A wetland of lotus lilies decorate the foreground and juxtapose the Davis–Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor Ohio. Photographed on assignment for @natgeo
Happy birthday to one of favorite people, @arjandekock 🎂 - Arjan’s gets after it as hard as anyone I’ve ever met and is not only insanely multi-talented, he’s as nice as they come. Can’t wait for another adventure soon dude, happy b-day!
Subtitles of summer
The storms have been nothing short of impressive this last week on the front range of Colorado. I shot this strange face in the clouds this evening as the sky erupted, swipe to see the full cell.
Brian Rhodes aka @max_and_his_human taking a sunrise lap on Triple Exposure at #gardenofthegods - for @rockandicemag back in 2009
Like any desert, the Mojave is a harsh and formidable ecosystem and one that’s only getting warmer with each passing year. It’s effecting the distribution of #joshuaTree’s making it harder for new life to sprout in a wide percentage of the desert. Unlike many plants, Joshua trees don’t have seeds that become air airborne by wind or aviators, like birds bees, etc. Thousands of years back giant sloth would eat the fruit of these trees and their droppings were the way J tree’s were transplanted and initially fertilized. It’s a funny story but the way it was. Without the existence of those animals and an ever increasing climate it’s put a strain on this iconic yucca plant, along side a few others in the region. Time will tell what happens but scientist have speculated reductions in new sprouts to be as high as 90% by the year 2100 if things continue as they are. Photographed on assignment for @natgeo
A sow #polarBear sniffing the air while hunting on a rocky outcrop in #Svalbard. Polar bears have an incredibly acute sense of smell and can locate a seal from more than 3/4 mile away.
Engineers working on an extension project hundreds of feet below the surface in Chicago’s Tunnel And Reservoir Project, aka #TARP. This subterranean network of tunnels is roughly 109 miles long and is a waste and flood water diversion system for #Chicago’s metropolitan area. From these tunnels, water is directed and contained in multi-billion gallon reservoirs where it’s cleaned and reintroduced back into a nearby channel that eventually leads to the Mississippi river. Seeing Engineering at this level is a widely eye opening perspective into the lengths necessary for clean water. Photographed on assignment for @natgeo
Algae, as far as the eye can see, bloomed into this green scene that extend for miles and miles along the south west of #LakeErie. This photo here is a 4 minute exposure creating a placid look on a stormy day over the lake. These blooms are the result of excess phosphorus in the water, primarily introduced through agriculture run off into the lake through irrigation and blown in during winter months by the wind. The lake is also heavily polluted through various industries throughout the Lake Erie region. It’s been a compounded problem over decades and these blooms occur during the hot summer months, activated through the heat. With temperatures only increasing it’s certain to be a problem that only gets worse unless a solution is found. Photographed on assignment for @natgeo
A fresh water river converging into the Pacific Ocean at sunset / #RubyBeach @olympic_nps
If photography has taught me anything it’s that mood and depth in a picture are brought to life through light. Ever since picking up a camera I’ve loved using off camera lighting, be it through speed lights, high power strobes or any light source I could create to help build upon the composition. I learned this initially through skateboarding in the late 90’s while pouring through magazines I grew up reading and first hand while watching people like my friend @atibaphoto shoot, a masterful photographer. Once I started working with off camera lights, all purchased at a pawn shop for dirt cheap, it changed the way I approached a lot of my subjects. In many ways adding your own light is the difference between “taking” a photo and “making” a photo in that you get to dictate the shadows and color more influentially through light direction. It pushes you to use your imagination and achieve a defined look. This photo here is of my friend @paigeclaassen in penitente Canyon in colorado, I created a wall of light and used orange CT gels with a carefully chosen white balance to shift the color, an old film technique that is applicable even today. swipe through to see other outtakes and a few BTS photos taken by my friend @andy_bardon. This was all part of a Nikon Global campaign I was honored to direct last March. LINK IN BIO to see a behind the scenes look at how we shot the job and the short film I directed. Hope you enjoy!
Yesterday we spent the day with a few students from the @uoftoledo as they took samples for the EPA of the algae bloom on western #LakeErie. This aerial perspective here is of our boat cutting a line through the bloom to help give scale to the seemingly endless green, extending for miles and miles into the horizon. What you’re seeing here is a problem that has been going on for decades, brought on by excess phosphorus & pollutants in the water. When temperatures increase these blooms break out, which is unfortunately only increasing due to a proven rise in temperatures directly corollated with climate change. It’s an uphill battle but I’m grateful for the hard work researchers are doing in the field. With no end in sight the best that can be done is this dedicated ongoing research, we can’t give up. Photographed on assignment for @natgeo
Disgustingly unacceptable. I have no other words for this scene, an algae bloom on Lake Erie’s south western shore. The leading contributor of these blooms is excess phosphorus and nitrates from agricultural fertilizer that’s washed into streams as well as distributed via wind during winter months. Pollutants from industrial and pharmaceutical factories are also a link. High temperatures and still air create perfect conditions for algae to proliferate and accumulate at the surface. Photographed on assignment for @natgeo
Manned by a large crane on the surface, a transport cage is seen here being lowered hundreds of feet down into Chicago’s TARP (Tunnel And Reservoir Project). This subterranean network of tunnels is roughly 109 miles long and is a waste and flood water diversion system for Chicago’s metropolitan area. From these tunnels, water is directed and contained in multi-billion gallon reservoirs where it’s cleaned and reintroduced back into a nearby channel that eventually leads to the Mississippi river. Seeing Engineering at this level is a widely eye opening perspective into the lengths necessary for clean water and management in our heavily populated world. Big thank you to the engineers and PR team at TARP for the inside look. Photographed on assignment for @natgeo
Tree roots, exposed and carved out from extraordinary high water levels on #lakeErie. The Great Lakes are presently experiencing the highest water volumes in documented history, resulting in overtly apparent erosion and flooding in towns and wilderness areas along the shores. Photographed #onassigmnent for @natgeo
A ghostly #aurora looming over the #GnarWall, a 3,000+ foot towering granite formation in south east greenland. The tower was named by @ethan_pringle & @mikelibecki after a first ascent straight up the middle in a single push. It’s fascinating to me that in the age of google earth and satellite imagery we live in a world so vast that even today there still remains places so remote that un-named mountains and untouched terrain still exists. I feel lucky to have experienced a handful of these locations, places where you truly are on self supported expedition exploring the unknown. Photographed in August 2012
Here’s to family ❤️
I’ve been spending a bit of time in my archive this last week digging up work for an up and coming project. Its been fun coming across photos I hadn’t thought about in years, like this shot here from the #FisherTowers shot in the winter of 2014. The practice of photography is something that never gets old to me. On any given day you never know what you’re going to get, it’s spending time out that’s the important part. Some days you get luckier than others but exercising your passion is important and cathartic, even on days when you come home empty handed. People often ask me how to make this job a profession, the first and biggest step is to shoot consistently, make mistakes and refine.
Just wrapping up another birthday, words can’t express how grateful I am for this life. 🙏🏻
Stalks of pond grass, seen through the shallow perspective of a 300mm f/2.8 - Céüse, France 🇫🇷
A little bit of light breathing life into a sapphire scene - #Light painted blackthorn bush at twilight in the #Kalahari Desert, South Africa 🇿🇦 / @nikonusa D850 w/ 16-35mm lens
A tiny speck in an endless landscape of ice and rock- @freddiewilkinson seen here dwarfed among the towering jagged mountains of the #WalthatMountains in #QueenMaudeLand in interior Antarctica. I shot this photo on the move during our final days of a 50 day self supported expedition where @mikelibecki & Freddie successfully achieved the first ascent of the unnamed towering pinnacle off in the distance, 2,200 feet of technical/vertical granite. @coryrichards & I documented the expedition from top to bottom for @natgeo Magazine & @natgeochannel, putting in immense time on the wall and scrambling to any possible vantage we could around the tower to achieve a variety of angles. It was one of the harder and more memorable expeditions I’ve ever been a part of. This mountain range is almost entirely unexplored, a place where you truly feel as if you’re pioneering to some extent which is an exciting feeling I’ve had with Mike on numerous occasions, all of which I’m deeply grateful for. We hauled some 1800 pounds of gear by sled and by backpack to the foot of the tower; gear essential for climbing and provisions for survival. It’s backbreaking work that’s highly rewarding, the kind that bonds you tightly with your teammates as you watch each other’s back during storms, on belay on the side of the mountain and on approach. Looking back it was a true suffer-fest full of laughter, hard work and untamed adventure.
A collision of untamable destruction and beauty.
Today was monumental. My lovely wife @danahrichardson and I got to see our future, a glimpse of our baby boy that we will get to physically hold this December. We couldn’t be more excited!!! To my son - In you, your mother and I will create a new life, with you at the center ❤️
One of the things I love about photography is that an interesting image doesn’t require an exotic location or perfect timing, there’s incredible photographs all around us. These things don’t hurt of course, but nice moments can be everywhere. I photographed this duck here at a city park in Colorado Springs. The water was full of dirty silt and the surrounding scene was an urban environment that was hardly notable. Isolated with a 300mm lens however, it looked like this. The early morning light dancing beautifully on the water and a gentle wind creating this interesting reflected scene around this sleeping mallard duck, a very common bird in city ponds throughout North America.
Happy birthday to my good friend @paulnicklen 🎂 Paul is not only one of the finest natural history photographers on the planet, he’s as passionate as it gets when it comes to conservation, climate change and ecosystem preservation globally. His work has moved the needle time and time again, securing ocean sanctuaries, legislation that has protected marine and coastal ecosystems and cruel methods of fishing and fish farming. The list goes on and in this day and age we need this kind of leadership and pioneering more than ever if we want to clean up the mess we have made as humans in order to start making an impact in the right direction. Thank you Paul, love ya brother, happy birthday!
Patagonia perfection. A sea of lupine wildflowers decorating the landscape of the southern Chilean Andes, Photographed last December on a project for @hokaoneone
Some days just finish stronger than others, this was one of them. From roughly 28,000ft, this aerial view is a panoramic view of #MtEverest, stitched from 16 photos during an unforgettable sunset over the #Himalaya. Watching the fading pink light illuminate the worlds tallest peak is truly an unforgettable experience and one I’m deeply grateful to have had. I share the credit of this picture with my good friend @coryRichards, who navigated me over to this beautiful location as I piloted from advance base camp with painfully frozen fingers, maxing the battery limits of the drone to sketchy heights and distances to achieve this stunningly unique perspective. As we scanned the surreal scene through the lens, Cory passionately regaled me with the names of distant peaks, hidden valleys, the history of routes up Everest and the bad asses that climbed them. It was an evening to remember and this photo brings me back to that moment as the two of us shivered it out peering into the screen of the remote control in awe. @roam just launched episode 6 of the Line, a project I’m grateful to have contributed to, check it out to see more! @estebantopomena @erichroepke
Magenta sunset hanging over the iconic #aiguilleDuMidi on the Mont Blanc Massif. #Chanomix is without a doubt one of the greatest mountain towns on the planet - Photographed for @natgeotravel
This carousel of photos is dedicated to those high speed moments shot from the car while #StormChasing - Interception is the name of the game and getting into position to photograph and film storm cells often means giving up host of great visual opportunities. Shooting from a high speed moving car is never ideal but can often yield some decent results. At the very least it’s a fun way to pass the time! ⛈ @nampix @skiparmstrong @krystlejwright
Just wrapping up my first stop of many to the Great Lakes region for National Geographic. This short trip was primarily focused on natural disaster and climate change, seeing the water levels this high was quite eye opening. The people I encountered along the way were very kind, openly full of stories about growing up here and how historically damaging the flooding has been this year. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Erie reached its highest level on RECORD in 2019. This has resulted in wide spread flooding in the Great Lakes basin, dramatically effecting agriculture and businesses along the periphery of the lakes. Further, the region has seen a 200% increase in rainfall this year with precip that would match that of the Pacific Northwest on an average year. Meanwhile the PNW has seen a well below average rain season, al part of odd weather patterns perpetuated by an ever changing climate. This carousel here was all shot around the #PortClinton, Ohio region - Photographed on assignment for @natgeo
Tetris / Detroit
Mayflies carpeting everything in sight along southern #LakeErie. The hatch season for these flies is typically May into early June but this years prolonged flooding has created an expanded hatching opportunity extending into July. May flies live a mere 24 hours once hatched and spend 99% of their lives as larva. During the hatch they provide a food source to fish, Birds, insects and a host of land mammals. The dead flies pile up in areas that are multiple feet deep! As gross and annoying as they may be to some, these flies are a sign of a healthy ecosystem. Photographed on assignment for @natgeo
A #blueGill perch gliding through algae covered grass while exploring its temporary surroundings on a flood plain along #LakeErie. A heavy winter followed by a wet spring has caused the highest water levels in recorded history according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Photographed on assignment for @natgeo
It’s been an historic season for flooding around the Great Lakes this year, the result of a heavy winter season and snow melt pouring into the lakes, followed by a very rainy spring. According to the U.S. Army of Engineers, Lake Erie reached its highest level on record. This has resulted in wide spread flooding dramatically effecting farmers and businesses along the periphery of the lake. The region has seen a 200% increase in rain this year with precip that would match that of the Pacific Northwest on an average year. Meanwhile that part of the country has seen a well below average rain season. Climate change folks, it’s truly effecting the world. This photo here is of a young fawn happily wading through the flood plain at Deer Park near port Clinton Ohio. The flooding has forced the parks owner to close for the season, a hard economic blow to his small business. Deer Park has been in business for 63 years and in that time has never seen flooding of this magnitude and for this prolonged. Photographed on assignment for @natgeo
I’m excited to be heading out for my next photo assignment for @natgeo, one I’ll be working towards on & off through-out the year. Shooting stories for National Geographic Magazine is a polarizing feeling of excitement and anxiety. It’s a tremendous amount of responsibility and pressure when a magazine like this instills trust in you to deliver photos that are intended to cultivate awareness and hopefully change. One I’m sincerely grateful for and don’t take lightly. This story, like so many, is filled with a myriad of issues, some large in scale and others small yet equally critical. Giving each a voice can often be a creative challenge. This carousel here is photos from of a story I worked on back in 2015/2016. Most of the photography for the story was of grand places, however the focus here was of a smaller ecosystem. The images here are of Ocra Sea Stars, a species that had suffered a wide scale die-off at the time due to rising ocean temperatures. These sea stars are critical predators in tide pools, without them certain species, that are generally preyed on by sea stars, flourish and dominate the ecosystem making it impossible for other organisms to survive which creates an ecosystem out of whack. It’s the classic predator and prey balancing act, but on a smaller and easily over looked scale. More soon!