How Rising Seas Are Giving Whales More Room To Swim

When I was a child, one of my favorite things to do on a hot summer day was wandering down the street from our house to the Somers Point Public Library. Back then, it was in what used to be a church, probably built in the 1800's. The whole place was musty and poorly organized, but it had air conditioning! That place was bone chilling. 

I spent countless hours in one particular section, among stacks of magazines with that yellow border. Those countless hours enabled me to explore the world through National Geographic. I dreamed constantly of being a Nat Geo photographer, exploring the globe for new creatures and meeting strange cultures. At some point, I believe the seventh grade, my parents bought me a subscription. The maps, beautifully designed, immediately were put up on my walls. While the world travel articles and photos were great, I was especially riveted by the archaeology and paleontology stories.

The magazine opened my eyes to the beauty and wonder of Earth. 

Fast forward 20 years. I'm in the Air Force as a broadcast journalist, but my real passion is photography. I shoot some boring video, and National Geographic picks it up. A spark was lit, and I realized that through what I did, I might make it some day working for them! The more I posted, the more I saw video clips and bits of stories being picked up for Nat Geo shows and specials. I started uploading some of my photography to Yourshot, and was published on their website back in 2013 for the Daily Dozen. I was head over heels.

Fast forward again to this year. Word got out that 21st Century Fox was purchasing National Geographic in a $725-million deal.

According to National Geographic, "The partnership separates the media outlets from the society itself. The publications will become for-profit, while the Society will continue as a non-profit, with an enhanced endowment of nearly $1 billion – roughly double the current endowment. National Geographic officials said the influx will allow the Society to expand its work in science, exploration, and education."

According to Declan Moore, Nat Geo's chief media officer, “They’re not in the business of meddling,” he said of 21st Century Fox. “They’ve got great respect for the [National Geographic] brand.” 

On Nov. 3, the day the merger with Fox, Moore was proved a liar as 180 employees of Nat Geo were laid off, and others offered buyouts.

The future of the brand remains unknown, but with Rupert Murdoch behind the scenes, we can probably expect magazines that look like this:

Image via @karlakapow on TwitterSometimes doing the right thing is difficult. I deleted all of my Yourshot images and changed my account name to Delete Me. There are no doubt many people who think I am over reacting or being dramatic, but the truth is that I am a staunch supporter for fair and balanced reporting, something that Rupert Murdoch has not and never will believe in, and it's scary. It gives him a legitimate brand name that he can use to push right-wing pseudo-science.

Whether or not global warming is real, I always pose the question: "Why not make the Earth cleaner anyway?" There are so many people that act deeply offended that chemicals shouldn't be dumped in the ocean, or that toxins shouldn't be regulated. It is, quite honestly, baffling that grown human adults don't see a benefit to keeping our planet clean and safe for our children, as well as future generations. With National Geographic firmly in the grasp of a soulless corporation, it is sad to say the dream of 7-year-old me is dead.





The Eddie Adams Workshop

Winding roads that hugged the salty shore air took me north, skirting cities lined with car dealers and exit ramps. Before long, I found myself in a steady upward climb, a light rain dusting my windshield, and the dull greens and grays of New Jersey gave way to a vivid kaleidoscope of colors. Located just south of the Catskill Mountains, Liberty, NY, had a dingy charm. Beautiful hills and even more beautiful autumn colors framed by a seemingly dilapidated community. A blip off of the interstate for weary travelers.

The sights in this area of New York were breathtaking.

I would be spending four days in the area for the Eddie Adams Workshop.

The Eddie Adams Workshop is something I have been trying to define since I came home. It’s in a barn on a farm in Jeffersonville, NY. It brings together a huge collection of industry professionals. It’s about sharing information, ideas, and a love for visual storytelling. It’s a transcendental experience.

Students converged at a Howard Johnson to get roommates assigned. I was only there for thirty seconds when I saw half my team. One of the benefits of social media is forging a connection, and Robert Caplin, our team producer, deserves massive loads of credit for the role he played in bringing us together before we even made it to the farm.

After a brief introductory message, we were off to the farm, where we were met with one of the most profoundly kind and explosive welcomes I have ever witnessed.

Aside the beauty of the Adams Farm, and the surrounding countryside, there was an abundance of information that came our way via a variety of speakers. Stanmeyer, Guttenfelder, Bello, Calvert, Fremson, Lawrence, Delay, Schatz, Betehulak, Black, Grob, Richards, Roye, Nachtwey, to name just a small few gifted presenters who shared their stories with us.

The real hands on moments happened when our team shot a high school football game. Team leader Al Bello, team editor Brad Smith, Robert Caplin, and team tech Toni Sandys came out with us and gave technical as well as professional advice while on the field. It was, by far, one of the most educational experiences in my professional history, and made me appreciate just how difficult sports photography is.

A lot of the magic that happened at Eddie Adams was in the moments between the moments. In between presentations and various speakers, when students got to interact with each other as well as industry professionals in the room, there was a creative energy that filled the farm. I think one of the longest breaks we got was an hour and a half, and people picked out spots near the pond, or in the shade of the trees, and just shared ideas and their love for what they do.


I had a variety of meaningful conversations with my teammates and team staff; however I also connected with some other folks and had amazing talks.

At the end of the Workshop, I was in a daze, and during the awards ceremony (where many talented class mates received assignments from prestigious news agencies) I was utterly stupefied to receive the very first Maj. Herman Wall Memorial Award. I am humbled and honored to be selected, and as part of the reward, I received a $1,000 grant and will have my name placed on a plaque in the barn.

Chip Maury, who is well known as a Navy photojournalist, as well as a mentor to military visual storytellers, gave me some fantastic words later that night, that not only sum up winning the award, but also the point of The Eddie Adams Workshop.

Pass it along as freely as you got it. To the world you may only be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”

One of my first portrait attempts with pro lighting.

Portrait behind the scenes. 

Raising helmets after the National Anthem. 

Pre-game huddle.

 The bonfire.

 A long exposure of the beautiful night sky and the bonfire.




Making the best of TN

So I've been in Tennessee for a month now (except for today, I'm up in Dayton, Ohio!). Tennessee is an interesting state. There are some really beautiful sights. I took a trek to Buck Bald, which is the location of an old fire station at the top of a mountain near the border with North Carolina and Georgia. 

I was hoping for some quiet time with nature, but a church group showed up! It worked out pretty well, as they let me take some silhouette shots at sunset. Check em out on my Flickr Page!