Something rather special has come into being and I am so excited and humbled by the news I am sharing today, it feels like a lifelong dream coming true.
I am travelling to Iceland in a couple of weeks to volunteer with Whale Wise, a UK registered charity who aims to promote harmonious relationships between humans and whales through scientific research and public engagement.
One of their current projects 'Scars from above', is taking place in Iceland, documenting whales and the impact of boats and ghost fishing equipment. Drones empower land based surveys and are being utilised to reduce the carbon footprint. The research has begun and the team are out in the field at the moment in a remote fjord in North West Iceland. They have already had some incredible encounters, getting the research season off to a great start.
Our journey started earlier in the summer, when a dear one contacted me (I am looking at you Laura Jones) and asked if I would support a charity as she thought it might be a cause that lined up with my values. She described the work the were doing and asked if I would share the crowdfund that would see them not only hitting their target, but reaching their stretch and then an anonymous donor offered to match funding too. It was so great to see them smash this and head into a new season with a new drone allowing them to fly for longer to survey the whales.
In getting to know Alyssa & Tom who run the charity, they'd said I'd be welcome to join them this season and so we had a zoom in late August and a plan hatched.
I will be joining the team from Sat 24th Sept - Sun 2nd October 2022, with my heart and eyes wide open to visually narrate the grand stories and to see the magic in the subtle ones too. We will be in the field with research being undertaken, capturing images of the whales both by drone, from the shore and from the boat. For complete transparency, I have self funded this trip, because being able to use my skills and a % of profit each year for positive impact is at the core of my business mission, with people and planet at the heart.
There are stories about each of the scientists, many women trailblazing with this work and how the team’s skills make this research possible. Unearthing why people find themselves in the remote Westfjords doing this work. There are nature stories, each of the whale’s scarring tells us so much, the seasonality, the connection between land and sea in the fjord, sustainable tourism with whale watching. Most of all there is potency in the anticipation of knowing that being immersed in nature, stories will come into being in the alchemy of the moment.
It feels like a dream come true for me, I have always wanted to shoot a meaningful nature project immersed in the field, or the sea for this coastliner! We will not be too far and perhaps even visit a small town called Ísafjörður, home to University of Westfjords where I started masters study in Coastal & Marine Management, when they offered distance learning modules during covid! And then to add drones and blue planet conservation in Iceland with the majesty of these amazing cetaceans and to work as part of this team for a short while, well, I can't believe it!
There are so many unique facets to this trip and it feels like such a moment to be able to use my business and photography to support such incredible work. I will be sharing the journey here and on instagram. You can find out more about Whale Wise here and donate directly to support the work of the charity here: https://whalewise.org/
A humpback I met near Husavik, Iceland - 2019
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