White Waves
These are the white dunes from Socotra, an archipelago part of Yemen. This is the point where the Indian and Arabian ocean come together, which makes the dunes the intersection between the two oceans. Socotra is a quite remote place and not easily accessible, but so were these dunes! Hiking with a full camera backpack through sand is exhausting, but the feeling of exploration makes me feel so good. I’m happy that there are still wild places in this world. Socotra was a real adventure.

Silent Reflection (Scotland)
We knew it’s was going to be tough upon the Cairngorm Mountain. It was the end of January and our last day of filming. We couldn’t carry the tents with us, so we slept in the great outdoors in bivy bags. This is a moment of silence, tiredness and mixed emotions. It was cold and windy, but at the same time, we really enjoyed being here. We were way above the treeline, so we brought a bit of wood so we could make a small fire. (From left to right: me, Pieter, Toby and Daniel)

The Edge of the Thistle (Yemen)
In the early morning, I noticed this Egyptian vulture observing the area. If you have been in Madagascar, then you might recognize these rock formations. They are extremely sharp, but they can have extraordinary shapes. At this point, I had to apply a ‘Jean Claude van Damme’ spliton my slippers, to get myself balanced and shoot from a low angle. It was pretty risky and I’d rather not think about what happened if I lost my balance!

Basecamp Mont Blanc (France)
I’m really satisfied with the bell tents from Canvas Camp.They feel like a tiny home, especially if you combine it with some wool blankets and a wood stove. They are made of heavy duty sustainable cotton and very easy to set up.

Taking a Breather (Mont Blanc)
I love working at high altitudes, not only because of the stunning views but also because it’s an exercise of pacing myself. I’m often excited and just want to go forward and get things done. But at high altitudes, symptoms of hypoxia (oxygen deficiency) remind me to take things slowly and breathe deeply.

Tamika (China)
I photographed this young giant panda after hours of waiting. Giant pandas are not the most active animals. They sleep a lot, without moving an inch. A few minutes before I took this shot, my camera jammed. It suddenly had a delay in starting up and my record button didn’t respond. I quickly changed batteries and hoped that it would solve the problem. It didn’t. Tamika was changing her position and the sun was shining through the branches of a tree, creating a nice light spot on her face. I knew this was the time to take my shots, but my camera was still not working. I did a forced manual factory reset and quickly took the shot. The first shot was this result. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise that I only shot this image in JPEG, and not in RAW because of the factory reset. I did minimal post processing in this image but I am very happy with the composition and end result.

Selfie Sticks (Namibia)
This photograph was nominated and selected by The United Nations (UNESCO) for the
‘My African Heritage Photo’ competition in 2018.

This is a dead camelthorn tree, most likely 900 years old. The wood doesn’t perish because of the extreme drought in the desert. I have seen people hanging in these trees, taking selfies and breaking off branches, laughing about it and doing the same thing over and over again. I am not the tree police, but I wish these selfie-stick-people had a bit more respect for these historical and iconic African trees. This is a remote place in the Namib desert and feels like a different planet because it’s totally silent (and that’s very rare these days). I hope it stays like this.
Zik-Zik (Namibia)
This is a damara dik-dik: world’s smallest antelope. Only the males have horns, which are usually about 8 cm long. This dik-dik is about 30 centimeters tall. When Dik-diks are frightened or disturbed, dik-diks make a whistling sound through the nose that sounds like “zik-zik,” (this is probably how they got their name). When they feel they’re in danger or hear the alarm calls from other animals, they hide instead of running away. This makes it very difficult to photograph or film them.

Lethal Moonlight (Namibia)
This photograph was selected as favourite submissions by the jury of National Geographic for the Nature Photographer of the Year (2018) competition.

After hearing a loud bang, this black rhino runs through the African bush. Poachers use the bright light during full moon to track the rhinos for their horn. Although the horns have the same composition as human hair and fingernails, people in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore believe it has medicinal value. Rhinos roamed through Africa in relative peace for thousands of years. Now, they are under constant threat, heading towards extinction.

Blue Wildebeest (Botswana)
I like to experiment with different angles and types of light. My favourite light is either blue hour during civil twilight (the brightest of the twilight phases) or golden hour. For those who don’t know what twilight is: twilight is indirect sunlight which is reflected by the atmosphere. During twilight, the sun is below the horizon and the light is diffuse.
White Night Lady (Namibia)
At first, the Namib desert seems like a place with almost no life. Just sand, some bushes and the scorching sun. But if you enter the desert at dusk – before the the sun rises and winds whirl – you will notice a lot of animal tracks.

This is a white lady spider (leucorchestris arenicola) in the desert of Namibia. She is nocturnal and spends a lot of time underground, weaving the web inside her burrow. She communicates through vibration, by dancing with her legs. I wasn’t able to film this spider, but I found a video on YouTube where you can see her actual size. A lot of creatures – like the Namib Dune Gecko (pachydactylus rangei), The Side Winder Snake (bitis Perinqueyi) and the Fitzsimon’s Burrowing Skink (typlacontias brevipes) – live underground during the day, because they are noctural or totally blind.

The First Tree on Mars (Namibia)
I took this photograph in Namibia, during a time-lapse project together with Marsel van Oosten for Nikon. It was an empty desert, with some rocks and only one camel thorn tree. It somehow gives me the feeling that this location is in interplanetary space. Marsel looks like an astronaut, holding a special fertilizing tool to nurture the first and only tree on planet Mars. Wild imagination, but I’m sure Ridley Scott or Christopher Nolan will like the concept.