I am honored to be adding by voice to the @sea_legacy collective on a day when America’s attention is turned toward the Gulf of Mexico. It will be humbling and inspiring to work with heroes focused on #turningthetide under the leadership of @cristinamittermeier and @paulnicklen. #Repost @sea_legacy ・・・ We are excited to announce @CarltonWard as a new member to The Collective — a trusted group of @Sea_Legacy’s esteemed friends who have pledged to use their talents and voices to amplify the message of ocean conservation. Carlton Ward Jr is a National Geographic Explorer and eighth-generation Floridian and focused on conservation of his state’s nature and culture. He grew up surfing and fishing on the coast before turning his attention to the overlooked wildness of Florida’s interior. Carlton founded the Florida Wildlife Corridor campaign and has trekked more than 2,000 miles to showcase a statewide vision keep Florida wild. Living on a peninsula surrounded by water, Carlton’s work shows how land and water are inexorably connected, in the Everglades and beyond. His current project, Path of the Panther, draws attention to the common ground needed for large landscape conservation while protecting the headwaters of Florida’s numerous estuaries. We are proud to be #TurningTheTide with @CarltonWard!
Beneath a fiery sunset, Luke Fry drives behind the milk barn to rake manure into fertilizer, one of the daily chores he and his twin brother Caleb do in the dark before and after school. On this evening, Lukes girlfriend Rachel joined for the ride. This is the final image in a photo story I produced last week during the Missouri Photo Workshop. I applied to participate wanting to reconnect with the fundamentals of photojournalism and push to develop a picture story around the lives of people I had never met in a place I didn’t know. After two years of chasing Florida panthers with camera traps nearly full time, it had become common for weeks to go by without looking through a camera with my own eyes. So I set the high-tech equipment aside and went to Missouri with just one camera for an immersive experience that involved a lot of looking, listening and waiting to capture a relatively small number of photographs. Each student was limited to just 400 photos for the week, with no deletions. When I am on assignment, I often shoot 1000 photos in a day, so last week was a real challenge. But the workshop leaders encouraged us to trust the process and to be intentional about the moments we tried to capture. By watching and waiting we would know when a moment was building and we should trust ourselves respond. By Wednesday evening I had seen the Fry brothers drive the tractor two previous times. But when I saw this sunset taking shape and heard the tractor coming, I started running down the hill. I remembered the floodlights on the cab that could balance exposure with the western sky and scrambled to compose for a fleeting moment. Had this been my first time watching the farm work, theres no way I would have reacted in time. See the full story and inspiring work from other students through the link in my bio and a few more selects from yesterdays post. Thank you to my amazing team leaders @billmarr and @wildhorsephotos and workshop leaders @kodakratz @davidreesphoto and Jim Curley. I cant wait to start incorporating lessons learned in Missouri to my work in Florida. #MPW70 @mophotoworkshop @sonyalpha
Last week I had a phenomenal experience at the 70th annual @mophotoworkshop. See the link in my bio for the complete story and inspiring work by 38 other participants. Here are some photos from the story I produced, overview and captions below. Double Overtime — Identical twins Caleb and Luke Fry wake at 5 a.m. every day to lead the cows to the milk barn, spread manure with a tractor and hand feed the calves. They work past sunset every night helping run their family’s third generation dairy farm, with a break in between for their junior year at Mountain Grove High School, where they share most classes and compete in varsity sports. Like their father before them, Caleb and Luke are on the football team – the Mountain Grove Panthers. But Luke is indefinitely sidelined because he broke his back in a dirt bike accident at the farm. With rods and screws bracing his spine, he races cross country and track but cannot risk being paralyzed by impact sports. Caleb plays center in the starting offense. Both brothers are interested in continuing the family farm, which now includes Ozark Mountain Creamery, to sell fresh milk throughout southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. With their mother Lori and father Dwight, the Fry brothers set the bar high for a midwestern work ethic that is double overtime. 1-2: Caleb hand feeds a calf in the pre-dawn light an hour before he will shower and change for school. The Fry Brothers’ daily chores include feeding a calves with milk produced by the cow herd while the calves mothers rest in pasture. 3: Caleb, left, and Luke, center, talk for a moment while helping their father, Dwight, 52, milk Holstein cows at their family farm. The cows are milked twice a day, before dawn and late afternoon. Milk is collected in a cold storage tank and transported up the hill to the family’s Ozark Mountains Creamery, where it is bottled and sold throughout southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. 4: Luke, with girlfriend Rachel, stirs manure into fertilizer with a tractor well past sunset. 5: Caleb T-Bone continue the daily cycle that starts and ends with feeding the calves. #DoubleOvertime #mpy70
I just returned to Florida from a motivational week in Mountain Grove, Missouri with the @mophotoworkshop. Alongside 40 peers and nearly 15 editors and coaches, I challenged myself to grow as a documentary photojournalist. We were only allowed to take 400 photos with no deletions over the course of 4 days. Each student dove deep into a local story. Even though it was not directly related to mine, I couldn’t resist spending a couple precious frames on this beautiful scene, shot through the windshield of my rental car as I drove out of the Fry family’s dairy farm on the final morning of the workshop. I am thankful for the generous faculty who donated their time and the passionate and talented students who inspired me. Stay tuned for more photos. See picture stories by me and all 39 photographers through the link in my bio. #mpw70 @sonyalpha
Summer has come to an end and along with it ghost orchid blooming season in the Everglades. Since June I’ve made near weekly treks into swamps to visit blooming ghosts and service camera traps with precision laser triggers aiming close to blooms. The hope is to answer a mystery to science by capturing unprecedented photographs of a ghost orchid being pollinated. Notice the impressive length of the nectar spur — the thin tube extending from the back of the flower to the right in this photo. The giant sphinx moth is thought to be the only pollinator because it’s mouth parts are long enough to reach to the bottom of the nectar spur for the sweet reward that draws the moth deep enough into the flower to get pollen stuck on its head, or to share pollen already there from another ghost. Approximately 2000 ghost orchids exist in the wild, of which one in ten bloom each year and perhaps one in ten of those get pollinated — their only natural means of reproducing. It’s fair to say I’ve become obsessed with these ghosts — their mystery and the magic of the swamps in which they survive. For three summers I’ve been drawn deep into the orchids’ watery world and it takes the blooming season ending for me to move on to other work. Meanwhile my friend @macstonephoto is on a parallel quest to document pollination at @corkscrewswamp and his subject still has 5 active blooms. #chasingghosts #orchid #swamp #pathofthepanther #floridawildlifecorridor #floridawild #keepflwild @pureflorida #pureflorida
This #nationalwildlifeday I’d like to share a recent photo of Florida panther — our state animal that shows us what we need to do to save wild Florida. This frame was captured on Babcock Ranch using a custom made camera trap. I’ve been working in this area for two years for my #pathofthepanther project with @NatGeo @myfwc @fl_wildcorridor and recently @nature_org. A male panther like this one has a home range of 200 square miles — and area so large that outside of Big Cypress National Preserve multiple properties are usually required to support a single panther. That makes panthers perfect ambassadors for protecting the statewide network of public and private lands that makeup #FloridaWildlifeCorridor. And if we don’t protect the Corridor, panthers will not have access to enough of their historic habitat to recover to sustainable numbers. #panther #floridawild #keepflwild
The biggest benefit to chasing ghost orchids this summer has been spending a lot of time in the amazing flooded forests of the Fakahatchee Strand. I paddled into this pocket of watery wildness nearly weekly for the past three months to tend to camera traps pointed at ghost orchid blooms seeking to document the moths thought to pollinate the rare flowers. Thanks to @ktbryden for capturing this moment as we greeted the morning in a place that’s become a part of me over the past three years. And thanks to @warbonnetoutdoors for making the perfect jungle hammocks for this mission. With @torilinder. SUP by @yoloboard. Nimble paddle craft and bug proof hammocks open new possibilities for adventure in places with plenty of trees buy no dry land for miles. #swamp #chasingghosts #pathofthepanther @natgeo @insidenatgeo #Everglades #adventure #FloridaWild #KeepFLWild @fl_wildcorridor
The sunset was ridiculously beautifully last night after doing ghost orchid work in the Fakahatchee Stand. Childhood friend and fellow adventurer @zachashtons was just back from Cuba and able to join me. #shotoniphone #sunset #pathofthepanther #floridawild #keepflwild #pureflorida @pureflorida
The daring and nimble @ktbryden stuck a two footed landing in chest deep water and hardly broke composition despite her distracted pilot and a submerged log that did its best to take us out. And the camera was fine too! Thanks Katie and @torilinder for sharing this adventure in the swamp! #pathofthepanther #chasingghosts #everglades #floridawild #keepflwild @yoloboard
In a state whose original nature is being carved into smaller and smaller fragments, it gives me hope to know that Florida black bears like this beast are sloshing through the Everglades at this very moment, and that Florida seven bear populations spread from Naples to Pensacola can still be reconnected if we make it a priority to save the #FloridaWildlifeCorridor. It is easy to forget that the wildness of this swamp bear still survives amongst the relentless development that will cut off the Everglades from the rest of America if we let it. This camera trap photo was captured for my #pathofthepanther project with @natgeo. @insidenatgeo @natgeocreative @fl_wildcorridor @usfws @myfwc #floridawild #keepflwild #bear #everglades #explorersclubmember
In honor of #WorldElephantDay - a young forest elephant peers out from dense foliage in Gabon, a Central African country which protects some of the most expansive rainforests in the region. Working with biologists in Gabon helped me understand the importance or large landscape conservation and wildlife corridors for wide ranging wildlife. Gabon is also where I first met @jmichaelfay and the #Megatransect project he and @michaelnicknichols were doing for @thewcs and @natgeo, undoubtedly inspiring my work with the @fl_wildcorridor. Elephants across the world need our help. Please see the work of the organizations I’ve mentioned here plus @savetheelephants and @wildfoundation. Shot on assignment for @smithsonian in 2001. #Gabon #rainforest #biodiversity
I am thankful to have taken this young explorer to one of my favorite places this week. Almost 5, my oldest daughter Eldridge got to see a ghost orchid and build a fort in the canoe while I serviced my camera traps. I hope this 9th generation Floridian will grow into a future where wildness thrives in balance with humanity. That challenge is our responsibility today! #FloridaWild #KeepFLWild #pathofthepanther #chasingghosts #gratitude #Fakhatchee @fl_wildcorridor
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