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thomaspeschak thomaspeschak

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Thomas Peschak  National Geographic Photographer // Storyteller // Marine Biologist //Conservationist// NatGeo Explorer


A Galápagos sea lion curiously interacts with marine scientists from the @darwinfound and @saveourseasfoundation. Taking a break from surveying shark populations around Wolf and Darwin Island, they explore a large cavern frequented by seals and green turtles. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine in the Galápagos. In collaboration with @pelayosalinas #paulmangellfoundation #galapagosnationalpark

A scalloped hammerhead cruises past a school of steel pompano on a rocky reef in the northern Galápagos Islands. Warmer sea temperatures can lead to higher parasite loads in sharks and also cause infections, visible as white patches on their flanks below the dorsal fin. These hammerheads are normally skittish but the need to visit cleaning stations serviced by various reef fish (they remove and feed on the shark's parasites) trumped any shyness. They completely ignored my presence and allowed me to record visual evidence of skin infections in dozens of hammerheads. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for the June 2017 story Galápagos: Life in the Balance. In collaboration with @darwinfound @saveourseasfoundation @pelayosalinas #galapagosnationalpark and @ecuadortravel #photooftheday #sharks #climatechange

The climate and oceanography of the Galapagos is incredibly complex and contrasting. The ocean surrounding the western Islands is so cold that warm water species like green sea turtles leave the sea to bask on beaches to heat up. At the same time the air temperatures are stifling hot and this "well insulated" sea lion has to venture into the water to cool off. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for the June 2017 story Galápagos: Life in Balance. In collaboration with @darwinfound #galapagosnationalpark @fonassociation #paulmangellfoundation @natgeocreative

During April/May 2017 I spent almost a month on remote Marion Island on assignment for @natgeo magazine. This South African Sub-Antarctic outpost is a true global seabird hotspot, with 28 breeding species. These Southern rockhoppers are one of four different penguins that nest on Marion Island. Photograph shot on expedition with the South African Antarctic Program and the SA Department of Environmental Affairs. #southafrica #seabird #marionisland

A Nazca booby stretches its wings after returning to Wolf Island after a feeding trip out in the Pacific Ocean. These seabirds often build nests in the near impenetrable thickets of Opuntia cacti. Shot on assignment for @NatGeo magazine. In collaboration with #galapagosnationalpark and @darwinfound @natgeocreative Follow the link below my bio for the full article Galápagos: Life in the Balance.

Galapagos giant tortoises sleep in a mud pool in Volcan Alcedo on Isabela island. A fumarole along the crater wall pipes hot steam and gasses hundreds of meters into the starry night sky. @darwinfound biologists Dr. Stephen Blake and Freddy Cabrera are studying how a changing climate is effecting tortoise populations. Nest temperatures during egg incubation determine sex, so predicted warmer air temperatures here could mean warmer sand and more female tortoises, skewing sex ratios. Changes in rainfall patterns can alter the timing of tortoise migrations and lead to flooding of tortoise nests. Shot in collaboration with #galapagosnationalpark and @darwinfound on assignment for @natgeo magazine. Check out my June 2017 @natgeo story Galápagos: Life in the Balance. See link in my bio. @natgeocreative

Marine Iguanas can dive to depths of over 30 feet (10m) and hold their breath for up to 30 minutes. These iconic reptiles are only able to spend a few hours a day in the ocean grazing algae for sustenance. In the western Galápagos the water is simply too cold for longer underwater excursions by a cold blooded reptile. The surgeonfish surrounding the iguana also graze on algae, but can feed all day long without freezing to death. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for the June 2017 story on climate change and the Galápagos Islands. In collaboration with @darwinfound #galapagosnationalpark #paulmangellfoundation @natgeocreative

The waters around the northern Galápagos Islands of Wolf and Darwin are one of few places in the world where mature adult whale sharks make regular seasonal appearances. This 6-8 foot silky shark is dwarfed by a giant 30 + foot female. Photographing theses giant sharks is difficult, the currents are ripping and they swim incredibly fast and show little curiosity for people. Shot on assignment @natgeo magazine for a story on climate change and the Galápagos Islands in the June 2017 issue. In collaboration with @darwinfound @saveourseasfoundation #paulmangellfoundation #galapagosnationalpark and @ecuadortravel

Marine iguanas are the world's only lizards that feed in the ocean grazing on seaweeds. This unique trait however comes at a price. The Pacific in the western reaches of the Galápagos Islands is cold and the iguanas can only feed for a few hours at a time. For the rest of day they embrace the sun baked volcanic rocky shores to regain as much heat as possible. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for the June 2017 story on climate change and the Galápagos Islands. In collaboration with @darwinfound @pelayosalinas #paulmangellfoundation @ecuadortravel #galapagosnationalpark

In the Galápagos some groups of sea lions have learned how to hunt yellowfin tuna. In small bands they intercept the schools and drive them into convoluted dead end bays. Here the sea lions trap them in crevices or push them onto rocky shores where they dispatch the fish with a bite to the head. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine in 2016. I believe this is the first time that this behavior has been photographed. Check out the June 2017 issue of @natgeo magazine for my story on Galápagos and climate change. In collaboration with @darwinfound #galapagosnationalpark @fonassociation @pelayosalinas #galapagosislands #allyouneedisecuador

A whale shark feeds near the surface off the coast of Djibouti in the Gulf of Tadjoura. The whale shark carries the title as the largest shark (and fish) in the sea. However, we still know very little about them. These gentle ocean giants, listed as Endangered by the IUCN, are becoming more and more popular with tourists. In Djibouti, whale shark aggregations consist mostly of young males and have been monitored by scientists for over a decade. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for a story on the Seas of Arabia in March 2012.

#WhaleShark #Africa #arabiansea

Waved albatrosses appear as mirror images of one another on Española in the Galápagos—a World Heritage Site since 1979. In a choreographed mating ritual, these goose-sized sea birds use their beaks to repeatedly gape, point and fence. Photographing critically endangered animals like the waved albatross is both a privilege and a burden. As a photographer, how can I best capture the beauty and wonder of an animal in a way that takes people’s breath away? How can I create images that foster awareness and appreciation, which ultimately leads to conservation action?

Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for a forthcoming story on climate change and the Galápagos Islands. In collaboration with @darwinfound #galapagosnationalpark and @ecuadortravel
#Galapagos #ClimateChange @natgeocreative @thephotosociety

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