Celebrated all over India since ancient times, Holi is an annual festival which takes place on the day after the full moon in the Hindu month of Phalguna. Originally Holi was an agricultural festival celebrating the arrival of spring. In keeping with this tradition people now choose to celebrate the occasion by throwing brightly colored spices or herbal powders into the air. Symbolically they are ridding the gloom of winter and rejoicing in the colors and liveliness of spring.
On March 14, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt established Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, along Florida’s Atlantic coast, as the first unit of what would become the National Wildlife Refuge System. There are now more than 560 refuges across the country that protect species and the landscapes they depend upon for survival.
My favorite refuge is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. After rafting rivers in the refuge several times over the years, I filmed an episode of Travels to the Edge there in 2006, which can now be streamed online!
I’ve been eager to get back to Mongolia for some time now. Although some of the photos I took here on my last visit have become iconic – such as the Kazakh Eagle Hunter and his amazing golden eagle – shooting while the hustle and bustle of Travels to the Edge was being filmed didn’t quite allow me the same flexibility I might have when visiting on a tour. add to this the astronomical leaps we’ve taken in technology since then, and I can’t wait to get back!
We still have a couple of spots left to join our group, embarking on our photo adventure July the 6th. Join us to photograph the Naadam festival, wild horses as the roam the vast steppe largely unmarred by the influence of development, and of course a special shooting sessions with Shaman and Kazakh Eagle Hunters.
You never know what you will find when wandering around a city with a camera in hand. When light and subject and circumstance come together, magic can occur.
In this particular case, the facts behind the shot are nothing special. Workers had been putting gravel onto the parking lot of a restaurant in Panjim, Goa, which kicked a lot of dust into the air. Pedestrians were simply going about their business. However, when backlit by a late sun, the scene became street art–performance art. The activity of putting gravel down created an amazing atmosphere for a nicely layered image.
Standing back from the scene, I used a 70–200mm zoom, which enabled me to shoot a series of shots without interfering with the people so that they would not pay attention to my presence. I positioned myself looking directly into the late afternoon light so that the dust kicked into the air would be filled with light. I was not so much concerned about capturing details and faces of the people, as much as I was with the positions of the bodies within the frame. I kept shooting and reframing the shot as the scene changed every couple of seconds when the workers threw on the next load of gravel and different people came through the scene. I love the layering effect of the light and dust that comes from the backlight.
Photo tip: Dust, rain, humidity, fog, haze all add dimension to a scene when shot with backlight, light behind the conditions. It creates atmosphere and interesting changes in tonality and light, as well as creating layers in depth. Be careful that bright atmospheric conditions do not cause your camera to underexpose the scene.
Camera & settings used: Canon EOS-1Ds, EF 70–200mm F2.8 lens, f/7.1 for 1/160 sec., ISO 100
I am pleased to announce that you can now see a few of my favorite images displayed at the Artemis Fine Art Gallery in La Jolla, California. Opening just last summer, the gallery focuses on themes of conservation and the Earth’s beauty and a portion of sales benefits environmental organizations. In ancient civilizations Artemis was the goddess of conservation and the gallery represents artists who share an appreciation for nature and a desire to protect our planet.
On March 4th Artemis will be open for First Friday Art Walk. If you are in the area, please drop by to see the latest arrivals and enjoy light refreshments!
On this day in 1899 Mount Rainier National Park was established. It would be easy to take this nearby location for granted as I see the mountain nearly every day from Seattle, but it truly is one of my favorite places to visit. At 500,000 years old our local favorite stratovolcano is a geological youngster. Here’s to many thousand more to come!
See it for yourself this fall by signing up for the fall color workshop taking place at Rainier. From the micro to the macro this is an amazing location to photograph wildlife, the landscape and of course the fall color. We always fill these up, so don’t hesitate to sign up early!
I’ve been informed that it’s World Whale Week. . . .Wow, wonderful! As much respect as I have for these amazing and unfortunately endangered creatures, it’s my own self-preservation that comes to mind when thinking about whales.
While filming Travels to the Edge, I was trying to guess at where a whale would surface next for a shot. I had the camera to my eye, prefocused, poised and ready to capture what I hoped would be a magnificent breach 100 yards off the bow – only to have the whale come up right next to the boat, spouting mere feel from me!
It scared me so much I screamed, and the footage from the film crew was rendered unusable as what came out of my mouth next was not suitable for the PBS audience.
Over the years I’ve had many more great memories while working with whales, and looking forward to making more!
It seems as if we just turned the calendar over to 2022, and it’s already Valentine’s Day! In case you’re scrambling to find a last-minute gift idea, I’ve got a special going on my Pathways to Creativity series – dozens of hours of learning to be had as I explore my career and archive and share the secrets behind the photos with you.
Click here to learn more about Pathways, and should you decide to purchase for yourself or a loved one, use code love2learn at checkout and get 25% off. This applies to individual episodes or full seasons!
The PubWest Book Design Awards recognize superior design and outstanding production quality of books published throughout North America. A big thank you to our publishers at Insight Editions, who continue to support me and the projects I wish to bring to light.
An even bigger thank you to everyone who has purchased the book thus far. We’ve been shipping them out non-stop, not to mention the copies that have been sold at various events along the way. I love knowing that so many of you still appreciate the feel of a tangible photo book at a time when so much is online.night
Celebrations abound for Lunar New Year among Asian cultures, with various Buddhist traditions marking the occasion. I’ve been fortunate to have experienced the festivities myself in person several times. Some fond memories:
In 2005, I visited Labrang Monastery in the Gansu province of China to witness the unfurling of a thangka – a large tapestry of painted cotton usually depicting a scene from the Buddhist belief system and way of life. The tapestry is carried by the monks up the long hill where it is unfurled and displayed above the monastery.
A few years later, I visited Bhutan and photographed the prayer flags and temple dancers that constitute a part of their lunar new year traditions. The prayer flags have come up several time in my talks and lessons, which might be an indicator of just how fascinated I was with this location. Prayers are inscribed on flags that have been erected in the loftiest, windiest heights so that the gusts turn the flags into tatters and send the prayers scattering to the heavens one fiber at a time.
Finally, in more recent years I witnessed the Setsubun Festival in Japan where elaborate costumes and traditions such as throwing packets of roasted soy beans and burning tree boughs wards off the lingering evil spirits of the previous year and bringing hope to the new one.
Happy year of the Tiger! Enjoy the image gallery above, and check out the episode of Travels to the Edge on Bhutan to learn more about this truly unique culture.