Ask anyone who lives in an area where mining, logging, or any other natural resource has left barren or debilitated habitats in their wake and many will tell you just how long it takes to recover; in some cases the answer is simply “never”.
Enter the Tongass National Forest – the largest remaining intact temperate rain forest on the planet. With a unique ecosystem where this ancient forest meets the ephemeral Pacific, this is home to over 400 species of wildlife comprising one of the rarest ecosystems in the world.
In 2001 the “Roadless Rule” was enacted in this region to keep it safe from the development of roads and logging that would most definitely have a negative impact on the local flora and fauna. This past week the current administration continued it’s attacks on conservation by rolling back this rule, Opening up nearly 10 million acres of the Tongass for logging and development.
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to get out there and vote ASAP and help protect these natural bastions of rare ecosystems for the denizens of them who can’t!
Did you know that Season One of Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge is available for streaming worldwide? It’s true! For an episode, or a season – check it out!
When the series first launched, American Public Broadcasting interviewed me about the series – talk about a blast from the past! Here are a few of my responses from that Q&A:
APT: What a great job to have … to travel the world with a camera and take pictures.
AW: There’s actually an ulterior motive to it. I almost want to use my photos as worms on a hook to attach people to the subject, [make them] care about the subject, and ultimately help the subject. Whether it’s a vanishing culture or an endangered landscape, I think we ought to care more about these subjects than we currently do.
APT: How many times do you think it takes to get that award-winning photo?
AW: You know, I never really think about statistics but I can tell you when I started out it took me a lot longer to arrive at a good shot. At this point in my career, I can see the subject and capture it fairly quickly. I’ve done a lot of wildlife [photography] and you don’t have time to wait around – so you make fast decisions. That has served me well with cultures and even the very ephemeral, changing light on landscapes.
Virtually everywhere we went was a dream so they’re all great. One that stands out is a trek around these really remote mountains in Patagonia (Southern South America). It’s memorable because virtually everything had to be carried on our backs. We were out there in a really exposed environment, and bringing high-definition cameras along is unheard of in those locations. But really, it’s a TV series of highlights. We had thousands of places we could have gone and we boiled it down to 13. Each one of them better be a homerun and they were all homeruns.
After a scouting trip last week I have made the executive decision to switch the upcoming Abstract Astoria workshop location to beautiful Port Townsend on the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula. It offers just as much or more photo opportunities and I am particularly smitten with the bunkers at Fort Worden State Park, the waterfront, and the wonderful restaurants. Join me there right after the election! We’ll all need a bit of a respite!
Of course, we are keeping our workshops to safe and small groups. Only a few spots are left – sign up today!
If you’d like a little more insight into what I’m looking for when on the hunt for intriguing abstract shots, check out last night’s episode of Tequila Time, where I discuss one of the major themes I teach in this and other workshops, as well as my Pathways to Creativity streaming series – expanding your visual vocabulary! Check it out!
I started off the month of October by leading a small workshop on the Olympic Peninsula for a handful of intrepid photographers who were ready to be safely out and about. Much of what appears to be fog in the photos is more than likely smoke still heading up north from the many devastating fires in California.
I’m so fortunate to live in such a varied and beautiful location where so many lessons can be taught in one place – from the varied lighting conditions on beaches versus the shadowed canopies of trees along their edge, majestic old-growth trees, and waterfalls to practice longer exposures.
Never be afraid to alter the location around you, as in the shot with the stacked rocks. It’s still possible to stage a scene while staying true to the natural wonders of the location, and in some ways enhance it while getting comfortable with the creative process!
In the photo below, the stacked rocks are not just an attempt to manufacture a subject, or add an interesting foreground element to capture the eye. While both of these things are happening, it’s really the smoothness of the rocks that informs the viewer about the location – the timeless rounded edges that speak of centuries of erosion. it so happens their rounded shape makes them easy to balance and stack.
Tomorrow is Migratory Bird Day! With projects like Migrations and the upcoming wild, I’ve no shortage of photos to celebrate these stalwart world travelers. Enjoy the image gallery!
On the subject of ‘world travelers’, tomorrow morning Parimal and myself will be live at 10 AM on Earth Is Our Witness to talk with “The Big Cat People” Angela and Jonathan Scott to hear the awesome tales that come of over four decades of experience photographing the lions of Africa.
Enjoy the images and we hope to see you live tomorrow morning!
Happy Workshop Wednesday! It’s been nice to get out in the field for some local scaled-back-for-safety workshops. Like everyone else, we are both highly concerned about COVID and extremely interested in finding safe ways to continue to move forward. Our number-one priority is the safety of both our group, our staff, and the local businesses we hope to bring some much-needed business to.
To that end, we are offering limited participants a chance to join me for a new approach to what is my most popular workshop, taking place in Abstract Astoria. If you’ve joined me here before you know a bit of what you’re in for – but don’t hesitate to join again! We will be exploring new locations, and keeping our group smaller for safety purposes means we will have more time for intense critique and portfolio review sessions, which are truly my favorite aspects of all my workshops.
The goal of this workshop is to change the way you see, drawing on your imagination to create works of art with your camera that no one else might ever capture. I did a deep-dive on the Astoria workshop last night on Tequila Time. Give it a watch for a better explanation of the workshop goals, with examples. When you’re ready, hit the sign up page – this workshop will fill quickly!