There’s no place like Katmai, there’s no place like Katmai, there’s no place like Katmai. I wish it were that easy to be transported to this extraordinary living laboratory of Alaska’s brown bears. This year we had better than ever photographic opportunities with the bears. From afar with our 100-500mm lenses set at the upper end of the focal length we witnessed at-times violent interactions between older siblings over salmon, tender moments between protective mothers and their cubs, and diverse birdlife of the tundra and waterways. The landscapes are vast and glorious, the wildlife abundant–truly a privilege to behold!
2024 Alaska workshops will be posted soon. Contact me to get on the waiting list!
I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be giving not one. . not two. . but THREE talks at this year’s B&H BILD Expo this September in New York. I’ve been working with the folks at B&H for years now and I always look forward to participating in the incredible events they put together. The event is free – just get yourself registered at BILDEXPO.COM!
Here’s when and where you’ll be able to find me on stage:
Wednesday, September 6, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Wild Lives – A Celebration of Beauty, Ferocity & Revival of Earth’s Endangered Wildlife
Bild Main Stage, 4th Floor
Thursday, September 7, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Pathways to Creativity: Composition
OPTIC Stage, 4th Floor
Thursday, September 7, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Lessons from the Field with Art Wolfe & Frans Lanting
OPTIC Stage, 4th Floor
Five more reasons to attend this incredible 50th Anniversary event:
Glacier Bay has been a favorite location of mine since I started teaching workshops there in the early 1980s. A small boat cruise in this vast watery landscape is the best way to witness the ecstatic breaching whales, the bevies of sea otters, and the flocks of cormorants, ducks, and puffins. The weather cooperated, which is never a given in Alaska.
A great advantage of the way we run this workshop is that when others are heading in to a harbor for dinner, we are able to stay out and work the best light of the day in late afternoon into evening. As a highlight, we were rewarded with gorgeous backlighting of surfacing whales. Never passing over the opportunity to experiment, we employed panning to photograph the waterlilies in a glacial kettle in one of our forays on land. Referencing Monet in one’s photography is always a good challenge.
The new owners of the Alaskan Song yacht are proudly continuing the great hospitality we have enjoyed in past years, making it easy for friendships to grow between our fellow travelers. I can’t wait to return in 2025!
Whether you’re a seasoned photographer seeking to refine your skills, a beginner eager to embark on a photographic journey, or a wildlife enthusiast who can’t get enough of the beauty and diversity of the natural world – I’ve got you covered! At this point in my career I’ve had over one-hundred-and-something books published, and my own personal library is filled to the brim with art, photography, and travel books from across the globe. I am very much a book lover both as a consumer and as someone who simply loves seeing a body of work come together.
Photo books make excellent gifts to both give and receive. With each turn of the page, you’ll find yourself embarking on a new adventure. Whether it’s a trek through the lush rainforests of South America, an exploration of the diverse African cultures, or an exploration of a subject from around the world such as the award winning Night On Earth– there truly is something for everyone.
If you’re seeking inspiration to fuel your passion for photography, several of my “how-to” books are an invaluable resource, while those that emphasize the narrative behind the captures such as Photographs From the Edgego beyond the technicalities, delving into the art of storytelling through your lens.
Now is also a great time to pre-order a signed copy of my upcoming magnum opus entitled WILD LIVES: The Worlds Most Extraordinary Wildlife. This is a big, beautiful book full of a lifetime of wildlife photography from every corner of the planet, and I can’t wait until I’ve got it in my hands!
The first decision every photographer must make is simply what to photograph. The best place to start, of course, is finding what appeals to you. If finding subject matter to photograph is easy, making it stand out is harder. Our first impulse when something catches our eye is to simply point the camera, center the subject, and shoot the picture. No surprise, then, that when we look at it later, we are all too often disappointed and wonder, “Why did I take that?”
The novelist and critic Henry James wrote, “In art, economy is always beauty.”
In a landscape, there is often a glut of information. For that reason, artists who sketch in the field will often take a piece of cardboard with a rectangle cut from the middle. By holding it
up to frame various sections in the scene, they can isolate what has potential to make a strong composition.
This can also be a valuable aid for photographers who have trouble visualizing the potential field of view of different focal length lenses. The closer you hold the hole in the board to your eye, the more it approximates the field of view of a wide-angle lens. The farther away you hold it, the more it resembles what a telephoto lens might see.
Isolating the subject is the first step in making a strong composition. This can be achieved in a number of ways-coming in close, backing up, looking down, looking up, changing the direction
of the light on the subject, waiting for another time of day, blurring the action or stopping the action, using selective focus to blur unwanted elements, putting a light subject against a dark background. All of these are potential creative solutions that We will address throughout this book.
Isolating your emotional response to the subject may be more complicated and take time and practice, but it is an important step for an artist. If you can analyze why you feel drawn to make a picture, and work to express the feeling clearly, chances are someone looking at it will ah respond with more than passing interest.
The image gallery above are all examples from my travels to Kenya in which I wanted to focus more on the emotions, textures, and compositions of isolated subjects and families. I’ll be heading back to Kenya in January – join me and make your own memories!