Frans Lanting

National Geographic Photographer || Author || Speaker || Creator of images, stories and events to inspire wonder and concern about our living planet.

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Backlighting reveals the soft contours of a valley in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park that used to be covered by glaciers but is now blanketed with trees and glacial lakes. This did not happen as a result of the accelerated climate change we’re witnessing now, but it gives us an idea of the landscape transformation we’re going to witness during our life time across the Arctic. Follow me @FransLanting for more images of our changing planet. 
@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety @leonardodicaprio #Alaska #Arctic #ClimateChange #light


On Sep. 22 we celebrate World Rhino Day — She is massive, armed with horns and protected by thick skin, and yet she is utterly vulnerable. One ear is pointing my way, the other faces backwards. Rhinos make up for not seeing well with a sharp sense of hearing. Her calf is just curious, and has no clue what is facing them. But we know what is happening to them across Africa and Asia. Rhinos are in imminent danger of extinction in the wild. And that is why we need to celebrate World Rhino Day—to draw attention to them and to the people and organizations that are making a difference where it matters, in the hallways of governments and in the front lines of protection on the ground. I hope you will support them so that rhinos will get a fighting chance. Follow me @FransLanting for more stories about rhinos and how you can help.
@natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety @worldrhinoday @wildaid @world_wildlife @SaveTheRhino @lewa_wildlife #wildaid #wild_net #Rhino #WorldRhinoDay #SaveTheRhino #AspinallFoundation #celebrate


The spiny desert of Madagascar is as otherworldly as it appears. More than 90% of all plants that thrive here are found nowhere else on earth—not even in other parts of Madagascar. The striking sights in this unique landscape include the twisted tentacles of the octopus tree, which resembles a cactus but it is not. It is one of the many astonishing examples of Madagascar’s parallel evolution. Lifeforms different in origin may end up looking alike when faced with similar conditions over long periods of time. Follow me @FransLanting for new discoveries from Madagascar.

@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Madagascar #discover #explore #nature #wonder #amazing


Fall colors erupt when plants quit producing chlorophyll as days grow shorter. The yellows and reds we see are stages in this seasonal retreat of life. In the Arctic, the height of fall color comes and goes in a matter of days. In Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, I captured the fleeting nature of this phenomenon by contrasting the peaking colors on the slope in the foreground with those already fading on the opposite side. Follow me @FransLanting for more images of our living planet.

@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety @leonardodicaprio #Alaska #Arctic #ClimateChange #light


An enormous ice arch dwarfs a zodiac with photographers who joined me for an expedition to the east coast of Greenland. That morning we were the first people to witness the aftermath of an event of epic proportions. A glacier that had long dammed a giant lake had melted and collapsed, releasing a massive amount of water into the Atlantic Ocean, adding yet another notch to sea level rise. As we moved upstream, we could see the “bathtub rings” of the former lake high up on the walls of rock and ice. It was sobering to think that this had happened just days before and to see firsthand how rapidly Greenland’s ice cover is melting. Follow me @FransLanting for more stories of our changing planet.
@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety @leonardodicaprio #Greenland #Ice #climatechange #earth #picoftheday #nature #explore


Meltwater carves streams and gathers in lakes on top of a glacier in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. From the air the changing face of ice in the Arctic becomes apparent. Follow me @FransLanting for more images of our changing planet.

@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Alaska #Arctic #Glacier #ClimateChange #WrangellStElias


I played a game of hide-and-seek with this hippo floating in the Congo's Garamba River near the Sudanese border. When he submerged, I moved closer; but when he surfaced with a snort--I held my breath. When you work with big animals up close, it's important to know when to move and when to stay still. Follow me @franslanting for more images of Africa's wildlife.
@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Hippo # Congo #Garamba #wild #power #attitude


Wildebeest are crossing the Mara River in an annual cycle that speaks to the abundance of life on the Serengeti Plains. I share this image in honor of renowned filmmaker Alan Root, who passed away recently at his home in Kenya. Alan led an extraordinary life and during his long and illustrious career he broke new ground time and again, inspiring countless filmmakers and photographers, including me. In the early 1960s Alan worked with Michael Grzimek on the Oscar-winning film “Serengeti Shall Not Die,” which was the first media production to draw international attention to this fabulous ecosystem. Alan later made his own film about the wildebeest migration which he produced, like many others, with his first wife, Joan. Alan never stopped dreaming and scheming. When he was 80 years old, he was making plans to cover the wildebeest migration again, but this time he was determined to follow them on foot. Read Alan’s book “Ivory, Apes and Peacocks” to learn more about this remarkable man and go to YouTube to see his film, “Year of the Wildebeest.” Follow me @FransLanting for more images and stories about the natural world.

@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Serengeti #Africa #Wildebeest #Migration #Inspiration #Wildlifephotography #Explore #Conservation


Photo by @FransLanting A herd of red deer is running through the marshland of the Oostvaardersplassen Reserve in the Netherlands against a backdrop of wind turbines and power lines. The connections between nature and culture--and the conflicts between them-- are everywhere in this densely populated part of the world. I would like to invite all photographers based in the Netherlands or Belgium to submit their best images of nature--and its relevance for humanity-- to be considered for the annual WNF-Frans Lanting Award in Photography. Together with fellow photographers @HumbertoTan, @JasperDoest and other experts we will look for the most interesting submissions. The deadline for sending images is September 6. Go to to learn how to enter. Or click on the link in my Instagram bio above. To my Dutch friends and followers I’d like to say: Doe allemaal mee en laat zien dat ook in Nederland en Belgie natuur nog overal is. Ik kijk uit naar jullie fotos!! Follow me @FransLanting for more images of nature from around the world.
@natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Netherlands #Belgium #Oostvaardersplassen #photography #naturephotography #wildlifephotography #photoaward #creativity #nature #nflmuseum #wnfnederland


Palm trees dot a savanna in southern Madagascar. Once this great island supported an amazing cast of animal characters from pygmy hippos to giant tortoises with lemurs the size of gorillas and flightless elephant birds mixed in. They disappeared after humans colonized Madagascar some two thousand years ago. In many ways Madagascar is a microcosmos of our planet in peril. I’m about to go back there to document changes in our lifetime. Follow me @FransLanting to see what I will find.
@thephotosociety @natgeotravel @natgeocreative #Madagascar #discover #explore #nature #wonder #amazing


A roseate spoonbill bathes by splashing up water with its scarlet wings in a backwater of Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands where I’ve hidden myself in a blind. It was beastly hot and I remember wishing I could have joined that bird for a bath. But in the end the wait was worthwhile. Follow me @FransLanting for more images of wild creatures and wild places around the world.

@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Brazil #Pantanal #wildlife #wildlifephotography #nature #naturelovers #beauty #colors #birdphotographybrazil


Iguaçu Falls, which straddles the border of Brazil and Argentina, is a breathtaking place and rightfully, a World Heritage Site. It attracts millions of visitors from all over the world. Yet this magnificent expression of wild water on a grand scale is vulnerable to the effects of climate change. A few years ago a severe drought impacted the two rivers that feed Iguaçu Falls so severely that the thundering falls were reduced to a trickle for months. The water did rebound, but it’s sobering to contemplate that even the most powerful phenomena in nature may be affected by our collective impact on the planet.

@natgeocreative @thephotosociety @leonardodicaprio #Brazil #Argentina #Iguaçu #Iguazú #Waterfall #Beauty #naturelovers #Wonder #climatechange


photo by @FransLanting Today we got back to the basics of Sun, Moon and Earth. In Central California we did not experience totatility and a dense coastal fog drove us to the highest ridges of the Santa Cruz Mountains before we could see the sun at all. But that benign mist served as a solar filter and made it possible to gaze up into the sky. By aiming my camera through a thicket of trees I managed to interpret the moment when day became night and when Moon turned Sun into a sickle of itself. Follow me @FransLanting for more images of our wondrous planet. @natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #eclipse2017 #wonder #naturelovers #inspire #sun #moon #SantaCruz #MontereyBay


Two orphaned orangutans cling to each other in northern Borneo. Like humans, they need affection and care from their mothers in order to become healthy adults. Orangutans are the last great apes that survive outside of Africa. They live only on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, and they are endangered due to the massive destruction of their forest habitat. Baby orangs are also victims of the illegal pet trade—captured by poachers who kill their mothers to reach them. It is imperative that we protect the forests orangutans depend on to insure that our next of kin on the family tree of life will be with us beyond our lifetime. I welcome you to support the organizations that are in the front lines of protecting them, such as the World Wildlife Fund and Wild Aid. I share this image in honor of World Orangutan Day. Follow me @FransLanting for more images of endangered animals around the world.
@leonardodicaprio @wildaid @worldwildlifefund @natgeo @thephotosociety @natgeotravel @natgeocreative #WorldOrangutanDay #InternationalOrangutanDay #Borneo #Family #Love #Twins #Orphans


Photo by @FransLanting A great egret is foraging for small fish along the edge of a lagoon in the vast wetlands of Brazil’s Pantanal. The last light of the day illuminates its breeding plumage, but the background is already in deep shade, creating a graphic contrast between bird and place. Follow me @FransLanting for more images of wildlife around the world. @thephotosociety @natgeo @natgeocreative #Pantanal #nature #naturelovers #wildlifephotography #nature @beauty #light


A winter sun sets behind leafless baobabs in Madagascar. These “upside-down trees” are associated with Africa, but while the entire continent has only one species, Madagascar is home to six species of baobabs, all of them unique to that great island. I’m excited to go back to Madagascar this September and October with my wife and partner Chris Eckstrom, and we want to recruit a local assistant based in Madagascar to help with photo and video production for portions of that period. We use Sony video cameras, Nikon DSLRs, and DJI drones. If any of you know of someone who is tech-savvy and interested in joining us, please write to [email protected] with a cover letter and credentials.
@natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Madagascar #Baobab #naturephotography #nature


Ferns have been uncurling their fiddleheads for many millions of years. This is one image from our LIFE exhibition currently on display at Cinemec Nijmegen in the Netherlands. Our LIFE project is a lyrical interpretation of the history of life on earth from the Big Bang to the present, expressed through photographs. A film about the making of LIFE is also screened at Cinemec until September 1. "Natuur is overal en begint bij huis." Nature is everywhere and it begins at home. If you are a photographer from the Netherlands or Belgium, I invite you to submit your best images of nature and its relevance for people for the WNF-Frans Lanting Award in photography. The deadline is September 1. Find out more about how you can submit your images at @natgeocreative @thephotosociety @wnf #WNF #PhotoAward #Nature #NaturePhotography #creativity #photography


On World Elephant Day we honor the matriarchs who are lending their strength and passing on their wisdom to the next generation. And we salute the people and organizations dedicated to ensuring there will be a future for these magnificent creatures. Follow me @FransLanting for more images of our living planet. @leonardodicaprio @natgeocreative #respect #dignity #wisdom #mother #elephant #awesome #protection #wild #WildAid #SaveTheElephants #WorldElephantDay


"There is mystery behind that masked gray visage, and ancient life force, delicate and mighty, awesome and enchanted, commanding the silence ordinarily reserved for mountain peaks, great fires, and the sea.”
― Peter Matthiessen, The Tree Where Man Was Born

@thephotosociety @natgeo @natgeocreative #respect #dignity #wisdom #elephant #awesome #wild #WildAid #Wild_Net #SaveTheElephants


It may look like a vision of an alien planet, but it is a scene from planet Earth. Primitive bacteria stain the sides of a geyser with fantastic colors while hot water erupts from deep underground. Scientists believe that this is the kind of extreme environment where life may have begun on earth billions of years ago. This exquisite place is fragile, and it's located on private property not open to the public. I photographed it with special permission from the owners. Thank you for respecting their goal to protect it. Follow me @FransLanting to learn more about the history of life on earth.
@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #amazing #nature #earth #beauty #picoftheday #colors


"Rock gives reality to the otherwise abstract notion of transhuman time." Ed Abbey, writer and earth activist
@thephotosociety @natgeo @natgeotravel @WildernessSociety #monumentsforall #wild #beauty #earth #inspire #nature


Photo by @franslanting This is a small section of one of the most complex rock art sites in the American Southwest. Over a period of thousands of years people carved images and stories into the rocks delivering to us a bewildering mosaic of how they lived with nature. What you do not see in this image is the damage done in more recent times when people vandalized these messages from the past. This site is one of the many precious places administered by the US Federal Bureau of Land Management, which operates its protection programs on a shoe string budget. And now BLM's resources are being shifted from protection to extraction to enable oil and gas deposits to get monetized. If you care about the American legacy of public lands for future generations, please speak up and become part of the conversation. Follow me @franslanting for more coverage of precious places.
@natgeo @natgeotravel @thephotosociety @natgeocreative #MonumentsForAll #beauty #nature #naturelovers #wilderness #America #Conservation


The Waterpocket Fold is a major geologic feature that defines Capitol Reef National Park. It’s a buckle in the earth’s surface where rocks have been pushed up and erosion has cut through the layers. From the air it looks like a giant multicolored gash with crazy zig zag patterns. On the ground you can experience it in the course of a spectacular drive along Route 24. But if you want to find out what it’s named for, you have to get out and hike into the backcountry where shaded rocky hollows can contain precious freshwater well into the dry season. Follow me @FransLanting to see more special places from the Southwest.
@natgeotravel @thephotosociety @natgeocreative #America #explore #naturelovers #beauty #wild


Photo by @FransLanting Here’s another scene from our backpacking trip through the Paria River canyon, one of the most dramatic slot canyons in the Southwest. For this image I put my camera on a tripod and slowed the shutter speed down, which blurred my companions. It created a sense of motion as a counterpoint to the immutability of the landscape. A polarizing filter took glare off the rocks and saturated its colors. Follow me @FransLanting for more images of amazing places and stories about creative photography. @natgeo @natgeotravel @thephotosociety #America #explore #wonder #nature #inspire #creativity #naturephotography


Beyond the National Parks and National Monuments we’re all familiar with, there are scores of other public lands in the USA that are administered by the Department of the Interior. The Bureau of Land Management is charged with looking after many millions of acres of wilderness areas, but it barely has the resources to do so. And that is before the cutbacks that are now being contemplated in Washington, D.C. Here’s one amazing place I discovered while doing an aerial survey of the Colorado Plateau on assignment for @NatGeo. It’s called the San Rafael Swell and it’s located in central Utah. It’s full of shale rock and that means there may be oil and gas deposits underneath the surface. Imagine what this landscape would like with access roads for mineral extraction. Become part of the conversation if you care and check some of the links below and follow me @FransLanting for more coverage of these special places.
@WildernessSociety @thephotosociety @leonardodicaprio #MonumentsForAll #beauty #naturelovers #naturephotography #wilderness #America #Conservation


Since we started posting images and stories on Instagram a year ago, it has been utterly gratifying to Chris Eckstrom and me to receive your responses. It has been heartwarming to learn how many of you share our passion for celebrating the natural world and our concern about keeping our living planet healthy for nature and for ourselves. Yesterday we reached a milestone with our Instagram endeavors when we reached half a million followers. We would like to say thanks to all of you around the world and hope you will stay with us as we continue to explore the world and share our experiences and insights with you.

#gratitude #inspire #nature #naturelovers #explore #earth #celebrate #create @ChristineEckstrom @thephotosociety


Photo by @FransLanting Magic light is what I look for all the time to add an exclamation mark to my images. It can occur at dawn or dusk, when light gives way to shadows or vice versa, but in slot canyons it happens in the middle of the day. Here’s another image from one of those temples of nature. Shafts of light suffused with dust can penetrate deep into a narrow canyon whose sandstone walls are shaped by water over time. Sunlight from high above reflects back and forth between the walls and creates an ethereal luminosity deep down below like a cathedral illuminated through stained glass windows. Follow me @FransLanting for more images of these special places.

@thephotosociety @natgeocreative #beauty #awesome #amazing #colors #nature #picoftheday #earth #light #inspiration


Things got a bit wet and muddy after that flash flood swept through the canyon. Follow me @FransLanting to see more images from this trek.

@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #wild #explore #naturelovers #naturephotography


Where light and darkness meet in nature beauty occurs. This is a scene from Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument in Utah. It is one of the many federally protected landscapes that is now under scrutiny from the current US presidential administration for an unprecedented rollback of its status under pressure from other interests. The American system of preserving large wild landscapes for all generations to come has been an inspiration to every other country on the planet, but now we need to call attention to the forces that aim to darken that light. Resist the attempt to undo decades of progress to protect temples of nature. Add your voice to the conversation if you care. Check the links to find out what you can do. @WildernessSociety #OurWild #SaveOurMonuments #Monumentsforall @leonardodicaprio @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #beauty #wild #naturelovers #naturephotography


Backpacking into a deep canyon in the American Southwest is an otherworldly experience. You feel like you’re getting swallowed up by the earth itself. On this particular trip we got surprised by a flash flood caused by a thunderstorm upstream and we were pinned down on a narrow raised beach watching a raging river carry debris downstream. We had to wait for two days before we could hike out. It's the power of water that shapes this awesome world of rock.
@natgeo @natgeotravel @thephotosociety @natgeocreative #beauty #awesome #amazing #colors #nature #picoftheday #earth