I just finished up photographing the eclipse and hummingbirds in South America. This has been a very fun and fruitful trip – stay tuned for the photos to be posted to the blog as well as my Facebook and Instagram pages!
Speaking of new photos, I have put together a collection of my favorite images from all of the amazing trips I have been on so far this year. If you are interested in seeing some of them here is a link to my new 2nd quarter photos.
Venerable Cornell University can’t be wrong about this: a recent study shows that traveling makes us happier than acquiring material goods. I can second that—travel with me and I’ll show you the joys of being a travel junkie! If you’ve already signed up, good on you. You have a thrilling adventure awaiting you!
During a recent trip to photograph in Astoria, OR I ran into several fans of my work who convinced me I should offer the Photography As Art Seminar in Portland. To that end, I’ve added this seminar to my November schedule. We are offering Early-bird specials on the new Portland seminar and all of my 2020 US workshops through the end of August.
I also wanted to mention a new website that my good friend Kevin Raber just launched – Photopxl. This site will be a valuable resource for photographers of all skill levels as a place to go to build your photo community, learn new tricks of the trade, and read helpful reviews.
Thank you everyone who took the time to be activists about the ill-conceived Pebble Mine project that would deeply affect Bristol Bay. It’s so important that we speak up about our wild lands and the wildlife, as well as renewable industries that depend on them.
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.
After spending much of the first quarter of 2019 in the Eastern Hemisphere, my time in the few months since then has been spent in the West. From Patagonia to Utah, from the California and Oregon coasts to Alaska and now back to South America, it’s been a busy one.
On one hand, it’s hard to believe we are already halfway through 2019 – on the other, looking back I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised with as much as I’ve traveled. There’s been a lot of maneuvering to get everything just right, with attempts to conduct my excursions at ideal times for the goals I had in mind for both myself and workshop participants. I’m fortunate to have a great staff to lean on when it comes to thoughtfully pin-pointing and scheduling the best times to visit all of the locations we add to the calendar.
While we are on the subject, it’s important to note that just about any image you see posted on my site, the stock site, or anywhere else for that matter can be created as a print. If it hasn’t been printed before, each photo will be expertly edited and fine-tuned to look it’s absolute best when printed by staff members with decades of editing experience. It will then be examined by my staff to ensure its quality. Just contact us and let us know what image you’re interested in.
Currently, I’m in Chile viewing the total solar eclipse visible from South America, and it makes me hark back to when I traveled to South Australia back in December 2002 to photograph a total eclipse there. At the time, I was photographing landscapes for my book Edge of the Earth, Corner of the Sky and I thought this would be an amazing opportunity. I’d seen many technically excellent photographs of total eclipses over the years, but quite honestly they all looked pretty much alike. My objective became capturing the eclipse in relation to the Earth.
The solar eclipse that occurred on December 4, 2002, was noteworthy when viewed in South Australia for a couple of reasons. First, the eclipse was unusually brief at 25 seconds. Also, it occurred less than 40 minutes before sunset, so the likelihood of an obscured view was greatly increased because clouds generally stack up along the horizon at that time of day. To maximize my chance of success, I decided to find the precise position from which to film the eclipse by experimenting exactly 24 hours before the eclipse. I also decided to try two cameras for two very different perspectives, so I used both a wide-angle and a 70–200mm lens, enabling me to take full advantage of the eclipse’s late hour by incorporating the landscape.
Most eclipses occur earlier in the day when the sun is much higher in the sky. For this book, I wanted to establish the connection of the eclipse with the Earth. I wanted the viewer to witness the eclipse as if they were standing there next to me under the gum trees. Since I could not determine exposure until totality began, I decided to use matrix metering on an automatic aperture priority setting. When totality began, I would simply engage the shutter using locking cable releases, hoping that the entire roll of film would run continuously through the camera. This would have happened had I not made one final decision: to auto-bracket my exposures. I discovered, too late, that the camera would not continuously advance while on the auto-bracket setting. After just three exposures, both cameras stopped advancing. By the time I figured out what was happening, totality ended. Fortunately, I did get proper exposures for both compositions. After the critical moment of the full eclipse, I continued to photograph as the eclipse continued, switching to other lenses and film.
To create these images I used two Canon cameras, an EOS-1N and an EOS-1N/RS, EF70-200mm and EF 16-35mm lenses, Fujichrome Provia 400 film, and a Gitzo tripods. For the images of the setting eclipse on the horizon, I used an EF500mm IS lens and Fujichrome Velvia film.
The summer is a spectacular time to visit Glacier Bay – the weather is usually good and the plentiful wildlife here is active, and the location has so much to offer anywhere from portraits of animals to the vast and majestic glacier-bound landscape. It’s also a busy time for tourism, so if you plan to visit in this most photo-op rich time of year, make sure you set your plans early!
This trip offered plenty of variety as usual, and I was excited to use my somewhat recently acquired canon 600mm lens here, which has served me well thus far. humpback whales, Steller sea lions, and bald eagles were among the usual suspects.
Enjoy the photos! Check out the NPS page to plan your visit, and keep an eye on my events page for future trips here with me!
We’ve had two last-minute cancellations on the formerly sold out Katmai Workshop that I am leading in late July and early August. If you have ever wanted to see powerful brown bears fishing for beautiful red spawning salmon right in front of you, this is the place to go! With me and our expert Katmai guide by your side, you will come away with not only amazing photographs, but fun stories to tell for years to come.
There are plenty of reasons that every Summer in late July and early August I return to Katmai Alaska to lead multiple workshops. From a new perspective on a location that’s become very familiar to me, to capturing the kinds of shots of the local bears one simply cannot get anywhere else, it always has something new to offer.
Now is your chance to claim the remaining two spots – due to my travel schedule, I’ll have to miss visiting this time next year, so it’ll be a while before I return!
If you’re still on the fence, here are 10 more reasons to join me in Katmai, Alaska this Summer!
1.) Coastal Brown Bears are beautiful and powerful, and to be in the presence of an animal of this magnitude it is humbling.
2.) Capturing amazing images of these creatures is even more magical. There is no substitute for experience in the field, and I’ll be bringing decades of it to our group as well as our interactions on an individual basis.
3.) We have two dedicated pilots, four planes, and a speed boat 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 fishing for clams, or to see Dick Proenneke’s cabin!
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.) If it hasn’t become clear already, this is a region I know like the back of my hand, and we’ve spent several years working with the same local folks to ensure as much consistency as possible. So few variables and unknowns means I’ll have more time to spend directly working with participants to ensure they all come away with stunning photos!
Time for a little wilderness and wildlife advocacy. Alaska’s Bristol Bay needs our help. It is home to the world’s largest, most productive salmon run and it is threatened by the advancement of the Pebble Mine. The Pebble Mine would be a massive open pit mine that would leach into the ecosystem of one the most productive wildlife regions on the planet. I have been photographing in the region, which includes Katmai National Park and the famous McNeil River Bear Sanctuary, since the early 1980s, and understand first hand what this massive extraction project would do to the wildlife, the fishery, as well as the thriving, sustainable wildlife viewing industry.
Click here for a brief interview I did on the subject.
Brown bears associated with the Project area are a resource that has high ecological, economic, and social value. Southwest Alaska residents and visitors were estimated to spend nearly $145,000,000 (2019 dollars) annually to view wildlife and generated more than an additional $133,000,000 in associated annual economic activity. Much of the wildlife viewing activity in southwest Alaska is centered on observing brown bears. For more information, this study drills down on the economics involved in brown bear viewing ins South-central Alaska.
I strongly urge you to take 20 minutes and watch Koktuli Wild, a video by Brendan Wells which perfectly illustrates the fragile beauty of the wilderness that feeds the potent Bristol Bay watershed. It is uplifting, beautiful, informative, and most importantly galvanizing. Even if you never see it with your own eyes, just knowing this this wilderness exists is affecting.
UPDATE: 6/29/2019 – The U.S. House of Representatives passed amendment 90, being called the “Huffman Amendment,” to the Energy and Water Appropriations Act. However, this is only the begging and Alaskans have called upon Senator Murkowski to to stand with Alaskans in opposing the Pebble mine.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! If you’re looking for last minute gifts to send dad’s way, save 20% in my online store through this Sunday, June 16th – request a signature on any book or print and i”ll be sure to add it before it’s sent their way.
A print makes a thoughtful and unique gift (especially a limited edition – only 100 will be printed!) . If you’re looking for an image that will be perfect for the father figure in your life but aren’t seeing anything on the store, check out my stock site – just about any image you can find here can be expertly edited and turned into a beautiful print.
Just use code DADSDAY19 at checkout and save 20% on your entire order!
With a few extra days to spare, I met up with some friends in Yosemite. I was excited because there was no moon, but unfortunately, the clouds rolled in. I was able to get a few decent shots of stars and star-trails, but the most interesting nighttime image in this group is one that shows the climbers on El Capitan lit up like fireflies (final shot).
A few tips for shooting for the stars! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself):
As far as equipment goes, in most cases you wont need anything special. Most of my shots end up being between 20-30 seconds in length. If you wish to shoot longer exposures you may need to use an intervalometer. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyways as an excuse to link my preferred band – you’ll need a tripod. Finally, your favorite wide angle capable lens to capture as much of the sky as possible.
Do your research! Find locations that have minimal light pollution. Here’s a handy map I came across. Checking moon phases is a must as well. The time period around a new moon is your best bet – you’ll never know how truly bright a full moon can be until you’re trying to shoot the stars! As mentioned above, a cloudy sky can also pose challenges. Ideally speaking you’ll find a place away from population centers on a clear night with the moon nowhere to be found, or at least in it’s most obscure phase.
As far as individual camera settings go, it’s impossible to give specific numbers because it will largely depend on the above conditions and the specific gear you’re working with. Most of my night shots fall into the ƒ/2.8 – ƒ/4 range and a focal length between 24-40 mm, with an exposure time of about 25 seconds. If you want me to take a stab at a starting point, 24mm and 25 seconds at ƒ/2.8 is probably a safe bet to give you at least enough information to make the proper adjustments.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as photo tips go for shooting at night – but my garden needs me! For more information, check out CreativeLive – they have a few helpful courses on the subject!
This past March saw plenty of time spent with great company photographing the culture and wildlife of India during Holi, and I’m thrilled to be able to post some of the photos our workshop participants captured along the way. Though the mass of humanity participating in the celebration can be overwhelming, it truly is a once in a lifetime experience and I’m glad we were all able to come away with some incredible shots. Thank you to everyone who participated – it truly was an honor to visit these ancient and culturally revered locations with you!
May began with our second Carmel-By-The-Sea workshop in as many years, and this is fast becoming one of our most requested Photography Retreats! Not only is it a beautiful and accessible location that doesn’t require leaving the states, there is just so much to see and do in the area that each trip is a little different.
Sea otters, seals, and a variety of shore birds can be found here and we usually take a relaxing kayak tour to photograph them from the water. If you’re not an avid or even mildly experienced kayaker, fear not – we just go along for the ride and hire professionals to do the work for us so we can be free to photograph!
Next year’s retreat is already on the calendar – get signed up today to reserve your spot. Spaces are already spoken for, and this trip will be a sell out!