New Photos from the Southwestern US!


March was a return to two favorite places for US workshops – Moab, Utah and Sedona, Arizona. You’ll find photos of these locations adorning postcards and in establishing shots of any films that might take place in the region. While we are there, participants are encouraged to get these iconic shots. However, our focus is on a process I mention a lot – seeing beyond the obvious. To that end, abstractions in reflections or studies of texture become works of art using your camera as your brush – unique shots most tourists won’t be coming away with!

During this trip we made a stop at a local junkyard where shots of old, rusted vehicles became our subjects. It’s an interesting transition to go from shooting an actual landscape to visualizing an abstracted vista in the rusted side-panel of a dilapidated truck. Unless I have very specific goals in mind for a wildlife trip, or something absolutely dedicated to culture, I try to find the time to shoot abstract images everywhere I go. It’s an exercise akin to keeping a sketchbook as a fine artist – a way to exercise your photographic muscles, and perhaps creating your own inspiration for future projects along the way.

I recently used a shot from this trip to illustrate the importance of using a polarizing filter, so don’t forget to pack yours if you head Southwest! it’s an invaluable tool for any landscapes to ensure colors are vivid, and especially important in a location with clear, sunny skies with so much reflected light.

Enjoy the new photos!

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#MammalMonday – Sand Orcas from Arrakis National Park!

Photographer Art Wolfe perches on the bank of a Sand Orca to capture the migrating pod in action.
Photographer Art Wolfe perches on the back of a Sand Orca to capture the migrating pod in action.

Happy #MammalMonday!

One of the most fascinating and unique creatures I’ve photographed over the years is the Sand Orca, a rare species that returns to the desert of Arrakis National Park every year to breed. The dry sands are inhospitable for the natural predators of young orcas, while also providing them with sustenance of their own in the plentiful oryx that dot the landscape.

When the young orcas are old enough to traverse the more rocky sediment between their sandy breeding grounds and the rocky shores, they’ll return to the sea, their dusky and ivory skin hardened by their desert experience. One day, they’ll return to these arid sands to begin a family of their own.

I have to say the Sand Orca is right up there with things like the duck-billed platypus, or perhaps the Short-necked giraffe of Wakanda as far as one of the wierdest creatures I’ve had the pleasrue of capturing.  What’s the strangest or most unique animal you’ve ever photographed? Leave a comment below!

Sand Orcas generally migrate from left to right in relation to the frame, making them an ideal subject for western photographers.
Sand Orcas generally migrate from left to right in relation to the frame, making them an ideal subject for western photographers.
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Wild Lives Collector’s Edition – Officially Published today!

Art Wolfe's Wild Lives - Collector's Edition Book, Print, & Clamshell case.

The Wild Lives Collector’s Edition is officially published today! For those who have been awaiting their pre-ordered copy of this edition, they are heading their way as soon as my signatures dry! I have my own library of hundreds of photography books. Among those are many limited editions, and I would rank the quality of this special version up there with the best of them – I’m happy happy!

Art Wolfe's Wild Lives - Collector's Edition Book, Print, & Clamshell case.

Reviews of Wild Lives from respected colleagues have been immensely positive. The collector’s edition is no exception. Limited to just 200 copies, it’s protected in a beautiful blue and silver fabric clamshell case. Included within are a limited edition print and a signed and numbered certificate, ensuring your place among the 200 collectors. This package makes an impressive centerpiece sure to spark a conversation about our planet and all of it’s inhabitants.

Aside from photos that I am obviously quite partial to, the text included by my wonderful friend Gregory A. Green is the perfect compliment to the photos and reinforces the work. He and I have been giving talks around the Pacific Northwest, and I’ll be taking the show on the road with several appearances across the country, presenting a two-hour deep dive into the photos and stories.

The collector’s edition is available exclusively through my office and our online store. Order your copy today as limited quantities are available! I also have several wildlife-themed workshops coming up this year, including trips to Katmai, Alaska where this iconic cover image was photographed. Join me and make your own memories!

Art Wolfe's Wild Lives - Collector's Edition Book, Print, & Clamshell case.

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Friday Focus – How to Use a Circular Polarizer!

One of the most common and frequently-utilized pieces of equipment in my kit is also one of the most commonly overlooked components – A circular polarizer, or “CPL” as you’ll see them sometimes called. Without getting into the weeds on the science, essentially a polarizer controls the amount of reflected light reaching your sensor, resulting in more saturated higher-contrast images. Although filters have largely been replaced by post-processing RAW images, a polarizer is still an essential component of any kit.

Moab, Utah. Art Wolfe teaches workshop participants the technique and benefits of using a circular polarizer.

There are two kinds of polarizers – make sure you pick the right one. You’ll want a circular (not linear) polarizer with quality glass. No sense in ensuring you have quality gear only to skimp on the glass at the end of your lens! I use the fantastic filters from breakthrough photography. Polarizers also come in warm and neutral tones. A warm polarizer does the obvious – warms up the colors of your shot! It also has the added bonus of helping to cut through haze and atmosphere. A neutral filter will give you something more, well, neutral – making it a great place to start post-processing.
Moab, Utah. Art Wolfe teaches workshop participants the technique and benefits of using a circular polarizer.
Using a polarizer is fairly simple. There is more to just slapping one on and shooting, however. Polarizing filters have a ring to adjust the amount of the effect. I watch my LCD screen while rotating the filter to see the results happen in real-time. This is useful when shooting water as well. I will dial between capturing a perfect mirrored reflection on the water’s surface, or bypassing the reflections entirely to see into it’s depths. The later helps me immensely when photographing subjects like the salmon-hunting bears in Katmai.

If you’re photographing landscapes a polarizing filter is a must-have. Leave a comment below if you have a polarizer you’d recommend. I also love hearing about the creative ways you’re using them!

Moab, Utah

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Flashback Friday – Spring Solar Eclipse!


On April 8th we’ll be able catch a total solar eclipse here in the United States, as well as Canada and Mexico. I’ll be in Seattle when it happens, so my viewing will only be partial – but I’ve had the pleasure of having some incredible opportunities for capturing these serendipitous moments in recent years.

In 2019, I made it a point to get down to Chile to catch the total eclipse. I have shot eclipse moments in the past but this time armed with Canon’s lightweight 600, a 2x and 50mp 5D… I was not only able to get the shot I came for – but cropping in you can even see solar flares along the edge of the sun (below)!

One of the most important tips for photographing the eclipse is to make sure you’re prepared to capture it in a variety of ways, both by zooming in for isolated details of the eclipse itself, but also connecting it to the environment. Framing it with trees or other terrestrial structures to establish a sense of place tells a greater story. My eclipse-shots are generally 1-second exposures at a low ISO around 400 using a long lens with extender, but there are a lot of factors you’ll need to consider. B&H has a great post on their Explora blog about photographing the eclipse.

A few years prior to Chile, I was also able to capture the annular event in one of Tanzania’s most remote National Parks, Katavi. This was a stop on a wildlife trip, and while I was able to capture some incredible photos of hippos and crocodiles, the eclipse stole the show!

I also captured an eclipse in Australia back in 2002. For that trip, I was shooting for Edge of the Earth, Corner of the Sky. I wrote an extensive blog post on that experience a few years back if you’re interested in more photos and stories!

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Wildlife Wednesday – Katmai Alaska

Witness the Real Bears of Katmai featured in my videos and latest book Wild Lives! There is just as much drama happening out in the Alaskan wilderness as there is in any Real Housewives show!

A few spots available in both of my upcoming Katmai Bear tours – they’ll fill up as we get closer to summer, and people begin to make their travel plans – don’t miss out, sign up today and ensure your spot! This is the location where I captured the cover of my least book, Wild Lives. Join me and capture your own iconic photographs!

Katmai, Alaska Workshop with Art Wolfe – July 25 – 31

Katmai, Alaska Workshop with Art Wolfe – July 31 – August 6


10 REASONS TO JOIN ART WOLFE IN KATMAI, ALASKA THIS SUMMER!

1. Coastal Brown Bears are beautiful and powerful, and to be in the presence of an animal in it’s lush and beautiful natural habitat is humbling.

2. Experienced leadership! I’ve been coming here for years and our operation is a well-oiled machine at this point. We have a great relationship with our contacts on the ground that will allow for participants to focus on what matters most – taking memorable photographs, and having a great time!

3.  Speaking of our contacts, we have two dedicated pilots and four planes at our disposal. Not only is this convenient, but it means we have the utmost flexibility to change our plans depending on weather conditions. If the group cannot fly, we can always take the group up to Lake Clark to see the bears digging for clams, or numerous other opportunities.

4. The remote Katmai Coast is the largest intact stretch of uninhabited coastline left in North America, and provides a rich and contextual backdrop for the bears.

5. The lodge has a top-notch cook, so the group can enjoy delicious meals while reminiscing about the day’s adventures on the tour.

6. Late July and early August is the peak of the salmon run, and is why we reserve these times with our local experts and accommodations well in advance. The rivers are running with beautiful red salmon, which is an excellent secondary element for fantastic photographs.

7. I’ve been such a frequent visitor of this location that I can recognize individual bears by sight and in many cases can predict their behavior and identify their strengths, giving us a distinct leg up in capturing them at their best. If an individual is known to be an expert fisher, rest assured I can point them out to ensure we capture the best possible action on the river!

8. We work with the local lodge owner whom scouts the area before our group arrives to ensure we have a good idea of where the bears are going to be. This cuts down the amount of hiking the group needs to do so we can get right into photographing.

9. We always find several mothers with young cubs and they are generally not intimidated by humans, so our groups can sit and photograph the cubs as they run and play for hours if we like.

10. As mentioned, this is where I captured the cover of Wild Lives as well as numerous other iconic shots – and every year I seem to come away with new ones. The opportunities here are unlimited. Come and create your own epic shots!

Check out the events page for more information. These workshops always sell out, so reserve your spot today to ensure you don’t miss out!


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World Wildlife Day is March 3rd, We Talk Photo Podcast Pt. 2!


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!

 

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Workshop Wednesday – Seattle Creative Sessions!

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!

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Photo Close-up Friday – Polar Bears!

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!


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Photo Close-up Friday – The Hippopotamus!


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!

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