thomaspeschak thomaspeschak

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Thomas Peschak  National Geographic Photographer // Storyteller // Marine Biologist // NatGeo Explorer// Cape Town 🇿🇦

Mercury is probably the only island in the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem where African penguins are not in steep decline. Situated off Namibia’s desert coast Mercury is the centerpiece of the Namib Islands Marine Protected Area. Every morning penguins descend to the ocean from their sleeping sites on the island’s pyramid shaped summit. Some climb cautiously while others leap and slide down to sea level. The individual in this image is moulting, replacing all its feathers once a year to remain well protected from the cold waters of the South Atlantic. @natgeo @natgeocreative

While not as severe as predicted, the 2016 El Niño extreme climate event in the Galapagos left many marine iguanas hungry. Warmer ocean temperatures lead to a reduction in nutritious cold water algae (the primary food source), resulting in some marine iguana populations becoming skinnier than usual. Fortunately colder waters returned sooner than anticipated and a mass marine iguana die off was everted this time. Shot on assignment for @natgeo @natgeocreative in collaboration with @parquegalapagos and @darwinfound

A orca tail slaps the ocean’s surface after killing a large green sea turtle. Frigate birds are in close attendance hoping to snatch bits and pieces from the carcass. They appeared especially interested in scavenging parts of the turtle’s stomach and intestines. As far as I know the remote western reaches of the Galapagos are the only place in the world where orcas regularly hunt sea turtles. It was quite a wild and primal experience to observe the entire hunt from our tiny zodiac. Shot on assignment for @NatGeo in collaboration with @darwinfound @parquegalapagos @pelayosalinas

“Return of Robomanta” A oceanic manta ascends from the deep still wearing @natgeo Crittercam, a miniaturized video system that records scenes from the animal’s POV. It temporarily attaches to the manta’s skin with a suction cup and is programmed to detach after a set period of time. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine in the Revillagigedo archipelago #Mexico with scientists from @mantatrust and @maresmexicanos

Humpback whales feed on a school of herring. The whales release a circular curtain of bubbles beneath the fish which traps and pushes them upwards. The whales follow the fish and breach the surface with open mouths. The humpback whale population in the the seas off Canada's Great Bear Rainforest is unique in that they also sing at their feeding grounds. Photograph made in #Gitga’at territory #whales #herring #canada #greatbear Please follow @pacificwild and @bcwhales for more photographs and stories

Honored to have received four World Press Awards in Amsterdam last night. Both my story and three single picture awards were all shot on assignment for National Geographic Magazine @natgeo in Galapagos and on remote Seabird islands around the world. A heartfelt thank you to the entire team at NGM and NGS for having supported my work for the last 10 years. Particular gratitude is due to my long time photo editor and friend Kathy Moran @kfmoran Director of Photography Sarah Leen @roseleen and Editor in Chief Susan Goldberg @susanbgoldberg I am very proud to be part of an organization like National Geographic which still believes in and champions in depth visual storytelling on subjects that matter. @natgeocreative #worldpressphoto

After spending up to an hour feeding on seaweeds in the frigid, upwelled waters of the western Galapagos, cold blooded marine iguanas have to regain body heat fast. They cluster together on rocky shores in such densities that the black lava rock, heated up by the sun becomes almost completely obscured by a puzzle of scales, tails, snouts and crests. Shot on assignment for @natgeo in collaboration with @darwinfound and @parquegalapagos

A Macaroni penguin climbs towards the summit of a sea cliff situated right above the iconic Amphitheater. This unique penguin nesting and moulting site is located along the western edge of Marion Island (one of the Prince Edward Islands). Despite being situated more than 1000 km south of Cape Town, deep in the southern Ocean, Marion belongs to South Africa and hosts a important scientific research station. Shot on assignment for @natgeo for a forthcoming story on the Global Seabird Crisis. In collaboration with the South African National Antarctic Program (SANAP) and the Department of Environmental Affairs @environmentza #penguins #seabirdcrisis #marionisland #southafrica

Silvertip sharks spend the day in the deep water of channels or along drop offs. Only at dusk do they rise to the surface to hunt on shallower coral reefs. On anchor off the remote Seychelles atoll Aldabra I got to witness this vertical migration most evenings when Silvertip sharks visit the stern of the catamaran. This shark is listed as vulnerable in the IUCN red list and it is estimated that the global population has declined by more than 30% in the last 60 years. These sharks are frequently caught both in high seas fisheries and by coral reef associated artisanal longline vessels in most of the world’s tropical oceans. #sharks #ocean #conservation #diving

The waters around the northern Galápagos Islands of Wolf and Darwin are one of few places in the world where mature whale sharks make regular seasonal appearances. These 6 foot silky sharks are dwarfed as they rub up against this 30 + foot giant. Photographing this unique behavior was difficult, the currents are ripping and the whale sharks swim incredibly fast. Shot on assignment for @natgeo in collaboration with @darwinfound @saveourseasfoundation and #paulmangellfoundation

The Mystery of the Shrunken Iguana. In lean times, when food is scarce Marine iguanas are able to shrink their skeleton and reduce their size by up to 20%. Smaller animals require less energy and the odds of surviving tough times increases. When seaweed food becomes abundant again their skeletons regrow. Shot on assignment for @natgeo in collaboration with @darwinfound and @pelayosalinas #galapagos #godzilla #ocean #diet

I have decided that every month I will feature a photographer who I think all of you might also be interested in following on Instagram. This week I want to spotlight the work of a very talented young photographer. Lucas Bustamante @luksth specializes in images and stories about the fragile biodiversity of tropical forests in his native Ecuador. So show @luksth some love, follow him and learn more about his inspiring work.

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