All this run up to the solar eclipse on August 21st makes me hark back to when I traveled to South Australia back in December 2002 to photograph a total eclipse there. At the time, I was photographing landscapes for my book Edge of the Earth, Corner of the Sky and I thought this would be an amazing opportunity. I’d seen many technically excellent photographs of total eclipses over the years, but quite honestly they all looked pretty much alike. My objective became capturing the eclipse in relation to the Earth.
The solar eclipse that occurred on December 4, 2002, was noteworthy when viewed in South Australia for a couple of reasons. First, the eclipse was unusually brief at 25 seconds. Also, it occurred less than 40 minutes before sunset, so the likelihood of an obscured view was greatly increased because clouds generally stack up along the horizon at that time of day. To maximize my chance of success, I decided to find the precise position from which to film the eclipse by experimenting exactly 24 hours before the eclipse. I also decided to try two cameras for two very different perspectives, so I used both a wide-angle and a 70–200mm lens, enabling me to take full advantage of the eclipse’s late hour by incorporating the landscape.
Most eclipses occur earlier in the day when the sun is much higher in the sky. For this book, I wanted to establish the connection of the eclipse with the Earth. I wanted the viewer to witness the eclipse as if they were standing there next to me under the gum trees. Since I could not determine exposure until totality began, I decided to use matrix metering on an automatic aperture priority setting. When totality began, I would simply engage the shutter using locking cable releases, hoping that the entire roll of film would run continuously through the camera. This would have happened had I not made one final decision: to auto-bracket my exposures. I discovered, too late, that the camera would not continuously advance while on the auto-bracket setting. After just three exposures, both cameras stopped advancing. By the time I figured out what was happening, totality ended. Fortunately, I did get proper exposures for both compositions. After the critical moment of the full eclipse, I continued to photograph as the eclipse continued, switching to other lenses and film.
To create these images I used two Canon cameras, an EOS-1N and an EOS-1N/RS, EF70-200mm and EF 16-35mm lenses, Fujichrome Provia 400 film, and a Gitzo tripods. For the images of the setting eclipse on the horizon, I used an EF500mm IS lens and Fujichrome Velvia film.
For viewing the eclipse next week, make sure to protect your eyes properly, I cannot stress this enough! B&H has a bunch of articles up on their Explora blog on how to protect yourself and how to photograph the event. If you can’t see it in person, the best view will be via NASA livestream.
I’m pleased to bring you an extended edition of “Where’s Art?” this week, as my long history with a location that never ceases to provide new opportunities means I have a lot to say and a lot to show! Hopefully you enjoy this episode – and if it piques your interest to get out into the wilderness of Alaska with me, be sure to sign up for my 2018 trips here as they WILL sell out!
Another fantastic trip to the vast wilderness of Alaska in the books! I’m grateful for everyone who came along to join me in Katmai this year – we were treated to some phenomenal opportunities! In my fourth decade of visiting Alaska, and I still come away with new shots. The salmon were packed in so tight that you could walk across the water on their backs, and the bears were especially active and playful. Over the past few years I’ve come to recognize certain individual bears here based on the techniques they employ to capture salmon as well as their personalities, and in some cases even their unique faces.
Enjoy the images, and tune in next week for more details on this location in the new episode of “Where’s Art?”!
These trips are so popular that we’re already taking sign-ups for three trips here next year – sign up now to reserve your spot, these ones will fill up!
When lining up a background for a subject, make sure to give it a clean background to create a more graphic image. In this example I am trying to shoot a Chinstrap penguin in Antarctica where the snowy backdrop isn’t working to make the white belly of my subject pop.
The cool waters of Glacier Bay rain from the tail of a mighty humpback whale, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
Save 20% on any Leviathan print purchased this month. This Limited Edition print is printed on EPSON Metallic Luster paper using archival EPSON Ultrachrome inks. After each print is approved, it is then titled, numbered and signed by Art. Only 150 of each size will be made. Get more information about our Fine Art prints here.
July wrapped up with a trip to northern Canada; more specifically the Nunavik region of Quebec. We went in search of tundra wolves, however the changes in the environment and local wildlife meant there were none to be found.
Fortunately this is such a unique part of the world that other opportunities presented themselves. A family of foxes made themselves available for our group, and I was pleased we were able to spend a couple days photographing the musk ox that roam the landscape. They were on my list already as a subject I intended to capture for an upcoming book project, so it was a great opportunity to save myself a future trip. Lemons to lemonade!
I just returned home to Seattle from a quick trip north to the 55th parallel – Nunavik, Canada to be a little more exact! While we found lots of wolf sign in the area, actual sightings were not to be, unfortunately. We opted for muskox, red fox . . . and mosquitoes. This land is mostly flat and covered in large, flat rounded rocks from the glaciers that covered the area. The glaciers also carved out a land of many small lakes, which in turn adds to the insect population in the area.
Fortunately using bug spray and head nets, we had all the proper protection from the insects. It always pays to be prepared and to do your research on a location. In this case our preparation made the situation more than manageable.
Today I am headed back north to Katmai National Park for a couple weeks. Not a bad life! I hope everyone is having a great summer so far. I’d love to hear about the kinds of things my readers are up to, so please feel free to leave a comment below. I’m busy and on the go so while I can’t respond to everyone, I do make an effort to keep my finger on the pulse of what everyone is up to!
In this video shot on location in New Zealand, Art discusses the equipment used to compliment ideal overcast lighting to take photos in a forest of trees, moss, and lichens. The overcast lighting provides the perfect opportunity to capture the many layered textures of the forest without the distracting shadows and highlights of sunny direct lighting that can often hide or blow out the fine details.
Along with the overcast lighting, a longer lens to focus on areas of interest, and a shutter release with tripod to minimize movement, Art is able to capture the immense detail of the thick verdant forest.
It’s officially summer, the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors and beautiful public lands that make my home state of Washington such a remarkable place to live, work, and play.
As the Honorary Chair for an environment nonprofit working to protect wild places here in Washington State, I am delighted to give local photographers tips and info for Washington Wild’s summer photo contest.
Here are some photography tips in support of a wild & green Washington!
First – as the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have with you! Take your camera out while hiking, climbing, and exploring – to capture the beauty of Washington’s stunning landscapes. Here are a few of my favorite tips to keep in mind when shooting outside:
Learn about the place you are visiting, but don’t be wedded to preconceived notions of what to photograph.
“Think small”, because even in the worst conditions you can still photograph a macro.
Try a tripod even though it adds bulk. It forces you to slow down and be more critical about your subject. It also allows for longer exposures.
Don’t be discouraged by bad weather. Overcast days make for richer colors, and fog and weather can add depth to the atmosphere and create unique opportunities to capture that rare once in a lifetime image!
Take a lot of photos, especially while photographing animals. You can cull similar or unsuccessful shots later, but you don’t want to leave any successful ones in the field!
Ready to go?! Snap away and send your best shots of Washington’s public lands and wild places to Washington Wild by August 7th!
Art Wolfe, Inc. and Rotella Gallery are proud sponsors of Unity at the Bemis, a juried art show running August 4th through the 6th at the Bemis Building in SoDo. I’ll have a number of works hanging at the show, and it’s just blocks away from the Seattle Art Fair happening concurrently at Centurylink Field.
The goal of this event will be to raise at least $25,000 to raise awareness for Seattle’s homeless community through Facing Homelessness. I’d be grateful to anyone able to make it to this great cause and support both local artists and the local homeless community!