Even as local Cairns residents living by the beach of Yorkeys Knob, we too were solar eclipse chasers. We snubbed our beach and decided to go far far away. We booked our campground in Cape Tribulation for Monday and Tuesday and practised waking up at 4am Tuesday to get our body clocks ready for eclipse morning Wednesday. Upon reaching our secret destination in some beautiful but unpopulated beach, the tide was incredibly high and the wind howling, sending constant salt sprays onto every bit of our camera gear! “Abort, abort!” cried Yogi and we packed up and headed back to Cairns for Plan B but still checking out many other locations in Daintree along the way!
Plan B was the bedroom verandah of our friend Chris’ house at the hillside of Smithfield overlooking the City of Cairns. Eclipse Day 14 November 2012, our alarm went off at 4:30am and Yogi was all set up in half an hour – prior tinkering and steady preparations the afternoon before with two camera set-ups both fitted with eclipse filters.
But the clouds loomed over the horizon. It got thicker and thicker as Chris’ eclipse guests started arriving! By 6am, the kitchen verandah was busy with people having all sorts of doomsday predictions that the clouds will not dissipate. Our friend Robert exclaimed, “Why did you buy THIS house, Chris?!”
With early morning daylight and thick clouds covering the sun, the surrounding ambient light very slowly dimmed and the cockatoos started squawking. From such a high elevation, we could see the beams of sunlight illuminating the sea lessen in intensity and everywhere else was slowly darkening all around us. At the eleventh hour, holes in the clouds opened and teased a glimpse of the eclipse, fully revealing itself on total solar eclipse – a dramatic grand entrance! Like magic, all illumination disappeared, the sky miraculously cleared, everything turned dark and the black moon had this wonderful halo with hints of red flares all around it! I know it’s all very scientific with chromospheres and such but my God, it was simply mind blowing. It was an experience we can replay in our minds forever. No wonder eclipse chasers become addicted! It was phenomenal!
YouTube link to our experience of the eclipse!
At 9:43am today, the 6th of June 2012, from the third floor balcony of our home at Yorkeys Knob, we witnessed a historic astronomical event – the Transit of Venus! The next transit will be in 105 years so we’re pretty lucky to see it in our lifetime!
Rolex Laureates Collaborating – Jürgen Freund on Assignment for Rolex in Ningaloo 2008
FLASHBACK – May 2008
Rory Wilson and Brad Norman - two Rolex Award for Enterprise Laureates joined forces to study whale sharks of Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. Yogi was given this “difficult” assignment of spending luxurious time onboard the boat of retired NBA basketball player Luc Longley to photograph these two scientists. First thing he told me about the boat was that it was custom built for Luc who towers 7’2″ and Yogi’s feet were dangling when he sat on the toilet!
With the many Rolex press releases that came out about this collaboration, one particular article from Qatar Airways’ inflight magazine Oryx led to Yogi winning the 2010 PATA Gold Award for Travel Photographer! Search for the winning picture in the December 2009 issue of Oryx Magazine!
The Census of Marine Life (CoML) is a grand global project with an objective to survey and analyze changes from past to present in marine life biodiversity, distribution and abundance, and to compile the resultant data into a comprehensive database called the “Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS),” to be used in forecasting the future of marine life. We are so fortunate to have been a part of this mammoth marine research project, which recently won the International Cosmos Prize 2011 in Japan. Congratulations to the Scientific Steering Committee of CoML.
With our rich and varied collection of images from the Great Barrier Reef, an big article called Great Barrier Reef: Das blaue Mysterium came out August 2010 in GEO Magazine. See the GEO Fotogalerie of the GBR story here.
GEO Snake Expedition – Australia 2008
FLASHBACK – February 2008
Way back December 2007, Yogi was asked by the GEO photo editors to do a photographic snake expedition with scientist Dr. Guido Westhoff. The assignment required them to go to the Queensland outback for land snakes and Weipa for sea snakes. This expedition marked our first big collaboration with GEO Magazine and I was so happy for Yogi. It finally happened. For those who are not familiar, GEO is Germany’s most prestigious science, nature and geographical magazine, which also come out in 16 other countries worldwide. Simply put – it is an fantastic publication! See Yogi’s GEO Portfolio here.
Now I was (pre-expedition) petrified of snakes. The mere mention of the S-word was enough to turn my knees into jelly and make my stomach turn. But it was either stay home alone for a month or bite the bullet and go with the team to look for snakes and photograph them. EEEEEEK! So, not wishing to be left behind, I joined the team comprised of the GEO writer Hania Luczak, Guido Westhoff and his wife, Katja. It was awesome.