Last weekend Seattle lost an icon: Harriet Bullitt, philanthropist and conservationist. She was 97.
Gorgeous to the end, Harriet exemplified the art of living life to its fullest. She had a remarkable spirit for adventure, took an interest in everything, and was possessed of a quiet kindness and supportive enthusiasm.
A grateful young photographer was on the receiving end of a bit of that patronage: she founded Pacific Northwest magazine (now Seattle magazine), which published my photo stories on local natural history and the art of nature photography. Her foundation also helped make my International Conservation Photography Awards a reality. An avid traveler, Harriet and her family traveled with me on a trip to Africa, as well as Cuba where we had to skirt US customs. She was never one to shy away from excitement and I count myself beyond fortunate to have known her!
This week (April 22 – 30) is International Dark Sky Week!
It may seem like a small thing that most may not ever think about, but artificial light pollution can be problematic for a number of reasons. Not only does it disrupt the natural habitat of wildlife by stifling reproduction, disrupting migration, and increase predation – it can also have harmful effects on human health and negatively impact climate change. Last but not least if you’re a photography enthusiast or simply someone who enjoys staring up at the heavens, light pollution greatly obscures our view of the universe around us.
There are a number of ways to get involved in curbing light pollution in your community. Most major cities may already have an organization or two to join or work along side. Community members can help measure light pollution and share data using their cell phone, and there are several things you can evaluate at your own home to cut down on the amount of artificial light contributed to the evening skies.
For more information and to find out what you can do to be an advocate for curbing light pollution in your community, visit darksky.org. Following the release of my latest book Night On Earth I had the pleasure of presenting with the International Dark-Sky Association’s Executive Director Ruskin Hartley. This is a fantastic and well-organized group doing great work. Check them out and get educated on light pollution and how you can help minimize it!
This Earth Day, April 22, 2022, step into a beautiful free virtual exhibition put together by iLCP with contributions from myself and other photographers all over the world. iLCP presents Worry to Wonder: A Climate Story, a virtual exhibit that explores climate issues on a global scale and offers stories of hope and wonder about the beautiful planet we need to invest in to protect. In keeping with the theme of “Invest in Our Planet”, iLCP is offering a print sale of images portrayed in the exhibit. By purchasing images, you are directly investing in the work of our talented Fellowship of professional photographers and filmmakers who have made it our life’s work to protect and conserve our planet.
Follow this link to view our virtual exhibit and support iLCP by purchasing a print!
Two spots are available to join me in Detroit, Michigan in just a couple of weeks for the first ever Abstract Detroit workshop!
Detroit, Michigan is hard to define these days. Restoration projects abound in the urban sprawl that faced decline for many years. Nature preserves and neighborhoods have sprung up along the way, bringing green vitality to what many think of as a grey urban landscape. Modern commercial districts and the arts combine to form a growing down-town, feeling right at home amidst the array of architectural styles that define many middle-American cities.
Our home base will be the beautiful and modern Aloft Detroit at the David Witney, a modern hotel with every amenity providing the foundation for our retreat together. Over the next four days our explorations will provide opportunities to capture images unique to each participant.
I’m often asked by the curious and uninitiated to briefly explain what makes an Art Wolfe workshop unique to any other photography class you could attend. The answer is as simple as it is complicated – I simply want to change the way you see! I feel I’m uniquely qualified with a background in Fine Art and Art History to ensure you get the most growth out of your participation.
Click here for more details and to register. As the theme of today’s post states – there are just two spots left and it’s only two weeks away – don’t hesitate to get signed up and experience the many complimentary aspects of Abstract Detroit!
In less than a month I’ll be heading down the I-5 to Portland to share my Night On Earth presentation with friends and fans from all around the Pacific Northwest at the Portland Art Museum. After a month of travel from South America, Morocco, Spain, and Jerusalem (phew!) it will be nice to be back in the familiar confines of Oregon.
If you’ve never been to an Art Wolfe event, now is your chance! Space is available to come and hear me speak about my most recently published book – Night On Earth – and hear the stories behind the photographs and locations. If you HAVE been to an Art Wolfe event, you know what you’re in for – plenty of photos and lots of fun banter.
With more time spent at home during the production of this book, I’ve been able to create a stunning presentation that highlights the travels, preparation, and insights that went into each and every image. From anecdotes about the shots I was lucky enough to grab serendipitously without much planning at all to those that required months of both myself and my staff preparing for just the right moment, I can promise you won’t come away feeling underwhelmed.
Click the link below for more details on the event, and I hope to see you there!
Recently my staff received the following question in regards to the above image:
“Was this photo a single shot, an HDR composite, or some other technique?”
this is from the good ol’ days when you shot a slide (single exposure in this case) and waited a few months to see if anything turned out…
All the details – Canon EOS-1N, Canon EF 17-35mm lens, f/2.8 at 30 seconds, Fujichrome Provia 400 film, Gitzo G1325 tripod.
The aurora borealis, or the “northern lights” as they are often called is an atmospheric phenomenon that occurs as electrically charged particles from the sun make gases glow in the upper atmosphere. Despite the dryness of this scientific explanation, it is difficult to view the aurora borealis without experiencing a sense of wonderment and mysticism. It remains one of the most dazzling sights in the natural world.
To get this image, I flew to Fairbanks, Alaska, then drove eight hours north to the Brooks Range on the famous pipeline road to Prudhoe Bay. The Brooks Range lies within the Arctic Circle and thus provides a more predictable chance to see the aurora borealis. I timed my journey to coincide with a half moon because the snow-clad range would be properly illuminated by the half moon’s light. A full moon might actually have been too bright during the required 30-second exposure. I discovered that despite the fact that the aurora is in continuous motion, a 30-second exposure is usually fast enough to yield proper exposure and reasonably sharp lines within the displays. When I photographed this display, I was unhappy with its color, which appeared to be a dull, pale green. When I returned home and developed the film, I was delightfully surprised to discover that the film picked up the reds.
This photo is featured in the book “Edge of the Earth, Corner of the Sky” as well as being available as a fine are print.
Are there any photos in my collection you’d like to hear the story behind? Drop a comment below – your suggestion could spark an idea for a future blog post!
I’m currently on the final legs of quite a trip that started in Brazil and then on to Morocco, and currently I’m in Spain for a few days for Holy Week to hopefully capture the masses for my upcoming book on world religions and spirituality. We will wrap this trip up in Jerusalem before I’m back home later this month.
As stressful and tiring as so much travel can be, I’m also fortunate to have gone down a career path that allows me to see the world. Many people are curious about how all this came about and do that end, as part of a new feature on the blog, here are a few Ask Art questions to hold you over until I return with a plethora of new photos!
Have any “Ask Art” questions of your own? Leave a comment below and we will add it to the list and perhaps your question will be featured on the blog!
Q: How do you get the amazing jobs/photo assignments that you go on? I know it’s your reputation and your amazing photos but how did you get started?
A: I struck out on my own from the very beginning. Rather than go the route of a photographer on assignment I made my reputation shooting stock photography which allowed me to set my own destinations and agenda for what I wanted to shoot. It also gave me full control over my images and I continue to work that way today, albeit with many more connections and options on the table. I’ll decide where I want to go and with the help of the staff we’ll create a photo tour or workshop and advertise them to the public.
Now days, the stock industry is difficult since everyone has a high-powered camera and super computer to process their images in the palm of their hands. However, there are also many more ways to share your work and promote yourself as well.
Q: Who is your favorite photographer?
A: I admire a great number of photographers and artists and have a library overflowing with books that span all kinds of genres. Those whom follow my history are well aware that my origins began at the University of Washington where I studied traditional Art History as well as Teaching. However, If I were to pick just one photographer who’s had the biggest impact on me, I’d have to go with Ernst Haas. His pioneering work influenced me early in my career and I continue to draw inspiration from him today.
Q: How have you cultivated your eye to create compelling compositions? It is truly amazing!
I have been an artist all my life and I would have to credit my eye for composition today with my roots as a painter going back to Jr. high School. I did not set out to be a photographer from the beginning – I was first and foremost a painter working in different mediums. Watercolor, though, was an early favorite and I grew up with the smells of oils from my mother’s paintings. I would take my easel and canvas and set them up on location and paint the landscapes and buildings before me. I would also imagine rural scenes and paint those – and later, as I grew and matured as an artist I tended to lean more and more towards abstracts.
A successful painting relies on the artist not just to copy what they see as they walk up to a subject – but rather, as you would imagine, one must look with an artistic eye, different angles, points of view and work the subject they are to paint – just as in photography you can choose to paint with a wide-angle perspective or a compressed telephoto point of view. There is more crossover between the disciplines than you might first imagine! A photograph is not simply taken – it’s created. It’s not an exact replica of what you saw (how boring would that be!) – like a successful painting be it abstract, landscape or portrait, it’s a successful application of discipline, principals, and creativity.
And just as with an artist with a brush my eye for composition has been an ever-evolving process as I review my own work and gain inspiration from the work of others. It really doesn’t matter if it’s a painting, a sculpture, or a photograph – there is something educational and inspiring to be gained from every successful work of art.
Two spots have recently opened up to join me in Madagascar in May! This is one of the most prestigious locations on any photographer’s bucket list, and one that’s been requested for some time now. Check out the video above for more information on what this unique location has to offer!
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.
I’ll be back there this year, and there are still some spaces available to join me on both tours – but space is limited!
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 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 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!
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!
Happy International Day of Forests! A few years back we published Trees: Between Earth & Heaven with Earth Aware Editions. It’s an ode to forests around the world – lush pages full of the life-sustaining forests, unique flora, and heroic individual trees that have withstood the test of time for centuries. Printed in association with Roots of Peace on Replanted Paper, all books sold contribute towards planing new forests. A great cause, and I would like to think – a great book!