The summer months are here, and for myself that means frequent visits to Alaska. I recently returned from Glacier Bay, a trip started off with calving glaciers which was nice to check off the list as you’ll witness this unpredictable phenomenon several times during your visit, and others not at all. The usual suspects come to play as well – Stellar sea lions, humpback whales, puffins, sea otters, eagles and more. The majestic landscape itself makes for an excellent subject. July and August are the busiest months for tourism in the area, with warmer temperatures and a lot of wildlife activity.
July and August are a great time to visit this location if you prefer warmer temperatures, but September can also be an excellent time to go. The amount of tourists diminishes a bit, and the fall color and lighting can lead to some excellent photo opportunities.That being said, there’s really no bad time to go, as every season has something different to offer and it really depends on what kind of experience you’re looking for. Check out the NPS page for planning your visit – or better yet, keep an eye on my events page for upcoming trips with me!
I’ll be in town this weekend between trips and will be spending some time on Saturday signing books at Kenmore Camera’s Customer Appreciation Day! The first 100 customers will be receiving a FREE copy of “Edge of the Earth, Corner of the Sky”, and my assistant Libby will be on hand with some other goodies. Other books will be available for purchase and signature, so come on by and check out the festivities.
Kenmore camera will be offering special savings for the event, so this would be a great time to come and pick up that gear you’ve been holding out for. A Canon rep will also be on hand to answer questions you might have about their products.
Hope to see you there! If you can’t make it but would love a signed book for yourself or as a gift all pre-orders of my latest book, “Trees: Between Earth and Heaven” will be signed and shipped out this fall!
For the last post on lenses we focused on the super wide angle, and how it affects perspective. Now I am introducing my favorite zoom lens for photographing wildlife, the 200-400mm. It has an internal 1.4 extender which is absolutely fantastic. It pushes the 400mm to 560mm and opens the aperture to get more light to the sensor.
I have been known to add an additional external 1.4 or 2 extender on top of this. This is recommended only in desperate situations, like when the snow leopards are spotted two miles across a Himalayan valley and you are on foot. Not only does the extender restrict light to the sensor, it magnifies the faults of the lens.
I use this lens for more than wildlife, though. Strong telephoto focal lengths are needed for photographing extreme compression effects, such as pulling in background elements like the setting sun to make them tower over the foreground subjects.
In addition, the telephoto allows you to:
cut down the angle of view and isolate aspects of the scene in front of you
get close to wildlife without disturbing it
frame simple compositions–look for little slices of design and interest within a landscape
Last and very important – to use this heavy lens effectively, you’ll need a sturdy tripod and a strong back as it weighs nearly 8 pounds.
It’s hard to believe we are half way through 2018! Summer is here and the flycatchers, chickadees, and hummingbirds are nesting in the yard. I wanted to take some time to update you on some exciting upcoming book news, as well as several new additions to the workshop calendar:
My latest book project Trees: Between Earth and Heaven has been sent off to the printer. We will have copies here in late October and I have a pre-order special going that includes a signed copy of the book and a small print. This will be another gorgeous, weighty tome—on the scale of Earth Is My Witness with three gatefolds and 296 pages. Once again Wade Davis has penned an introduction, and text is by noted author Greg McNamee. Please note that there will be a tree planted by Roots of Peace for every copy of the book sold.
Interested in being in your own Human Canvas? Recently I had a request from friends to do a custom piece with them as models and it turned out magnificently. I personally will work with you in creating your own unique piece. Please reach out through our contact page.
We’ve just posted seven – count ‘em, seven – new workshops for 2019! Highlights include Holi and tigers in India, Katmai Bears (I have locked down the best time to see them), and an autumn photo journey to Romania. Native son Gavriel Jecan will be co-leading in Romania with me and he will guide us to all his favorite locations in the magnificent Carpathian Mountains. We might see bears there too! I have also posted the 2019 editions of Abstract Astoria and Mount Rainier Wildflowers.
It’s shaping up to be a very full second half of 2018 and I am looking forward to some fantastic photo opportunities in 2019 and beyond. I hope you can join me for some of them! You can also save 20% on my current and very popular print of the month featuring a bear fishing in Katmai, Alaska – one of the locations you’ll find on my list of workshops – and check out my first half images for 2018. Keep in mind just about any image you can find in any of my books, on the website itself, or the stock site is likely available as a print – contact my staff and we will set you up with pricing and details, and I’ll personally sign it before we send it your way!
The last eleven days have been packed full! Book-ended by two Pacific Northwest workshops, we photographed Mount Hood, Smith Rock, Crater Lake, Cape Perpetua and Yaquina Head. We started off exploring the Columbia River Gorge and after photographing the Milky Way over Crater Lake, we checked into a less-than-savory motel at 3am for some much needed shut eye before heading to the Oregon Coast.
Those who claim there is nothing left to photograph in the Columbia River Gorge because of the fires are misinformed! We photographed beautiful locations on both the Washington and Oregon side – it helps to know where to look. If you haven’t been there, the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center in Stevenson is a great place to stop and explore the history of this fabled river!
Enjoy the photos – I’m home for a few days to regroup and then it’s off to Glacier Bay!
My latest book, “TREES: Between Earth and Heaven” will be available this fall, and if you preorder between now and October you’ll be sure to receive a personally signed copy as well as an 8 x 10 print of one of the book’s many images.
This 300 page book is filled with hand selected images of trees from around the world photographed over the course of my career. Photos range from vast expanses of forests to individual trees, as well as a focus on our cultural relationships with them. An introduction by Wade Davis kicks things off, and Gregory McNamee provides text that includes legends, lore, and literary accounts from across the globe relating to the great trees of the world as well as conservation efforts to protect them. I also share many of my personal views on these subjects as well as photography notes for included photos.
I’ve had a chance to visit the publisher and take a look at the early progress on this book, and I was blown away by the work that’s been done so far – this will be one any nature and photography enthusiast will want on their book shelf!
As we are in the middle of a couple of West Coast workshops where coastlines, waterfalls, and woodland streams take center stage, now is a great time to discuss the use of neutral density filters. In the summer months where overcast days become rare even in a region fabled for it’s grey skies, ND filters are a necessary tool for outdoor photography.
Simply put, an ND filter will reduce the amount of light your sensor receives without affecting the color of your capture, therefore allowing you to use a wider aperture, capture a longer exposure – or both. This is especially useful when you’re shooting outdoors on a bright, sunny day, or trying to expose for soft waves and motion in water. If you’ve done this without an ND filter, then you know how hard it can be to get the exposure correct without having a blown-out sky and over-bright highlights.
ND filters come in several stops, with the cheaper 1, 2 or 3 stop filters being common – however I highly recommend spending the extra money on a 6-stop or even 10-stop ND filter. These will block out more light, and give you the greatest amount of leeway in using your camera settings to achieve your desired results.
A 6-stop filter will be good enough to expose for blurred waves and streams, and capturing the scene without an over-bright sky, while a 10-stop will create the foggy dream-like haze of water in motion. In either case, you will cut down on blown-out areas of your photo, balancing out the tones while keeping true-to-life colors and exposing for the proper amount of detail.
Though most of my use for ND filters involves apertures in the 11-13 range to capture all the details of a landscape, or as low as 5 for a scene that may not need all the details sprawling to the horizon, an ND filter will also allow you to open up your very wide. This way you can photograph a specific subejct outdoors on a brighter day while still keeping your aperture wide enough to achieve an out of focus background.
It’s almost time for the annual Katmai, Alaska workshops series! The trip at the end of July is sold out, however a few spaces are still available for the second workshop I’ll be leading from August 1st through the 7th.
This is a Katmai experience like no other due to the exclusivity of the location, my decades of experience visiting this region, and of course our close working relationship with local experts and accommodations. We know these bears well, and most importantly where to get the best access to capture unique shots safely. This time of year, the rivers and streams are full of salmon and the bears are so occupied with the fish that they hardly give our groups a second glance.
Along with the expertise of the location and the philosophy behind it’s significance, we will also discuss all aspects of photographing in the field including techniques for composition unique to Katmai. Sign up now online, or give my office a call at 1-206-332-0993 and secure your spot. This trip WILL sell out so don’t hesitate!
It’s an understatement to say that New York is a great city to walk and photograph. During my recent visit to the East Coast for dates to present Photography As Art and spend time with some good friends, I was able to amble about on my reconstructed foot, in particular, photographing around The World Trade Center. I also took to the skies in a helicopter at dusk to capture the city from above. It doesn’t get much better than that – Enjoy the photos!
I’m excited to be bringing Photography As Artto the City of Brotherly Love this weekend. Three more sleeps till I see all the smiling face of those whom are already signed up! If you’re in the area and haven’t registered, there are still some spaces remaining. This is the LAST seminar on the calendar for the year – as much as I love presenting them, I’ve got some catching up to do with other trips, workshops, and upcoming book projects – so you can bet I’m going to enjoy every minute of it!
If you aren’t familiar with Photography As Art, the focus is on using your camera – any camera, mobile phone included – to capture and create uncommon and visually imaginative images using design principles and art history as your guide. We will discuss the work that has inspired me while expressing just how accessible creating beautiful images can be without having to travel far afield, or re-hashing the same old “same old”.
This has become a finely tuned seminar, and one I feel can be enjoyed and appreciated by photographers of all ages and skill levels; a valuable mindset to have when starting out, as well as an important new perspective on your goals as an experienced shooter. The feedback I’ve received in my most recent dates in Montreal and New York are overwhelming – come and spend your Saturday with me!