Co-founder of the non-profit @sea_legacy and photojournalist for National Geographic
Happy Sea Otter Awareness Week!! Sea otters are adorable but they are much more important than their looks. They are indicators of a changing ocean. Two years ago, while in Homer Alaska, I photographed dozens of sea otters that slowly died from paralytic shell fish poisoning. 79 died in one month alone. I could post the video here but it would rip your heart out as it did mine while I filmed them slowly dying over the course of minutes and hours. The water warmed over 3.5 degrees F in 2014/2015 and with that slight increase in temperature, many species started to suffer. It is much more than protecting the cute and the cuddly. We must protect entire ecosystems from the microbial life to the megafauna. How do we do that? We must find a way to decrease a global carbon footprint. What are your thoughts? #turningthetide with @sea_legacy #seaotter #climatechangeisreal #bethechange #nature #reduceyourfootprint
Being on the other side of the camera is not important to me. I don't think it comes from a place of insecurity but for me, it is all about celebrating the faces and names of the species who need a voice. But when my friend and fellow photographer takes my photo, I feel compelled to share his talent and gift as an artist. Thanks Ben! Photograph by @ben_moon // Check out his amazing work and incredible backstory. #gratitude #portrait #me #bw #hairymug #thejourney #friendship
There are few animals in nature as mysterious and morphologically unique as the Narwhal. With one long ivory tusk protruding from its upper jaw, this small whale is truly a unicorn of the sea, and finding a “double-tusker” is very rare indeed. This double-tusker was crossing tusks with a narwhal with a single tusk. Although they feed on small prey like cod and squid, narwhals have no teeth inside of their mouths, but rather they have one elongated tooth. A tiny percentage of female narwhal have a tusk. What do you think is one of the coolest and most unique species out there and what makes them unique? All I know is that they are incredibly sensitive to ship traffic noise and we are celebrating the Tallurutiup Immanga/Lancaster Sound Marine Protected Area. For @sea_legacy #narwhal #nature #mysterious #photooftheday #tbt
Beluga whales travel off the coast of Baffin Island, Nunavut. We were fortunate to film over 500 from the air in an estuary last month. Due to the limitations of visibility, we can only see a few at a time from underwater. I dream of water with limitless visibility. Beluga whales have very active echolocation which acts like sonar. While taking this photograph I could hear dozens of beluga whales clicking just outside of the visibility range. I believe that whales like these two are sent out like scouts to investigate this new anomaly in their ocean. For @sea_legacy #fineart #bw #fineartwithpurpose #gratitude #whale #beluga #nature #arctic #explore #dive #abyss #turningthetide
With eyes wide open, they survey their surroundings with trepidation and uncertainty. Cautious in their steps and always following mom, these young cubs of the year find security in one another and prepare for a long journey ahead. #turningthetide with @sea_legacy #gratitude #bear #MPA #Alaska #nature #naturelovers #family
@AdrianGrenier, my @Sea_Legacy team and I accept your challenge to #StopSucking. Now I'm challenging @Starbucks to be a global leader and join the movement! Over 500 million straws are used everyday in just the US! Imagine how many are used per year around the world... 300,400, maybe even 500 BILLION straws! Together, we need to make a change and find an alternative to single-use plastic straws.
I'm also asking each and every one of you to challenge your favorite restaurant, bar or coffee shop to #StopSucking. Add your voice now!
#SeaLegacy | #lonelywhale | #saveouroceans | #joinus
You know that you are in a dream location when you are in the middle of photographing a very relaxed Alaskan brown bear and her two cubs and then out of the corner of your eye, you see a gorgeous white wolf just a few feet away. Amazing things happen when we draw a line around fragile and critical habitat and protect it. With @lnixpix @kyle.roepke and @_tomconlin while on assignment for @sea_legacy. #Follow our work with @sea_legacy as we push for more #MPA ’s. @wolfconservationcenter #turningthetide #wolf #nature #naturelovers #bethechange
This young cub has a lot of eating options. Young cubs like this approximately 6 month old brown bear already has access to a diverse diet. He/she mostly drinks mom’s rich milk but is already eating salmon, plants and even sedge grass as seen in this photograph. With @kyle.roepke and @lnixpix // #bear #nature #respect #gratitude #beauty #young #baby #family #eat
I love this perspective. Especially of a female brown bear and her cub feeding on a pink salmon in Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve. I want people to care about protecting healthy ecosystems and the species who need them to survive. Key to this process is intimate photography and visual story-telling. To see the camera setup that made this moment possible, please go to @natgeo. #OnAssignment for @sea_legacy with @Kyle.roepke and @lnixpix. #grattitude #bear #nature #alaska #adventure #explore #beauty #instaood #picoftheday #photooftheday
Young bears are not nearly as experienced and efficient at catching salmon as older bears. This young bear did a lot of running and a lot less catching in the creeks of Alaska. Older bears just seem to stand there in the best spots and catch fish with precision and strategic strikes. This bear did catch fish but she also burned up a lot of calories in the process as she had to work around the more dominant bears. Next season, she will come back to the same salmon streams a little wiser and a little bigger. For @sea_legacy with @lnixpix @kyle.roepke and @_aquaticadventures #nature #bear #wise #love #beauty
Photographed yesterday while #onassignment for @sea_legacy. I am hearing quite a few people say that I posted a picture of a cute cub while ignoring the fact that big males are truly dangerous to both humans and other bears. We called this huge male Scarface, as he had a large scar across his nose. He was massive and is getting bigger by the minute as he gorges on salmon before his long winter's sleep. He was also the most gentle and calm bear on the salmon feeding grounds. Other bears respected him and gave him space but he fed on salmon next to people and female bears with cubs. I love old, dominant, wise bears like this old fella. Generally, they are calm, confident, and shy. I felt incredibly fortunate that he allowed us to witness his greatness and fishing efficiency. I am sure that this bear would look huge, intimidating and scary in a hunters scope from 200 yards away. At 10 yards away I could hear his breathing, see the detail in his fur, hear the crunching of salmon and peacefully look into his eyes. I doubt that there are many hunters who could pull the trigger after getting to know such a powerful and beautiful animal. #respect #bear #gratitude #misunderstood #bethechange #mpa
#onassignment for @sea_legacy // Just back from a week of filming brown bears in Alaska. I have seen perhaps over a thousand grizzly bears throughout my years as a photographer/biologist, but I have never seen so many brown bears in such close proximity. There is so much talk of these vicious predators. If you go into a bookstore, almost all of the titles about grizzlies is how we live in fear of these vicious beasts. I believe we take this stance with grizzly bears so we can justify killing them. In Alaska, up to 2000 grizzly bears are killed every year. Most of those are taken as trophies. In British Columbia, 250 bears are taken for trophy every year. Which brings us to a very sensitive topic that needs much discussion.
There is no way to discuss trophy hunting without evoking highly-emotional feelings. For some of us, the idea of killing large apex predators like a grizzly bear for the sake of bragging is incomprehensible, but there are others who argue trophy hunting can be a tool for conservation. Some claim that the livelihood of remote communities depends on trophy hunting to pay the rent. Regardless of your personal feelings about it, this topic is worth discussing. @TrophytheFilm delves deep into the world of trophy hunters and the grizzly bear hunt. I'm looking forward to seeing it.
For me, this is a moral issue and we do not have the right to kill or take the life of another species just to make a buck or hang on our wall. I expect much opposition to this post and that is a good thing. Keep the conversation going. #nature #bear #wildlife #nature #whydowekill #debate
Occasionally, @natgeocreative chooses photos from @natgeo photographers to offer as affordable prints. I am honoured to be featured alongside these photographers. There's so much talent on the Nat Geo roster.
From now until September 16th at Midnight EST, purchase prints from the world's best photographers for only $100 USD. Visit NGCreativeFlashSale.com (link in bio) for more details.
Within mere days, the fragile, abundant and beautiful fjords of Northern Norway are in danger of a policy change that will open them up to oil drilling. I believe it is my obligation to make others aware of the risks and the species that will be affected. Species like this majestic humpback whale and the herring it feeds on, but also orcas, sperm whales, and Atlantic cod, plus the world's largest cold water reef.
All of this stands to be severely impacted by man's quest to add to the current global oversupply of oil. So many people left powerful comments earlier in the week; THANK YOU!!!! For those who still want to lend your voice, please leave a comment below and mention both Norwegian Prime Minister candidates @jonasgahrs and @erna_solberg, asking them to leave the oil in the ground. For more information, join our efforts to halt this proposal (link in bio). Join @Sea_Legacy and lend your voice. #Turningthetide #LofotenForever #oilfree #fossilfree #LoVeSe #Lofoten #oilintheground
I can tell you from personal experience that a moment like this can change your life. When a large male orca decides to approach within three feet, something inside of you changes. Not only do you feel deep humility and gratitude but you also become incredibly connected to that animal and ecosystem. So when I hear that there is a push to open up the incredibly fragile, abundant and beautiful fjords of Northern Norway to oil drilling, it is my obligation make others aware of the risks and the species that will be affected. Species like orcas, sperm whales, humpback whales, herring and Atlantic cod all stand to be severely impacted by man's quest to add to the current global oversupply of oil. So many people left powerful comments earlier in the week; THANK YOU!!!! For those who still want to lend your voice, please leave a comment below and mention both Norwegian Prime Minister candidates @jonasgahrs and @erna_solberg, asking them to leave the oil in the ground. For more information, join our efforts to halt this proposal (link in bio). Join @Sea_Legacy and lend your voice. Music by @adamnriddle #Turningthetide #LofotenForever #oilfree #fossilfree #LoVeSe #Lofoten #oilintheground
In the nutrient rich waters of Antarctica, a humpback whale decided to give me a close inspection. Usually, whales like this do a quick flyby, but this one kept coming back for more. After it carefully studied me with its large eye, it then began to gently lift me up on its pectoral fin. #follow our efforts at @sea_legacy and @natgeopristineseas to create a Marine Protected Area in this area to give this whole ecosystem the protection it deserves. #grateful With @cristinamittermeier #ShaneMoore @ladzinski @craigwelch @pattersonimages @pattersonimages @Andy_Mann @ianvaso #humbling #beautiful #whale #gratitude
Thank you, everyone,for your incredible comments about protecting Lofoten from oil drilling. Orcas and the sea have given me so much, and I am going to do everything in my power to return the favor. This clip of a large male orca approaching me in Norway is from my good friend, @goranehlme. With @cristinamittermeier. Join @sea_legacy and help in #Turningthetide on the protection of fragile ecosystems. #nature #orca #love #whale #makeadifference #bethechange
A large family group of orcas cruise the shallow waters of Lofoten in northern Norway in search of herring. On one occasion we witnessed several hundred orcas and over 100 humpback whales in one fjord during an unforgettable evening. Unbelievably, these fjords are under threat as the Norwegian government is planning to open these areas for oil drilling. The oil industry has been battling for control over this region for the past 20 years without success, but with new elections, both political parties are talking about it. It goes without saying that this would devastate the area, its local communities, its delicate ecosystem, and its unparalleled beauty.
Negotiations to open the area for drilling start after the 11th of September. We urgently need your help to protect it. Please leave a comment below and mention both Norwegian Prime Minister candidates @jonasgahrs and @erna_solberg, asking them to leave the oil in the ground. For more information, join our efforts to halt this proposal (link in bio). Join @Sea_Legacy and lend your voice. #Turningthetide #LofotenForever #oilfree #fossilfree #LoVeSe #Lofoten #oilintheground
As we approach Vancouver airport, we look down from 36,000 feet on rivers of smoke flowing through the Rocky Mountains. After nearly a month of filming around Baffin Island and Lancaster Sound, Nunavut, we cannot wait to share our efforts with you. #follow us on @sea_legacy as we ramp up our conservation efforts. With @cristinamittermeier @eyosexpeditions derekrushton_ @kyle.roepke @steinretzlaf @justinhofman @erichroepke and the whole crew of the #Archimedes. The whole team rocks! #gratitude #nature #mountains #fineartwithpurpose #adventure #iphone #beauty
The magic of spending time with narwhals is difficult to describe. Please follow our efforts with @sea_legacy in celebrating the newly announced Tallurutiup Imanga #MarineConservationArea in Lancaster Sound. There is much work to be done. @justinpjtrudeau #gratitude #unicornsofthesea #nature #naturelovers #instagood #beauty #whale #unicorn #love #beauty
Through the murky water off the coast of Baffin Island, I stared in disbelief as an immense bowhead whale approached me. Initially, my @sea_legacy team in the boat was yelling at me to look left because they could see her tail under the boat. What they did not realize is that at approximately 60 feet away I was staring at her white chin at the same moment. I have seen a lot of bowheads underwater, but this one seemed like a submarine and literally took my breath away as she endlessly and calmly passed by. Next to the blue whale, they are the second heaviest whale species living on Earth. My clip is not great as I was too busy watching her in awe. All I know is that oil exploration would have a major impact on the movements of this species. With @cristinamittermeier @derekrushton_ @steinretzlaff @kyle.roepke #archimedescrew @justinhofman #nature #gratitude #whale #video #instagood
Bowhead whales are one of my favorite animals. They live to over 200 years old and they are curious on occasion like this whale that approached me at the ice edge along the North coast of Baffin Island. I will never forget how it tried to push me with its chin. Humbling, peacefully intense, powerful, and beautiful are words that come to mind. I cannot wait to share our latest bowhead whale images and video that we just captured while on assignment for @sea_legacy in the Canadian Arctic. Thank you for all of your hard work. I love our team. #gratitude With @cristinamittermeier @eyosexpeditions @justinhofman @derekrushton_ @kyle.roepke @steinretzlaff. A huge thank you to our new family on board the #Archimedes. You are all part of the @Sea_legacy movement! So much work ahead. @Victorialeedennis @Sasahenkel @Cari.childers @Ccasson3 @Max__haynes @Super.yacht.chef. @Puravida89 @Lets_go_barefoot @Fistfulofsanddollars @Shem_mitchell @Mj_coleman88 @Barbarossavich @Sieshells @Big_v_mosh
We all love anthropomorphic moments of wildlife. She is not waving but is in fact taking a good long stretch after waiting motionless next to a seal hole for two hours. #TurningTheTide with the @Sea_Legacy team off the coast of Baffin Island.
#arctic | #polarbear | #protect | #mca | #ice | #conserve
There are few things in life as beautiful as hundreds of beluga whales swimming in shallow water estuaries with their newborn calves. We are here to celebrate the recent creation of the Lancaster Sound / Tallurutiup Imanga Marine Conservation Area. These estuaries are where 20% of the world's belugas migrate through and use as nurseries. Thank you @justinpjtrudeau for helping protect these important ecosystems. @sea_legacy @cristinamittermeier
#TurningTheTide with @sea_legacy #mpa #whale #ocean #nature #conserve #protect #aerial #underwater #photography #naturephotography #ocean #polar #baby #beluga #whale
Happy Whale Shark day everyone! I captured this photo while in the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. These massive sharks are some of the most docile sharks that exist and yet, they have had about a 50% decline in global population over the last 75 years. As the largest fish in the ocean, they rely on small animals such as plankton and by consequence, they are threatened by commercial fishing and vessel strikes. I can't wait to swim with these majestic fish again!
#TurningTheTide with @sea_legacy #whaleshark #ocean #nature #protect #conserve
A glacier recedes high above the shoreline where it once calved icebergs. The vast majority, (some say over 99 percent) of all glaciers are receding, releasing increasing amounts of freshwater into the sea. @sea_legacy #turningthetide #nature #climatechangeisreal. With @steinretzlaff and @cristinamittermeier
Would you think that this polar ecosystem is void of life because of the 30°F water? Well, yesterday we did a dive near Pond Inlet, Baffin Island and we were absolutely blown away by the density of life, colour, and diversity of species living in this water column. Follow us on @sea_legacy as we continue to shine a light on this critical habitat. As our teammate @fistfulofsanddollars says "keep your friends close and your anemones closer." With @cristinamittermeier #nature #mca #mpa #naturelovers #dive