Flooded Gabon Forest

Photograph by Michael Nichols

Just 20 miles (32.2 kilometers) from their destination, the Atlantic coast of Gabon, Mike Fay and his crew encountered a blackwater sump, a chronically flooded swath of forest. Fay’s team, including Sophiano Etouck, pictured here, risked encountering crocodiles undetectable in chin-deep muck thick with forest litter and tree roots.