I hadn’t been to Easter Island since 1986 and if you’ve checked out Photographs From the Edge, you’ll know that despite my “scientific” western brain, I had quite the spiritual experience here, miles away from the closest human and surrounded by monuments of ages passed. It is places like these where despite our different backgrounds one can come and feel an almost metaphysical presence that was partially my inspiration for an upcoming book on international faith and ritual.
For that project, among others, I thought it would be great to revisit it during the Tapati Festival. Rightly so, Rapa Nui people are very proud of their heritage and this festival highlights their culture. Of course, everyone is familiar with the moai, monumental statues of ancestors. We got up at three in the morning to photograph them under the Milky Way, running around with flashlights to illuminate them in various ways.
I was also able to pull photograph three Rapa Nui men in traditional garb, overlooking the ocean. In the past, men would brave the currents and swim out to the small island in the distance and bring back seabird eggs. If they succeeded they would be regarded as heroes for their efforts.
Enjoy the photos, and stay tuned to the blog for more photos from my first couple months of 2020 travel!
Blue whale populations were decimated by whaling, exterminating an estimated 97% of their numbers until a moratorium was placed on whaling in 1986. When whalers first descended on their summer feeding grounds around South Georgia Island off Antarctica they would see “whales by the thousands” in the area. An estimated 176,000 whales were taken over 60 years.
In 2018 a lone pair of Blue Whales was spotted in the area, adding to just one or two sightings over the last 40-50 years. And then in 2020 – on their most recent survey – 55 Blue Whales were counted feeding in the area! An amazing swell in the numbers in such a short time.
I’m excited and honored to announce that I’ll be a keynote speaker at this year’s OPTIC West event presented by B&H Photo Video and Lindblad Expeditions. I’ll be taking the stage with Frans Lanting and other speakers delivering both information and inspiration – register for free today!
Along with the speakers, get hands-on demonstrations of the newest technologies, day and evening photo walks, participate in critiques and reviews of your shots, learn tried and true workflow strategies, and much more!
Hope to see you there – again, this event is FREE but you must register ASAP to attend, as space is limited. Don’t miss out!
Better late than never and it’s still February; where’s the year going??? More importantly, where have the past 15 years gone? It’s always interesting to look back at the various phases of my career to be reminded of my previous goals, successes and of course. . the very very occasional failures. If you’re ever struggling to come up with something to say with your photography, there are plenty of resources around to step back and take a look at. I’m an avid book collector and I’m always on the look-out for compendiums of the passions of others that may help spark an idea of my own.
There is something to be said for being your own inspiration, however – especially if it’s been some time since you’ve looked back on your own photos and/or artwork. Perhaps time and experience will give you a new angle on an old idea, or you may find the simple purity of your original concepts got lost among new technologies, software, or just the clutter of life in general.
Enjoy the photos, and stay tuned to the blog for some exciting upcoming events!
I recently joined award-winning photographer, creator of his own books, and fellow world-traveler Rick Sammon on his podcast recently with an interview that begins with some general wildlife photography advice, and goes on to talk about upcoming book projects.
Here be Dragons! I spent most of the month of January in Asia – Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines. In Japan, I was able to return to the place I photographed ducks and swans three decades ago for Migrations. As you can see, the congregation of waterfowl was a crush of feathers and beaks that mostly obscured any sight of the water beneath them. We also visited the beach, where storms in the region have discarded all kinds of garbage onto the shore – it was awful, but also quite a sight.
From Japan, we visited Indonesia and most notably Komodo island where I was able to capture the massive and menacing Komodo Dragons. I’d been planning this stop for a while and wasn’t disappointed, using some rigged up gear to get in nice and close.
The trip closed out in the Philippines, and this time the congregation was of revelers and worshipers at the Sinulog Festival and the – *deep breath* – Solemn Procession of the Miraculous Image of the Santa Niño. That’s quite the name, for quite the festival! I was most impressed with the variety of colorful costumes on display. I was also the sole photographer willing to get in the water with whale sharks – no regrets, enjoy the photos!
In January, Dr. Samuel Wasser and myself had the pleasure of speaking to a crowded Great Hall about the efforts being made to protect and preserve elephants at Town Hall Seattle. If you weren’t able to make it to the event, the Seattle Channel has made it available for all to watch online.
If you’re inspired to help, visit www.giving.uw.edu/ivory and contribute to a very worthy cause via the University of Washington.
There are three opportunities left to join me in my stomping grounds in the Pacific Northwest, but they will fill up quickly as these dates approach – sign up today to ensure your spot!
In April, I’ll be leading an Abstract Columbia River Gorge workshop, and while we will most definitely capture the beautiful landscapes of the region, we’ll also be doing something a bit different and including an abstract angle to the workshop a la my Abstract Astoria workshop, which is always a hit!
In May I’ll be headed back to the Olympic Peninsula, and the word here is variety! From old growth forests, hopefully some wildlife spotting, to the picturesque beaches where woodlands give way to rocky beaches – you’ll be sure to come away with plenty of diversity in your photos. The atmosphere and lighting at the margins of the day here are second to none.
Last but not least, as autumn rolls around and the fall color begins to permeate the Pacific Northwest, I head inland a bit to capture the fall color in flora surrounding majestic Mt. Rainier. The sunsets as Summer transitions to Fall captures the golds, oranges, reds, and evergreens as well to create a riot of color.
My tours in Moab, Utah have become one of our fastest selling workshops the last couple of years, and two spaces have just opened up to join me there this March. If you were on the wait list, you’ve been contacted! If you weren’t – first of all, why not!? Second, now’s your chance to sign up!
If you need some convincing, I can be very persuasive! Here are 10 reasons to join me in Moab, Utah this March!
10. Arches & Canyonlands National Parks border Moab and the Colorado River – this is a fantastic place to capture the outdoors of the Southwest!
9. If you’re a movie buff, this location should be on your bucket list. Movies such as Stagecoach, Thelma and Louise, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade filmed scenes here, among dozens more.
8. Artwork inscribed into rock faces provides an authentic look at the First Nations in the form of pictographs and petroglyphs.
7. A small town that relies on tourism to fuel it needs great food and we plan to share some fantastic meals together!
6. Critiques – what good is a workshop if you’re not there to do a little work? I’ll be giving critiques of your photos as we review them and discuss!
5. Get to know Moab – it’s a great place to return to multiple times to explore all it has to offer. Biking, rafting, and rock climbing are just a small sample of things to do there.
4. I’ve called this workshop, “Moab by Night” for a reason. Though we will do some day shooting, this is also an excellent place to capture the stars with limited light pollution and relatively consistent clear skies.
3. Mid-March is the perfect time to visit, when things are warming up from the cold winter – yet haven’t reached the scorching days of summer.
2. Of course, hands-on instruction and educational lectures. I love to talk!
1. And the #1 reason to take an Art Wolfe Workshop, completely agnostic of location and theme – hanging out with me and meeting new life-long friends and travel companions!
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.