While I do as much planning as possible, Mother Nature always has her own set of rules. Here are the top 5 images where I embraced the unexpected while nature delivered.
“WILD SOLITUDE” – DUNES: LANDSCAPES EVOLVING
Two weeks of trekking across the desert of Namibia revealed no signs of life. As the helicopter skimmed the tops of the dunes while I hustled to document them, we spooked an oryx searching in vain for water and watched as it sped off across the sand. Besides my team of three and our pilot, this was the only other mammal I had seen since we arrived in the Sossusvlei Desert. It was the perfect antithesis to the stillness of the land around it, and it reminded me that the will to survive can exist in the most isolated and difficult of places. At 01:44 into the ‘Landscape Evolving’ film, you can see this moment for yourself. View the film here.
“AT SEA” – SAIL: MAJESTY AT SEA
The boats I documented in Sail: Majesty at Sea are known for their unparalleled design. In this image, At Sea, it was as if Mother Nature came prepared with her own complementary ideas to bolster the incredible appearance of these yachts in formation. The clouds and rays of light acted as an arrow drawing all eyes to boats Weatherly and American Eagle as they cut through the water outside of Martha’s Vineyard. Like a postcard of an idealized scene, I couldn’t have asked for much more as I clicked the shutter.
“UNTITLED 20 ” – OMO: EXPRESSIONS OF A PEOPLE
During my month long expedition to photograph the people of the Omo Valley, I was on the constant lookout for a scene that showed how all ages shared the responsibilities of the tribe in an effortless rhythm of community. This Suri boy was standing in the tree overlooking his grazing flock of sheep, perched so naturally and without a care in the world other than the task at hand. Life in this dust bowl of a region can exist here only because people work together, and it is what has allowed the Omo tribe to thrive and defy all odds at survival.
“A BREAK IN THE CLOUDS” – DESERT SONG: COMPOSITIONS OF KENYA
Arteti, a Rendille warrior, happily walked us through the cultural traditions of his people living remotely in Kenya. His pride in life there was palpable, and he shared his joy as he welcomed us to his community. So, it is beyond fitting that as we watched him lead his camel home across the dusty salt flats after a long day of searching for water that the clouds parted ways only to present an ethereal column of light illuminating the path in front of him. There is a certain magic to the Rendille people and the salt flats that nature emphasized that day.
“YOSEMITE AWAKENS” – SHADOWS ALIGHT: PORTRAITS OF THE AMERICAN WEST
I was driving around Yosemite in the early, chilly Autumn morning mentally noting places to photograph. In the distance I smelled the scent of a planned fire, and then came across this scene. As the smoke lingered in the light frozen in midair, it was as if the land was exhaling and arranging the columns of ash in an undeniably irresistible composition.