wildlife

by Katherine Yaksich

5 of 5 of the #blackandwhitechallenge 
 Nearly 5 years ago, I quit my job and relocated to NY from CA with hopes of becoming a photographer and filmmaker. Back then, the Holy Grail would have been to land an assignment for National Geographic, but I’ve since learned that I don’t necessarily need to shoot for Nat Geo to do meaningful work and tell powerful stories. In fact, one of my favorite photographers told me that he actually turned down his first assignment for Nat Geo. To be perfectly honest, I’m not even entirely sure if I could handle the pressure of such an assignment, and the thought of shooting 40,000 - 60,000 images for a single assignment is a bit overwhelming… 
 This year I had the incredible experience of being a photographer in residence onboard an expedition ship in the Arctic. I absolutely loved it because I got to explore such a beautiful and remote part of our planet doing what I love, and it was a meaningful and transformative experience because it helped me understand our fragile world a bit better and the importance of safeguarding the future of our earth. 
 I’m beyond excited to embark on the ship again in February for a month long residency in Antarctica, especially since Antarctica has been on my bucket list ever since I did a report on it in 4th grade. It is also my last and final continent to visit. 
 What kind of experiences transform and bring meaning to your life? 
 I nominate @andrewshepherd for the black and white challenge. I love working with Andrew not only because he is an overall wonderful human, but because his work is always unexpected, beautiful, and solid. 
 #thisarcticlife #neverstopexploring #notgeo

5 of 5 of the #blackandwhitechallenge

Nearly 5 years ago, I quit my job and relocated to NY from CA with hopes of becoming a photographer and filmmaker. Back then, the Holy Grail would have been to land an assignment for National Geographic, but I’ve since learned that I don’t necessarily need to shoot for Nat Geo to do meaningful work and tell powerful stories. In fact, one of my favorite photographers told me that he actually turned down his first assignment for Nat Geo. To be perfectly honest, I’m not even entirely sure if I could handle the pressure of such an assignment, and the thought of shooting 40,000 - 60,000 images for a single assignment is a bit overwhelming…

This year I had the incredible experience of being a photographer in residence onboard an expedition ship in the Arctic. I absolutely loved it because I got to explore such a beautiful and remote part of our planet doing what I love, and it was a meaningful and transformative experience because it helped me understand our fragile world a bit better and the importance of safeguarding the future of our earth.

I’m beyond excited to embark on the ship again in February for a month long residency in Antarctica, especially since Antarctica has been on my bucket list ever since I did a report on it in 4th grade. It is also my last and final continent to visit.

What kind of experiences transform and bring meaning to your life?

I nominate @andrewshepherd for the black and white challenge. I love working with Andrew not only because he is an overall wonderful human, but because his work is always unexpected, beautiful, and solid.

#thisarcticlife #neverstopexploring #notgeo

by Katherine Yaksich

This past summer I had the wonderful opportunity to observe and photograph polar bears in the Arctic for my first time. The mother and cub pictured here was actually my first polar bear sighting, and I remember this moment quite vividly and will probably never forget it. Seeing polar bears in the wild transformed me, and made me truly realize how fragile our environment is. 
 I want to share some text that was posted on the @natgeo Instagram feed yesterday: 
 “Polar bears have come to represent the Arctic ecosystem and we look to them as an indicator of the health of the polar region they roam. Due to human-caused climate change, the Arctic is currently experiencing the warmest air temperatures in four centuries, and sea ice losses in the summer of 2012 broke all previous records. Polar bears are feeling the pressure; their populations are declining in Churchill, Manitoba in direct correlation with the loss of sea ice. The sea ice freezes later each fall and melts earlier each spring which means less time for hunting on sea ice. We must act today to change our carbon-emitting habits. It is estimated that if current climate trends are correct, two-thirds of the polar bear population could disappear by 2050. All the creatures from the top of the food chain to the bottom who are specially adapted to life on ice depend on humans to act now to lessen their carbon emissions that have caused these changes. What daily decisions are you making to reduce your carbon footprint?” 
 #thisarcticlife #saveourseaice 

This past summer I had the wonderful opportunity to observe and photograph polar bears in the Arctic for my first time. The mother and cub pictured here was actually my first polar bear sighting, and I remember this moment quite vividly and will probably never forget it. Seeing polar bears in the wild transformed me, and made me truly realize how fragile our environment is.

I want to share some text that was posted on the @natgeo Instagram feed yesterday:

“Polar bears have come to represent the Arctic ecosystem and we look to them as an indicator of the health of the polar region they roam. Due to human-caused climate change, the Arctic is currently experiencing the warmest air temperatures in four centuries, and sea ice losses in the summer of 2012 broke all previous records. Polar bears are feeling the pressure; their populations are declining in Churchill, Manitoba in direct correlation with the loss of sea ice. The sea ice freezes later each fall and melts earlier each spring which means less time for hunting on sea ice. We must act today to change our carbon-emitting habits. It is estimated that if current climate trends are correct, two-thirds of the polar bear population could disappear by 2050. All the creatures from the top of the food chain to the bottom who are specially adapted to life on ice depend on humans to act now to lessen their carbon emissions that have caused these changes. What daily decisions are you making to reduce your carbon footprint?”

#thisarcticlife #saveourseaice 

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

I AM THE WALRUS
Part 1 of 4 of my short Arctic video series (15 sec each). Filmed handheld at a focal length of 640 mm so please pardon the camera shake!

Filmed on location in the Arctic

by Katherine Yaksich

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This Arctic Life \ Scenes from Diskobukta

1. Old trapper huts

2. Making nests

3. The Arctic fox is well adapted to living in cold environments, and has thick fur which is brown in summer and white in winter. 

by Katherine Yaksich

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This Arctic Life

We spotted blue whales in the Arctic at 2:30 am near the bow of our ship! Blue whales are the largest animal known to have ever lived on earth, and are much larger than the largest dinosaur. They can weigh up to 200 tons or 400,000 pounds and are currently classified as an endangered species. 

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)