A few moons ago I found myself working on a fascinating project in Panama documenting Fritz Hanselmann and his team of underwater archaeologists excavating a 17th century shipwreck. We were looking for ships belonging to the legendary English pirate Captain Henry Morgan. Morgan was on his way to sack Panama City when a storm sank five of his ships at the mouth of the Chagres River – these were the ships we were searching for – but Panama had other plans for the team. Instead of finding Morgan’s ships, we discovered a merchant ship laden with swords, bolts of cloth and other goods.
I was on the project for nearly 30 days – and out of the 30 days – had exactly two where the water was clear enough to shoot. The shipwreck was located very close to the mouth of the Chagres river, and every time it rained, the visibility underwater went to just about zero. Photographically, the project was a great exercise in patience and persistence – gearing up day after day, to be greeted with water that I couldn’t see the end of my arm in.
The great team of researchers made the days fly by, and in the end the currents worked out in my favor for just enough time to capture what needed to be captured.
Stoked to announce one of my images was recently featured on the Nat Geo Creative blog in the post titled A Wave of Emotion. I did not see this perfect heart shape in my camera while taking the image on the island of Molokai, Hawaii – but sure was glad I was pressing the shutter release when this happened!
The dance begins again. Packing, unpacking, weighing my bags and double checking my equipment list. I am heading north to Alaska with National Geographic/Lindblad Expeditions for the next three weeks. Most important item besides my cameras? My Xtratuf Boots. Follow my adventure on Instagram @JonathanKingston
Two and a half years ago I photographed a climate change story for The New York Times at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. While on assignment, one of the NOAA scientists was kind enough to give me the tube (pictured below), with a admonition that I should hang on to it – as it is a historical sample of the CO2 levels below 400ppm – probably the last years it will be under this benchmark in our lifetimes. His prediction came to pass this May as the concentration of CO2 in the earths atmosphere passed the 400ppm mark.
A few years ago I had the honor of joining the National Geographic Image Collection as a contributing photographer. Now – For the first time, National Geographic has gathered its expansive archive of still and moving images and its roster of award-winning photographic and filmmaking talent and made them accessible to the creative community in one place, through National Geographic Creative.
National Geographic Creative is an in-house agency that brings together National Geographic’s photography and video stock collection and talent representation agency. The agency licenses National Geographic photography and video to commercial and editorial clients and makes National Geographic talent available for custom marketing campaigns, in branded and non-branded formats. The agency has just launched a fully searchable, intuitive database at NatGeoCreative.com.