Cristina Mittermeier @cristinamittermeier

Co-Founder @SeaLegacy / Photographer / Adventurer at National Geographic / @globalsurvey17 Ambassador for SDG 14: "Life Below Water" / SonyArtisan

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Cristina Mittermeier photos and videos


Photo by @MySparks // The setting sun transforms the lily pond at @FairchildGarden into a Monet painting through the brilliant lens of young @MySparks Not only is this young woman a passionate earth citizen and a lovely human being (and I happen to know because she has been @MickMitty ’s partner in life and adventure for 5 years now ) but she is also a beautiful photographer. Follow her as she unleashes her creativity as the new social media communicator for @FairchildGarden , an institution dedicated to protecting, understanding and promoting the diversity of tropical plants. #monet

2 days ago

It was a lucky shot to fit an 80-foot long whale into a single frame. Sleek and long, surrounded by nothing but the dark waters of the open ocean, the blue whale resembles a rocket ship suspended in deep space. Blue whales are the largest animals to have ever existed, reaching mind-boggling dimensions of 100 feet long and upwards of 200 tons on a diet composed almost exclusively of krill, tiny-shrimp like crustaceans. Blue whales don't have any natural predators, but they were hunted to the edges of extinction by the hands of men in the 1800s and early 1900s. Today blue whales are endangered and, surprisingly, we are still having to fight to prevent some countries from hunting them again.

3 days ago

Young @IvanaCook has been volunteering for the @CoralGardeners in Moorea as a photographer. Many of the images you see on their beautifully-curated page were created by this young photographer. Ivana and I spent some time free diving to photograph the severe bleaching being experienced by Moorea's coral reef. She is now heading home and the @CoralGardeners will need a new volunteer photographer. Interested? DM @toutiess and find out how you can help fulfill their mission! The best way to find hope is through action. We all can do something today! #WeTheReef #TurningTheTide #extinctionendshere

4 days ago

The best way to find hope is by taking action. There are 1 million plant and animal species facing extinction right now. This week, I am going to share images with you of some of the endangered animals that I have been privileged to photograph and will offer ideas for things we all can do to help and to renew our own sense of hope. Threatened by climate change and pollution and destructive fishing practices, coral are fascinating marine invertebrates called 'polyps' that thrive primarily in large colonies. All over the world these colonies are dying, and coral reefs are in decline. In French Polynesia I met an incredible group of young people who inspired in me so much hope for the next generation of conservationists. In this photo, Titouan Bernicot ( @toutiess ) tends one of the coral gardens off the coast of Moorea. Titouan and the other @CoralGardeners work to restore the reef on the island that is also their home. You can support their work at the link in my bio, or go to to adopt a coral in the name of a loved one. If enough corals are adopted, they will be able to create a new coral reef on Moorea. Follow @CoralGardeners to learn more about their incredible work. #WeTheReef

5 days ago

Oceanic white tip sharks once ruled the seas. Now they’re nearly gone. Hunted for their fins and often hooked as bycatch by longline commercial vessels fishing for tuna, oceanic whitetip sharks are in steep decline. They have few offspring (two to three pups in a litter ) and don’t reach sexual maturity until around seven years — traits that impede population recovery. Fins have no taste or nutritional value, but shark fin soup lovers relish the texture. Can you believe that at a Hong Kong seafood market, dried fins can fetch $265 a pound! What can you do? Give tuna a break and spare some sharks along the way. #ExtinctionEndsHere #endangeredspeciesday #conservation #themoreyouknow #takeaction with @sealegacy @moorecharitable @paulnicklen @andy_mann @trevor_bacon1

5 days ago

Endangered species day is a day for reflection and spreading awareness. I feel a great sense of urgency and I am immensely proud of my team at @SeaLegacy and of everyone #TurningTheTide with us to create healthy and abundant oceans - but we all need to do more. What can we do about the 1 million plant and animal species that are facing extinction? I believe that the biggest threat to our environment is the assumption that someone else is doing something about it, so let’s all step up whatever we are already doing. This means buying local, recycling, educating your neighbours and your children and your friends. Know that every time you make a healthy choice for our world, you're making a healthy choice for yourself too, and for critically endangered animals like this hawksbill sea turtle. As members of #theTide , I hope that you feel empowered to make a difference for the future of our earth everyday with the changes that you can make at home. You can find more information about threatened species around the world on the IUCN Red List ( ), link in my bio. . . . #endangeredspeciesday #conservation #themoreyouknow #takeaction

6 days ago

When this photo was taken I had no idea the path my life would take; that one day I would live on the western coast of Canada instead of Mexico, where I was born and where I studied marine sciences at @tecdemonterrey I did not know that I would become a mother and a stepmother, or that one day I would work to protect whales around the world, or that I would co-found one of the most influential non-profits in ocean conservation in the world. Here, I stand underneath the skeleton of a gray whale that hung in the marine lab at my university at the beginning of a career that has led me on many adventures, and which continues to fill me with awe and passion for the natural world. . . . #archive #throwbackthursday #tbt #blackandwhite #bw

1 weeks ago

Photo by @kirstenluce // Hands-on experiences with wild animals are thriving due in part to social media—but there is often a darker reality behind the scenes. In this photo by Kirsten Luce, an injured four-year-old tourist attraction elephant suffers with an injured leg underneath a performance stadium in Thailand. Learn more about the perils of captive Wildlife Tourism in the June issue of Nat Geo magazine. #NatGeoWildlifeTourism

1 weeks ago

I am in love with an ancient Polynesian concept I recently learned about. Throughout their history, Polynesian peoples from New Zealand to Hawaii to Rapa Nui (Easter Island ) have relied on the sea to provide food and connect islands to each other, maintain family bonds, and help isolated communities share their cultures with the outside world. As they traveled across the Pacific, Polynesian peoples brought with them that deep relationship with the ocean, including the concept of the rāhui, a traditional practice of restricting access to an area or resource as a way of conserving it, like this magical area off the island of Huahine in French Polynesia. . . . #polynesia #conservation #coral #sustainability #culture #islandlife #rahui

6 days ago

Come join me and @PaulNicklen on the adventure of a lifetime… swimming with whale sharks! Not only will you become an expert in whale sharks and the ins and outs of ethical encounters with these animals, but you will also gain first-hand knowledge about the value of blue tourism to conservation efforts. Eco-tourism initiatives have changed the ways that people make their livelihoods around the world; transforming shark fishermen into ocean guardians and tour guides in Isla Mujeres, and boosting economies on a global scale as adventurers travel far and wide in the name of discovery and new experiences. However, as it gets easier to travel the world and eco-tourism becomes more accessible, it is important and necessary to implement regulations and best practices for the health and safety of animals, ecosystems, and humans. When you’re an eco-tourist, think of yourself as a guest in someone’s home. Because that’s what you are. For your chance to join Paul and me on this adventure (flights and hotel included! ), support our work @Sealegacy and enter through the link in my bio or at #onlyatomaze @omazeworld #conservation #ocean #ecotourism #diving #adventure

2 weeks ago

There are many different ways to be a mom. For me - it wasn't always easy, or fun to balance the demands of parenting with trying to build a career as a photographer. When they were young, I was fortunate enough to be able to travel all over the world with my children @JohnMittermeier , @MickMitty and @Jittermeier Today, they are all grown up and embarking on their own adventures, following their passions and their dreams, and I could not be more proud of them and all the work I do is to make sure they have a livable planet. I have such great kids and they have made being a mother a true joy. Happy mother's day to all of you!

2 weeks ago

As a mother of two young people ( @jittermeier and @mickmitty plus my amazing stepson @johnmittermeier ) I am keenly aware of what it takes to raise the next generation. Perhaps that’s why I feel such empathy for the struggles of mothers in the wild. A harp seal mother does everything by herself. She gives birth on the ice where her pup will spend the first weeks of his life, suckling at her side until he is ready, around two weeks later, to slip over the lip of the ice and into the arctic water. These pups are born without blubber, but they quickly pack it on; harp seal milk ranges from 25-40% fat, containing more fat quantities the closer they are to the day her pup is weaned. Pups grow from roughly 24 lb at birth to 80lb by the time their mothers leave them to fend for themselves. This mother's day, I am teaming up with @LonelyWhale to encourage you to #HyrdateLike a mother seal. Ditch single-use plastic water bottles for good by grabbing a #reusable for the mother in your life. With @SeaLegacy , @LonelyWhale , @BlueSphereFoundation

2 weeks ago

Canada is leading a movement - 260,000 strong - that is, 260,000 people who have already signed a petition that calls on the Canadian government and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO, @fisheriesoceanscan ) to ban the trade of shark fins. Bill S-238 has made it farther than any other attempt to ban shark fins in Canada before, and it is SO close to becoming a reality. In the wake of the recent and sobering assessment from @IPBES_ and @UNenvironment on the state of global biodiversity, the implementation of laws that protect wildlife and ecosystems are paramount to conservation success. The link to the petition is in my bio. Add your voice and contact your officials to make sure we stand a chance to win. 🦈 #signplease #FinBanNow #TurningTheTide #ocean #sharks #conservation #blackandwhite #blackandwhitephotography

2 weeks ago

The recent report from @IPBE_ and @unenvironment on the state of the earth’s biodiversity has taken a lot of people by surprise. I find myself in a constant state of shock. We are in a state of crisis and so many people remain apathetic or unaware. I was really awakened by the commitment of young Titouan Bernicot ( @toutiess ) a young conservationist and artist, whom I met recently in French Polynesia. In his own words, Titouan says that he was, “born on a pearl farm lost in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.” At the age of 16 he realized that the coral reefs in French Polynesia were dying and resolved to do something to help. He founded @CoralGardeners , a non-profit that educates the public about the importance of coral reefs. They believe, correctly, that the children are our future and that awareness should be brought to them as well as to adults. Now 20 years old, Titouan and the other @CoralGardeners work to restore the reef on the island that is also their home, Moorea. You can support their work at the link in my bio, or go to to adopt a coral in the name of a loved one. If enough corals are adopted, they will be able to create a new coral reef on Moorea. Follow @CoralGardeners to learn more about their incredible work. #WeTheReef #ExtinctionEndsHere #CampaignForNature #climatechange #climatechangeisreal #TurningTheTide

3 weeks ago

A recent, devastating report from @IPBE_ and @unenvironment outlines the reality of the earth’s environmental crisis; around 1 million plant and animal species face extinction, 55% of the ocean is exploited by industrial fishing, and 100-300 million people living in coastal areas are at increased risk of losing their homes. French Polynesia is a collection of 118 islands in the South Pacific - a place bursting with beauty and life, home to more than 275,000 people. It was my great privilege to spend the last two weeks exploring these islands, participating in coral restoration with @coralgardeners , documenting nature so that I could share my experiences with all of you. As the world plunges deeper into environmental crisis, we cannot allow ourselves to plunge into despair. It is time to warrior up and become awake. Did you know that environmental work is, and has been for a long time, severely underfunded? We need to contribute more to wildlife conservation efforts. Pick a charity and send a donation that matches your concern. Sign up for my newsletter where I will share my favorite charities. Link in my bio. . . . #ExtinctionEndsHere #CampaignForNature #ClimateChangeisReal #ocean #conservation #savourseas #saveourice

3 weeks ago

Are you guys ready for Game of Thrones tonight? Who is your pick for the Iron Throne? I'm still catching up this season after being away without a TV for two weeks, but I'm excited to celebrate with all of you as we countdown until the last show! In my travels around the world I have not had the good fortune of finding a set of dragon eggs, but I have come face to face with one of the closest real world equivalents. This is a photo of an American crocodile, taken in Cuba's Gardens of the Queen. Crocodiles inspired Howland Reed's cloak clasp, which was shaped like the sigil of his House, a black lizard-lion. Like lizard-lions, crocodiles are powerful, impressive animals and their ability to survive in difficult conditions has always held a great fascination for me. Please, no spoilers in the comments! #GOT #GameofThrones #IronThrone #valarmorghulis #crocodile #dragons #animalcaptures #underwaterphotography

3 weeks ago

In French Polynesia there is more ocean than land and the sky stretches like a painting in every direction. Soon I will be on my way home. As grateful as I am to have a place to return to, I will miss these incredible blue skies and exploring the coral reefs of these tropical islands, as well as the people I had the privilege of getting to know on this new adventure. French Polynesia is a part of the Polynesian Triangle; a region of the Pacific Ocean where a collection of islands from Hawaii to Easter Island were formed in the wake of volcanic activity and coral growth. Around 75% of the world's coral reefs are in distress; threatened by warming water temperatures and climate change. The reefs around French Polynesia have not gone unaffected, but there are people working everyday to lessen and alter the impact of local and global pressures on these island reefs. #CampaignforNature @CoralGardeners

3 weeks ago

I have spent the last two weeks in French Polynesia; a series of tropical archipelagos and remote islands in the South Pacific Ocean, and I am looking forward to sharing my experience with you. There are 118 of these islands! Can you believe it? All of them scattered across 2,000 km of the South Pacific; all of them beautiful, all of them with coral reefs as unique as your thumbprint. The structure of the reef vary widely between locations. They are also home to more than 800 species of fish. Follow along to hear some amazing stories of coral restoration and island nation resilience #CampaignforNature 🐟 . . . #coralreef #conservation #restoration #ocean #splitshot

3 weeks ago

In my life’s journey I’ve followed an inner compass for curiosity and a lust for adventure. These things combined have led me around the world. I have walked the streets of concrete jungles in large urban centres, slept on the ground in remote villages of the Amazon, gripped the rails of a ship so tight my knuckles turned white on a boat rocked by Antarctic waters. When you take off -no matter where you start - you never really know where you’re going to be when you land, and you never know who you’re going to meet. I am immensely grateful to have seen all the places I’ve seen and to have known so many talented, incredible people. #ThrowbackThursday selfie with @PaulNicklen and @ladzinski in Antarctica. . . . #TBT #Antarctica #myjourney #adventure #becurious #gratitude

2 weeks ago

Photo by @paulnicklen // Shoutout to my fellow Game of Thrones fans today - does this photo remind you of anything? 😉 This photo was taken on assignment in 2015. Paul and I were in Greenland, where great walls of ice climb so high into the sky that men standing beside them look like ants on the ground. In this part of the world the winters are both hard and beautiful; breathtaking and lung-chilling. We spent days following a team of Inuit hunters across the ice and snow on one of the most incredible adventures of my life. I have been on assignment and away from the TV for two weeks so NO SPOILERS while I catch up! #GOT #ice #adventure #explore #arctic #gameofthrones #landscapephotography

4 weeks ago

Penguins don’t fly - in the air, that is - and they’re not known for their grace or their agility on land. Underwater is a different story. Penguin wings evolved for swimming and more efficient diving. They are like little tuxedo rockets in the sea; launching themselves out of the water and back onto land. The little adélie penguins, like the one in this photo, reach speeds of up to 8 km/ per hour and are capable of leaping 3m out of the water to return to land. But gentoo penguins are the fastest - they can swim up to 36km/hr! 🐧 . . . #birdsofinstagram #penguin #ocean #funfacts #climatechange

4 weeks ago

Every year around late February or early March, tens of thousands of harp seals make their way to the ice surrounding the Îles de la Madeleine to give birth to their pups. When harp seals are first born, they are covered in a fluffy, white coat of fur. Once they are ready to enter the water a couple of weeks later, their coats start changing to a silvery grey. This pup will spend the summer months exploring and learning the ways of the Arctic world. Much debate has taken place over the decades regarding the hunting of seals on these remote Canadian islands, but it is important to address and remain conscious of another threat always looming on the horizon for every animal that calls the Arctic home. In recent years, the lack of a stable platform of sea ice on which to give birth has become a serious and enduring threat for the survival of harp seals. . . . #climatechange #saveourseas #conservation #ocean #TurningTheTide

4 weeks ago

Up for a truly remarkable adventure with me and @PaulNicklen ? We want YOU to come join us on the island of Isla Mujeres and swim with whale sharks! Best of all, it’s all to support our work at @SeaLegacy ENTER through my bio link or at #onlyatomaze @omazeworld

4 weeks ago

While snorkeling to photograph the comings-and-goings of a penguin colony, I suddenly felt a tap on my arm. I thought it was my fellow photographer Keith Ladzinski ( @ladzinski ), who was floating nearby. Imagine my surprise when I looked up to find this curious blue-eyed shag chick swimming around me. I had to hold back tears of laughter as this young bird looked at its reflection on my dome, pulled at the cords on my strobes, and poked me on the head with its beak. Spending time with Antarctic wildlife as part of a team lead by  @PaulNicklen was one of the highlights of my career. I have been blessed before and since the moment of this photo to have gone on many more incredible adventures with Paul and @SeaLegacy #StopClimateChange #naturelover #nature #birdsofinstagram #TurningTheTide

4 weeks ago

Greeted with angry protests from the entire colony, a skua attempts to steal an egg, while the courageous chinstrap parents do their best to scare the intruder away. All I can do is hold my breath; torn between hoping that the penguins are left alone, and that the poor skua gets a meal. Neither cruel, nor merciful - the drama of nature is alway amazing. . . . #birdsofinstagram #nature #wildlifephotography #antarctica #penguins

4 weeks ago

Today is #WorldPenguinDay ! King penguins are the second largest species of penguin; second only to emperor penguins. King penguins and emperor penguins look very similar, but there are a couple of ways you can tell the difference. King penguins have larger orange patches on their heads and their necks than emperor penguins do. The colouring on a king penguin’s bill also tends to be more orange/yellow; emperor penguin bills have pink colouring. King penguins are also skinnier. 🐧 . . . #TurningTheTide #funfacts #penguins #trivia

4 weeks ago

I have been a scuba diver since 1987, and in 2017, 30 years after my first dive, I got an opportunity to push my diving to a new level. While on assignment for  @natgeo and  @sealegacy to document the importance of creating a Marine Protected Area, I had my first dive in Antarctica. The subject was less than cheerful: I was asked to photograph a blue whale cemetery; a shallow harbor where the scattered bones of hundreds of blue whales, the world’s largest mammal, still lie silent and eerie, a hundred years after the whales were killed. Swimming in this whale cemetery was both saddening and surreal. Slaughtered for their oil, the population of blue whales in Antarctica has never recovered. Their bodies remain and continue to disintegrate as the frigid water temperature slows this process. In this extreme environment, the cold goes right into your bones - literally a chilling reminder of how far we've come in protecting these vulnerable whales and of the conservation challenges that lie ahead. . . . #TBT #ThrowbackThursday #underwaterphotography #diving #TurningTheTide

4 weeks ago

Did you know that albatross mate for life, and that pair bonds can take years to form? Albatross court each other through ritual dances, and only settle down once they've found their perfect partner. If one half of a bonded pair of albatross dies, its mate will go through a period of mourning before they’re ready to try again. Depending on the species, albatross can live to be 60 years old. These birds spend 80% of their lives at sea, returning to land to breed. . . . #birdsofinstagram #funfacts #earthday #earthweek #TurningTheTide

5 weeks ago

A gentoo penguin feeds its young in their nest made (mostly ) of stones. These stones are so prized that male gentoo use them to woo females, and fights over stones are not unusual at nesting time. Males and females share parenting duties from the start; they build a nest together, and then alternate the responsibilities of incubation and feeding until their chicks are old enough to leave the nest - about 30 days later. Families like these are another reason that every day should be #EarthDay 🐧

5 weeks ago

Did you know that Earth Day is 49 years old? The first ever Earth Day occurred on April 22, 1970 when 20 million Americans from coast to coast rallied for environmental reform in their country. Since that first day, April 22 has gained international recognition as a time for celebrating the earth and taking action. Still, our polar ice caps are warming faster than ever before and we lose plant and animal species every day. I have dedicated my life and my lens to sharing stories about the earth and the ocean, making places like Antarctica more accessible to people who might never get to see them with their own eyes. But there are plenty of other ways you can help! You can turn off the lights when you don't need them, or turn down the thermostat in your home, or you can plant a tree! Tell me - how will you celebrate Earth Day this year? . . . #earthday #ocean #climatechange #saveourseas #saveourplanet #ice

last month

Happy Easter everyone! Holidays like this one are times for celebrating family, and for giving thanks. I would not be the person I am today if it were not for my family. @SeaLegacy would also not be what it is today if it weren't for all of your passion and support. Thank you for #TurningTheTide with us! The volume and strength of our collective voices grows more profound everyday. 🌊 . . . #community #family #holiday #gratitude

last month

What will the future hold for young girls in Ghana if they are stuck in poverty? Working parents leave their children with the grandmothers while they try to make ends meet by selling fish. Sadly, when things get rough, selling or giving children away into slavery is one way families cope with poverty. Traditionally, a Ghanian woman's social status and prestige are tied to the number of children she produces; the idea being that more children is better, but this is an unfortunate reality that feeds a cycle of poverty difficult to escape. Watch @CNN 's documentary "Troubled Waters" to learn more about the relationship between poverty, fisheries and slavery in Ghana. Link in my bio. . . . #awareness #mothers #babiesofinstagram #humanrights #humans #documentary

last month

A baby gazes out over his grandmother's shoulder in Yunnan Province, China. In remote mountain communities like this one, there is no such thing as a daycare. Small children like this little one are cared for by their grandmothers while their parents work. Fun fact: this is a photo from my archives; from the days before digital cameras and DSLRs. . . . #grandmothers #womenintheworld #archive #babiesofinstagram #matriarchy

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