A great way to break up the ennui of flying is to play around with aerial photography. Get yourself a window seat, a camera, and enjoy all the amazing landscapes Earth has to offer. I’ve recently been doing this more and more and I am loving it! Google Earth, step aside, Wolfe Earth is now a thing.
But seriously, you can get some great abstract shots and fancy yourself a spy from time to time. This last trip took me over the pole so I was able to get some images of ice break up in the Arctic Ocean north of Greenland, Russian farmlands, the east coast of the Caspian Sea, and the Alborz mountain range in Iran. While on the plane I do set my clock to local destination and try to get some sleep, but it can be very difficult, so I find this to be a very absorbing and intriguing distraction.
Hard to believe we are fast approaching the final quarter of the year! So far the 2023 slate of U.S. workshops is shaping up to provide a lot of variety, with many popular locations making their return. Save a couple hundred bucks with early bird pricing and lock in your spot today and visit some of the most breathtaking locations in the US.
Each time I return to lead these workshops it’s always exciting to share what I’ve learned on previous trips, and to explore alongside our participants to discover something new. Come along, make some new friends and have a blast with us this spring!
It was probably inevitable with the amount of traveling I do, but COVID caught up to me back in May keeping me grounded at home just when I was about to head out the door to begin our Madagascar Photo Journey. Luckily Gav was able to go, and the shots I saw posted on social media from that trip’s photographers were fantastic!. They only strengthened my resolve to get to the island myself as soon as humanly possible.
Fortunately I was able to arrange an impromptu trip there this past July, fitting in more than enough of the island for a variety of the unique wildlife that inhabits it. Leaping lemurs, lizards in camouflage, iconic baobab trees, and much more – enjoy!
This trip had originally been planned for July 2020, then COVID happened. I am eternally grateful that folks hung on to their reservations for two years and we were able to have an amazing trip!
Our focus was cultural, though we did have a very few wildlife sightings including a critically endangered saiga antelope that galloped past us in a flash.
We were able to stay with and photograph the iconic Kazakh eagle hunters and even crashed a wedding. Near Khovd we went to a traditional festival called a nadaam, with dusty, spirited horse races, and beefy wrestlers who made short work of soldiers who were attending. Finally, as part of the group split off to photograph the endangered takhi (Przewalski’s horse) I was able to meet with shamans. In the Soviet era, Shamanism (and Buddhism) were repressed, but the ancient cultural traditions are making a resurgence.
The vast steppe and arid mountains of Mongolia are magnificent. It is awe-inspiring to witness a rainstorm sweeping across the land and passing clouds dapple the hillsides. It is truly one of the last places where one can feel so small yet invigorated by nature.
A very famous French diver once called Indonesia’s Wakatobi an underwater Nirvana. I am not going to quibble with Jacques Cousteau. Last week I traveled with very good friends and serious underwater photography gearheads (which I am not) to this island archipelago. My friends endured lost luggage and had to rent equipment, and I, a fish out of water doing underwater camera work, battled against stronger-than-expected currents, a leaking mask, and balky SD cards. Fortunately on the last couple days of shooting things worked themselves out and I managed to get a few really nice photos that will fit very nicely in the huge new wildlife book coming out next year!
One of the more challenging aspects of photographing underwater in this and similar locations are venomous fish – in this case, scorpion fish. On top of managing the underwater camera system while trying to stay steady in a difficult current and not scaring away my subjects, I also had to keep myself from disturbing the sea floor. At one point my underwater guide and myself were balancing ourselves on a tiny wooden dowel stuck into the sea floor to try to stabilize ourselves. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it – enjoy the photos!
I used a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV camera with an EF8-15mm f/4L FISHEYE USM lens in a Nauticam underwater housing.
Wildlife Wednesday on World Rainforest Day? Great timing!
The first leg of a recent trip took me to Brazil, with one subject in mind – the Harpy eagle. This is a massive bird at the top of its local food chain, distinct by its double-crested head feathers that spring to attention whenever the eagle is on alert. I came away thrilled with the photos I got, and included below is also a bit of video we shot from the blind.
I was traveling much of March and April and let me tell you – it was challenging for me and my staff, what with changing testing protocols for health on every leg of the trip! From Seattle I went to Brazil to photograph for my upcoming wildlife book and came away happy happy with photos of Harpy Eagles. Stay tuned for some video from that location!
After that, it was off to Morocco to lead a tour of one of the more culturally diverse locations you can visit, where the cultures of Africa, Europe, and the Middle East come together. Today was like Christmas in May as I excitedly unpacked a sculpture I purchased on this leg of the trip. It took a while to get here, but It’s always nice add objects from my travels to my home. Live like an artist!
From there it was on to Spain to join some dear friends for Easter celebrations, and ended up in Jerusalem for the holiday itself. Well worth it to acquire necessary photos for my upcoming book with a subject of international religions and beliefs.
I am finally getting some photos up, in no particular order – So let’s start with Morocco!
This is a stunningly beautiful country, mountainous and full of architectural wonders. Spring was just starting to show itself with the budding of fruit trees in fertile valleys. What did we photograph? Cats, lots of ‘em (I must have been missing my kitty back home), but also the endangered Barbary macaque, camels, and shepherds and their flocks. Snow crowned the Atlas Mountains and winds swept the Sahara as we traveled through high passes and verdant river valleys. The architecture is phenomenal and instantly recognizable as countless productions have been filmed in its adobe cities and desert landscapes.
Enjoy and stay tuned for more photos and footage from this huge trip!
Last month I took a trip to the South Sudan to photograph in specific the Mundari people and their cattle camps – a defining element of their culture. Their great cows with their incredible horns and size are interesting enough on their own, however the interaction and symbiosis between them and their caretakers in the Mundari are truly fascinating.
Photographically speaking, I got exactly what I was after here. Utilizing the smoke from burning piles of cow dung that the Mundari keep at smokey smolder to drive away insects and atop a ladder I was able to capture atmospheric moody images of both the cows, and the people. The contrast of light colored cows and the darker tribesmen also made for some graphic shots as well.
If you missed Tuesday’s episode of Art Wolfe Live, I talked in a bit more depth about this trip, and shared the following video with the audience. Enjoy!
Just a couple weeks left until I open the doors of my home & garden to the group joining me in Seattle for my lecture, field session, and critique under the umbrella of The Art Of Seeing! Before this two-day workshop kicks off, join me on a Friday evening at my home in West Seattle for beverages and hors d’oeuvres as well as an exclusive look at my upcoming book, Night On Earth.
Over the course of this two-day workshop I’ll present lectures infused with lessons from Art History as well as my own hands-on five decades of experience as an artist, photographer, instructor, and world traveler. Then, we will take those lessons out into the field for shooting sessions – see how I work on location and the simple but effective ways to change your approach and perspective to come away with unique shots that speak to your own personal artistic vision!
Finally we will wrap it all up with what tends to be a participant favorite session – the critique, where I’ll take a look at your images from throughout the weekend and give my advice on how they might be improved, or recognition of a job well done, along with answering the “why” in each instance.
Hope to see you there! Space is limited as we allow for room for social distancing. Please note – to keep myself and my assistance safe and to streamline the process of acquiring venues and accommodations, we ask that all workshop participants be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Take a virtual journey and check out a few of my favorites taken since January 1. Locations include places near and far, from my yard to Kenya, coastal Oregon and California, abstracts from the Desert Southwest and the Pacific Northwest, underwater off the Yucatan, and the latest from Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Iceland.
Enjoy – and I’ll talk to you on the 28th on https://artwolfe.com/2021/08/27/fridayvibes-announcing-art-wolfe-live/!