Here be Dragons! I spent most of the month of January in Asia – Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines. In Japan, I was able to return to the place I photographed ducks and swans three decades ago for Migrations. As you can see, the congregation of waterfowl was a crush of feathers and beaks that mostly obscured any sight of the water beneath them. We also visited the beach, where storms in the region have discarded all kinds of garbage onto the shore – it was awful, but also quite a sight.
From Japan, we visited Indonesia and most notably Komodo island where I was able to capture the massive and menacing Komodo Dragons. I’d been planning this stop for a while and wasn’t disappointed, using some rigged up gear to get in nice and close.
The trip closed out in the Philippines, and this time the congregation was of revelers and worshipers at the Sinulog Festival and the – *deep breath* – Solemn Procession of the Miraculous Image of the Santa Niño. That’s quite the name, for quite the festival! I was most impressed with the variety of colorful costumes on display. I was also the sole photographer willing to get in the water with whale sharks – no regrets, enjoy the photos!
There are three opportunities left to join me in my stomping grounds in the Pacific Northwest, but they will fill up quickly as these dates approach – sign up today to ensure your spot!
In April, I’ll be leading an Abstract Columbia River Gorge workshop, and while we will most definitely capture the beautiful landscapes of the region, we’ll also be doing something a bit different and including an abstract angle to the workshop a la my Abstract Astoria workshop, which is always a hit!
In May I’ll be headed back to the Olympic Peninsula, and the word here is variety! From old growth forests, hopefully some wildlife spotting, to the picturesque beaches where woodlands give way to rocky beaches – you’ll be sure to come away with plenty of diversity in your photos. The atmosphere and lighting at the margins of the day here are second to none.
Last but not least, as autumn rolls around and the fall color begins to permeate the Pacific Northwest, I head inland a bit to capture the fall color in flora surrounding majestic Mt. Rainier. The sunsets as Summer transitions to Fall captures the golds, oranges, reds, and evergreens as well to create a riot of color.
My tours in Moab, Utah have become one of our fastest selling workshops the last couple of years, and two spaces have just opened up to join me there this March. If you were on the wait list, you’ve been contacted! If you weren’t – first of all, why not!? Second, now’s your chance to sign up!
If you need some convincing, I can be very persuasive! Here are 10 reasons to join me in Moab, Utah this March!
10. Arches & Canyonlands National Parks border Moab and the Colorado River – this is a fantastic place to capture the outdoors of the Southwest!
9. If you’re a movie buff, this location should be on your bucket list. Movies such as Stagecoach, Thelma and Louise, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade filmed scenes here, among dozens more.
8. Artwork inscribed into rock faces provides an authentic look at the First Nations in the form of pictographs and petroglyphs.
7. A small town that relies on tourism to fuel it needs great food and we plan to share some fantastic meals together!
6. Critiques – what good is a workshop if you’re not there to do a little work? I’ll be giving critiques of your photos as we review them and discuss!
5. Get to know Moab – it’s a great place to return to multiple times to explore all it has to offer. Biking, rafting, and rock climbing are just a small sample of things to do there.
4. I’ve called this workshop, “Moab by Night” for a reason. Though we will do some day shooting, this is also an excellent place to capture the stars with limited light pollution and relatively consistent clear skies.
3. Mid-March is the perfect time to visit, when things are warming up from the cold winter – yet haven’t reached the scorching days of summer.
2. Of course, hands-on instruction and educational lectures. I love to talk!
1. And the #1 reason to take an Art Wolfe Workshop, completely agnostic of location and theme – hanging out with me and meeting new life-long friends and travel companions!
Today is “Monarch Butterfly Day” according to whatever mystical powers-that-be control the hashtags! I’ve had the pleasure of photographing Monarchs over the years at many of Mexico’s renowned preserves that harbor millions of butterflies as they migrate.
It’s with a heavy heart, then, that I make this post – one that should be about the beauty of this creature and the symbolism and joy it brings world-wide. However, tragic events that have befallen a pair of conservation heroes in Mexico should be taking center stage right now until answers are found.
As you may have heard, activists and outspoken critics of the illegal logging activities in preserved areas of Mexico, Homero Gómez González and Raúl Hernández Romero were recently found deceased, both under mysterious and possibly malicious circumstances.
González was an agricultural engineer and the manager of the El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Preserve. Growing up in a logging family, he was a skeptic of conservation efforts and their possible impact on contributing to poverty in the region. His background and education gave strength to his voice when, in the early 2000’s, he became an advocate for curbing the deforestation he was seeing first hand.
Hard to believe we are already a month into the new year; where does the time go? I’ve had a couple of weeks now to tend to things back at the home and office, including last night’s wonderful event at Town Hall Seattle where I was honored to take the stage with Dr. Samuel Wasser and discuss the threats facing world elephant populations and the positive measures being taken to ensure their future.
Before I move forward with another month globe-trotting, I’m taking a look back. Enjoy this gallery of 15 years of January images!
I spent some time in Utah this past November, and was struck by the colors of the directional light and shadow on the rugged buttes looming over the landscape.
Artists of the Renaissance period would work on a medium-toned colored paper and used light and dark paints, inks, and other materials to build depth within the image, adding form and dimension along the way. The term “chiaroscuro” has come to define images in which there is a strong contrast between light and dark areas that help inform the shape and form of a subject.
Renaissance artists often painted by candlelight, which provided it’s own harsh directional lighting. With photography we are painting in our own way with natural light we’ve been gifted, or our own artificial setups.Obviously it helps to have strong directional light when the sun is low on the horizon, but still high enough to illuminate your subject.
I had a chance to spend some time while traveling looking ahead at the coming year and noticed that many of my workshops are already sold out or are on the verge of doing so. Wow! I’m humbled by the response, and I can’t wait to travel again with friends new and returning.
For those of you who are still looking to get signed up for a workshop, an early bird discount is available for a recently added Abstract Columbia River Gorge trip taking place this April. Not only will we be exploring one of the most stunning landscape locations in the Pacific Northwest, I will also be spending some time focusing on abstract images from locations in the area. You’ll come away with gorgeous shots of the area for context and be creatively inspired to look past the expected!
If you’re still on the fence to sign up, here are 10 reasons to sing up for the Abstract Columbia River Gorge Workshop:
1.) As stated, this is simply all the gorgeous things about the Pacific northwest – evergreen forests, trickling streams and crashing waterfalls, but with an abstract lesson thrown into the mix. It’s my goal to send you home having had a unique experience you won’t get anywhere else.
2.) Continuing with this idea, it is my goal to ensure your travel photos are unique. No one should leave the workshop having captured the same old token postcard shots as every other participant, or anyone else who has toured the area. Give your travel photos a voice!
3.) Spring is the time to be in the area – the waterfalls are flowing and the surroundings are green and teeming with the activity of nature.
4.) Variety – from moss-carpeted forests to dusty dry grasslands in just around an hour of travel.
5.) On the idea of abstracts, I have some lesser known locations up my sleeve to explore them. Formerly, the forestry boom was once a thriving machine in the area. Discarded and forgotten remnants of the time make for some interesting hidden surprises!
6.) We will explore both the Washington and Oregon sides of the Columbia River Gorge, rather than simply focusing on the most popular waterfalls and scenic locales.
7.) The area is popular with out-of-towners whom are not just on vacation, but many of whom are there to indulge their hobbies on a wakeboard or numerous other interests. What this means for us is a location accustomed to enticing and satisfying visitors. We’ve scouted ahead to find the best food, delivered with the best service in the area.
8.) Expertise! I’ve spent a lot of time here. Enough said!
9.) No workshop is complete without a critique session to share photos, and get invaluable feedback on your photography. I’m not timid about providing honest feedback because I respect the time and resources set aside to attend a workshop. Seeing something ‘click’ for first-time attendee, or seeing the growth in a repeat client is probably the second most satisfying outcome of my take-away from a workshop, with the most important being. . .
10.) Fun. We like to have it! Settling down for a great meal with new and old friends alike after a day in the field is the perfect way to cap the day. Lifelong friendships have been formed at Art Wolfe workshops, not only between myself and attendees, but between attendees as well, many of which began as strangers but have since become routine travel companions.
One of my last trips to close out 2019 was a visit to Istanbul, Turkey. I’ve been making my way through several countries with an eye on the different ways cultures express and practice faith for an upcoming book project where I wish to illustrate the various ways we humans, so similar in many ways, celebrate our faith with such varied ceremonies, icons, and other forms of expression. The domed mosques shining at sunrise or sunset, illuminated and shining over the city provided an excellent backdrop for capturing those practicing their faith as well as portraits, and I was even extended an invitation to photograph the Whirling Dervishes as they engaged in their frenetic reeling dance. Enjoy, and stay tuned for some exciting new photos from my current trip. Here’s a hint – There be Dragons!
I made multiple trips to India this year, including a trip this past November. I’m now an expert on old Delhi, where I was able to capture a number of abstracts before setting out in search of wildlife, namely tigers. My last trip here was focused mostly on the Holi festival, and while I came away with some shots I’m happy with the crush of people made for a chaotic environment to shoot in. This trip was more my speed, and I’m happy with what I came away with. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!
Looking backward has never been a pastime of mine; I am always looking forward—to new travels, projects, and meeting new people! I did indulge in putting together a presentation of my travels in 2019. I give this every year at my year-end parties & I am happy to share it with you.
Below you’ll find a list of workshops that still have space left to fill. As you can see from the number of sold-out events on the the calendar, these will fill quickly – reserve your spot! If you’d like to arrange a private tour, give my office a call – lets see if our schedules mesh.
Of special note for January, Dr. Sam Wasser and I will be giving a presentation & doing a book signing for WILD ELEPHANTS at Town Hall in Seattle. If you can’t make it, Town Hall will also be live-streaming the event on Facebook January 29th at 7:30pm.