Today is “Monarch Butterfly Day” according to whatever mystical powers-that-be control the hashtags! I’ve had the pleasure of photographing Monarchs over the years at many of Mexico’s renowned preserves that harbor millions of butterflies as they migrate.
It’s with a heavy heart, then, that I make this post – one that should be about the beauty of this creature and the symbolism and joy it brings world-wide. However, tragic events that have befallen a pair of conservation heroes in Mexico should be taking center stage right now until answers are found.
As you may have heard, activists and outspoken critics of the illegal logging activities in preserved areas of Mexico, Homero Gómez González and Raúl Hernández Romero were recently found deceased, both under mysterious and possibly malicious circumstances.
González was an agricultural engineer and the manager of the El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Preserve. Growing up in a logging family, he was a skeptic of conservation efforts and their possible impact on contributing to poverty in the region. His background and education gave strength to his voice when, in the early 2000’s, he became an advocate for curbing the deforestation he was seeing first hand.
I spent some time in Utah this past November, and was struck by the colors of the directional light and shadow on the rugged buttes looming over the landscape.
Artists of the Renaissance period would work on a medium-toned colored paper and used light and dark paints, inks, and other materials to build depth within the image, adding form and dimension along the way. The term “chiaroscuro” has come to define images in which there is a strong contrast between light and dark areas that help inform the shape and form of a subject.
Renaissance artists often painted by candlelight, which provided it’s own harsh directional lighting. With photography we are painting in our own way with natural light we’ve been gifted, or our own artificial setups.Obviously it helps to have strong directional light when the sun is low on the horizon, but still high enough to illuminate your subject.
Next Wednesday, January 29th I’ll be joined by Dr. Samuel Wasser at Town Hall Seattle to give a special presentation to discuss the many threats to Elephants world wide, as well as the hopefulness surrounding the many measures being explored and executed to curb the decline of their population.
I had the honor of working with Dr. Wasser on my recent book Wild Elephants. As the director of the Center for Conservation Biology, Sam is recognized world-wide on an expert on elephant populations, and a pioneer in the area of non-invasive monitoring methods.
Through photos, conversation, and research notes we will describe the disturbing trends facing elephants – but also the work being done to ensure their continued survival.
I had a chance to spend some time while traveling looking ahead at the coming year and noticed that many of my workshops are already sold out or are on the verge of doing so. Wow! I’m humbled by the response, and I can’t wait to travel again with friends new and returning.
For those of you who are still looking to get signed up for a workshop, an early bird discount is available for a recently added Abstract Columbia River Gorge trip taking place this April. Not only will we be exploring one of the most stunning landscape locations in the Pacific Northwest, I will also be spending some time focusing on abstract images from locations in the area. You’ll come away with gorgeous shots of the area for context and be creatively inspired to look past the expected!
If you’re still on the fence to sign up, here are 10 reasons to sing up for the Abstract Columbia River Gorge Workshop:
1.) As stated, this is simply all the gorgeous things about the Pacific northwest – evergreen forests, trickling streams and crashing waterfalls, but with an abstract lesson thrown into the mix. It’s my goal to send you home having had a unique experience you won’t get anywhere else.
2.) Continuing with this idea, it is my goal to ensure your travel photos are unique. No one should leave the workshop having captured the same old token postcard shots as every other participant, or anyone else who has toured the area. Give your travel photos a voice!
3.) Spring is the time to be in the area – the waterfalls are flowing and the surroundings are green and teeming with the activity of nature.
4.) Variety – from moss-carpeted forests to dusty dry grasslands in just around an hour of travel.
5.) On the idea of abstracts, I have some lesser known locations up my sleeve to explore them. Formerly, the forestry boom was once a thriving machine in the area. Discarded and forgotten remnants of the time make for some interesting hidden surprises!
6.) We will explore both the Washington and Oregon sides of the Columbia River Gorge, rather than simply focusing on the most popular waterfalls and scenic locales.
7.) The area is popular with out-of-towners whom are not just on vacation, but many of whom are there to indulge their hobbies on a wakeboard or numerous other interests. What this means for us is a location accustomed to enticing and satisfying visitors. We’ve scouted ahead to find the best food, delivered with the best service in the area.
8.) Expertise! I’ve spent a lot of time here. Enough said!
9.) No workshop is complete without a critique session to share photos, and get invaluable feedback on your photography. I’m not timid about providing honest feedback because I respect the time and resources set aside to attend a workshop. Seeing something ‘click’ for first-time attendee, or seeing the growth in a repeat client is probably the second most satisfying outcome of my take-away from a workshop, with the most important being. . .
10.) Fun. We like to have it! Settling down for a great meal with new and old friends alike after a day in the field is the perfect way to cap the day. Lifelong friendships have been formed at Art Wolfe workshops, not only between myself and attendees, but between attendees as well, many of which began as strangers but have since become routine travel companions.
Looking backward has never been a pastime of mine; I am always looking forward—to new travels, projects, and meeting new people! I did indulge in putting together a presentation of my travels in 2019. I give this every year at my year-end parties & I am happy to share it with you.
Below you’ll find a list of workshops that still have space left to fill. As you can see from the number of sold-out events on the the calendar, these will fill quickly – reserve your spot! If you’d like to arrange a private tour, give my office a call – lets see if our schedules mesh.
Of special note for January, Dr. Sam Wasser and I will be giving a presentation & doing a book signing for WILD ELEPHANTS at Town Hall in Seattle. If you can’t make it, Town Hall will also be live-streaming the event on Facebook January 29th at 7:30pm.
One of the draws to visiting a country like Romania is the old-world rural setting, and I came upon a couple fantastic and eventually willing subjects to illustrate just that.
When I first found the cat and the Muskovy duck in a barnyard in Romania, I decided to play up their relationship by basically herding them closer together. Initially they were about 5 feet apart which meant their association was less memorable. By slowly circling I was able to get them to be less than a foot apart which becomes visually more significant.
The cat understandably was unfazed by my presence. The duck was less confident with my intentions. Finally, with perseverance and patience, I got what I wanted – and brought two friends closer together!
It’s that time again! Each year Pantone choose a “color of the year” that can help drive creative endeavors and design. Check out my image gallery celebrating this year’s color, “Classic Blue”. Here is some additional information on Pantone’s Color of the Year:
For over 20 years, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home furnishings, and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design.
A timeless and enduring blue hue, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue is elegant in its simplicity. Suggestive of the sky at dusk, the reassuring qualities of the thought-provoking PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue highlight our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.
Imprinted in our psyches as a restful color, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue brings a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit, offering refuge. Aiding concentration and bringing laser like clarity, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue re-centers our thoughts. A reflective blue tone, Classic Blue fosters resilience.
Happy Technique Tuesday! A little less of a technical lesson today as I’d like to talk about the many ways simple shapes and forms can become the basis for decades of design inspiration. This photo is from the book Indian Baskets of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska and captures a Cowlitz-style basket made from bear grass and dyed cedar bark. Coiled baskets were generally used in cooking are adorned in diagonal zig-zags and checkers.
The detail and quality of these baskets was cherished and ownership of them was prestigious enough that many baskets of this caliber were kept unused as pieces handed down generationally or traded. This particular pattern was used as inspiration when Westlake Center in downtown Seattle underwent a re-design in 1989. The pattern covers Westlake park and expands a block in any direction and was intended to bind the central down-town park into a ‘living room’ for the city.
From beautifully hand-crafted basket to (exquisitely captured, if I do say so myself!) photograph to major metropolitan design element, the original artist had no idea their work would become so very timeless. Next time you’re down town, give it a look – and the next time you’re looking to do your own decorating, it’s worth considering that inspiration may come from unlikely places!
Coming up in December, I will be giving the keynote at the Lowland Photo Festival in Antwerp, Belgium. I’ve been putting together quite the presentation, and I can’t wait to share it!
During the weekend of December 7th, 2019, thousands of nature photographers will once again settle in Kinepolis Antwerp to enjoy diverse lectures by famous nature photographers from around the world. Nature photography exhibitions with hundreds of works will be on display, along with a photography fair packed with demos and workshops.
Mis hét natuurfotografiefestival van de Lage Landen niet! Het Lowland Photo Festival is dit jaar al aan zijn zesde editie toe en tekent steevast voor dé hoogdagen voor elke natuurfotograaf.
Duizenden fotografen strijken neer in Kinepolis Antwerpen om er te genieten van de
* PRACHTIGE EXPOSITIES NATUURFOTOGRAFIE (GRATIS)
* GROOTSE FOTOGRAFIEBEURS & DEMO’S (3 EURO)
* SPECTACULAIRE LEZINGEN (VANAF 42 EURO/ DAG)
Behalve het kruim van de natuurfotografen uit Vlaanderen en Nederland maakt ook een rist internationale toppers hun opwachting tijdens het Lowland Photo Festival. Eén van de absolute headliners dit jaar is ongetwijfeld de wereldberoemde fotograaf ART WOLFE (USA)!
Good news if you’re in the Pacific Northwest and could use a little photographic inspiration to recharge those chilly fall batteries – the next two weekends will see me back home for a few events, and I hope to catch you there!
As you may know if you follow me, Wild Elephants was published this week. Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered. I’ll be signing those books this weekend so we can send them out! The new trade edition of Human Canvas will also be officially published next week, but we have received those as well. I’ll be attending the Kenmore Camera Digital Photo Expo this Saturday from 10:30 AM til 12:30 PM – come and pick up your signed copy of either or both books! This is always an invaluable event with plenty of resources on-hand to talk about the latest photo tech – don’t miss it!
For those of you in the Seattle and Portland areas, there are still limited spaces remaining for both Photography As Art seminars happening in those cities – sign up to reserve your spot today!
If you’d rather gamble than secure a guaranteed spot, today is the last day to enter your name in our give-away, so check it out and enter your name before midnight for your chance to win a ticket!