Wildlife, Nature, Conservation and Scientific Photography
Jürgen Freund is a wildlife and nature photographer based in the Atherton Tablelands, Tropical North Queensland, Australia. Together with his wife Stella he specializes in marine and terrestrial nature photography from the Austral-Asian Region and beyond.
It’s been a while since I was out diving and snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef. This time I went with the superb liveaboard “Spoilsport” of the Mike Ball Dive Expeditions during the best time of the year to see minke whales underwater. The weather was amazing with only 10-15 knot winds and about 20-30 whales around the boat mainly at Lighthouse Bommie. Water visibility was a bit challenging for photography but workable. It’s a wonderful experience being back on the minke line and I can’t recommend it enough to everyone to try it even once in their life.
While hanging on […]
Aerial Photography, Australia, Bird Photography, Blog, Coral Triangle, Exhibitions, Far North Queensland, Fiji, General Photography, Great Barrier Reef, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nature Photography, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Photography, Publications, Solomon Islands, South East Asia, South Pacific, Timor Leste, Underwater Photography
Asia Pacific Reefs and Rainforests – A Photo Exhibition this April
The Tablelands Regional Gallery in collaboration with the 5th Queensland Festival of Photography is proud to present Jürgen Freund in a solo photo exhibition.
With the support of the Regional Arts Development Fund and the Worldwide Fund for Nature, this month-long exhibition showcases Jürgen’s stunning images of reefs and rainforests from the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Fiji and our very own World Heritage Sites—the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics.
Tablelands Regional Gallery 16 Robert Street, Atherton QLD (in the library complex) Opening Night: Friday, 4 April […]
16 December 2013 – Great Sea Reef
Before our Great Sea Reef expedition started, we were asked by Patricia Mallam of WWF South Pacific what we wanted to photograph. #1 on our list was the most complicated, and I thought, better blurt it out now and hope for the best. I told Patricia we wanted to do aerials. In fact, I told her we must do aerials to be able to see what the Southern Hemisphere’s third longest barrier reef looks like. That was in March 2013. Fast forward to December 2013 – aerial funding secured, we were back in Fiji.
A little late but nonetheless always relevant! Our big photo story on The Coral Triangle came out in German GEO Magazine last August 2013 and correspondingly, an iPad app with this slideshow below. With so many stories to choose from, our writer Dr. Andreas Weber wrote mainly about the Tubbataha Rangers and the amazing work they do monitoring and protecting the Philippine’s World Heritage Site Tubbataha Reef, a coral atoll in the middle of the Sulu Sea.
25 – 27 April 2013 – Naduri, Vanua Levu, Fiji
We started our journey to Macuata Province first and foremost with a traditional sevusevu in Naduri with the Macuata Province Paramount Chief Tui Macuata Ratu Aisea Katonivere on the 28th of March. It was our very first traditional sevusevu, the first of many to come. After hearing what our noble intentions were, the big man of the province gave us his blessings to photograph his land and islands. For the whole month of April, we had an incredible journey in Macuata Province from one island to another and another, going from village to village, […]
April 2013 – Kavewa Island, Nukusa Village, Yadua Island
Sea cucumber is a high value, high demand Chinese delicacy that is sought after by Chinese traders buying dried sea cucumbers from all over the world especially in Asia and the Pacific. Sea cucumbers are flexible, elongated echinoderms belonging to the class Holothuroidea. They live on the sea floor in reefs, lagoons and coastal shallows with some species living in deeper waters. They move about slowly over the sea bottom like scavengers, feeding on debris found in the sand and sediment. Some species bury themselves in sandy mud while others are perched on coral or rock crevices.
They are collected from […]
20 April 2013
Patricia Mallam WWF South Pacific Communications Manager brought her lovely 9 year old daughter Irris to rendezvous with us on Yadua Island – we, coming from Macuata Province and they, coming from Suva. They were joined by Pita Qarau, Turtle Monitor from Yadua Village in Suva and they all took the ferry from Viti Levu to Vanua Levu and onwards to Yadua Island – first by land transport and then a long, wet and bumpy ride on an open boat in open seas to reach the island. It was an early, far and wild journey for young Irris and Pat, but […]
19 – 22 April 2013
The 17th of December 2012 will forever be etched in the minds and hearts of Fijians and the memory is unfortunately not a good one. With a maximum wind speed of 270km/hour, Cyclone Evan devastated many villages from northeast Vanua Levu all the way to northwest Viti Levu with more than 8,000 people taking refuge in evacuation centres.
The only village in Yadua, a tiny remote island towards the west end of Vanua Levu in the Bua Province, was one of the most damaged that we saw during this expedition (and we saw some quite intense […]
Our visits to the Fijian villages and the one resort in Macuata Province were made the richer when we were able to document the fieldwork of WWF South Pacific Marine Species Coordinator Laitia Tamata, WWF Labasa staff Koli Musudroka and University of South Pacific Laisiasa Cavakiqali. They were visiting 5 sites in the target reef systems in FIME, the Fiji Islands Marine Ecoregion (two sites in Kavewa Island, one off Kia Island and two sites in Yadua Island) where a study is conducted using underwater temperature loggers (Hobo Underwater Temperature Pro V2 Data Logger) to monitor real time sea temperatures which could clarify links between […]
14 – 18 April 2013
Getting a WWF assignment to document the world’s third largest barrier reef, we needed to make sure we saw the Great Sea Reef from underwater. Nukubati Island Resort is the only resort in the Macuata Province of the GSR who offered diving as well as many other water related activities. Our trusty WWF South Pacific gang made sure we got to Nukubati Island, to dive and see what it was tourists experienced of the Great Sea Reef.
A most amiable welcome greeted us as we stepped onto the white sands of Nukubati. Happy Fijian staff and our now […]
10 – 14 April 2013
It was a long 4 hour boat ride from Nukusa Village to Labasa Town where we stayed overnight before heading to Kia Island. We armed ourselves for the next stretch of island village living, quickly shopping for a million little things like Milo, laundry detergent, more mosquito repellent, mosquito coils, junk food and most important – getting new pairs of glasses made, all in one rainy morning before heading to the island nearest the GSR!
In Udu Point, while he went snorkelling, Yogi’s glasses shattered in the supposedly safe Pelican case. Very old spare glasses made Yogi see […]
7 – 9 April 2013
The first time we saw the village of Nukusa from the boat, I thought how wonderfully situated it was. It is not a beachside village like the usual but one that is about 10 metres elevated from the sea. And then on second thought, I looked at all our luggage and gear and the thought of us lugging our gear up the hill drained me of all my energy. As we arrived, after much calling for someone to notice us and help, 4 strong young men walked down to our boat and effortlessly carried all […]
7 April 2013
Nukusa Village is the 4th to the last village from the tip of Vanua Levu. It is so remote that the villagers need to use up to 40 gallons of fuel for their fiberglass boat to get to the town of Labasa at Fiji$13/litre, spending more than F$400 one way. So most of them simply stay put and rely on subsistence farming and fishing to survive. And in Nukusa Village, they seem to be totally fine living this way with a certain community order and a disciplined way of life. The village is beautiful and looks impeccably […]
4 – 6 April 2013
A charming activity took the children of Kavewa by storm one overcast Saturday morning. All the school children from Kavewa Village had just come back home for the weekend from their boarding school in Drua Drua (another nearby island) when they were assigned to go pick as much propagules in the mangrove forest as they could for some mangrove replanting session. Like wound up toys, they disappeared like a lightning flash and came out of the mangroves an hour later with red mangrove propagules in their arms. They were so excited!
Mangroves are plants that serve as natural […]
4 – 6 April 2013
Emosi Time, son of Kavewa Village chief is known as a Dau ni Vonu or Turtle Monitor. Emosi used to be a turtle hunter, catching turtles for turtle meat offered in traditional Fijian celebrations. Since 2011, Emosi has turned from the dark side and is now a guardian of turtles. Lifting text from the WWF South Pacific website: “The Dau ni Vonu, or Turtle Monitors, are members of 10 local community field sites where turtles are under threat, often remote islands. It was not so long ago in Fiji that eating turtle meat was commonplace; many people grew […]
4 – 6 April 2013
We departed Mali Island soon after our last amazing crab lunch to make it to Kavewa Island with the incoming tide, so we could dock right in front of the village beach. When we reached Kavewa by mid afternoon, a welcome meke started as we reached the beach (which we presumptuously thought was performed in our honour) and we exclaimed “Oh how wonderful that they waited for us to arrive to have a special meke welcome!” Apparently and begrudgingly we realised, it was the Fijian Ministry of Information’s activity and initiative to document all current tradition of […]
2 – 3 April 2013
We had a grand opportunity of checking out the Great Sea Reef underwater while in Mali Island. Our Ligaulevu Village host Leone Vokai operates a brand new dive shop called the Great Sea Reef Divers and he invited us to go diving with him. It had been raining non-stop for like the past 6 weeks in the northern part of Fiji and when we got to Mali Island, the rain blessedly stopped. It was time to see the GSR underwater so off we went in Leone’s fiberglass boat with John Robinson as our skipper.
We departed Ligaulevu Village […]
30 March – 2 April 2013
When we first received our shot list from Patricia Mallam of WWF South Pacific on what to document in the Great Sea Reef, one line jumped out like it was in ALL CAPS and in BOLD LETTERS. MUD CRABS!
I simply adore eating mud crabs. To go to a village or villages harvesting mud crabs from their mangroves, I might as well be in heaven. On Mali Island, thick mangrove forests cover substantial parts of the island’s coastlines. This got me really excited seeing pure mud crab habitat in the thick mangrove forests! I was not shy in […]
30 March – 2 April 2013
The nearest island to Labasa Town is Mali Island, comprised of 3 villages on the island (Nakawaqa, Ligaulevu & Vesi) and 1 (Matailabasa) on mainland Vanua Levu. We visited 2 villages and experienced real Fijian life head on.
Our first stop was Nakawaqa Village (pronounced Nakawangka) where Macuata Province’s only surviving authentic bure (Fijian bungalow) is still in use by Village Head Ratu Jovilisi Nagatalevu. It was Easter Sunday and Ratu Jovilisi was reading his Bible inside his beautiful Fijian bure hut, traditionally made with tall forest wood posts with straw roof and walls. […]