polar bears

2014 A Year in Review by Katherine Yaksich

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2014 | A Year in Review

Greetings from California! When I look back at 2014, I can’t help but be surprised by how quickly the year flew by. It’s quite startling actually. I’ve decided that moving forward I need to reevaluate and work on my relationship with time. I need to savor the adventures a bit more and stop more frequently to soak up, enjoy, and live in the moment.

I’m also incredibly grateful for all of the beautiful moments I experienced and the people I shared them with. One thing I’m proud of is how much time I was able to spend with my friends that live on the west coast. I took 7 trips out west to CA this year, mostly for work. But more than ever, I realize that cultivating friendships and community takes a lot of work and energy, but is also meaningful, necessary, rewarding, and quite possibly the most important aspect of life. I want to be intentional about cultivating relationships and one way I will do this is by designing adventures specifically for that purpose. This past year I finally summited Half Dome with my friend Matt and in 2015, I will head to South Africa, Tanzania, and Zanzibar with my friend Drew to conquer Kilimanjaro and hopefully get some great views of “big cats playing ball”. 

One of my major highlights of 2014 was the time I spent as the Photographer in Residence onboard the M/S Expedition ship in the Arctic, 600 - 800 miles from the North Pole. It was truly a transformative experience spent in the wild, beautiful, and fragile polar environment, and made me realize firsthand the importance of safeguarding the future of our planet. I’m so excited to embark in a few weeks on a 2 month adventure and photo residency back onboard the M/S Expedition down in Antarctica, which has been on my bucket list ever since I was in 4th grade and is also my final continent to explore. It will definitely be a meaningful experience that will undoubtedly shape my life and future work.

Thanks for joining me on this adventure and for allowing me to share some of my favorite moments. I wish you a beautiful, adventurous, and transformative 2015! 

The photos above are my top 10 favorite images of 2014 with captions below.

All My Best, 
Reuben

1. Polar Bears in the Arctic, photographed about 100 meters away from a zodiac and one of the most challenging images I’ve ever captured (Svalbard, Norway)

2. Dr. Tom Smith, rifle master and naturalist, once saved a polar bear’s life by punching it in the face (Svalbard, Norway)

3. A mountain peak emerges in Inglefieldbreen, Svalbard, less than 800 miles from the North Pole

4. NYC Ballet, Jen Trahan for Reuben Hernandez Studios, NYC

5. Yosemite’s Half Dome summit with Matthew Morgan (California)

6. Blood Moon/Total Lunar Eclipse, photographed from Southern California

7. Christopher “Push” Costa at PMT Dance Studio, NYC

8. Spiderman Parkour Self Portrait, Brooklyn, NY

9. JR’s Inside Out Project at Millions March NYC 

10. 9/11/2014, NYC

by Katherine Yaksich

 Arctic Self Portrait 
   An Arctic self portrait taken less than 600 miles from the North Pole, while we search for polar bears near the pack ice.   Thanks for joining me on this wild adventure. It’s difficult to describe my experience in the Arctic as a photographer in residence, but I definitely have a greater appreciation for our planet. I’ve learned a tremendous amount and had the wonderful opportunity to be part of a gracious, knowledgable, and talented expedition team. I’m excited to be back on the ship headed to Antarctica next February, which would mark my 7th and final continent. Antarctica has actually been on my bucket list ever since I did a school report on it in third grade.    
   I will leave you with this quote by Paul Nicklen, a National Geographic photographer and biologist, that truly resonated with me:   
   “I want to bring back images of this remote, raw, unforgiving, beautiful, and yet extremely fragile world to you. I want you to care about these regions as much as I do, and I hope to inspire you to help avert the warming trend that is changing them quickly and irreversibly.”     
   Live Adventurously,  Reuben

 Arctic Self Portrait

An Arctic self portrait taken less than 600 miles from the North Pole, while we search for polar bears near the pack ice. 

Thanks for joining me on this wild adventure. It’s difficult to describe my experience in the Arctic as a photographer in residence, but I definitely have a greater appreciation for our planet. I’ve learned a tremendous amount and had the wonderful opportunity to be part of a gracious, knowledgable, and talented expedition team. I’m excited to be back on the ship headed to Antarctica next February, which would mark my 7th and final continent. Antarctica has actually been on my bucket list ever since I did a school report on it in third grade. 

I will leave you with this quote by Paul Nicklen, a National Geographic photographer and biologist, that truly resonated with me:

“I want to bring back images of this remote, raw, unforgiving, beautiful, and yet extremely fragile world to you. I want you to care about these regions as much as I do, and I hope to inspire you to help avert the warming trend that is changing them quickly and irreversibly.”  

Live Adventurously,
Reuben

by Katherine Yaksich

This Arctic Life 
  My favorite image of my Arctic series goes out to this mother and cub, spotted from our ship from over 8 miles away by one of our naturalists. It may not look like it, but this was my most challenging photograph. We had to race over in our Zodiacs in very rough waters to get within 125 meters, and shooting at a focal length of 640 mm from a bouncing watercraft is not very ideal. Water was spraying all over us in true Arctic expedition fashion, and some cameras even stopped working after this operation.   
  According to a report published by the World Wide Fund for Nature, “  A substantial reduction in the   extent of the sea ice during the summer will   undoubtedly have a negative impact on polar   bears. Based on extremely conservative   forecasts about the future extent of the sea ice,   scientists have estimated that two thirds of the   polar bear population could become extinct by   2050. If the sea ice continues to retreat at the   speed witnessed during the last few years, the   situation will become even more critical.”

This Arctic Life

My favorite image of my Arctic series goes out to this mother and cub, spotted from our ship from over 8 miles away by one of our naturalists. It may not look like it, but this was my most challenging photograph. We had to race over in our Zodiacs in very rough waters to get within 125 meters, and shooting at a focal length of 640 mm from a bouncing watercraft is not very ideal. Water was spraying all over us in true Arctic expedition fashion, and some cameras even stopped working after this operation. 

According to a report published by the World Wide Fund for Nature, “A substantial reduction in the extent of the sea ice during the summer will undoubtedly have a negative impact on polar bears. Based on extremely conservative forecasts about the future extent of the sea ice, scientists have estimated that two thirds of the polar bear population could become extinct by 2050. If the sea ice continues to retreat at the speed witnessed during the last few years, the situation will become even more critical.”

by Katherine Yaksich

MOTHERHOOD

Polar bears rolling in the deep at Hornsund, located on the island of Spitsbergen in Svalbard.

Filmed on location in the Arctic

by Katherine Yaksich

Arctic Short Video Series 3 of 4 (15 sec)

A time lapse of our expedition ship navigating through pack ice less than 600 miles from the North Pole, while we search for polar bears.

by Katherine Yaksich

This Arctic Life 
 One last shot before I go again - my favorite polar bear at Inglefieldbreen. Polar bears have transparent hair, black skin, and black tongues and are the largest terrestrial predator on earth. #thisarcticlife (at Svalbard)

This Arctic Life

One last shot before I go again - my favorite polar bear at Inglefieldbreen. Polar bears have transparent hair, black skin, and black tongues and are the largest terrestrial predator on earth. #thisarcticlife (at Svalbard)

by Katherine Yaksich

“The secret to success is to do what you love.” - Dr. Tom Smith, rifle master and naturalist 
 Tom is one of the most fascinating guys I have ever met and has some incredible stories that include traveling solo through the Arctic for 2 years on a single journey, living and hunting with the Inuit community, and saving a polar bear’s life by punching it in the face. I’m lucky to be part of this team #thisarcticlife #makeportraits (at Svalbard)

“The secret to success is to do what you love.” - Dr. Tom Smith, rifle master and naturalist

Tom is one of the most fascinating guys I have ever met and has some incredible stories that include traveling solo through the Arctic for 2 years on a single journey, living and hunting with the Inuit community, and saving a polar bear’s life by punching it in the face. I’m lucky to be part of this team #thisarcticlife #makeportraits (at Svalbard)