Sockeye salmon run thick in the rivers and streams of Katmai. However, these fish are smart. I was unable to capture the shots I wanted of the fish since they were very agitated by the bears hunting them. The bears work in unison, churning the water, then snagging the confused fish in their powerful jaws.
Katmai National Park is one of my go-to places for bears. It is extraordinary to say the least & the scenery isn’t too shabby either. In particular, I was able to photograph a sow & her two cubs. She looked at me, looked at her cubs, and sat down as if giving me permission.
My friends and I had a great time wandering around various parts of the Salish Sea in search of orca whales. While we did finally spot 8 transient whales on our adventure it takes either really good light or unusual behaviors such as spy hopping and breaching the surface to make the photo and alas we had neither that day. To really photograph orcas takes a bit of luck (which I often have) and a lot of time (which I never have). I have been fortunate enough to see them in Antarctica, Argentina, New Zealand, Norway, and Alaska and I was hoping to have some shots of them in my own back yard for my next book project but it wasn’t to be this time around.
The Kimberley cruise workshop with PODAS was a great success. The limestone river gorges are spectacular and make for mind-bending reflections. One highlight was a helicopter ride to photograph estuarine abstracts.
More images featuring the seas off Semporna, a small town on the east coast of Sabah State, Malaysia. I was continuing to photograph the amazing Bajau ‘sea gypsies’. These children don’t go to school, or speak Malay, and the families are not even counted as Malaysian. They are off the grid in every sense- living in stilted houses atop coral reefs. These people will be among the first to permanently lose their homes (and most likely their way of life) as sea levels rise. I found some villages of sea weed farmers, and you will notice their method, particularly in the aerials. Speaking of which- I was finally able to get a helicopter after waiting in limbo for four days. But the timing was the best possible window of weather for the entire five days! I continued to shoot from my plane’s window seat on my way to Sydney, via Kuala Lumpur. The huge cumulus clouds are typical of the tropics. They contain an amazing amount of energy, and as night falls provide spectacular lightning shows. You will notice a river flowing red with sediments from inland- obvious signs of further rainforest clearing to make way for palm oil plantations.
After a few hiccups in getting here, I finally landed in Tawau, Malaysia on the island of Borneo. Following an early breakfast and a 45-minutes boat ride to Sabah Park’s jetty at Bohey Dulang, my journey to observe and photograph the unique culture of the oceanic Bajau people was coming to fruition. The islands of Maiga and Bodgaya serve as home to not more than 30 families of Bajau sea gypsies who adapted themselves to settle in stilt houses- though some still prefer to spend more time out in the sea!