Sunday is World Wildlife Day! With Wild Lives releasing this past fall, 2023 was full of trips focusing on the last few shots I needed to get for the book – from the elusive snow leopard in India, to millions of bats taking to the sky in Thailand. It was a mad dash to the finish line, trying to make sure this was the greatest wildlife book of my career.
A large focus of this book is how animal species are navigating how they share the planet with rapidly expanding human presence. In some cases, the news is better than you might expect and I think it’s important to focus on the positives at a time when it’s very easy to get lost in the bad news that makes the most impactful headlines. I discussed this and more with Jack Graham and John Pederson on the We Talk Photo podcast. If you caught the first part and were eagerly awaiting part 2, it’s up now!
Have a fantastic weekend, and consider a donation to your favorite wildlife charity!
This April, my workshops come home with a special two-day Seattle event focused on helping you find YOUR creative vision! This was such a success last time that we are doing it again and I can’t wait to share what the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
We will kick things off with a meet and greet at my home with Hors d’oeuvres and beverages. I’ll also be sharing photos and stories from my latest book Wild Lives. The following day we’ll be off and running, with lectures, field sessions and critiques – all with the purpose of helping you find and/or hone the personal creative point of view that will allow your photos to stand out.
As we get closer to the event, spots will fill quickly – reserve yours today!
This coming Tuesday is International Polar Bear Day! Raising awareness for these great, white bears is important, as their population is vulnerable due to continued climate change that affects their habitat like no other on the planet. In my time visiting the Arctic over decades, I’ve witnessed first-hand the shrinking swaths of ice that these bears use as home and hunting ground.
One of my favorite places to photograph these bears is Churchill, Manitoba in Canada. This location on the western shore of Hudson Bay is known as the Polar Bear Capital of the World, and trips here never disappoint!
Yesterday was World Hippo day! Did you know that the hippopotamus and cetaceans (whales, dolphins, orcas etc.) share many unique characteristics that suggest they shared a common ancestor? Totally different dentists, however!
Hippos are the second-largest land animals on the planet – though they spend the majority of their time submerged in rivers and lakes, so you might not know it with all that hippo concealed under waters that are often murky from all the churn. They also produce their own sunblock in the form of an oily red substance that secrets from their skin.
They spend most of their time in herds of a dozen or more animals – safety in numbers, and in the huge jaws and the massive strength of the dominant maless that protect their groups.
I had the pleasure of photographing a few of these big boys and girls this past January in Kenya. Photograph your own hippos, Lions, Zebras and much more in Kenya, with me in 2025!
I recently joined Jack Graham and John Pederson on the We Talk Photo podcast to talk about wild lives and much more. We had such a great conversation that it needed to be turned into a two-parter. You can catch the first part here – bookmark the page for when part 2 drops!
Today is the official pub date of Wild Lives in Australia! The feedback for the books has been amazing and I’m glad it will be seeing release in another country. Order your copy on Amazon.AUS.
If you want a signed copy, you’ll have to order through my office, and the shipping costs can be steep. While I don’t have any trips to Australia on the calendar currently, I’ll be close in October when I visit New Zealand if you want to track me down for a signature! Better yet, nab one of the 3 remaining spaces and join us!
The Collector’s Edition will also be releasing this March – if you’ve been holding off on your purchase for the ultimate edition of Wild Lives, thats the one!
It’s time for Photo Close-up Friday, and today we are looking at the Komodo dragon. I last photographed these giant lizards back in 2020 – reptiles so unique and impressive that they have their own island! It and the few surrounding islands are also the only place in the world they are found naturally.
Photographing these beasts is not easy. They are obviously quite large, and very territorial. Unlike many lizards who will flee from humans, Komodo dragons have been known to attack aggressively. They will eat any kind of meat, from fellow reptiles and rodents to larger beasts such as water buffalo.
They are also low to the ground, and while I might be comfortable getting on my belly to photograph harbor seals, I’m not dumb enough to try that with these creatures! We created a special rig for my camera so I could get it down low, as if I were operating a vacuum cleaner – only instead of dirt, I was sucking up images!
The hoary marmot (Marmota caligata) is named for the frost white fur on its head and shoulders. The piercing warning whistle of this eight- to twenty-pound rodent is often heard in high mountain meadows and talus slopes from northern Alaska to Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Hoary marmots are inquisitive creatures, and it is not unusual to see them interacting with playful or curious mountain goat kids.
The animal finds refuge from its main enemy, eagles, and other predators in burrows beneath boulders. But grizzly bears sometimes roll the rocks aside and dig apart the underground tunnels to get at the marmot, especially when it is in hibernation. Hoary marmots go into their dens as early as September and enter a dormant state. Their respiration rate and heartbeat become extremely slow, and their body temperature falls to a point only a few degrees above freezing They don’t emerge until June, nine months later. Even then they may still have to tunnel upward through a lingering snowpack to reach the light. Perhaps as an adaptation to the demanding alpine environment, hoary marmots are more sociable, than other marmots such as their common eastern relative, the woodchuck or groundhog. They live in colonies with comparatively little aggression between adults, and the young are not driven out when they mature. Maturity takes two years to reach, a long time by rodent standards. Such slow development reflects the extended hibernation period required to survive in this animal’s high-country niche.*
Spring is just around the corner and this is the time of year where I really focus on all the beautiful shooting locations the season provides on the west coast of the United States. This year is no different!
March kicks off in Moab, Utah and Sedona Arizona. These locations represent the red-rocky structures and wild landscapes of the South-western U.S. and the variety of subjects makes them a great trip for anyone who wants the postcard shots of these epic locations along with much more in terms of abstract imagery and thinking outside the box.
To celebrate the release of the Collector’s Edition of Wild Lives, Sedona participants will receive the gift of a free copy of this definitive edition of my latest wild life magnum opus.
Two workshops in my back yard follow the Southwest, with Creative Seassions in Seattle, and the evergreen (pun most definitely intended!) Olympic Peninsula workshop. These are great opportunities to, as I say, “expand your visual vocabulary”.
Finally, we have another workshop taking place on the beautiful Carmel coast, a breathtaking backdrop to all kinds of subjects and wildlife. Things wrap up in Astoria, Oregon for what has become a staple Abstract workshop. It’s my hope to some day be mentioned in the same breath as The Goonies when people talk about the oldest city on the West Coast – lets make it happen!
Happy New Year! The highlight of this past year for me was of course the release of Wild Lives, a book years in the making and the end result of tens of thousands of miles of travel. It’s also available in the UK, in Italian, and an Australian version is set for release in February. In March, the gorgeous limited edition version will be available in a stylish and protective clamshell case and will include a signed print. It will make a fantastic accompaniment to the fine art editions of Earth Is My Witness and Trees: Between Earth and Heaven.
2023 started out in Thailand photographing the mesmerizing eruption of bats as they streamed out of their cave and into the sunset, and stops in Honshu and Hokkaido allowed for one more crack at Japan’s winter wildlife. I then found myself on the highest plateau of India, the Ladakh region, where I was able to capture the elusive snow leopard – just in time to get it in the book!
Workshops from Moab, Utah to the Appalachian Highlands of North Carolina came prior to the annual Katmai bear trip. We also fit in an incredible adventure in Glacier Bay where we were treated to plenty of breaching whales putting on a show as well as fantastic cuisine aboard the Alaskan Story yacht.
Fall began with my next book Act Of Faith top of mind, and I was fortunate to visit Benin and Chad and capture incredible shots of ceremonies unique to each region. The year came to a close with a few more U.S. workshops and another trip to India, this time with an amazing group of tour participants capturing the wildlife in Kanha and Kaziranga National Parks.