In early August, five photographers gathered in western Washington for a journey into the wild landscapes of Olympic National Park. Not so unusual… except for the way we met.
We met each other through Art Wolfe’s Facebook page.
When Brigitte Lucke (from Mallorca, Spain) announced she was coming to Seattle in early August, Emily M. Wilson, Victoria Hobbs Braden, Carol Ann Morris (that’s me) (all from western Washington), and Kathy Pfeifer Hansen (from Oregon) were quickly on-board to grab gear and go shoot. A cabin (The “Twilight Eclipse”) was found in Forks, Washington, and the trip was set. Olympic National Park gave us cascading waterfalls (Marymere and Sol Duc), zen-like landscapes (Cape Flattery), beach sunsets (Rialto), and silhouettes and sand formations (Ruby Beach). Add in bald eagles, turkey vultures, cedar waxwings, and it became an extraordinary adventure! Then we were off to Hurricane Ridge (at 4am) for a blazing sunrise and dramatic moonset (the views of each just 500 feet apart). Next was Obstruction Point, where we spotted a sunning marmot, and a cautious ptarmigan with her flock.
We ended our journey in Seattle, at Emily’s home. The super moon, houseboats, a paddle-boarder that somersaulted for our cameras, a Lebanese toddler, flying kites, Tibetan monks, Korean girls, Seattle at night, a lightening storm, visiting Art at his home… it was all one big grand photo op. We felt as if we’d known each other for months, not just the seven days since Brigitte first stepped off the train in Seattle.
A big heart-felt thanks from all of us, Art. Because of you, we connected.
This has become a wonderful circle of friends because of Art. I am so fortunate to have met Art last October and to go outside my comfort zone in an effort to meet the others. I have not only learned a great deal in the last 10 months, but have gained so many friends. I feel blessed.
Art book publisher extraordinaire (Johsel Namkung – A Retrospective) and photographer Dick Busher is having a small show of his personal images at the Sand Point Grill in Seattle’s Laurelhurst neighborhood. The prints will be on display during August and September.
This will be his first show of personal work in many years, a “coming out again” event, so to speak, now that he is retired from the world of commercial photography.
The images are nature/landscape in genre, mostly close ups. The sizes range from 20 x 16 to 44 x 55 inches. Digital inkjet prints made from scans of 4 x 5 inch color transparencies.
The Sand Point Grill is a wonderful restaurant. The Bartlesons are the owners/chefs. He does the entrees, and she does the deserts. They also have a full bar. Hours are 5 – 10pm, Monday to Sunday. The food is fantastic. The address is 5412 Sand Point Way NE, about a mile NE from Children’s Hospital.
Look what I discovered in one of my trees when I was pruning with my friend!
If you create a natural habitat you soon get wild animals to share the space with. I unfortunately left for a trip right after discovering these cute little guys and figured they would fly the nest before my return. I sent requests to several of my friends to go photograph them while I was away. My assistant Libby Pfeiffer made it up there over the weekend and got some nice shots. She reported the mother was vary concerned about her presence, and would only land on the opposite side from her camera. You can see how much they grew in a few short days! Also, I want to mention to those near Seattle, if you want to check out my garden, it will be part of the West Seattle Garden Tour on July 20th. I will be there to greet visitors and sign books.
Award-winning author and photographer David FitzSimmons has a unique approach to animal portraiture, and he loves sharing it with kids. Instead of seeking rare animals in exotic locations, David photographs common animals—many found in your own backyard—against plain, white backgrounds, producing detailed close-up images that motivate children and their families to appreciate and explore nature. The striking images are the visual foundation of his Curious Critters children’s picture book series. Volume one (2011) won five national book awards and sold over 100,000 copies. Curious Critters Volume Two, featuring amazing animals from across North America, will be released in February.
David FitzSimmons is an award-winning freelance photographer and writer. His first book in the Curious Critters series won the coveted IBPA Bill Fisher Award for best first book (children’s/young adult). A Sigma Pro photographer, David has exhibited works at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, the National Center for Nature Photography, and the Telluride Photo Festival. He is a life-long educator, teaching students from kindergarten to college. Currently David is an Associate Professor at Ashland University. He has appeared on ABC, CBS, and NBC-TV. You can see more of David’s photography at www.fitzsimmonsphotography.com.
FitzSimmons’ unconventional approach to wildlife photography allows animals’ colors, textures, shapes, and seeming “personalities” to shine through. “Kids focus on the animals. That’s when the learning begins,” David explains. “They focus on and notice clues about animals’ behaviors, diets, life cycles, and habitats.” The first image in Curious Critters Volume Two is a monarch butterfly preparing for its 2,000 mile flight from Milkweed, Minnesota, to Oyamel Fir Forest, Mexico.
In writing the Curious Critters children’s picture books, David imagined that each critter talked to him during its portrait session and that he just wrote down what was said. The audiobooks for Curious Critters Volumes One and Two capture the sometimes calm, other times excited, and occasionally irascible personalities David envisioned. For the audiobook version of the conversation among four recently-born Eastern cottontail rabbits, David cast his two oldest daughters and two nieces for the voiceovers.
Besides the extraordinary photography, each of the twenty animals in Curious Critters Volume Two gets a chance to tell its story. The indigo bunting talks about calls in his “song neighborhood.” The indigo bunting reports that some “songbirds complain because I repeat myself, but I enjoy saying things twice, sometimes in very long songs. Sweet! Sweet! Chew! Chew! Where? Where? Here! Here! Sweeter! Sweeter! Chew! Chew! What! What! Sweet! Sweet!”
Curious Critters Volume Two is not only entertaining but also educational. Before David began composing the short vignettes accompanying the photos, he reviewed national science education standards. Curious Critters Volume Two meets all the life science standards for grades K-4, making the nonfiction picture book appeal to teachers, librarians, and education-minded parents. In the narrative alongside the green frog, the powerful male boasts about his healthy diet, including eating his own shed skin. “Hey! if it’s nutritious, I eat it.”
Adding to children’s enjoyment of the Curious Critters series, David partnered with nature-folksinger Foster Brown, who sings the predaceous diving beetle’s song, “Row, Row, Row Your Legs.” Beginning and ending both audiobooks is Foster’s catchy Curious Critters theme song, rich with the bluegrass sounds of guitar, banjo, mandolin, and upright bass.
David hopes that his Curious Critters picture books—featuring captivating animals like the vivid Northern Cardinal—will inspire children and adults to conserve nature. “To protect our natural world, we first have to care about it. I hope that my animal pictures allow people to see common animals—from frogs and fish to beetles and birds—in a whole new and meaningful way. It’s my goal that the close-up photography and playful prose in Curious Critters will captivate readers’ imaginations and motivate them to get outside and interact with nature.”
Curious Critters Volume Two (Wild Iris Publishing, hardback, 32 pp., ISBN 978-1-936607-70-9, $19.95) is available in bookstores, nature centers, museum stores, and other specialty shops, as well as online retailers Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Copies bought directly from Wild Iris Publishing are signed by and, if desired, dedicated by David FitzSimmons.
Check out other Curious Critters media, as well as games, parent and educator materials, sample flipping book pages, and other fun stuff at www.curious-critters.com. You can like Curious Critters on Facebook. To hear samples from the Curious Critters audiobooks, including tracks from Curious Critters Volume One, or to purchase MP3s or CDs of the audiobooks, visit the Audiobooks page on www.wildirispublishing.com.
What’s up next for David?
David can’t wait to share a variety of sea creatures with children and families. Coming soon is Curious Critters: Marine. Meet fish, birds, crustaceans and other animals from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as the Gulf of Mexico. Hear what the black sea bass, candy stripe shrimp, pencil urchin, crested puffin, California sea slug, horseshoe crab, roseate spoonbill, blue lobster, and other salty Curious Critters have to say! Available Fall 2014.
This three day workshop was filled with intensive field sessions. Art’s goal was to work closely with each participant to really transform and refine their skills. An image can have the power to stimulate the imagination and intellect while also telling a story that awakens the senses. He challenged them to explore the nature of creativity and discover ways to bring its power to each image.
Everyone that attended explored photography and the subjects that were presented more thoroughly than they ever had before. They all walked away with a new perspective on photography and a new found inspiration.
Photographs featured by:
Kevin & Kyle Mullen
“Kyle and I really enjoyed the workshop and Art helped me see and create some great images that I wouldn’t have considered before the workshop. I look forward to the next time I can travel with Art for some more great images.”
Mendocino, California native Justin Lewis was nurtured in the raw and rustic Pacific Northwest, where he honed a keen eye for capturing images that instill wonder and inspire action. Having traveled to over forty five countries and featured in many major global magazines, Justin has woven his photography career seamlessly into his lifestyle of exploration and conservation. As an artist, Justin finds inspiration in beauty, and finds beauty in nature.
Justin has spent the last two years dedicating his life to an eight phase photo-documentary project called 70 Degrees West. The project follows a single line of longitude from Greenland to Antarctica, illustrating the impact our modern civilization has on fragile eco-regions and cultures who dwell there. His photography hopes to expand global awareness of environments at risk by capturing the extreme landscape while also giving a voice to the battles each region faces both environmentally and socially. For more information, including slide shows and two video shorts, visit www.70degreeswest.com For more of Justin Lewis’s photography, visitwww.justinlewis.com
Here are a few images from Phase I – Greenland: Thule Hunter
It is said that Greenland’s Inuit name, Kalaallit Nunaat, means “The Land of Man.” To the Greenlandic natives, it is home, where the dark days and sunlit nights demand the human spirit to endure at all costs. Here, a sled driver and dog team rest for a moment under the arch of a looming translucent blue iceberg frozen in the sea ice.
The life of a dog sled driver is one of patience and discipline. Nine Greenlandic Arctic dogs rest during a long trek across the ice. Greenlandic Arctic sled dogs are only exist north of the Arctic Circle and found no where else in the world.
The magic of Northern Greenland’s midnight sun is filled with stunning beauty and extreme isolation. This image was taken at 3 o’clock in the morning where a tidal pond formed on the surface of the sea ice. Salt water was forced up through cracks in the sea ice as the oceans tide came up.
Spring time comes to Ilulissat, Greenland and the fisherman begin to venture out into the recently broken chunks of looming sea ice. Eager to get out fishing, some fisherman launch their boats into the Arctic waters, delicately navigating through chunks and sheets of ice.
Thomas Martika Qujaukitsoq was born in Qaanaaq, Greenland, one of the northern most municipalities in the world. He wears a reindeer jacket his grandmother hand-stitched for him when he was a young man. Although he has hunted extensively through the surrounding landscape, he has never traveled to any other part of the world. His home is Qaanaaq, his life is that of hunting, fishing, and driving his dog sled. He says, “I drive my dog sled because it is my culture and my life. It will always be like that.”
During the warmer months, massive icebergs calve from the glacier head and slowly drift through vast fjords. Certain icebergs can float for many years, very slowly melting and breaking into smaller chunks of ice.
I had the chance to take a chilly dive under the sea ice during our photo expedition in Ilulissat, Greenland. Dressed in a dry suit and specialized arctic gear, it was ethereal and thrilling. Having a ceiling of ice above me and no sight of a sea floor, it felt other-worldly.
Beate Dalbec has become a friend over the years and she is celebrating her first big commercial sale of an image of bison and Grand Prismatic to the state of Montana. Hear from Beate in her own words her path as a photographer and the role Art has played along the way:
“My introduction to photography came when I was 15 years old, a gift from my father.
I’ve always had a passion for nature and travel photography which led me to watching Art Wolfe’s “Travels to the Edge” on PBS. It gave me a needed boost and when Art offered a workshop in Acadia National Park in Maine in 2009 I jumped at the opportunity to learn from him. Taking this workshop completely changed the way I approach photography.
Art took me out of my comfort zone and made me look at the world around me with new eyes. I followed up this first workshop with a second one from Art the same year at Mt. Rainier National Park. Though the weather was miserable I was amazed at the photographic opportunities before us.Art has taught me to always keep looking, not just to go for the obvious shot. Sure, take it, but then keep looking for different angles, details, and never walk away too soon. Anyone who has taken one of his seminars or workshops can attest that his passion for photography is infectious and that you walk away inspired to take your photography to a new level.
Through Art I connected with Gavriel Jecan and took my first photo tour with him to Myanmar in 2011 – I was instantly hooked on this gorgeous country and its wonderful people. Seeing it through the eyes of a professional photographer makes all the difference. My next project is an exhibit of my Myanmar images from this first as well as my most recent trip.
The bison at Grand Prismatic is my first big commercial licensing sale (and hopefully not my last). I traveled to Yellowstone National Park in June 2011 with my mother. While there I had hoped to hike up one of the hills surrounding Grand Prismatic hot spring in order to photograph some nice abstracts (I was inspired by Art’s captures which he had shared during the seminar).
With unpredictable weather I headed straight to Grand Prismatic to take advantage of some accommodating afternoon light. As intended I hiked up one of the hills and when I reached a nice vantage point I was quite surprised to see a herd of bison heading straight for the hot spring. I just couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t really be that lucky that they would walk right past it?! But they did! I photographed a variety of compositions, from the entire herd to smaller groups, vertical to horizontal to panoramic. After the herd had passed by, the dark clouds on the horizon earlier opened up into a thunderstorm. We packed up quickly and headed back to the car, drenched but elated to have witnessed and photographed this wonderful scene.
Photography is a wonderful creative medium that is available to anyone. My advice for other aspiring photographers is to photograph what you love and connect with others who share your same passion. Try to connect with photographers that inspire you and take advantage of opportunities to learn from them. Lastly have a website so people can see your work – there are so many different options out there, that there is really no excuse not to have one.
David Hallis a photographer and author specializing in marine life subjects and underwater photography. His photographs have won numerous awards and have appeared in most major magazines in North America and Europe. David’s latest book, Beneath Cold Seas: The Underwater Wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, was recently awarded the 2012 National Outdoor Book Award for best “Design and Artistic Merit”.
Beneath Cold Seas is the first large format photographic book to feature the marine life of the Pacific Northwest. Critics have noted that it is one of the few books of underwater photography to focus on a cold/temperate water ecosystem, successfully challenging the widespread misperception that cold water marine life is dull and uninteresting. Beneath Cold Seas is published in the U.S. by the University of Washington Press and in Canada by Greystone Books and the David Suzuki Foundation; it has also been published in the U.K and in Germany (as Kaltwasserwelten). It is available at Amazon, and in many Barnes & Noble and independent bookstores; it retails for $45.
For more information, including critic’s reviews, a slide show and the link to a four-minute video, visit www.beneathcoldseas.com For more of David Hall’s photography, visit www.seaphotos.com
Walking into my first Art Wolfe Workshop, I was a self-taught photographer, anxious and concerned I may not keep pace. Within minutes I was diffused. Fast forward seven seminars/workshops and I find myself standing next to Art ready to board our small plane heading towards Coastal Brown Bears. If I knew then, what I know now, I would have taken the opportunity long before my first.
He has treated me as a friend; given knowledge and support peppered by encouraging opinion. He has shared; I have tried and failed and he has tirelessly shared again. He has crept into my brain, opened my eyes and opened my world. I have grown. For that I am thankful.