This May, I’ll be making a return trip to California’s Monterey Coast originating in stunning Carmel-by-the-Sea with an exclusive opportunity to join limited to just six participants. Assisted by my associate Gavriel Jecan, decades of experience will be available to support you in capturing the beauty synonymous with this location. However, the picturesque landscapes of the coastline are only the beginning, as we will delve into the abstract and many of the themes prevalent in my Abstract workshops and my Photography As Art seminar.
A retreat in a paradise, an exclusive small-group setting, two instructors, and the many lessons and themes of my popular abstract workshops and seminars – What more do you need? Well, fortunately, I have answers here!
1. A retreat in paradise – a gorgeous location on California’s fabled Monterey Bay!
2. At only six maximum participants and two instructors, you’ll get plenty of one-on-one time with us to answer any and all of your questions and provide direction to ensure you get the absolute most out of your time.
3. Go kayaking and photograph otters with the world’s premier nature photographer; if you’ve never kayaked before, rest assured we will have trained guides so you can focus on your photos!
4. Great food! This is a region famous for it’s cuisine – join myself and Gavriel every evening to discuss the day’s shooting.
5. Explore the region that inspired the likes of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston.
6. Get your photography portfolio reviewed! Gavriel Jecan and myself will look at everyone’s work and provide constructive feedback that you’ll be able to carry with you onto future trips.
8. Experiential learning at its best. It’s my hope that the lessons you learn on this retreat will be referenced on your travel and photography adventures moving forward.
9. Through lectures, critiques, and instruction in the field, we’ll cover many aspects of my Photography As Art workshop – now is your chance to go all out and put the topics discussed into action!
10. New friends with alike interests – many a friendship has been forged thanks to the balance of levity and learning on our workshops. Here is an opportunity to meet fellow travel and photography enthusiasts!
Spaces on this retreat are extremely limited, and some are already spoken for – sign up today to ensure your spot!
With SNOWMAGEDDON hitting the Pacific Northwest, a timely themed #TechniqueTuesday is in order! This is an entry from Photographs From the Edge, where I’ve combined the stories behind some of my most recognizable career photographs, as well as providing tips, techniques, and camera data for them. Enjoy, and I hope everyone back home is staying safe in the Winter weather!
Canon EOS-1DX, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, f/18 for 1/250 sec., ISO 2000
This image of bison in Yellowstone National Park really began when I co-led a rafting trip down Alaska’s Taku River a number of years ago. On that trip I met Robert Bateman and his wife Birgit. This outstanding Canadian artist spent time photographing details of rocks along the river’s edge or details of the forest. I had to ask what he was doing. He simply responded that he was taking details that he could later render accurately as details in his paintings.
At that time I had been fixating on getting closer and closer to animals and ultimately getting that classic portrait of that animal almost as if it was a trophy. The analogy was that I was a hunter with the camera. Bateman made me take a serious look at how he would he was less concerned about portraits of animals and more concerned about capturing an animal within the context of its environment. I looked at my own work and started realizing he was right.
Bateman showed that by creating atmospheric conditions and a sense of place, the composition become more nuanced, more intricate, and more involving for the viewer. In the years after meeting Bateman, I think my work became infinitely more interesting by being more inclusive of the environment. From that point forward then I would always look at storms and thick atmosphere as opportunities rather than distractions.
This image of bison in Yellowstone works to carefully include the animal’s environment. With the advent of higher ISO cameras, I can shoot with both a smaller aperture and a faster shutter speed. Here, I was able to capture a herd of animals with great depth of field, and to use a fast enough shutter speed to stop the movement of snow. So in this image of the buffalo in Yellowstone, you can see tiny points of white snow suspended in motion as well as individual animals clearly in focus. To me, this photo recalls some of the great paintings of Robert Bateman.
Photo tip: For falling snow to show up in a photo, you need contrast to set the snow apart from the rest of the scene. In this image, both the dark trees in the background and the dark fur of the bison help bring this contrast to the image. The falling snow behind the bison also lend a strong sense of atmosphere to the shot.
The nature of the photo: Snow is extremely variable in size and shape, which has a strong impact on how it appears in a photo. Very cold conditions can create tiny snow crystals that will appear more as fog than snow in a photo. Large snowflakes can be a bold part of a winter photo.
For more photos and the stories behind them, along with tips and techniques, purchase Photographs From the Edge in my online store. As always, make a request note in your order and I’ll give it a signature!
And if you missed it – check out the gallery of images from my recent return trip to Yellowstone.
Is it a little late to say Happy New Year? Perhaps ‘Be my Valentine’ would be more appropriate. Time flies when you’re out and about photographing like I have been here in the Pacific Northwest (owls), California (bobcats), and Yellowstone (wolves). A few of these predator photos are bound to make it into a top secret book project I am working on. Shhh – don’t tell anyone!
When looking forward at your 2019 schedule, consider joining me for a workshop! I’m excited about what we have in store for the coming year, with diverse locations both new and familiar. Whether you’re looking to join me somewhere exotic and share an adventure or attend one of our recurring fan-favorites, I’ve got a lot on the calendar.
Every day was a learning experience and loads of fun as well! Thank you for being so open to sharing your skills and knowledge. I’m continuing to put this into practice.”
New on the workshop front is a retreat in beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea in May. We had so much fun last year we’re going back! We’ll be concentrating on abstract photography along this glorious coastline, kayaking with sea otters, and critiquing our results every day. I am offering an earlybird special through February 15th. Please note that this workshop is limited to a small group of 6, and all participants will receive a limited edition Human Canvas book along with a print (a $1400+ value!)
“I enjoyed…the challenges of working in different environments…and I met people from all over the world…Thanks for doing what you do and sharing your love of nature…You make us all better stewards and people…”
When considering any workshop take a look at ratio of instructors/guides to participants. My assistants and I strive to deliver whether you are a seasoned photographer or just starting out, whether this is your first workshop with me or your fourth.
“A workshop with Art Wolfe is so much more that a photo shoot at a beautiful location. It is an opportunity to grow and try new things with a master artist and superb teacher.”
– Bill O.
I look forward to meeting new friends and seeing old friends on my travels this year! My goal is nothing less than to change the way you see.
Wishing You the Best of Light! Click an image or description below to find out more about all of my upcoming workshops!
Not even the government can shut down Yellowstone! This vast volcanic caldera has always delivered photographically for me. I headed out with some close friends and in a few short days were able to photograph wolves, coyotes, bison, otters, and two horns, big & prong. I caught one otter rolling and gamboling in the snow and sliding across the ice of the Yellowstone River; and there was an energetic young ram who put on quite a show leaping back and forth across a rocky hillside.
Enjoy the photos – more to come soon from Japan. It’s just days away, but two spaces have just opened up. There is also one spot remaining to join me on a trip to India in March to photograph the Holi festival as well as tigers – grab it before it’s gone!
Much has been made of the Kumbh Mela lately because it is such an extraordinary event – a mass Hindu pilgrimage, largest in the world. Each Kumbh, tens of millions of pilgrims descend upon one of four Indian cities to celebrate and bathe in sacred rivers.
The location for the Kumbh Mela rotates each time, roughly every three years, with smaller celebrations occurring at each city during various off-years. These dates are dictated by the Vikram Samvat, or historical Hindu calendar.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting during this spectacular event multiple times throughout my career:
2001 – Allahabad
This visit to Kumbh Mela ended up producing one of my most popular images – Spiritual Journey.
This occasion was a “Maha” or “Great” Kumbh Mela – over 120 million people attended!
If you’re ever able to attend this historic spiritual event, it’s well worth the trip to witness the spirituality and dedication of the pilgrims who attend. Though popularity and exposure has risen over recent years, it’s a sacred event that exemplifies spirituality through the dedication and sacrifice. Rarely seen in the public eye, the Kumbh Mela offers a rare chance to witness the emergence of the sadhus, or holy men, who spend most of their lives in isolated meditation and deprivation who come and further display their dedication through discomfort as they bathe in the melted glacial waters of their sacred rivers.
An upcoming Ardh Kumbh Mela takes place this year in Allahabad (officially known as Prayagraj), and the next Kumbh Mela will happen in 2022 at Haridwar.
One of my favorite things to do when I have a couple extra days at home is to take a quick day trip to the Fraser River Delta in British Columbia. It is a haven for birds and birders and I concentrated on the short-eared owls and harriers that were hunting for rodents in the tall grasses. As I did earlier in the month at Pt. Reyres, I practiced with my new Canon EF600mm f/4L IS III USM lens, shooting mostly with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.
In addition to the birds of prey, I captured some of the best bufflehead images I’ve ever taken. Usually they look like little black and white sea ducks floating in dark water, but in the low winter light their feathers become a colorful iridescent rainbow.
The Lake Quinault Retreat that we have put together is fast becoming one of my most popular workshops. The small-group setting in conjunction with accommodations at the esteemed and historic Lake Quinault Lodge sets the stage for the quintessential Pacific Northwest experience in the lush Quinault Rain Forest. I’ve been visiting this location for many years, and yet I always find new experiences and subjects to focus on. There’s simply never enough time! And this is specifically why you visit with an expert – my thorough knowledge of the area will allow us to adjust our shooting plans on the fly, whether it be for weather conditions or simply the group’s desire to explore the various features of this location.
For a limited time we are offering an Early Bird discount on this retreat – save a few bucks and treat yourself to an engaging, instructive get-away in this iconic location on the Olympic Peninsula. Couples are welcome on this trip as well, so if you’d like to roll your photographic excursion into a get-away with a partner, they are welcome to join us for critiques and meals.
It was nice to spend some time at home and breath deep after nearly 7 weeks traveling through November and December, but I can’t stay still for too long. Following the new year, I took a trip down to Northern California to photograph wildlife at the Pt. Reyes seashore with the help of my good friend Daniel Dietrich. With Daniel’s expertise on the location, I was able to put my new 600MM Canon lens to good use photographing bobcat, otters, several bird species and more. It was a quick but fruitful trip, and an excellent way to start the new year as I begin to drill down on new upcoming book projects.
If you’re planning to be in the area and looking for a knowledgeable guide, check out Daniel’s website!
I hope everyone’s new year is off to to a great start – leave a comment below and let me know where you think you’ll be headed in 2019!
Since they are a niche piece of equipment, not everyone is familiar with what exactly a tilt-shift lens is and what they are used for. Admittedly, I’ve only used them sparingly in my career. Speaking in simple terms, a tilt-shift lens is a lens that allows the optics to tilt and rotate in relation to the image sensor on your camera.
When you take a photo with a standard lens, your lens and the sensor create planes of the same angle. At a wide aperture, everything in front of and behind your focus point will gradually become more out of focus. Using a tilt-shift lens, you can achieve more control over what is or is not in focus by having greater control of your focusing planes, therefore keeping more of the image both in and out of focus, depending on what you’re looking for. It should be noted that there is no auto-focus available on T/S lenses.
You can use this flexibility to achieve a number of desired outcomes. Although on short notice prior to my trip my Canon rep was unable to get me the lens, I was able to rent the Canon TS-E 135mm f/4L MACRO from borrowlenses.com and use to great effect while photographing a king penguin colony on South Georgia Island. By tilting the lens down, you’re essentially moving the plane of lens to be closer to the angle of the the ground and in effect, widening what falls into the range of focus. This allows you to utilize some of the benefits of a relatively lower aperture while still achieving a great deal of detail.
This is just one use and effect achievable with a tilt-shift lens. Even if you’re not familiar with their use, it’s likely you’ve seen photos or even video utilizing the concept. In portrait photography, where a longer lens is ideal to bring attention to the subject and blur the background, a tilt-shift lens can be used to use such a lens in a tight space. In architecture, having greater control over your image plane can be used to combat the distortion that often happens to parallel lines. If you’ve ever seen a photo of a cityscape that looks more like a scale model than an actual city – that’s a tilt-shift lens in action!
I’ll be heading to Japan in February with Gavriel Jecan and no more than 8 other travelers for a special photographic journey. Very limited spaces have recently become available – here are 10 reasons to claim them!
1. Japan in winter is one of the most majestic locations you could ever imagine.
2. Take a tub with the charming Snow Monkeys
No, you don’t have to strip down and commune with the macaques. But this is an amazing photographic opportunity: these furry primates come down from the pine and oak forests and for a couple of hours a day they hang around a natural hot spring where you can photograph from within inches without interrupting their behavior.
3. Explore the wilderness that is Hokkaido.
Hokkaido reminds me a bit of Alaska, full of forests of birch, pine and fir with a back drop of beautiful volcanic mountains.
4. Dance with the endangered Red-crowned Cranes
Leave the dancing to the cranes. These elegant birds have been symbolized in Japanese culture for thousands of years due to their grace and beauty.
5. Fight over fish with the massive Steller’s Sea Eagles
Don’t worry, we’ll have plenty of our own sushi to eat! These majestic eagles don’t want to share anyway.
6. Whoop it up with the cacophonous Whooper Swans
Overwintering from Siberia, these swans congregate in the thermally heated waters of Hokkaido’s lakes, making for ethereal, misty photographs.
7. Take a break from nature and explore buzzing Tokyo
8. Experiential learning at its best. It’s my hope that the lessons you learn on this photographic journey will be referenced on your travel photography adventures in the future!
9. You will be traveling in a small group of 8 participants. Other tour operators are a minimum of 12 or more, so you will get far more one-on-one time.
10. Photograph under the tutelage of one of the world’s premier nature photographers and take full advantage of your time spent in Japan!