Over the summer, while out in California visiting family, we made a side trip to Catalina Island to do a few days of diving. I hadn’t been diving since the pandemic began, so it was great to get in the water, and get back to doing some underwater photography. As always, it was a great pleasure to explore a new natural area with my family. My son Russell has an internship with the diving organization Boston Sea Rovers this summer, and was working on his own underwater photography. And it was great to see Jessica, a newer diver, feeling super relaxed even in these chilly waters in a full wetsuit, marveling at the kelp forest and its inhabitants. Unlike on land, where we are stuck on the ground, (and climbing trees takes so much effort), being weightless and swimming among the underwater kelp forest is a truly amazing feeling. If you haven’t done it, I highly recommend it!
It’s been a crazy year, but one of the perks for me has been working closer to home, and spending more time with family. Last summer, I took on a project from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to film the early lives of Common Loons up in Maine, and my children Russell and Jessica, 20 and 16 at the time, were my crew. We maintained our “covid bubble” while working out of a small cabin on Mount Desert Island. Loons are spectacular and fascinating birds, and it was an amazing experience to spend so much quality time with them every day as we worked to tell their story. Russell and I did the filming, and Jessica helped out in the field, made sketches and behavior observations, and then narrated the film. So it was a true family project. We are really happy with the result, and I think you’ll enjoy spending ten minutes with us as we explore the loon’s world. The link is below…. Enjoy!
I’ve also selected a couple of my favorite still frames from the shoot to share here, and you can scroll down further to see a bunch of behind the scenes shots from the trip, and learn a bit more about how we filmed the loons in Maine.[Read more…] about The Making of “Loons of Mount Desert Island”.
I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel! Where are you dreaming of traveling to? I have many places on my list. It may be a little while yet, but the first place I will head back to internationally will definitely be Borneo, to continue coverage of the orangutans and biodiversity of Gunung Palung National Park. But many other places are also calling, and the wonders of East Africa are certainly among them. I have many fond memories of my safaris there, and hope to go back soon. In the mean time, we have been working on expanding my Limited Edition collection in my fine art gallery, and I’m excited to announce the addition of the image below.
Here are a few other favorites from Africa that are in my Limited Edition Collection:
One of the most exciting things about what I do is having a chance to reveal aspects of animal behavior that haven’t been seen before. A couple years ago, my long time bird-of-paradise collaborator Ed Scholes of the Cornell Lab and I made another expedition to the Arfak Mountains in West Papua, with the aim of documenting the Magnificent Bird-of-Paradise display from the female perspective – in other words, from above looking down at the displaying male. We succeeded, and it’s been some time in coming out, but I’m thrilled to share that our footage now features in a brand new documentary on Netflix “LIFE IN COLOR with David Attenborough”. Please check it out. In the images and short video below, I share the “reveal” of what the female sees – a perspective that we think is a first for natural history filmmaking on this species.[Read more…] about Revealing the Magnificent Bird-of-Paradise Display
Have you heard of the Raja Ampat Islands? They are a unique archipelago off the Western tip of the big island of New Guinea. I’ve been intrigued by this region ever since reading The Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace, and exploring this region above and below water has become a personal passion since my first visit in 1990. It doesn’t hurt that the islands harbor birds-of-paradise, and the coral reefs are now known to be the richest in the world.
As a rain forest biologist and a marine enthusiast, I’m fascinated by places where the rain forest meets the sea. Raja Ampat is a premier example of this. In fact, it is the best I have ever seen. The striking islets of uplifted limestone eroded by sea and weather give Raja Ampat some of the most striking scenery in Indonesia. Here, as elsewhere, the land and sea are intertwined, and due to very little runoff from the porous limestone islands, corals can grow right up to the shore, even under overhanging forest, as you can see in the featured photo below. I hope you are inspired to visit Raja Ampat some day, to support the growing green tourism economy there. I certainly plan to go back as soon as possible![Read more…] about Where Reef Meets Rainforest