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.
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.
I recently took a trip up to Northern Canada to photograph a variety of owls, and came away happy – if not chilled to the bone. It’s cold up above the 51st parallel, no matter the time of day. That didn’t seem to impact the hunting owls of the region, who’s keen senses can detect rodents beneath the snowfall dozens of meters away. They essentially do a graceful face plant into the snow, rummage around, and come away with a snack.
The light sky and the bright white snowy landscape make shooting a challenge. To control the light and capture a quality image, one first has to understand light in terms of it’s relationship to photography. This excerpt from “Chapter 6: Reading the Light” from The New Art of Photographing Nature explains it more succinctly than I might in a blog ramble:
Without light we would have no color. And without light, there would be no photography. In fact, the word photography derives from Greek roots meaning “writing with light.”
Primitive man did not have the benefit of science to explain natural phenomena such as the rainbow. Nor did we, until Sir Isaac Newton’s use of the prism separated white light into its component colors. Light is a form of electromagnetic energy, which, in the whole spectrum of frequencies, is only visible as colors in a very narrow band. Other frequencies, such as infrared, ultraviolet, gamma, and X-ray radiation, are invisible to our eyes.
Yet, despite our basic understanding of light, it is something we are apt to take for granted, like the rising and setting of the sun. But in photography, we can never take light for granted, and must learn to perceive it many nuances. The quality of the light creates a variety of colors and moods. Light also models form, and the direction of light is crucial to how we perceive shape and depth in the landscape.
When talking about light, it is important to distinguish between quality and quantity. Quality of light can, for the outdoor photographer, mean the time of day, the angle of the light striking your subject or whether it creates high-contrast or low-contrast conditions. It can also be measured as color temperature (in degrees Kelvin) with daylight on a sunny day being around 5500 degrees Kelvin. While color film required filtration to correct for changes in color temperature, digital cameras have a built-in white balance function that can adjust the camera to virtually any lighting condition, indoors or out.
Quantity of light refers simply to the amount of light reaching the camera’s sensor and recording an image. It is by controlling this light, through changes in aperture and shutter speed, that we arrive at a proper exposure.
On October 29th Trees: Between Earth & Heaven will be published. Thank you so much to everyone whom has already pre-ordered the book – I can’t wait to hear what you think! I have a feeling you’ll love it as much as I do – the early production copy I’ve reviewed is printed beautifully and I couldn’t be happier with the way it’s turned out.
There is still time to pre-order the book and receive the bonuses offered through my online store. If you’re looking for a thoughtful, meaningful holiday gift – look no further! Not only do I anticipate this book to bring awareness to trees world-wide, Roots of Peace will plant trees for every copy sold!
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Created by Congress in 1968, (Public Law 90-542; 16 U.S.C. 1271 et seq.), it aims to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act safeguards the special character of these rivers, while also recognizing the potential for their appropriate use and development. It encourages river management that crosses political boundaries and promotes public participation in developing goals for river protection.
For more information including how to locate a local protected river, check out the National Parks page on the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act.
This week I spent some time with my friends Bill Edwards and Greg Green visiting the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in British Columbia, Canada. It was nice to get out shooting again and it only made me that much more anxious to get out traveling again! This is the longest stretch I’ve been home in the past 40 years or so by a long shot. The variety of birds and their fearlessness when it comes to human visitors was remarkable.
Enjoy, and stay tuned for more new shots from the field as I ease back in to traveling!
World Wetlands Day is celebrated internationally each year on February 2nd. It marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971. This year’s theme is “wetlands for a sustainable urban future” – recognizing the impact and importance of wetlands to cities. As population is booming, wetlands that provide drinking water, counteract flooding, and filter waste are dwindling. World Wetlands Day 2018 serves to highlight the importance of this symbiotic relationship between population centers and the very ecosystem that makes them a liveable environment. Click here more information on World Wetlands Day.
As you may or may not know, the latest tax bill passed by the Trump administration recently included provisions to lift the decades-old ban on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska. ANWR is home to more than 250 animal species, and is a location I’ve returned to many times over the course of my career to capture the tranquil and relatively untouched landscape.
Bare Essentials Magazine was kind enough to include my perspective on this very important matter in the latest edition of their online magazine – check it out! My piece, along with several photographs from various parts of ANWR begins on page 111.
Sponsored by Angama Mara, The Greatest Maasai Mara Photographer of the Year will win a cash prize of $10,000 USD, as well as an unforgettable all-expenses-paid 5-night safari in the Maasai Mara, with accommodation for two at lovely Angama Mara, a private vehicle at their disposal and return flights from Nairobi.
Your entry fees will go to support these important conservation organizations:
In March of 1899, Mount Rainier National Park was founded as the nation’s fifth national park and the first created from a national forest. The pinnacle of the cascade range and an active stratovolcano, Mount Rainier can be seen looming in the distance from the hustle and bustle of caffeinated Seattle. It’s long been a place of study for volcanologists and glaciologists alike.
Coming home from trips to the remarkable places of the world is easier knowing I’m fortunate enough to live in the midst of such incredible places. The verdant Cascade Range is a must-see for anyone traveling to the Pacific North West!
Join me for a workshop at Mount Rainier this August!