BALTIMORE (WJZ) — For the past five decades, photographer Bill Portlock has captured beautiful images of the Chesapeake all while educating those in the area about the importance of the Bay.

It was a natural curiosity that put Portlock on the path to a career as a naturalist, studying and photographing the Chesapeake Bay.

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“I think seeing the picture of the wildlife and the landscape, can maybe make people understand and maybe want to go see and protect those same areas,” he said.

Photos around the Chesapeake Bay. Credit: Bill Portlock

Over the years Portlock has captured images of bald eagles feasting, salamanders snuggling, and winter moons on the rise.

“That was a memorable moment, it was in February, a cold bitter night and we had been training all day and had a chance to see that,” Portlock said.

His work was as equally breathtaking as it is important.

Tom Ackerman is the Vice President for Education at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, where Portlock taught since 1981.

“Bill’s photographic talents are amazing and well documented. He’s been published by National Geographic,” Ackerman said.

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“Our program is really about getting people out into the Chesapeake Bay, out onto the rivers and streams learning about the living resources and how people connect with them. Bill tells that story better than anybody else,” Ackerman added.

Photos around the Chesapeake Bay. Credit: Bill Portlock

Over the years, Portlock has witnessed the highs and lows of the Bay.

PHOTOS: Chesapeake Bay Photos By Bill Portlock

With the problems peaking in the 80s, Portlock believes things are starting to turn around, as the oyster population and grass bed appear to be on the rise.

“So there’s hope for improving the Chesapeake Bay,” he said.

Although he’s now retired, Portlock doesn’t plan to put the camera down as he captures the beauty of the Bay.

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Sean Streicher