VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
So bring on the rebels, the ripples from pebbles, the painters, and poets, and plays… here’s to the fools who dream, crazy as they may seem. –La La Land. Films and visual imagery capture imaginations and dare us to envision a better future. La La Land dazzled our hearts last December with whimsical, up-beat tunes strung with a message of foolish hope against great odds. When Emma Stone’s character performs her vulnerable, breathtaking audition song, “The Fools Who Dream”, her passion stemming from a real place of her own story makes us feel what she is feeling and believe in her dream. We root for her completely. We empathize.
After a week of exploring and photographing fossil fuel infrastructure and impacts in and around Houston, its 52 mile long ship channel, and the neighboring gulf coast, I am excited to finally get up in the air. Along with my other International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) colleague Karen Kasmauski, I am working on the Environmental Integrity Project’s (EIP) Human Cost of Energy Production initiative. What began as a collaboration to explore the impacts of fracking in southwest Pennsylvania last June, has now taken us into the heart of the world’s greatest concentration of oil and gas refining.
Shooting wildlife can be an exercise in patience and, too often, futility—long hours spent squatting in mosquito-riddled swamps, cowering in a small hide, or setting camera traps and waiting for an elusive creature to cooperate. All to freeze one single moment, when preparation, pre-visualization and chance coincide to produce an image that connects with an audience on a visceral level or offers a unique insight into our world.
“If you want a confession, I found God and His creation, pure nature, in the old growth forest. And at that moment I decided I had to do everything possible to protect it so my children could see it for real, not just in books and museums.” Radu Vlad, Forest & Regional Project Co-ordinator for WWF’s Danube-Carpathian Programme, cuts an imposing figure, unmistakably a man of the Transylvanian forests he’s been campaigning to protect for over a decade.
Post by iLCP Fellow and French conservation photographer Denis Palanque. What YOU Can Do: Take the time to meet people and discuss with them. Expose your points of view and arguments with passion and conviction. Make your voice heard. Learn about your local habitats and wildlife conflict. No cause is lost. Everyone can change their minds. Write…
Many of my photographic assignments have taken me to the front lines of industrial fishing, often happening beyond national borders. In these distant waters there’s less control over how fishing is done, and often ocean wildlife ends up being netted, hooked or even harpooned during these wild west fishing practices. Crew on such vessels are also at the mercy of fishing companies and captains, and horror stories abound of abuse, slavery and squalid conditions dealt out in the pursuit of profit.
Svalbard. 78° north. Only 750 miles from the North Pole. We join Knut Sunnanå, chief scientist, and his team aboard the RV Helmar Hanssen for the first few days of a research cruise in the waters around Svalbard.
Over the years I hope I’ve learned a few things. I’ve learned that travelling the globe on short-lived smash and grab photographic raids is great fun but makes little difference to conservation. I’ve learned that conserving wildlife and wild places has very little to do with wildlife and wild places and everything to do with people and their value systems. Combining these two lessons led me to an obvious question a few years back: Where can I work most effectively? Clearly the answer lay close to home.
These photos come from Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. And by all means, if you ever have a chance to visit the snowy shores of the Chilkat outside Haines, Alaska, I encourage you to do it, especially after the tourists have left, and the temperature now causes ice crystals to form inside your nostrils. This preserve represents the best of who we are as a country. And I think, with everything going on right now, we can at least agree, that we need to remember the things we’ve done right.
Imagine a booming underwater powerhouse, overflowing with vibrant biodiversity; a vast, dynamic wonderland of adaptation in aquatic form. Primordial soup? Not quite–though coral reefs are themselves an irreplaceable vessel of life. From fish nurseries to coastline protection and pharmaceutical breakthroughs to diving meccas, coral reefs provide a multitude of ecological services and economic contributions. Awed by the endless infinity of life living upon life to degrees unimaginable to the naked eye, I count myself lucky to have spent time in these enchanting habitats in many parts of the world.
The humble mangrove forest is one of the most biologically important ecosystems that border our oceans. They act as the skin of our coastlines, managing the energy exchange between land and sea; and provide vital ecosystem services such as waste treatment, habitat, food resource, and recreation.
I have been on many research expeditions throughout the Gulf of California, Mexico, where I study these ecosystems and photograph them in action: acting as a nursery for yellow snappers, hosting migratory birds after their long flight, and buffering coastlines against storms.
When I was a child, I found that insects were like marvelous animals full of colors and shapes. While studying and learning about them, I also discovered that they had really interesting behaviors. Now as an iLCP Emerging League Photographer and biologist, I have been photographing insects for the last decade, showing how amazing they are, and highlighting what we could lose if we don’t do something right now.
Started in 2014, my long-term documentary project “Baby Giants” focuses on the conservation work of the critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley and other endangered sea turtles. Help is already underway to bring these sea turtle populations back from the brink, and I get to share this story of hope and invite you to join the efforts for sea turtles.
In early 2010 I pulled together a poster of the ten “Most Wanted” amphibians that led to a global search for frogs and salamanders lost to science. A little battle-weary from the unabated extinction of frogs and their kin, and seeking hope in the face of despair, I was buoyed by the improbable reappearance in Costa Rica of the Variable Harlequin Frog and inspired to wonder: what else might be out there?
I’ve been working on the topic of plastic pollution in the last few years. This is an issue that needs a dramatic change as soon as possible. Sometimes people come up to me and tell me that it’s a lost fight, but these kinds of wars have been won before. You can see for example how the toy industry was forced to use unleaded paint only (imagine how many toys China makes each day), and at the beginning you would think that you couldn’t go against a big monster like the toy industry. However, that battle was won and so can the one against plastics harming the environment and wildlife.