Nothing seems to grab the public’s attention like a close encounter with a great white shark. As a large island nation with a 25,760 kilometre coastline, Australia has a high diversity of sharks. We have 170 species out of approximately 440 species globally. Just as we need to conserve other threatened apex predators like Lions in Africa, Tigers in Asia, and Polar Bears in the Arctic, it’s important to protect our sharks.
People are terrified of these magnificent creatures: thanks in part to psychology and Hollywood.
To put it into perspective, the odds of being killed by a shark in Australia are one in 8 million. It’s the same likelihood of being killed by a kangaroo.
Even though kangaroos don’t evoke the same fear in us, the danger is there. My experience swimming with sharks in waters all over the world, they are big puppy dogs. They are curious, playful, intelligent, and big boof-heads. They aren’t what they are painted to be. They are like any other wild creature. Wild. Beautiful. Extraordinary. And deserve to be seen as such 🦈
The Great Australian Bight - the wide embayment of the Indian Ocean, indenting Australia's southern coast.
This is one of the most amazing marine environments on the planet. Wild, unpolluted and home to whales, sea lions and sharks.
Standing on the waters edge at sunrise, this is where the day begins, by the end of today… well, today is going to be wild -
Teaching the ways, and it doesn’t get much more Australian than Cooee!
If you’ve ever been anywhere with an Australian, we usually let this call out, and find other aussies wherever we are.
For those not Australian, Cooee is a shout, usually used in the bush to attract attention, find missing people, or indicate ones own location.
Among the first Aboriginal words taken into English by the first fleeters in 1789, there are claims it comes from the Dharug word ‘guu-wii’ meaning Come Here, but the origins are actually hard to pin down. It has a rich and intriguing history in music, language, commerce, war and nationalism.
At the time of the First World War it became a call to arms for all Australians and Anzacs, and from that has continued to evolve.
Wherever we are in the world we are, I can recall making the call from the temples of Central America, the mountainsides of Nepal, to answering the call from the other side of St Marks Square in Venice.
It’s a call close to the hearts of many in their relationship with family, and land.
Give it a call on your next trip, and find yourself an Aussie out there on the road.
The waters of the seas, the Kurangk, the rivers and the lakes are all spirited waters for the Ngarrindjeri people. They are a living body, Yarluwar-Ruwe, where fresh and salt waters mix, a place of creation where Ngartjis breed.
The Ngarrindjeri people hold cultural and spiritual connections to particular places, to species of animals and plants, and all elements of the environment. Their Ngartjis are totems, the environment and animals in this sacred place, and they have responsibilities to care for them. For to care for Ngartjis is to care for the country.
They believe the lands and the waters must stay healthy, for they say if the Yarluwar-Rue dies, the water die, the ngartjis die, and so with the Ngarrindjeri, and all will die.
We can learn a lot from the stories, culture and traditions of these remarkable people.
South Australia is a state defined by extreme wilderness. It's home to the 100km-long Bunda Cliffs facing the Great Australian Bight, the empty expanse of the arid Nullarbor Plain and the red dunes of the Simpson Desert.
Far out north-east, a few hours from Adelaide, teaching the youngest Flanagan about the land, the history, it’s people, and tales from adventures from all over Australia… she wasn’t too keen to try any bush tucker though. - Just causally going for the coolest-uncle-of-the-year award. ** Bush tucker, for those who aren’t Australian, is any food native to Australia. Indigenous Australians used the environment around them for generations, living off a diet high in protein, fibre, and micronutrients, and low in sugars. Everything from plants, seeds, fruits, to the most famous witchetty grub (which can be eaten either raw or roasted over a fire or coals, and holds a nutty taste). Before you get too disgusted this grub is ideal for survival as they are a good source of calcium, thiamin, folate, and niacin, rich in protein and supportive of a healthy immune system... but to be clear, no grubs were eaten in this trip through the wilderness 🐛
When we return we will hike the Arctic Circle Trail. The 160km backcountry trail between Kangerlussuaq and Sisimiut.
A remarkable 80% of Greenland is an ice sheet, some of it 2 miles deep, yet in the summer 20% of the ice melts, uncovering a spectacular landscape. This is true wilderness and untamed lands.
Greenlanders - and there are only about 55,000 of them - have a saying.
June is Spring. July is Summer. August is Autumn. And the rest of the months are Winter. We came to support and documented the work by some incredible minds leading the world in global warming research in the Circle, but just a taste of this place has me planning on coming back from more. We will be back.
Standing alone on Greenland’s barren ice capped coast in complete silence, you’re hit with the reality of how remote this place actually is. It is the most sparsely populated country in the planet. To give you an idea, the town of Kangerlussuaq has a population of 500, and is home to the largest international airport. As soon as you’re out of town, there is nothing, and no one for miles.
When you finally get out of the hull after few days being locked inside with weather and you have a mere few hours to shoot, explore, and get to an airport.
It was a great experience, but nowhere near what it should have, or could have been. But that’s the way these things work out sometimes.
... it gives me a great reason to go back though
Shooting receding glaciers was a poignant experience, especially when compared to shooting some more permanent rocky structures around the world. This ice shelf has already changed appearance since I took this photo. We watched as huge chunks of ice the size of Land Rovers broke off into the ocean. This photo will never be able to be taken again. The sense of loss was palpable.
- 1.5 degrees could change the world -
Scientists have made the most extensive warning yet on the risks of rising global temperatures. Their dramatic report on keeping that rise under 1.5 degrees C says the world is now completely off track, heading instead towards 3C.
On this trip into the arctic circle, and when I was in Antarctica earlier this year I witnessed first hand the effect of a warming planet. I watched multiple ice broken away from ice shelves in the space of not hours, but minutes of each other. Not that long ago an iceberg twice the size of Luxembourg broke off the Antarctic shelf.
Researchers say that if we fail to keep the temperature rises below 1.5C, we are in for some significant and dangerous changes to our world. If it doesn’t, global sea-levels will rise about 4inches. Whilst 4inches (10cm) doesn’t sound like a lot, that will be 10million people exposed to flooding. Both poles are melting at an accelerated rate; ancient trees that have been there for hundreds of years are suddenly dying. Coral reefs will be long gone. The list of repercussions is too long to note.
They say there has to be rapid, and significant change in four big global systems: energy, land use, cities and industry, and I recommend you to read the report, do some research, and realize that it takes everyone to instigate the change. The world cannot meet its target without changes by individuals.
Lifestyle changes can make a huge difference, and its hard to see it, but we are all part of this - its about where we live and work, and it gives us a cue on how we might be able to contribute to that massive change, because everyone is going to have to be involved.
From 40knots and subzero temperatures to smooth sailing along the coastline in just a few days we experienced the range of extremes that Greenland delivers.
Now I’m able to sit down and go through the few images we were able to capture, my desire to go back here grows by the second. Such a stunning part of the world
Rivers of ice.
The majority of glaciers in Greenland are slow-moving rivers of ice that flow out of the ice sheet. It’s not until the ice begins to love that the term glacier can be used. If the ice breaks free, it’s an iceberg.
Greenland is an unplugged wilderness that offers true, unspoiled nature.
It was a well thought out process. But you have to realise you are never really in charge.
The ocean controls everything around us. Nature is in charge.
You take a chance, and here things can change in an instant. 40foot seas. 40knot winds.
I know this is going to become an obsession. Something just out of reach.
With one clear day ahead, I knew I would be heading home.
Nature is in control.
You can have a well planned process, but you have to realize that even with the perfect plan, accounting for all variables, you are never truly in charge. Nature is.
This expedition on a research ship on the coast of Greenland deep in the Arctic circle was full of Zeros -
Zero temperatures. Zero visibility. Zero opportunity to do what we came here to do -
We had one day to both shoot, explore, and get flights out there because with things they way they were, we had to run, and run quickly, but not before using the little time we did have to capture as much as we could before we make our way back to Australia.
Happy #WorldAnimalDay .
It’s no secret I love animals more than I love most people. Of all the places I have shot the amazing creatures, capturing and sharing the marine environment has been a love of mine for a long time, and sharing intimate moments with these incredible animals is such a privilege.
The sea is usually silent, but when its full of whale song it is like nothing else. There is no other experience I can think of to compare. It vibrates through your body, you feel it. It’s such a powerful, and poignant experience.
Thank you to all the people and teams I work alongside in the field to help protect animals, and their environments.
You can’t have one without the other, and #WorldHeritage sites are the most outstanding places on the planet and critical for wildlife conservation. These sites belong to us all and together we can protect them for future generations to come
Help speak up for those who have no voice, and listen to those that want to share their story with you, even if you can’t understand their language 🐋 —
This expedition to Central America has been a difficult one, for many reasons - I could post endless images of incredible places that have left me in awe, of remarkable people that have inspired me profoundly, of situations that have devastated me beyond what I thought possible. I have seen love, I have seen heartbreak, I have seen life being given, and taken away. I have seen the best of people in the worst of situations, and been left lost for ways to express what I was trying so hard to put into words.
This expedition to Central America has been a difficult one, for many reasons - but it was for those reasons, and so many more it has been one of the greatest, and formulative experiences I’ve had. We are driven by something so much larger than ourselves, and on this trip we were reminded of that every single day. Reminded what we are working for. Reminded what we are working towards. Reminded what we are doing with the days we have left on the incredible planet. And I look forward to sharing that very soon. - but for now we travel north east, through Canada to the icy waters off the coast of Greenland -