I love photographing animals doing surprising and unusual things. For a few years now I have photographed marine wildlife surfing waves from an underwater perspective. I have successfully shot wave-riding turtles, fur seals, dolphins and even marine iguanas, but manta rays had eluded me. Until the day a fierce current pulled me into shallow water on Hanifaru Bay’s reef flat. Busy fighting the current and duck diving under breaking waves I almost missed the manta ray in the same predicament as me. A large wave broke almost directly on top of the manta, but it did not seem bothered and effortlessly surfed past me into the lagoon. Shot on expedition with @mantatrust and @fonassociation This image can be found in my and @mantaguy latest book MANTA: Secret Life of Devil Rays. Check out the link below my bio for more info.
The best camera/lens combination is the one you are holding in your hands! I was walking through coastal forest on the tiny Seychelles island of Cousine when a white term began to hover inches from my face and tried to land on my head. Unfortunately I was on my way to go diving, in addition to wearing a wetsuit and clutching my fins in my teeth I was holding my heavy/bulky underwater camera setup. With no other option than use the gear in my hands, I raised my underwater rig to my eye, framed as best i could and hit the shutter. I think this certainly the only terrestrial photograph that I have ever shot for @natgeo magazine with my underwater camera. @natgeocreative
Aerial photography is one of my passions, I love to hang out (tied into a safety harness) of helicopters and document the sheer exuberance of our planet from above. I have been fortunate to witness some incredibly scenes, but shooting a double rainbow over the D’Arros Island and St. Joseph Atoll in the Seychelles was a very special moment. This ring of islands was once commercially exploited for fish and coconuts, but today it is protected and prized for its marine biodiversity and seabird colonies. The island is managed for conservation by the @saveourseasfoundation Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for the March 2016 story “Return of the Seychelles” @natgeocreative
A Indo-Pacific lemon and Blacktip reef shark battle a ripping tidal current in one of the channels that connects Aldabra's lagoon with the open ocean. The seas around this remote atoll in the Seychelles are some of the most pristine in the Indian Ocean, with sharks and large predatory reef fish being very abundant. Shot on assignment for @natgeo in collaboration with @sif_seychelles#sharks#aldabra@natgeocreative
After ten years of photography and research @mantaguy and myself have just released the world's first book devoted to manta rays 😃 Click the link below my bio to get your very own copy of MANTA just in time for Christmas and the festive season. All profits from the book go directly to @mantatrust to support manta conservation projects all over the world.
For years I watched young Cape fur seals play "pass the seaweed" but it was only recently that I was invited to partake in the game myself. This seal dropped a kelp frond a few inches from my face and retreated, waiting for me to make a move. I grabbed the seaweed, swum a few feet up into the water and released it into the current. Like a dog fetching a stick, the seal brought it back...again and again and again... #capetown#home#backyard#ocean@natgeocreative
Hundreds of manta rays gather together in Hanifaru Bay to mass feed on a seasonal plankton feast. I have photographed mantas for more than 10 years, in fact my first ever story for @natgeo Magazine in 2008 was about these incredible animals. It "only" took a decade but now in collaboration with scientist Dr. Guy Stevens @mantaguy I am proud to present the world's first book on manta rays. Thank you to @richardbranson for the inspirational foreword and to @saveourseasfoundation for supporting the making of the book. Check out the link below my bio and follow @mantatrust for more info.
A short behind the scenes video of me @thomaspeschak documenting giant tortoises for @natgeo and @sif_seychelles on remote Aldabra Atoll. Here temperatures are so hot that if these tortoises are not beneath a shade tree or deep in a cool coral cave at midday they cook to death in their shells. Only around 4pm do the tortoises pile out one by one to graze in the cool of the evening. It took nearly 2 hours for all of the tortoises to leave this cave. Video and time lapse footage shot by my assistant @ottowhitehead Check out his feed and follow him for more behind scenes videos
Galapagos Marine Iguanas live on the edge and the difference between life and death is a few degrees of temperature. The world's only ocean going lizards graze on cold water seaweeds. Increases in sea temperature due to climate change have detrimental effects on marine iguana populations. No seaweed=No iguanas. If temperatures continue to warm these Galapagos icons could become the first to disappear. The world's leading scientists have just met at @darwinfound in the Galapagos to discuss how to safeguard and protect the island's unique fauna and flora from climate change. To find out more follow @darwinfound#climatechangegalapagos
A reef manta ray breaks the surface while feeding on plankton in Hanifaru Bay, Maldives. The current was pumping hard, pushing both me and this manta across the reef flat. It took all the strength I could muster not to get sucked into the surf zone, but it was child's play for the manta. With one wing beat it shot back into the bay, leaving me to fight the current alone for another twenty minutes. Shot on expedition in the Maldives in collaboration with @mantatrust and @fonassociation
Galapagos giant tortoises live on the frontline of climate change. Nest temperatures during egg incubation determine sex, so predicted warmer air temperatures in the Galapagos could mean warmer sand and more female tortoises, skewing sex ratios. Changes in rainfall patterns can alter the timing of tortoise migrations and lead to flooding of tortoise nests. The world's leading scientists are currently meeting at @darwinfound in the Galapagos to discuss how to safeguard and protect the island's unique fauna and flora from climate change. To find out more follow @darwinfound#climatechangegalapagos
A blacktip reef shark swims up to me for a closer look. Patrolling these tidal flats on a daily basis, it probably hasn't come across a photographer sitting in its path before. I have had the privilege to visit Aldabra on two expeditions and was able to spend almost 3 months on this remote Atoll. About one hundred of these sharks spend part of the day in the waters in front of the research station run by @sif_seychelles. They are curious and very relaxed around people. This video was shot by my assistant and videographer @ottowhitehead . He just completed his PhD studying penguins on Marion Island in the Sub-Antarctic. So follow him @ottowhitehead and please send him a congrats message if you are so inclined :-)