Chris Eckstrom

Chris Eckstrom is a videographer and writer whose work celebrates the wonders of the natural world.

12 posts 10,760 followers 33 following

The annual gathering of king penguins on the beaches of South Georgia Island is one of the most phenomenal wildlife spectacles on the planet. For me it was very emotional to crouch in the surf near these amazing seabirds and watch them march into the waves, en masse, and swim off to find food for their chicks. It is an overwhelming sensation to be among king penguins and they are a vibrant affirmation of the abundance of the Southern Ocean on which they depend. Fisheries around South Georgia are well-regulated, but beyond the territorial limits of the island, a lot of work remains to be done to safeguard a future for king penguins and all other wildlife dependent on the frigid seas surrounding Antarctica. Follow us @ChristineEckstrom and @FransLanting for more videos, images, and stories from the Southern Ocean.

@natgeocreative @ThePhotoSociety #Antarctica #SouthGeorgia #Penguins #KingPenguins #SouthernOcean #wonder #naturephotography #amazing


Video by @FransLanting and @ChristineEckstrom No matter where you are and what you believe in, we wish you all Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Feliz Navidad, Prettige Feestdagen, Mirary Fety Sambatra, اجازة سعيدة, 節日快樂, Selamat Hari Raya, 幸せな休日, Furaha Likizo, छुट्टियां आनंददायक हों, 행복 휴일, تعطیلات شاد and we hope for more Peace for the Earth in the year to come. Follow us for stories about what we all have in common, our amazing living planet. @franslanting @thephotosociety #Holiday #Snow #Peace #Earth #Gratitude


Video by @ChristineEckstrom Residents of Santa Barbara are watching one of the largest wildfires in California history encroach upon their neighborhood. The intensity of a wildfire is hard to imagine if you have not experienced a blaze up close. This current wildfire is another indication that our planet is under pressure. California governor Jerry Brown has declared this fire a part of the “New Normal,” as our state is adapting to the consequences of climate change. More than eight thousand firefighters have been assembled to combat the fire. They are heroes when it comes to battling the flames, but we need a much bigger global force to address the root causes of this inferno. Check the hashtags below to learn how you can engage.

@franslanting @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #California #Wildfire #Climatechange #climatereality #stopclimatechange #leonardodicaprio



Video by @ChristineEckstrom and @FransLanting The fate of cheetahs as a species depends on a small number of females who are really good at nurturing cubs to independence and keeping them safe while doing so. They have to do this day after day without making any mistakes and accomplish that without help from males—cheetah moms are solitary providers. We call these exceptional females “supermoms”. Any mother who has to juggle child care with earning a living and other responsibilities, can appreciate that challenge. Watch how the mother in this video puts up with the antics of her cubs while scanning her surroundings for any sign of trouble. Only when her cubs lie down to suckle can she herself take a short cat nap. Cheetahs are amazing, even when they’re not running at top speed. I am posting this clip in recognition of NatGeo’s BigCat Week. Tune in to NG Channel’s cheetah film by Bob Poole tonight. Follow me @ChristineEckstrom for more stories from the wild world of cheetahs.

@natgeocreative @thephotosociety #cheetahs #wildlife #motherhood #family #joy #play #inspire #amazing


Here I am showing my chimp videos to Mboule Camara (at left) and his family, who live in a tiny village called Fongoli, in southeast Senegal. The village is adjacent to the forest where the chimps roam. Mboule, the village chief, became a friend while he assisted Frans Lanting and me during our coverage of Fongoli’s unusual chimp community for @natgeo. Researcher Jill Pruetz, Frans, and I all relied on Mboule’s incredible knowledge of the landscape around Fongoli—and his intuitive understanding of the chimps and their movements. We spoke to each other in rusty French, but we understood each other perfectly. He was fascinated when I showed him the videos of Fanta, the young chimp who played with her reflection, and of the males piling into the water hole together. Mboule passed away a few months ago, and we miss him. But we will always honor his memory and all that he shared with us.

@FransLanting @thephotosociety @natgeocreative #chimpanzees #Africa #sharing #wonder


Video by @Christine Eckstrom and @FransLanting Protein is hard to come by in the forest where chimps live in Senegal, and one important source for them is termites, which are plentiful here. To catch these nutritious insects, they go fishing in termite mounds, using a plant stem as a tool. They insert the stem and termites cling to it. Chimps learn this skill when they're young—and you can see in this video how 1-year-old Fanta is trying. We showed you before what happened when Fanta discovered water. Here, she watches how adults catch termites and tries to mimic them. She is not very good at it yet, but practice will make perfect. Follow me @ChristineEckstrom for more stories about chimps and other inhabitants of wild Africa.

@janegoodallinst #Chimps #Rootsandshoots #Family #Learning # Wonder



Video by @ChristineEckstrom and @FransLanting When the female chimp we knew as Farafa led her young infant, Fanta, to a secret water hole in a forest in Senegal, we witnessed something that made us wonder about the nature of chimps—and our connection to them. Fanta was just one year old and had never experienced a water hole before. While her mother watched, she explored the water’s surface at first with a leaf, but then she discovered her own reflection and began to interact with it, poking at it, making funny faces, and ultimately kissing herself, like a human child might do in front of a mirror. When we showed this video to Jane Goodall she was as enchanted by this display as we were. Fieldwork with chimps is hard, but being able to capture glimmers of insight about our fundamental kinship with chimps makes it all worthwhile. There are less than 200 chimps left in Senegal and their future hangs in the balance, just like it does for all chimps in Africa. As we gather together with family during this holiday season, let’s embrace our next of kin on the great tree of life. We can all help chimps survive by supporting the individuals and organizations that protect them and the forests they depend on. Follow me @ChristineEckstrom for more videos and stories of these unique chimps in Senegal.
@janegoodallinst @World_wildlife @conservationorg @racingextinction #Wildlife #Conservation #Chimps #Family #Play #Wonder #Gratitude #Thanksgiving


Usually we are behind the camera, but here is a rare look at both of us. When I met @FransLanting, he was a freelance photographer for @NatGeo Magazine and I was a staff writer at @NatGeo Books, but ever since we joined forces in life and work, we have combined our skills—and expanded them. While Frans creates photographs, I cover our subjects on video, so we can tell our stories using multiple media together. Our gear keeps evolving, but our mission has remained the same throughout the years: We want to share the wonders of our living planet at a time when its future is imperiled—and make a difference where we can. We’ve dedicated our lives to that. And we hope you can help us spread the message.

Sometimes our fieldwork involves lots of support, but when we tracked chimps in Senegal, we had to be minimalist. The chimps were shy and did not tolerate strangers besides the two of us, researcher Jill Pruetz—whose work was crucial to ours—and two local assistants, Mboule and Johnny Kante, who helped us greatly with tracking and carrying the heavy loads of gear we needed for long days in the forest from dawn till dusk. In this image we’re smiling for the camera, but if you look closely you’ll see our clothes are drenched in sweat. It takes teamwork to do what we do. You can catch a glimpse of an exhausted Johnny in one of our recently posted video clips. Mboule was a wonderful man and chief of the nearby village of Fongoli, who passed away recently. We miss him! Please stay tuned for more images and stories from wild Africa. @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #Africa #Gratitude #Teamwork #Wildlifephotography #Creativity


Video by @Christine Eckstrom with @FransLanting Male chimpanzees are competitive and often fight for dominance, but in the savanna woodlands of southern Senegal, where Frans and I tracked one group of chimps for 6 weeks, we found a secret waterhole recently filled with rain. In the brutal summer heat it provided precious relief and squabbles were suspended for a temporary truce. We hid our cameras under rocks at the edge of the waterhole and watched from a distance to give the chimps privacy. This amazing behavior had never been captured before and it shows that even male chimps can get along when they want to. When we showed this video to Jane Goodall she was amazed, and said she had never seen anything like it before. Stay tuned for more unique chimp behavior. Images and stories from this project are also featured in our new book “Into Africa.” Check the link in my Instagram bio to learn more.
@franslanting #ape #chimp #wildlife #wildlifephotography #assignment #challenge #wild #waterhole #men #competition #cooperation #peace



Video by @Christine Eckstrom with @FransLanting. Working with chimpanzees in the wild is tough. We tracked one group of chimps in Senegal for six weeks from dawn to dusk with researcher Jill Pruetz on assignment for National Geographic. It was hot and humid, we carried heavy packs, and the chimps moved fast and far. In the end Frans had lost nearly 20 pounds of body weight, but we had gained precious insights about the intimate lives of our nearest relatives on the great tree of life. In this video you’ll get an idea of the challenges. In next posts we’ll follow up with other videos that show some of the unique behavior we were able to capture. Stay tuned! Images and stories from this project are also featured in our new book “Into Africa.” @natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #ape #chimp #wildlife #wildlifephotography #assignment #challenge #wild


Hi Photographers, Tune in this Sunday April 23 at 9:00 am PDT on to see Frans Lanting's free online course “The Art of Seeing,” if you’re interested in learning creative techniques for photographing plants. He created this course with Creative Live, which will stream it live for 24 hours. If you cannot tune in at that time or if you want to own a copy of the course, you can buy it directly from Creative Live. If you’d like to join us for a future workshop session, write to us at and ask to be on our emailing list.

@FransLanting @thephotosociety @natgeo @natgeotravel @CreativeLive #CreativeLive #NaturePhotography #MacroPhotography #Beauty #Nature #SantaCruz #Creativity #PhotoWorkshop


@ChristineEckstrom Tap the screen for sound, lower left! “Learning to Fly” Each summer thousands of young albatrosses born on Hawaii’s Midway Atoll head to the beach to learn how to fly. They’re still unsteady on their feet, but they start practicing takeoffs and landings. At the end of the clip you’ll see an adult who has truly mastered the art of flight and you’ll appreciate the skill involved when you see these young birds trying so hard. I produced this short video with Frans Lanting (@FransLanting) on Midway Atoll, where President Obama is visiting today to declare a momentous expansion of the National Monument that surrounds the Hawaiian Leeward Islands. The new marine protected area will cover 582,000 square miles, making it the biggest protected area in the world. It’s a gift to albatrosses, the oceans, to the people of Hawaii, and to the planet at large. Mahalo, Obama!

#Albatross #Seabird #MidwayAtoll #LeewardIslands #NationalMonument #Obama #POTUS #WhiteHouse #DepartmentoftheInterior #BLM #Fly