Celebrate the Leaders of Tomorrow with NatureBridge

The annual NatureBridge Gala is coming up at 6 PM on May 9 at the LEED-Certified Bently Reserve, one of the greenest buildings in San Francisco.

NatureBridge is a national organization that inspires environmental stewardship and science-based experiential learning by connecting young people to National Parks. This year promises to be another inspiring event with keynote speaker, Sophia Danenberg, the first and only black and African American woman to summit Mt. Everest, and 2019 Student of the Year, Kinzie Klein.

My book TREES: Between Earth and Heaven will be one of the many auction items available.

For more information and to purchase tickets to this event, click here.

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#FridayReads TREES wins a Gold Nautilus Award

TREES: Between Earth & Heaven has taken home a gold Nautilus Award in the Photography/Arts category.

The Nautilus Mission is to recognize and celebrate a wide subject-range of Better Books for a Better World. For two decades, Nautilus Book Awards has recognized books that transcend barriers of culture, gender, race, and class, and promote conscious living & green values, spiritual growth, wellness & vitality, and positive social change. Last year, Nautilus received entries from 36 States of USA, and from 12 other nations. Dedicated to excellence and high standards of both message and presentation, the Nautilus program celebrates books that inspire and connect our lives as individuals, communities and global citizens.

TREES: Between Earth & Heaven can be purchased in my online store – a great gift idea for mom!

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#TechniqueTuesday – Receding Lines & Shapes

It’s Technique Tuesday! This excerpt is from my how-to book, The New Art of Photographing Nature”.

Karst mountains, Guilin, China. 80-200mm lens (in 200mm range), f/11 @ 1/60 sec, Fujichrome 50

THE ELEMENTS OF DESIGN: RECEDING LINES AND SHAPES

In the shot of the karst mountains in Guilin, China, I wanted to emphasize their repeating pattern and unusual shapes: individual humps instead of long ridges. I used my 80-200mm lens to zero in on an area that I felt made the strongest statement.

The second shot was taken a few minutes from my home in Seattle. I grew up in this neighborhood, and as a boy, I loved this path especially, with its graceful madrona trees.  I went back to photograph it forty years later.

Madrona trees in mist, Washington. 45mm lens, f/22 @ 4 sec, Fujichrome Velvia 50

Spatially, light objects stand forward of dark in our normal experience of perception. When we have atmosphere such as fog, however, it is the reverse; dark objects are closer to us than light ones, as in the mountain scene. We understand this perceptually because atmospheric haze intervenes and makes the far mountains paler and less distinct. This is sometimes referred to as “atmospheric perspective.”

We also understand crisp outlines as close and fuzzy ones as distant, as with the trees in the fog, which is contrary to normal perception, where we can see distant objects in focus as well. The sense of space in both these images is definitely enhanced by the fog. Forms are more noticeable without competition from intricate detail. The tree trunks stand out more without the busy clutter of foliage.  Because it shrouds things from view, fog, more than any other atmospheric condition, creates mood and a sense of mystery.

For more how-to lessons, purchase The New Art of Photographing Nature in my online store!

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#TechniqueTuesday – Bison in the Snow, Yellowstone National Park

With SNOWMAGEDDON hitting the Pacific Northwest, a timely themed #TechniqueTuesday is in order! This is an entry from Photographs From the Edge, where I’ve combined the stories behind some of my most recognizable career photographs, as well as providing tips, techniques, and camera data for them. Enjoy, and I hope everyone back home is staying safe in the Winter weather!


Canon EOS-1DX, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, f/18 for 1/250 sec., ISO 2000

This image of bison in Yellowstone National Park really began when I co-led a rafting trip down Alaska’s Taku River a number of years ago. On that trip I met Robert Bateman and his wife Birgit. This outstanding Canadian artist spent time photographing details of rocks along the river’s edge or details of the forest. I had to ask what he was doing. He simply responded that he was taking details that he could later render accurately as details in his paintings.

At that time I had been fixating on getting closer and closer to animals and ultimately getting that classic portrait of that animal almost as if it was a trophy. The analogy was that I was a hunter with the camera. Bateman made me take a serious look at how he would he was less concerned about portraits of animals and more concerned about capturing an animal within the context of its environment. I looked at my own work and started realizing he was right.

Bateman showed that by creating atmospheric conditions and a sense of place, the composition become more nuanced, more intricate, and more involving for the viewer. In the years after meeting Bateman, I think my work became infinitely more interesting by being more inclusive of the environment. From that point forward then I would always look at storms and thick atmosphere as opportunities rather than distractions.

This image of bison in Yellowstone works to carefully include the animal’s environment. With the advent of higher ISO cameras, I can shoot with both a smaller aperture and a faster shutter speed. Here, I was able to capture a herd of animals with great depth of field, and to use a fast enough shutter speed to stop the movement of snow. So in this image of the buffalo in Yellowstone, you can see tiny points of white snow suspended in motion as well as individual animals clearly in focus. To me, this photo recalls some of the great paintings of Robert Bateman.

Photo tip: For falling snow to show up in a photo, you need contrast to set the snow apart from the rest of the scene. In this image, both the dark trees in the background and the dark fur of the bison help bring this contrast to the image. The falling snow behind the bison also lend a strong sense of atmosphere to the shot.


The nature of the photo: Snow is extremely variable in size and shape, which has a strong impact on how it appears in a photo. Very cold conditions can create tiny snow crystals that will appear more as fog than snow in a photo. Large snowflakes can be a bold part of a winter photo.

For more photos and the stories behind them, along with tips and techniques, purchase Photographs From the Edge in my online store. As always, make a request note in your order and I’ll give it a signature!

And if you missed it – check out the gallery of images from my recent return trip to Yellowstone.

 

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Art Wolfe’s 2018 Year In Review!

Is it that time already? 2018 started off a bit slow with a foot surgery that kept me home to “kick off” the year (pun entirely intended) but definitely picked up pace as time went by, culminating in a nearly seven-week trip around the world! This year’s travel starts off rather quickly with a trip to the Northern California coast next week. Here is a brief rundown of this past year’s highlights:

•I’ve been participating in the Greatest Massai Mara Photographer of the Year competition as a judge throughout 2018 – come and celebrate this year’s award-winning photographs with me on January 10th here in Seattle!

•All year long, we’ve been aiming to bring useful educational content to the masses via Technique Tuesday posts on the blog.

•Spiritual Journey won a Graphis Gold Award for their 2018 Photography Annual.

•I had a fantastic time traveling to the East Coast and presenting to the Carolina’s Nature Photographer’s Association, as well as a trip across the pond to Birmingham, UK to present Earth Is My Witness at the Photography Show.

•Mitch Stringer and myself got together to create a special extended episode of Where’s Artcheck it out if you missed it!

Trees: Between Earth & Heaven was published in English, German, and Italian.


Just a brief preview of what’s to come in 2019:

•More books! A trade edition of Human Canvas is in the works, as well as my collaboration with Dr. Sam Wasser, Silent Giants: Elephant Conservation in an Age of Extinction.


•More Workshops! Sign up today to reserve your spot!

•I’ll be presenting at Wildspeak in Washington D.C. in November

. . .and much more to come; currently I’m awash in calendars trying to strategize – stay tuned for updates and have a wonderful new  year!

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Technique Tuesday: King Penguins in Snowstorm, S. Georgia Island

The nature of the photo: King penguins are second only to emperor penguins in size. Mostly they live on islands north of Antarctica such as South Georgia Island, rather than on the continent itself. They feed on fish and squid from the ocean nearby which is known for its diversity of life. Canon EOS-1N/RS, TS-E 90mm f/2.8 lens, f/16 for 1/125 sec., Fujichrome Astia

South Georgia Island is a great place for penguin photography, but it is an extremely remote island in the South Atlantic that is difficult to get to. While working on my book, The Living Wild, I worked out a way of getting onto South Georgia Island and camping for six days. My assistant, Gavriel Jecan, and I were dropped off by an American tour boat then picked up six days later by a German passenger ship coming from Cape Town, South Africa.

During our stay, we faced all sorts of weather, but primarily wind and snow. This can be miserable for the photographer but such weather is often stunningly beautiful for the pictures. I love atmospheric conditions and blowing snow is one of those conditions that convey a sense of the primordial and timelessness to the image. Still, it made for difficult shooting.

You can see all of the penguins are hunkered down to withstand this turbulent weather. We were trying to shoot videos as well as stills. The wind meant we had to stabilize the image with a heavy tripod. A small f-stop of f/16 kept all the penguins in focus. One thing a still photo doesn’t convey are the sounds and smells of the moment. Certainly the smells of hundreds of thousands of penguins is something I’ll never forget. The sounds of the birds, the trumpeting of the adults is a sound that is forever etched in my brain. Simply put, it’s one of my favorite places to visit on earth.

Photo tip:

A simple tip this technique Tuesday, but an important one to consider – If you suspect challenging weather, be sure you are prepared for it with the right clothing, boots, gloves and hats. If you are too uncomfortable, you are not going to stay outside for the unique possibilities that weather might bring. When conditions get tough, dramatic and unusual photographs are often possible then.

For more stories, technical details and tips relating to some of my most well-known photos, check out the book this excerpt was taken from in my online store – Photographs from the Edge.

 

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Flashback Friday – Travels to the Edge Season 1: South Georgia Island

Fresh off my recent trip to South Georgia and the Falkland Islands (see my recent blog post with new photos here) It seemed appropriate to reflect back on the filming of Travels to the Edge from that location. Enjoy this excerpt from the companion book, “Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey” on this #FlashbackFriday and if you’re looking for gift ideas, my staff is ready to send off DVD’s of each and every episode!

South Georgia Island, the Southern Ocean

Despite it’s cold, unwelcoming climate, South Georgia Island in the South Atlantic is one of my favorite places on earth. A remote, hundred-mile whaleback of rock, South Georgia Island resides in the Southern Ocean, more than eight hundred miles southeast of the Falkland Islands. It features glacier-clad mountains rising two vertical miles above the sea. South Georgia is as wild as it gets, hosting one of the largest concentrations of wildlife anywhere. Over four hundred thousand pairs of king penguins walk the beaches and swim in the frigid blue ocean. Seals, albatross, and even reindeer (imported for meat by long-gone Norwegian whalers) also inhabit this isolated island. I used a wide-angle lens to photograph austere landscapes, intimate plant studies, and endearing animal behavior in this wildlife oasis.

On a tiny island near the coast of South Georgia Island, a courting male albatross bonds with it’s potential lifelong mate. The wandering albatross, with an eleven-foot wingspan, is clearly king of ocean birds, but overfishing and destructive longline nets threaten it’s survival in southern oceans. Some nets stretch up to sixty miles and snare fish and birds indiscriminately.

An adolescent king penguin challenges reindeer crossing through a penguin rockery on South Georgia Island. Long gone European brought reindeer to the island as a dietary alternative to whale meat. Reindeer herds continue to roam through the remote island.

Forty-pound king penguins line the shores of South Georgia Island. They are on their way to the rockery where territorial instincts prompt numerous quarrels among the birds. The beach is a respite from the dangers of the ocean and the crabby neighbors on the nests. Although the island experiences some of the worst weather in the world, we were fortunate to shoot in the pink light of a clear sky with the sun hidden behind the horizon.

Want to know more, and see these animals in motion? This episode is featured on Season 1, Episode 4 of Travels to the Edge, available individually, as part of the entire first season, and the full series! Have a great weekend!

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“Trees” Round-up – Now Published in Italian & German!

 

First published in English, TREES Between Earth & Heaven is now available in Italian and German as well. While I always recommend that you support your local bookseller, here are online links for purchasing:

Australia | Canada | Italy | Germany | UK

USA: There are also half a dozen signed copies left at my studio in Seattle – Order today, they will be gone soon!

 

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Technique Tuesday: Scale of your Subject

The following is an excerpt from “The New Art of Photographing Nature“. Pick it up in my online store and check a gift off your list for the photographer in your life!

SCALE:  HOW LARGE SHOULD THE SUBJECT BE?

AW: In these three shots of a spotted owl, we see how the owl changes in importance according to its relative size in the frame. In my opinion, no image is stronger than the other; they simply say different things. The first composition is a shot of old-growth forest that happens to have an owl as an element (80mm lens). In the second, the owl is clearly more evident, and still enough forest shows to create a strong sense of place (200mm lens). But in the third, I’ve eliminated most of the forest and the owl is clearly the dominant element. It is a more rewarding view of the owl, and of the textures of the trees, which you can now fully appreciate. The sense of forest is definitely gone (400mm lens).

MH: In each of these images, the owl relates to his surroundings in a different way. In the first, he is hardly visible, blending in beautifully with his surroundings. It is interesting that here, the light-colored branch, rather than being a detracting element, actually leads our eye right to the owl. The forest, with its strong vertical lines, is clearly the dominant element in the frame. If I had a story to illustrate that emphasized the need to save lots of habitat to provide for one owl, I would use this version.

In the middle frame, there is much more of a balance between the bird and the forest. The owl stands on its own, without being overpowered by the trees. This would be a classic opening shot for a story on spotted owls and old-growth forests.

In the last image, you have a portrait of the bird. Now, too, the lighter limbs of the trees actually take over as the strong linear elements in the composition. The owl’s soft shape stands out against the harder lines of the tree trunks, without losing the feeling of camouflage we had in the first version. Unless I had text I wanted to drop out of the space on the left, I’d crop this to a vertical to emphasize the owl even more.

For more insights and technique tips, check out “The New Art of Photographing Nature”!

 

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“Trees: Between Earth & Heaven” Officially Published in the U.S. Today!

Today is the official publishing date in the U.S. for Trees: Between Earth and Heaven. Back home in Seattle, we’ve been sending out early signed copies for the past couple weeks – so if you may be the lucky ones to have pre-ordered from us, you either have it or it’s on it’s way! There’s no other way to put it – it’s a beautiful 11×14 nearly 300 page book that exceeds even my demanding expectations, and feedback from those whom have received their copies affirms this!

Of course, a book about trees is naturally a book about our environment. Rest assured that in coordination with Roots of Peace, two trees are planted for each tree used in the manufacturing of these books.

To get your copy, and to support a local small business and the work that makes these books possible, you can order your copy from us in my online store, or from your local bookseller. Alternatively, there’s always this option!

 

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