Thursday, October 28, 2010

Florian Schulz's "FLIGHT OF THE RAYS" named Best Environmental Photo/Photographer of 2010 by National Geographic

Munk's devil rays in Mexico crowd the winning picture from the 2010 Environmental Photographer of the Year awards

Overall Winner: "Flight of the Rays"

Photograph by Florian Schulz, Pictures
Thousands of Munk's devil rays crowd the Sea of Cortez off Mexico's Baja California Sur state (map) in 2009. The aerial image won top honors and the "Underwater World" category in the 2010 Environmental Photographer of the Year awards.
German photographer Florian Schulz said the scope of the ray congregations was unknown until he and a pilot happened upon the gathering while searching for migrating whales.
Perhaps just as rare is the composition Schulz captured. "I was able to show how these rays are jumping out of the water," he said, "and at the same time I'm able to show—almost like an underwater photograph—how there're layers and layers and layers of rays."
The International Union for Conservation Union lists Munk's devil rays as near threatened, due in part to their vulnerability to gill nets—hard-to-see "curtains" of netting.
Given ray gatherings like the one pictured, Schulz said, "you could imagine a single net could take thousands and thousands."
This helps explain why, upon seeing the winning photo, marine ecologistGiuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara emailed Schulz to express his delight at seeing so many Munk's devil rays thriving in a single frame. Di Sciara helped identify the species in 1987.
Organized by the London-based Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, the Environmental Photographer of the Year contest honors amateur and professional photographers who "raise awareness of environmental and social issues." This year's edition drew more than 4,500 entries from photographers in 97 countries.
—John Roach
Published September 29, 2010

- - - a peek to see what is coming up in the future - - -

Coming Fall 2010, the second installment in the “Freedom to Roam™” series

Traveling the length of the North American Pacific coastline, Florian Schulz explores the dramatic interplay between ocean and land—from Baja California to Alaska’s Beaufort Sea.

Photography by Florian Schulz
Stretching along the jagged western edge of the North American continent, the Baja to Beaufort (B2B) ecosystem encompasses a range of oceanic and coastal habitats, including rivers, estuaries, lagoons, forests, and other large interconnected landscapes. This region is also home to many migrating marine species—gray and blue whales, Pacific salmon, leatherback sea turtles, and bluefin tuna—that travel thousands of miles, seamlessly across national borders. They link north to south, the tropics to the Arctic, and even ocean to forest.

Through beautiful images from a passionate advocate for corridor protection, this project highlights the critical notion that ecosystems are interrelated—and that ecosystem health is wholly dependent upon the preservation of ecosystem connectivity.

Like other Braided River projects, Baja to the Beaufort Sea will reach beyond the printed page through photographer presentations, outreach, and a traveling museum exhibit. As part of the campaign, Braided River will collaborate with and offer communications support to on-the-ground conservation organizations working towards marine and coastal protection.
For more on Florian Schulz, click here. To check out his blog, visit

Dreaming is such a wonderful thing. It lets our mind unfold in an entirely hopeful fashion. No fears of failure or negativity. It seems that the older I have grown, the more I dare to dream. It unleashes an incredible amount of energy. When I dreamed off the arctic in the past it was the thoughts of a wast unspoiled wilderness filled with resilient life. A landscape so unknown and big, that my imagination could run free creating a fascinating sense of wonder and desire to explore. As wilderness is shrinking around the world, we need such wilderness, that is not  disrupted with mines and drilling rigs. We need it, to simply give our mind and spirit the Freedom to Roam!
By the hundreds of thousands members of the Western Arctic Caribou Herd fill valley after valley, Nikon D3x, 24-70mm f2.8
Barren Ground Grizzly wandering the edge of the Arctic Refuge. Nikon D3x, 600mm f4 VR lens
Far away from the centers of our civilization lies a land of wonder, where hundreds of thousands of caribou roam the plains, where myriads of birds migrate to rear their chicks and where the kingdoms of grizzly and polar bears meet. It is America’s vast Arctic, far removed from the rest of the world, but heavily affected by humankind.
Thousands of murres gather on pools on the ice awaiting the nesting season on the nearby cliffs; Nikon D3x, 70-200mm f2.8
A large lead opens in the Chuckchi Sea between Pt. Hope and Cape Lisburne; Nikon D3x, 24-70mm f2.8
For many years environmental organizations have fought for the protection of the Alaskan arctic, but as the energy crisis worsens, pressure is driving Congress to open this wilderness sanctuary to oil drilling and mining operations. As part of my Freedom to Roam project in connection with the Blue Earth Alliance and Braided River Books, I am  working to produce photographic material in support of the Arctic Conservation Campaign. With compelling imagery I hope we can reach Congress and the general public by showing a true portrait of a land often called a “barren wasteland”.
_DSC8586 copy
Sea ice landscape at the edge of the lead. Nikon D3x, 14-24mm f2.8
_DSC9526 copy
A polar bear roams the edge of the packice in the Chuckchi Sea. Nikon D300, 200-400mm f4 + TC/E 1.4
After spending many months on the ground amongst hundreds of thousands of caribou, nesting birds and barren ground grizzlies in 2008, I realize, that the only way to cover this massive expanse of land is the aerial perspective. So in 2008 I started to plan a major “Arctic Aerial Expedition”, as part of the 2009 work on the Freedom to Roam project. The goal was to show wildlife in their environment, offering a true representation of the way animals depend on this interconnected ecosystem. My goal was to document the retreating sea ice, the platform for seals, walrus, birds and the polar bear as well as to document the 3 major caribou herds of the arctic slope.
I want to invite you to follow my blog as I am going to share with you some of the amazing experiences I had over the last weeks photographing Alaska`s Arctic. Please pass the info on to friends who are interested in wildlife, conservation, Alaska and photography.
I realized mosquitoes are a popular subject. I had a little video camera with me on this trip. I am just trying to figure out how to bring you  some  ”behind-the-scenes” impressions once in a while.
The background. We had flown back to the spot of the wolf den after having seen the wolves there several weeks before. After we arrived at the location, we were in Mosquito-hell or mosquito heaven, depending from which perspective you look at it. Since we had made all the effort to get out there, I was not going to let the mosquitoes nor the river stop me from trying my luck with the wolves. (Yes I am stubborn about such things….)
In the middle of the river I was thinking however ———- “Hmmm, I am wondering if this is such a good idea. My insurance does not cover water damage on my D3x and the brand new Nikon 600mm f4 is not even insured at all. That be an expensive flush down the river……”
As you see myself there in the middle of the stream…. my speach bubble should read “Wholy Sh*T, what the hell am I doing”…….
To read a little more about sitting on the wolves then check out my post“Mosquito Heaven”

No comments:

Post a Comment