Better than ‘The Best Job In The World’?

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 22 Februari 2015 | 23.08

Chris and Jess Bray 'at work'. Source: Supplied

CHRIS Bray was a finalist for Queensland Tourism's famous 'Best job in the world' campaign back in 2009. But thankfully he didn't get the job, because what he gets to do now is even cooler. Prepare for job envy:

Imagine getting to travel to the world's most wonderful places including Africa, the Amazon, Alaska and the Galápagos Islands every year for 'work' — which involves staying in extravagant accommodation, eating gourmet local seafood and chartering private helicopters, planes, safari vehicles and even luxury ships to photograph wildlife.

Amazingly, that's the role my wife Jess and I have found ourselves in: running one day photography courses around Australia and small-group photo safaris around the world — and we even get to take three or more months off each year to go sailing in the Arctic on-board our sailboat!

Here are the seven most unforgettable experiences I've been lucky enough to witness:

You call this a job Chris? Source: Supplied

Photographing bears catching salmon so close they splashed me

While sailing Alaska, we happened upon this bay filled with brown bears gorging themselves on salmon.

Unlike the overly popular 'Brooks Falls' where tourists get allocated a short timeslot on a crowded viewing platform, here we spent days on end sitting beside the river watching as dozens of bears practise their own fishing styles, completely ignoring us, sometimes pouncing on fish so close that they splashed us. We now run photo safaris to this bay in Alaska — it's the most incredible photography experience I've ever had.

Sorry salmon. Source: Supplied

Lion cubs playing with my GoPro mounted on a remote controlled toy car

A video I shot of a lion cub playing with my GoPro was so adorable that it went viral the same day I uploaded it while I was still running one of our safaris in Kenya.

Not the GoPro! Source: Supplied

It was on TV in the United States that night, and GoPro even bought it and made a TV commercial from it. I've also sold similar footage of lions to National Geographic Channel and even had polar bears chew on one camera.

Cheetah jumping on top of our safari vehicle

Our two safari vehicles were parked near a wild cheetah in the Maasai Mara in Kenya when it suddenly decided to leap up on top of the roof of Jess's car!

It sniffed around, peered inside at our guests and just lazed on the roof for some ten minutes enjoying the vantage point before hopping off and sauntering away.

An extremely close call. Source: Supplied

Photographing Hummingbirds

Before visiting the cloud forests in The Andes, I'd never seen a hummingbird before. Suddenly, they were buzzing everywhere!

Beautiful hummingbird. Source: Supplied

As stunningly swift as they are beautiful, photographing them using natural light is a wonderful challenge and we now take guests to the Galapagos to take pictures of Hummingbirds each November.

Witnessing a genuine tribal fire-dance in Papua New Guinea

It was the first time Australian Geographic ever sent a photographer overseas and I got to spend two amazing weeks exploring PNG.

Barefoot fire dancer in the middle of flames. Source: Supplied

The tribes around Rabaul sometimes perform a 'fire-dance' for tourists, but a contact took me and the Australian Geographic writer travelling with me deep into hills one night to see the real thing. Dazed on some forest drug, these naked, barefooted men first danced around, then through and then up and down inside this huge fire.

Some passed out and fell into the flames, others carried giant pythons and later even screaming toddlers through the fire, all to rhythmic chanting and drumming from the women. It was incomprehensible.

Fire dancer engulfed in flames. Source: Supplied

Iceberg Sailing

While sailing our little 29-foot, wooden sailboat 'Teleport' up the coast of Greenland and through the infamous Northwest Passage over the top of Canada and Alaska (the first junk-rigged sailboat ever to do so), we found a beautiful arched iceberg.

Chris and Jess's yearly 'holiday'. Source: Supplied

I hopped in the blow-up dingy with my camera, and Jess sailed around the other side to get the perfect photo. I missed her first pass though, as a huge iceberg beside me suddenly broke apart and rolled over sending a wave of icy water towards me.

Jess and my secret adventure wedding

At the edge of the abyss. Source: Supplied

And of course I couldn't leave out our adventurous wedding.

If it looks cold, that's because it was! Source: Supplied

No one knew where we were taking them — the invite just said to be at the airport dressed for the cold and we'd bring them back four days later. It turned out to be in the snow, half way up Cradle Mountain, Tasmania, in the middle of winter. It was awesome!

Our groomsman was not impressed with the pash. Source: Supplied

If you aren't already jealous enough you can follow Chris Bray on Instagram, join him on one of his one-day photography courses, or on a photo safari.

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