Cristina Mittermeier

Photographer / Speaker / Explorer & Contributor to National Geographic / Co-founder of @sea_legacy / SonyArtisan / NatGeoCreative / Founder of iLCP

877 posts 718,176 followers 6,850 following

For today’s photo of “interesting stuff people wear on their head” I chose this old photo of woman dressed for a festival. In addition to wearing a beautiful necklace adorned with multiple cowrie shells that must have been traded with other tribes from the lowlands, she is wearing a hat made from hand-woven mesh tied together with reeds. These are also covered in colourful fibres and adorned with bird feathers and tufts of fur from the arboreal marsupial known as couscous.

#beauty @NatGeoCreative @The_Explorers_Club @ThePhotoSociety #culture #hat #headgear #interesting #portaitphotography #filmphotography


On “interesting stuff people wear on their heads” we go to the remote Province of Yunnan in China, where Tibetan ethnic minorities are barely holding on to their traditions. Here, a boy wears a beautiful hat made with the fur of a wolf or fox. I made this photograph with a film camera, and I wish I could go back to photograph these beautiful people again.
Thanks @jenniloweanker for the caption correction! #notayak
#stuffpeoplewearontheirhead #beauty @NatGeoCreative @The_Explorers_Club @ThePhotoSociety #culture #hat #headgear


Today, on “interesting stuff people wear on their heads” we have a Kayapó elder wearing a beautiful headdress made with the feathers of Amazonian parrots and macaws. Only the men wear these headdresses, and in order to make them, people keep parrots as pets and they routinely pluck their feathers.
#stuffpeoplewearontheirhead #beauty @NatGeoCreative @The_Explorers_Club @ThePhotoSociety #culture #hat #headgear @kayapoproject



I am editing images for a new book that will be published by TeNeus later this year. As I am going through my images, I am finding so many photos of people wearing interesting stuff on their head. Here we see a man from the highlands of Papua New Guinea wearing a headdress made of natural fibres and adorned with wild boar tusks and the feathers of the cassowary; a large ostrich-like bird only found in New Guinea and Queensland. Interestingly, he also has cowry shells, which would come from the ocean. That means he probably traded for those shells with people from the lowlands.

#stuffpeoplewearontheirhead #beauty @NatGeoCreative @The_Explorers_Club @ThePhotoSociety #culture #hat #headgear


Photo by @cynthiahaynes //
I have long admired the vision and courage that my friend Cynthia brings to her photography. She creates ethereal and dreamy images that I find incredibly beautiful and artistic. If I am honest, I have to admit I really envy her style (in the most loving sense). This is a quote that best exemplifies her work and her spirit: "She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs. 'Time' for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water. She belongs to no man and no city.” ~ Roman Payne.
#follow @cynthiahaynes to see more of her lovely images from around the world.
#friend #inspired #women #courage #brave #beauty #art #fineartphotography #cancersurvivor


See if you can guess what he is using as body paint? Some of you may be too young to know what “white out” was used for, but in the old days, an error made on a typewriter was fixed with this white ink. Seen here creatively used as body paint to prepare for a festival or sing sing.



The face of a Papuan highlander, framed by a headdress made of tree bark, shells, bird of paradise feathers and body paint, looks at my camera and his eyes tell me: I am not “the others”, I am just like you. That’s what I want to say with my photographs: even though we look different, we are all the same.

#human #nature #peace #beauty #love #instagood #picoftheday


One of the best days I have had working with wildlife was on this day, when we spent hours watching a mother lioness taking care of her two cubs. It was so much fun to watch these little ones play and spar with each other as she tried to nap. It reminded me of how much fun it is to be a mom.
#nature #love #instagood #motherhood #wildlife


How lucky am I to share my life and work with someone who is as passionate about nature, the ocean and photography as I am? @paulnicklen is my #valentine every day! #on assignment for @natgeo.
Together we are #TurningtheTide with
@Sea_Legacy, the organization we built to make our dream of saving the ocean, a reality! Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

#love #nature #togetherforlife #yesweareanitem



Look closely. This baby elephant lost his tail to a predator attack. Mother nature is neither cruel nor kind…it is just the way things go. I take comfort knowing that its mother would give her life to protect her calf! We spent an awesome morning following this pair as they strolled across the African savannah.

#TurningtheTide with @Sea_Legacy @PaulNicklen @LiannaNixon @ericnixonphoto @judithnovia

#Love #valentines #happyvalentine #adventure #nature #baby #elephant


What do you think is wrong with this penguin? We spent a month in Antarctica #onassignment for @natgeo and it was not until the second week that I realized we had not seen snow once. Every day, however, we experienced several hours of incessant rain. As temperatures warm in Antarctica, the weather regime is changing from snow to rain. In the past, the penguin colony would be covered in snow but now, it is a large, muddy mess. Baby penguins are covered in fluffy down and they can easily preen themselves when it snows. When they get muddy and wet, however their down loses its insulation ability and as temperatures drop at night, they become hypothermic and die.

As the debate on weather or not to protect the Antarctic Peninsula starts to play out, I hope that the members of the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), who will be voting on this issue are inspired to protect it for all humanity.

#Follow the conversation at @Sea_legacy
#Australia #Argentina #Belgium #Brazil #Chile #China #EuropeanUnion #France #Germany #India #Italy #Japan #RepKorea #Namibia #NewZealand #Norway #Poland #Russia #SouthAfrica #Spain #Sweden #Ukraine #UnitedKingdom #USA #Uruguay #ccamlr2018


I am lonely! is what this little guy seemed to be saying as the "March of the Penguins”goes by and completely ignored him. This baby elephant seal or “weaner” weighed around 40 kg at birth and was weaned after just 24 days, by which time he probably weighed over 120 kg. Once weaned, the mom goes back to sea and leaves the weaner to fend for itself. Needless to say, these babies get lonely and approach anything and anyone who can keep them company.
#TurningtheTide with @PaulNicklen and @Sea_Legacy



Some of the best moments in my photographic career have been spent playing with children. Regardless of race, language or religion, children tend to have a keen curiosity and a playful disposition. How I wish that all kids felt safe and happy in this rapidly changing world! I waded in my work clothes into the river to photograph this playful bunch and they were immensely amused by my wet clothes. Children in the Amazon are like fish, and they often learn to swim as soon as they learn to walk.
#TurningtheTide with @Sea_Legacy @NatGeoCreative @The_Explorers_Club #ThePhotoSociety


@aprilbencze is a young photographer I have mentored on-and-off over the years. She is passionate about nature and conservation and uses her camera and her words to share the urgency to act. She writes: "Here, fish gather and hold in the thousands despite everything that has been thrown at them. Despite the cement poured high upon the riverbanks, into the riverbed, every year a little more, casting dark shadows of an industrial cancer growing on the planet, taking wilderness hostage in broad daylight. Between the cracks in the concrete the fish return for now, like wildflowers striking yellow between the slabs of a sidewalk. These fish show me what resiliency looks like. It is this resiliency which has me immersed in the movement to safeguard wild salmon from open net pen fish farms that threaten the very existence of these fish via disease and sea lice transmission from farmed foreign Atlantic salmon to wild Pacific salmon. Now it seems as though conservation photography is needed more than ever to remind us all of why wild lives and wild places matter.” #follow at @aprilbencze to find inspiration in her talent and courage
#beauty #nature #salmon #conserve #wild #women #mentor


This Southern Ground Hornbill made me laugh. I watched him as he walked across the wet savannah hoarding frogs in its beak. Every few steps he would stop, gobble up a bug and then get back to his frogs. After a while i figured out he was taking his leggy loot to his nest. Under the heavy rains of the African winter, his mate followed close behind and together they disappeared into the forest.
#TurningtheTide with @sea_legacy @PaulNicklen @ericnixonphoto @LiannaNixon #eyelashes @dexkotze



Photo by @ClareFieseler // This week I am celebrating the young women I have had a chance to mentor in photography and conservation. Through our mentorship program for @NatGeo the super driven and talented @ClareFieseler (an aspiring photographer and doctoral student) and I have been working on a project about gender equality in fisheries. Her caption for this photo reads" "A French biologist collects bait fish at dusk from a dock in Panama. Working in this part of the world is what first got me interested in the lives of women who fish. Every morning, around this same dock, I saw indigenous women fishing from canoes — often with their babies in tow. This dock in Panama was the first place I began to think more deeply about women who work the water. What is their experience, this impact, and their decision making power? Like @cristinamittermeier, it’s an area I am increasingly interested in as a photojournalist and as an ocean citizen.
#follow @clarefieseler to see more of her work.
#TurningTheTide with @sea_legacy
#mentor #ocean #fisherwomen #equality #women #science


A fisherman from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu spends time mending his nets, while a month-long fishing ban takes place. More than a chance for stocks to recover, the ban is meant to provide an equal chance for fishermen with no engines to compete for limited resources with those who have mechanized trawlers. In the end the story is much simpler than that: there are too few fish for too many fishermen.

#TurningtheTide with @Sea_Legacy

#ocean #fish #environment #conservation


A sea nettle, beautiful and deadly at the same time, sinks into the depths of the Salish Sea. I follow it only as far as the air in my lungs allows and then I watch it slip away, hauntingly, into the dark.
#turningthetide with @sea_legacy
@natgeocreative @thephotosociety



A rockhopper penguin stretches its wings as it makes its way through a large penguin and albatross colony on Steeple Jason, the westernmost island on the Falkland/Malvinas Islands archipelago. Since the island was protected in the 1980s, wildlife has made an amazing comeback. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of albatross and penguins nesting on this island. A true conservation success story.

#TurningtheTide with @Sea_Legacy and @NatGeo and @TheWCS. @NatGeoCreative @thephotosociety #malvinas


A playful fur seal plays “hide-and-seek" with me, as I navigate a maze of kelp fronds in the cold waters off the Falkland/Malvinas Islands. This remote archipelago, composed of over 700 islands, was once the site of a brutal war. Today, it is home to amazing wildlife congregations, including colonies of penguins and albatross, and large herds of these beautiful seals. They have been protected thanks to the efforts of @TheWCS. Check out the amazing story of this conservation success in @Natgeo this month.
#TurningtheTide with @Sea_Legacy and @PaulNicklen

#Ocean #Conservation #photography #nature #underwater #malvinas #argentina #naturaleza #animal


This recent super moon blood moon eclipse has been beautiful to see, and it reminds me of photographing orcas in Norway as the moon sunk on the horizon. It’s the simple, natural elements that make life rich.


I was looking for some images for an instagram takeover. My client told me they wanted something “colorful”. What do you think? I photographed this boy in the highlands of New Guinea. The feathers? Yep….those were from a chicken!!! #fun #color #beauty #culture #portrait


#Chicago, we are coming for a visit. On February 8th, @Sea_Legacy is hosting a fundraiser at @MarshallsLanding. Find tickets in the link in our bio, at or @lookbelowthesurface.
Join @paulnicklen and myself for a night of beautiful art and eye opening discussion about conservation. Come see us!


A lone fisherman stands on a rock as the waves crash around him. Fishing is a way of life in Galicia and the light, the weather and the ruggedness of the landscape often make for visual poetry.


Baby humpback whales drink 200 litres of their mother’s milk per day and can gain 100 lbs or more in a day. Mothers are amazing, aren’t they?


Baby beluga in the deep, blue, beautiful, endless Arctic sea. #turningthetide with @sea_legacy in the Canadian Arctic. #mpa


Who is your best friend? In villages in the Amazon people keep all sorts of pets. Dogs are kept to protect from jaguars and for hunting and macaws are kept for their feathers. I found these two characters hiding together under a house to find shelter from the heat.
@natgeocreative @natgeo @thephotosociety


Like kids around the world, a group of Cuban girls checks their social media. Internet access and content remain severely restricted in Cuba, with only a very small percentage of Cubans—about 5%—enjoying web access at home. Outside homes, however, the situation has changed in the past year, with the appearance of more than 40 government approved wi-fi hotspots around the capital, Havana, and other major cities.
#ILoveCuba #LaIslaBonita


Who is your best friend? This was, perhaps, my favorite moment during a recent trip to the Maasai Mara. I wanted to capture the infinite patience of this dog as these Maasai kids shower him with love.
With @PaulNicklen @EPixNix and @LNixPix

#love #dog #pet #friend #gratitude #friends


In the winter, the dark waters of the B.C. coast become cold and clear. What not so long ago were waters rich in plankton become crystalline and frigid. Here, a lone lion’s mane jellyfish floats towards the surface, carried by the strong currents and tides of the fabled Salish Sea, right in front of our Vancouver Island home.