Many National Geographic photographers whose works are shown in the exhibition What a Wonderful World in Cecina (LI) have a scientific background in biology. Their shots often capture rare species or animal behavior that is poorly documented or even newly discovered. Here are a couple of examples.

Clouds of bubbles

Pinguini imperatore pronti alla risalita. Mare di Ross, Antartide ©Paul NicklenWhen emperor penguins return from fishing and jump out of the water, they are particularly vulnerable to leopard seal attacks. In this photo Paul Nicklen showed «from the inside» the cloud of millions of microbubbles that the penguins release from their feathers to lubricate the phase of exit from the ocean, triple their speed and confuse the predators lurking under the pack.

Paul Nicklen

Paul has the Arctic in his blood. Born in 1968, he grew up on Baffin Island, Nunavut, in one of the few non-Inuit families in a small settlement amid Canada’s ice packs and icy seas. Today Paul is a naturalist and photographer specializing in portraying climate change in polar regions and is not afraid to face extreme conditions to reach the public with his images, in order to raise a voice in defence of these delicate and precious biodiversity-rich ecosystems. Paul lives a life of art, commitment and adventure, combining his career with activism. When not struggling against subzero temperatures, he makes his home on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, where he lives together with Cristina Mittermeier.

Mimetism wizards

Lotta fra due maschi di camaleonte pantera. Ambanja, Madagascar ©Christian Ziegler

These nice panther chameleons (Furcifer pardalis), an endemic species of northern Madagascar, are two males ready to engage in a fight. The African island is home to more than half of the world’s chameleon species, many of which, however, are endangered due to indiscriminate deforestation. In addition to their ability to change colour and blend in with the environment, chameleons have telescopic eyes and the planet’s fastest tongue.

Christian Ziegler

Christian was born in Germany in 1972. A tropical ecologist by training, he has worked in rainforests on four continents. Christian’s goal is to highlight endangered species and ecosystems and share their beauty and importance with a wide audience through engaging, informed storytelling. Christian has produced, among others, stories about bonobos and carnivorous plants, and illustrated books on tropical ecology as well as wild orchids and their pollinators. He lives on the edge of the Panama National Park rainforest with his wife Daisy Dent, an ecologist, with whom he wrote his latest book after a serious health problem that took him out of action for almost a year.

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