This morning’s flight over my home on the Cumberland Plateau reveals a land of coves and trees. In the summer the land forms here are absolutely lush with vegetation. The eastern hardwood forest in this corner of the Southeastern United States contains a strikingly diverse biological ecosystem that researchers are still trying to understand. #aerial #morning
Sunrise on the Circle Cliffs, Utah Sometimes it is easiest to see what’s important in the rearview mirror. These spectacular cliffs were removed from the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and opened for mining by presidential proclamation in 2017. Besides being visually stunning, the Circle Cliffs house archaeological sites that trace human occupation of the area for thousands of years. For more images from this @insidenatgeo project examining landscape and rock art in western national monuments, follow my nonprofit @ancientartarchive.
Crossing Iceland by bus last week. After a week in the rain we had fantastic light on the way back to Reykjavik.
A flock of birds flies across the water of Hornafjörður fjord. We had scant sunshine in our @natgeostudentexpedition last week but when it shone it was spectacular. I spent the week traveling the country with 3 other instructors and 19 talented young students. It is both humbling and inspiring to work with students under 20. I often feel that I learn much more from my students than they learn from me. Regardless I always leave the student expeditions inspired and hopeful for the future. #iceland @erinmariephotographyla
Loftheiller Cave is a permafrost encrusted lava tube and one of the few lava tubes I know of that has permanent ice formations.Ice inside this cave is hundreds and maybe thousands of years old. The cave itself was created when fast flowing molten rock drained through a lava field and left this void underground. The cave is now a product of fire and ice. Traveling northern #Iceland with @natgeotravel
Wheels up for Iceland today! I can't wait to get back to this enchanted island! @natgeotravel
The light in Iceland is outrageous. I shot this image last spring on a road trip across the Southern Region. I'm excited to return next week with @natgeotravel to continue exploring this fabulous country! #iceland
Home home on the range... my tent at @ranchlands glows with the light of an oil lamp in the early evening. This spring I spent a wonderful week teaching photography on Colorado's eastern prairie. I love helping people improve how they see and in a few days I head to Iceland with @natgeotravel for another workshop.
From my very first national magazine assignment back in the 1990s. It was a story for @time about science in caves. I followed cave scientists through Mammoth Cave in Kentucky and Carlsbad Caverns New Mexico. It was of course shot on film, Fuji Velvia iso 50. We had to make so much light to produce an image... #mammothcave
The past week I've had the privilege of working with master platinum palladium printer @pradipmalde to make a beautiful limited run print of this image. Sales of the print will help support the nonprofit @ancientartarchive. Working with Pradip has been a wonderful collaboration to bring forth a print that will last generations. More details soon!
A Pahranagat-style anthropomorphic figure aligns with the Milky Way just before dawn in the Basin and Range National Monument. Thought to be 3,000 to 5,000 years old, these anthropomorphic figures are associated with the first hunter-gatherer cultures to inhabit this part of the American West, particularly the Pahranagat Valley in southern Nevada. I am in the American West working on an @insidenatgeo and @ancientartarchive project examining rock art in national monuments that were studied for reduction. The Basin and Range was not resized and remains a huge expanse of mostly empty wild space.
Its World Giraffe Day. There are only an estimated 111,000 of these wonderful animals left in the wild. These three were grazing in the early evening in Northern Namibia. Shot on assignment for @natgeo.
Last month I got the chance to teach photography to a great group of students at Chico Basin Ranch near Pueblo Colorado. It was a great class. This is one of my favorite frames from the workshop. I try to teach students to get close, anticipate the pictures and wait for a little something extra. The dog makes the frame. #dogsofinstagram @ranchlands
The Circle of Friends is a well known pictograph in Southern Utah. Of all the rock art that I have seen this panel is maybe the most evocative. This photograph is part of my non profit @ancientartarchive and our work to explore and preserve humanity's oldest stories.
Fremont Petroglyphs along the Fremont River in Capital Reef National Park. Fremont culture flourished in this part of Central Utah beginning about 2000 years ago. It extended as far as the Basin and Range in Nevada and left behind evocative works of art like these stylized anthropomorphic figures. Sadly these have been used for target practice. Much of the artwork in the west is scarred by gunshots or graffiti. #visitwithrespect
The spectacular night sky in the Basin and Range National Monument. The bright spot on the horizon is Las Vegas, 100 miles away!#basinandrange
I camped at Mt Irish hoping to shoot the milky way on this nearly moonless night. Clouds foiled my plans. This morning's jaw dropping sunrise was a good conciliation prize! #neverwasteasunrise #BasinandRange
Barrier Canyon style pictographs on Central Utah's San Rafael Swell. This enigmatic style of artwork is known primarily from this region of Utah. These pictures are part of my nonprofit @ancientartarchive. We explore and preserve humanity's oldest stories.
Horses report for work at Chico Basin Ranch. Chico is one of Colorado's largest working ranches. There are 87,000 acres under management and work is done with very traditional methods. Cowboys still ride out in the morning to check the herds. @ranchlands
Herding cows this morning under a big western sky. I'm at Chico Ranch this week teaching an immersive photography workshop. At 87,000 acres Chico is one of Colorado's largest working ranches.
Gold Butte National Monument, Nevada. Gold Butte is one of the United States newest National Monuments. It was set aside in part because of the fabulous rock art hidden in its twisted sandstone formations. I'm hitting the road to work in 8 Western National Monuments that contain wonderful rock art and have also been studied by the department of the interior for reduction. It's a @insidenatgeo grant and part of my nonprofit @ancientartarchive work.
Ahu Tongariki is the largest and best known ceremonial platform on Rapa Nui (Easter Island). I've had the good fortune to witness sunrise there many times in my photography career. Rain or shine it never disappoints. The ahu was destroyed by the 1960 Chilean tsunami and restored 30 years later by a Chilean team led by @insidenatgeo grantees Claudio Cristianao Bob and Patricia Vargas Gay. #rapanui #easterisland
A proud Male wild turkey struts his stuff on land protected by @landtrusttn. One of my favorite things about spring in the southern US is watching the "tom" turkeys show off while trying to build their flocks. This boy looked good but the hens in the neighborhood didn't seem impressed. #tennessee #turkey
Dramatic light in Vik, Iceland. In Iceland it's possible to experience Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall all I. The same hour. The weather is remarkably changeable. I'm looking forward to heading g back to this stunning island with @natgeotravel later this year.
Sunrise on a group of unnamed granite spires in Torres del Paine National Park. Some places just get under your skin and Patagonia with its wind swept emptiness is one of them. #patagonia
Al-Khazneh (The Treasury) is the most famous building in Nabatean city of Petra. It is believed to have been carved as a mausoleum in the 1st century. Petra was a technological marvel. Edifices like this one were carved from solid stone, fresh water was piped in for miles. But changing trade routes bypassed this once opulent trading city and it was all but abandoned by the early Islamic era.
A throwback to Tanzania late last year. Who doesn't love zebras? Their stripes work as a kind of camouflage making it hard for predators to pick an individual out of the group. #zebra #Tanzania
A striated caracara sails over the waters of Staten Island in the Eastern Tierra delta Fuego of Argentina.
Manitou Cave, Alabama The Cherokee were the only Native North American group to develop a written language. Cherokee Syllabary, as the writing is known, was developed by Cherokee leader Sequoyah in the late 1810s. Some of the first examples of Cherokee Syllabary have been discovered in Alabama’s Manitou Cave. This inscription dates from the beginning of the forced relocation of Native Americans known as the Trail of Tears. The inscription is a vivid reminder of how complex Native American culture is. This image was recorded as part of my non profit’s ( @ancientartarchive) work in documenting the cave and its inscriptions. #cherokee #cave
Hundreds of birds fly over Duce Atol in the South Pacific. Happy Earth Day! A beautiful scene like this is a bit deceptive. Even though Duce Atoll is one of the most remote islands on earth its surface is covered with plastic litter. Contemplating our species addiction to single use plastics can be daunting. On this Earth day I encourage everyone to rejoice in the beauty of our world and pick one thing you can do to help the planet. Fashion designer @theinfiniteresort has pledged to use fabrics made from recycled plastic in her designs and donate to conservation with the proceeds. That's a start and a great way to celebrate earthday.
Just crushed by the loss of this beautiful building. A Cathedral built on top of a Roman ruin, built on a Celtic town, Notre Dame encapsulates the history of Paris. The Cathedral is literally the center of France. For a brief, magical time I lived with my wife and children just a few blocks away on the edge of the Marais. No day was complete without a glimpse of Our Lady. #Paris #NotreDame
A white tip reef shark patrols the waters of the Tuamoto Archipelago. This particular morning I had 3 circling me. They are beautiful, graceful animals who hunt in the shallow waters around islands fringe reef. Shot on assignment with @natgeotravel #pacific #shark
A tired, well worn, plastic army man found amoung the trash on the beach at Henderson Island in the South Pacific. How did he get here? Did he fall off a ship or get washed out of a landfill? Henderson is one of the most remote islands in the world. It is many days sail from the nearest inhabited land mass but even here plastic litters the beach. The South Pacific gyre concentrates floating trash in a vast garbage patch that really brings home how much plastic we throw out. One study estimates that 3500 pieces of plastic arrive on Henderson's shores every day. #planetorplastic #pacific #hendersonisland
There were just so many hermit crabs under the trees in the Tahanea Atol. They slowly crawled across the ground to scavenge anything that that could possibly be food. The little red crabs climbed on top of each other in a pile. When I approached, the mob slowly broke up but the largest of the group stayed behind to scape the meat out of this coconut shell. #pacific #crab
Ahu Tongariki, Rapa Nui Another glorious dawn on Rapa Nui. #rapanui #tongariki
A fishing boat makes it's way through the Straights of Magellan in Chilean Patagonia. I'm happy to be back in Chile for the first few days of fall even though I'm headed in a very different direction. #patagonia #chile
Llamas crowd the trail at the Incan Citidel of Machupicchu. This "lost" city was rediscovered by @natgeo teo explorer Hiram Bingham. Of course to the Inca it was never lost, just unknown to the outside world. #machupicchu #llamasofinstagram
A southern elephant seal stretches at Jackson Bay in Chile's Karukinka reserve. These big seals can weigh 40% more than their northern cousins. #patagonia #karukinka
Garibaldi Glacier is one of the highlights of Alberto de Agostini National Park in Chile's Patagonia region. It is hard to grasp the size of this river of ice. The ice tower on the right is as tall as an apartment building and there is much more ice hidden under the water. Sadly the vast majority of Chile and the world's glaciers are rapidly retreating due to human-caused climate change. There is no serious debate on the science. The warming climate models that we were shown in the 1980s are coming true today. #climatechangeisreal @natgeoimagecollection #patagonia
My only experience photographing cheetahs was with a habituated one named Sylvester. In the wild these magnificent big cats are as elusive as they are graceful. My friend and colleague @FransLanting is the master at photographing cheetahs in the wild. His work with the critically endangered Asiatic Cheetah (final frame) meant placing camera traps in the rugged terrain of Iran. Now the scientists that Frans worked with to document this animal are endangered too. They are facing espionage charges with the very real possibility of a death sentence. The Scientists belong to the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, but they worked closely with the government, and yet they are now on trial—for charges that are politically motivated. This is horrible for the individuals involved, but it is also a tragedy for the animal which faces extinction. And that is a great loss for everyone in Iran because the Asiatic cheetah is a powerful symbol for Iran’s unique natural heritage. If you care about cheetahs in Asia and the plight of the people whose mission is to protect them, please go to the link in my Instagram profile to read the story NatGeo just published and spread the word about it. You can also sign a petition to express your concern at Care2. Search for “conservationists face death penalty in Iran." @hassanrouhani @jzarif @hediyehtehrany @Reza_Kianian_Official @mitra.hajjar @raisi_org @leonardodicaprio @hope4nature #ConservationIsNotaCrime#FreeIranianConservationists#anyhopefornature #hope4nature #wildlife#conservation #cheetahs #bigcats
A shockingly beautiful sunrise in Puerto Natales this morning. Lenticular clouds like these form in the troposphere and often foreshadow rain or snow. We've had 3 straight days of wonderful weather -impressive for Patagonia- but I'm sorry to say this dramatic sunrise indicates rain moving in. #patagonia @natgeoimagecollection @natgeotravel
Mystery Falls Cave, Tennessee Sometimes you can't make the photo you set out to shoot. I went to the 281 foot deep Mystery Falls cave hoping to shoot an image of the entire shaft from the bottom but days of rain had swollen the waterfall to torrential levels. Instead of soaking myself and my team, I changed plans and shot looking straight down the shaft. as Kent Ballew climbed up the ropes he had rigged for me. The image is not a bad consolation prize! We went back weeks later when the water had receded and made the photo I had in mind. #explore #cave @natgeoimagecollection @thephotosociety
Buckhorn Wash, Utah Barrier Canyon Style Pictographs over look the San Rafael River in Emery County, Utah. A sweeping conservation bill passed by both the House and Senate designates nearly a quarter of Emery County as wilderness. The lands include artworks like these on the San Rafael Swell. This part of central Utah is one of the wildest parts of the American West and wilderness designation will help keep it that way. @thephotosociety @natgeoimagecollection
It's not often that I get to make photos in my home state! But this week I'm shooting for The Land Trust for Tennessee. They are a 20 year old non profit that have steadily worked toward conserving land in our rapidly growing state. It's a privilege to see some of the thousands of acres that @landtrusttn has helped preserve. #tennessee #landtrust