This past week I set out on an adventure with good friends to the Sea of Cortez and we were not disappointed. Aboard a boat with an excellent crew, we were treated to a variety of creatures quite literally great and small – pilot whales, dolphins, a variety of rays, and much more. A blue whale made an appearance, it’s massive size not quite apparent until we had a drone in the air.
Among the other revelations gleaned from having the ‘eye in the sky’ came when a leaping ray caught our eye. We sent the drone over to capture it from above, only to find it was just one particularly active member of a large fever of rays – a pleasant and unexpected surprise!
Enjoy the slide show, and stay tuned for more photos from several upcoming trips. My schedule is filling up, but it’s nice to be back out there!
Last week I shared a terrific few days with fellow photographers in Atlanta, Georgia. We were able to get to a couple very gritty and unsettling locations, but the results were well worth any discomfort – psychological or physical. We even had local law enforcement provide a security escort through one location, though I was more weary of the spirits and specters hiding in the corner of these extra-creepy locations than anything a security guard may have been able to handle!
Thrills and chills aside, our group was able to explore some immensely unique locations and come away with unique shots that I guarantee won’t be confused for your run-of-the-mill travel photographs. I had a fantastic time on this trip, and the talented insightful participants as well as our local support made for a welcome return to workshops after my brief but necessary hiatus.
I am looking forward to scheduling more Abstract field workshops, and your input is always welcome. Abstract NOLA comes to mind! If you have any suggestions on somewhere you’ve visited or even a location in your own home town that would provide opportunities for a great abstract workshop, let me know in the comments! I’m constantly looking for new places to explore, and word of mouth is the best way to find them!
Now that I’m getting back to traveling, I’m reminded of all the details that come along with doing so – and some tips that can make the whole process a lot less stressful! Since it’s top of mind, I figured I would share on this #TravelTuesday!
•Have a detailed packing list and start packing well in advance of your trip so you have time to obtain any necessary items, such as prescriptions, before you go. Don’t forget your adapters, cables, and extra batteries for all your devices! A portable power pack is a good way to ensure you won’t run out of juice if you’re unable to charge your devices.
•Check the CDC for any necessary immunizations you might need before your travels.
•Acclimatization is critical. Set your watch to the local time of your destination. Try to sleep on the plane or stay awake depending upon the time. Use earplugs, noise cancelling headphones, and eyepatches.
•Flying with expensive camera gear. Take your camera bag with the majority of your gear in the plane cabin with you. Check big, heavy lenses.
•Enroll in STEP — Smart Traveler Enrollment Program — with the State Department before your overseas trip. If you lose your passport, this will make it much easier to get a new one. Always carry a photocopy of your passport.
•Always get trip insurance. Yes, insurance is a gamble. It will add expense to your trip, but it may save you a bundle as well!
Join Gavriel Jecan in Katmai, Alaska for a photography workshop in a one-of-a-kind location! Along with trusted Pilot and guide Jerry Jacques, be one of a small group of 8 participants photographing the wilderness and wildlife alongside a pair of professionals and experts on shooting in this unique National Park.
Gavriel started photographing at the age of 12 when his father gave him his first SLR camera. His appreciation of photography grew while photographing black-and-white on family hiking trips in the mountains. His love of nature, rock climbing and traveling inspired him to become a professional photographer.
In 1994 Gavriel joined Art Wolfe, Inc. and he traveled extensively with Art the world over. He was a member of the Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge TV field crew and teaches photography around the world on his own photo tours and Art Wolfe, Inc. The quality and scope of Jecan’s shooting has gained him representation by the world’s largest stock photography agencies (Getty, Corbis, Danita Delimont, OnAsia, and Okapia).
Gav’s images appear regularly in calendars and magazines worldwide, including International Wildlife, Backpacker, Audubon, National Geographic, Midwest Express, Nature Foto, German Geo, Asian Geo, Outside, Sinra, Terre Sauvage etc. He has published five children’s books: C for Coyote, Wild Colors, Alaska Animal Babies, Hide and Seek, and South West Colors.
For the last decade Gavriel has specialized in Southeast Asian locations. He lives in Thailand with his family.
Sign up now for Gavriel’s Katmai Alaska Workshop before it’s sold out – and check out the Katmai episode of Where’s Art? if you’re unfamiliar with this location!
This May, I’ll be leading a brand new retreat originating in Pacific Grove, California with an exclusive opportunity to join for just five participants. We will capture the beauty synonymous with this location as well as integrating many of the themes of my Abstract Astoria and Atlanta Workshops, as well as my Photography As Art seminars.
Due to popular demand I’ve added several new workshops and retreats to the 2018 calendar, as well as an epic photo journey to Japan in February of 2019! Many new additions involve the Pacific Northwest, so If you’ve been meaning to join me in the part of the world I reside in and know inside and out, now is the time to get signed up for a workshop!
Building on the success of last year’s Hawaii retreat, we’ve added another to the calendar this year. As always, my goal in visiting each location is to teach you to see and capture the shots you won’t find anywhere else; the interesting perspectives and details that will give your photographic eye unique vision to capture the less obvious.
An intimate and extensive new Photography Retreat is just around the corner! On the heels of wonderful feedback regarding both our Abstract Workshops and the more intimate Photography Retreats, I’m pleased to offer up the opportunity to join me on a very exclusive trip to Pacific Grove, California where we will spend four days and nights together photographing the beautiful sights of this location.
Gavriel Jecan and myself will lead a group limited to just five participants for full days working in the field, critiquing your captures, and dining together at several of the area’s reputable restaurants. We will focus on capturing unique abstract landscapes, and will also emphasize introducing you to new ways to see and capture the beautiful natural landscapes to ensure that you come away with much, much more than just your standard travel photos. My goal as usual is to challenge you the same way I challenge myself to come away with unique visions rather than simply parroting the standard postcard shot you might find at the local gift shop.
Assuming cooperation from local wild life, we also plan to photograph sea otters via kayak from the serene waters of the local sloughs. Fear not if the idea of kayaking is new to you – the waters are placid and we will have guides to ensure safety!
The polar bears of Churchill are world famous, of course; like many photographers I have made pilgrimages there since the early 1980s. This has given me the opportunity to photograph the bears in various ways. From a tundra buggy, you can see the bears engaging in harmless battles as they wait to hunt seals once the ice that’s formed on Hudson Bay. From the air I recorded the beautiful patterns on the frozen lake’s surface as well as the bear’s shadow cast across the ice. To emphasize the barren tundra terrain and diminish the bear’s presence, I selected a 17-35mm wide-angle lens.
For The Living Wild I went to Churchill to photograph cubs newly emerged from their winter dens. Not only did I find several sows with their cubs, but I found them in near-perfect late afternoon light.
Because light meters are calibrated to read any scene as neutral gray, I set my aperture to overexpose by two stops from the reading to make sure the snow stays white. Without this compensation, the bears would be underexposed. This gives the most accurate exposures for white animals in the snow.
I was walking along the Ganges River in Varanasi, India, at dawn one morning when I saw the color. The sun rose through a layer of smoke and haze, and I thought, “Wow, that is a beautiful red orb.” I had to get that shot.
I was at this location during the Kumbh Mela, a massive gathering of Hindus along the Ganges that happens every 12 years. This is a time of great spiritual and cultural significance when holy men gather to bless the millions of people who have made the pilgrimage to the location. Many pilgrims had traveled to Varanasi and upriver to Allahabad. Many were crossing the river to the encampment on the far side. I contacted one of these people the night before, offering a dollar to act as my model the next morning, one hour before sunrise.
The next morning, I positioned the boat with my new model in the dark mud along the shore. I used a polarizer to take the shine off the water in the foreground, creating the illusion that the boat was floating.
To get the deep depth of field that I wanted, I shot with a wide-angle lens and a small f-stop of f/22, getting an exposure of one or two seconds, during which my model had to remain still. The foreground point of the boat is every bit as sharp as the distant horizon. I had to work quickly because the color of the sun was so important, and it lasted only a short time. once the sun rose above that layer of haze, it lost it’s color.
I loved creating the image, stylizing something these pilgrims did every day during Kumbh Mela, making the image more memorable. you don’t know whether the person is a woman or a man, which helps the viewer see him- or herself in that place.
Photography As Art is coming back to Seattle, and soon! If you’ve missed out in the past, now’s your chance. This seminar tends to fill up fast as it gets near, so sign up today to ensure your spot! If you’ve attended this seminar in the past, I’m continually revising it to add new photos and perspectives, so it can be a great refresher while you prepare for spring shooting!
Always a fan favorite! We will include some new locations this time around, and work with 6-stop neutral density filters to expand on technique. This is an excellent way to experience the Pacific Northwest, whether you’re a native who wants to explore your own back yard, or from out of the area and want to experience the lush variety of our corner of the world where it converges between the Olympic range and the Pacific ocean
Situated at the mouth of the mighty Columbia River, Astoria is a fascinating and revitalizing port city with a history tied to the early territorial aspirations of the United States. My goal is work closely with each participant to truly transform and refine their skills while exploring the nature of creativity itself. This ties strongly into the subject matter I cover in Photography As Art.
Same locations, two different seasons to capture beautiful Mt. Rainier and the surrounding Cascade Range, as well as the lush forest, meadows, and surrounding forests! We will use the setting of Mt. Rainier National Park to discuss composition and design in nature photography. Aside from lessons in the field, there will also be lectures on these subjects as well as informative critiques of your work in the field.