shoreline, nervous of the journey ahead as leopard seals lurk just offshore. once one penguin goes, the rest will follow and working as a group is always their best strategy as it creates confusion for the seal. i am super excited to speak to 2800 people tomorrow night in salt lake city as part of the wasatch speaker series. have to pinch myself that names like dr. sanjay gupta, vp joe biden, cpt. scott kelly and dr. jane goodall are all part of this same series. can’t wait!!! #turningthetide with @sea_legacy#fishoutofwater#smartpenguins#antarctica#nature#naturelovers
We’ve had some big wins lately, including the ban on grizzly bear hunting in bc late last year. this image of two grizzly cubs playing behind their mother was taken in bc’s khutzeymateen inlet by my friend david duchemin. david is a beautiful soul with a great eye and he is a dedicated educator of photography so be sure to learn from him. and he cares. he’s the newest member of the @sealegacy board of directors. thanks, david! if you want a hit of inspiration or you want to learn to be a stronger, deeper photographer, give him a follow at @davidduchemin#grizzlybears#conservation#sealegacy
On this #worldwidlifeday, i want to emphasize that we share this planet with so many animals and outstanding ecosystems. it is our obligation to preserve our wildlife and keep our planet wild. in the strait of georgia, british columbia, thousands of steller sea lions migrate to the #salishsea to feed on spawning herring. last week i dove with approximately 50 of these exuberant animals, who mobbed me and playfully started to bite me and my gear. it is always a pleasure being able to dive with an animal who is just as enthusiastically curious and intimately engaging. my and @sea_legacy’s ultimate goal is to ensure conservation impact so that we can continue to celebrate our incredible wildlife for generations to come. #shotonred@reddigitalcinema
Today national geographic has announced that my partner, @cristinamittermeier and i have been recognized as one of the adventurers of the year. it is a tremendous honor. for the past 25 years, cristina and i have followed our hearts and tirelessly traveled to places where we can lend our voice to the issues and projects we believe in. we want to celebrate the beauty of our planet and continue to break down the walls of apathy to promote lasting change. we encourage you all to follow your heart and find purpose in your journeys. our work is not possible without our incredible team at @sea_legacy. on behalf of @cristinamittermeier and myself, we thank you for supporting our missions. #turningthetide - shots by @paulnicklen @andy_mann, @ladzinski, @pattersonimages, and shane moore.
Today’s post is about gratitude. i always say that on my deathbed, i am not going to be surrounded by covers of magazines or awards but rather friends, family and memories from a lifetime spent in nature. most of all, i want to know that we made a massive difference, broke down the walls of apathy, started a cultural shift for our planet, had major impact, drove change and left a legacy. you are all helping make this a reality.
we are incredibly grateful for the support that continues to pour in for @sea_legacy. it keeps our office growing and keeps our team in the field. we need to be on the front lines of the biggest issues facing our planet everyday and as you can imagine, field work is incredibly expensive. we cannot fund the major expeditions yet but we are getting there. if you ever want to fund a major expedition and join, let me know.
i am incredibly grateful for moments like this where a humpback whale would not leave me alone for over an hour in antarctica. i was trying to film leopard seals and this curious leviathan decided to play with me. these moments will stay with me forever. we will strive to help create a marine protected area for this whale and all species who call antarctica home. i am grateful for all of the talented people i have had the pleasure of working with over the past 30 years. what a journey it has been.
and, finally, i am very grateful for all of you who not only like pictures but who weigh in and have a voice on issues such as marine protected areas, global fisheries, climate change and solutions for the future.
we have a lot of work ahead of us.
and, finally, i will be in the @paulnicklengallery this saturday (march 3rd) at 347 west broadway, nyc and look forward to meeting you in person. please pop in and introduce yourself.
#turningthetide with @sea_legacy
As the world debates whether climate change is real or not and if we face yet another potential extinction of a species listed as “vulnerable” with the iucn, my team is revisiting some painful encounters in the field with polar bears. it is heart-wrenching images like these that break down the walls of apathy and inspire action.
it was in this moment that i realized how critical it is for us to stand up for these animals and be their voice. at this moment, three years ago, @sea_legacy was born. on this #internationalpolarbearday, it is fun to celebrate this charismatic species but we must address the major threats to their future. we all need to do more so please join @sea_legacy as we continue to connect the world to our ailing marine ecosystems.
Happy #internationalpolarbearday! a flurry of snow rapidly covers the seascape as a mother polar bear plays with her young 4-month old cubs. in order to feed herself and her two growing cubs, she must be an efficient hunter. after a successful seal hunt, her cubs nuzzle and play with her and she patiently endures their affections. as we reach the lowest extent of sea ice in recorded history due to human induced climate change, we need to realize that the success of this entire ecosystem depends on us controlling our carbon footprint. please join @sea_legacy as we are #turningthetide to shine a light on these changing ecosystems.
Breaking news: approximately 30,000 litres (8000 gallons) of fuel spilled into the strait of georgia, located off the coast of british columbia by hmcs calgary. the hcms calgary, a vessel of the royal navy, was conducting a fuel transfer when fuel was spilled into the #salishsea. on the salish sea, 8 knots of ocean current will push this fuel up and down the coast within hours, making it difficult to locate the spill. with the herring season rapidly approaching, this spill is just another one of the many major threats the salish sea is currently facing. we not only call the salish sea home, but it is also one of the most abundantly diverse ecosystems on the planet. it is our responsibility at @sea_legacy to speak out against industries exploiting a healthy environment, such as @liberalca's push for the #kindermorgan pipeline. a healthy coast is essential to 40,000 jobs and over 3000 species of wildlife.