It’s a #TravelTuesday, and as I prepare to head off again this evening to distant lands, I’m doing a bit of reflecting on my past November travels. It looks like South Georgia Island is a common favorite for the month in years passed, sprinkled in between with warmer locales.
I don’t have any current plans for another trip to South Georgia Island at the moment, but several 2020 and 2021 trips are on the docket, and who knows what *secret* plans I may have brewing – keep an eye on the Events page for all the upcoming adventures!
I just loved the two weeks I had in Israel and Jordan, with a brief foray into the West Bank. For once I actually had friends set up a trip for me instead of the other way around. We had an extraordinary time with an insider’s access to what is the center of several of the world’s great religions. I found it to be exceptionally energizing and fascinating; with all that we hear about the Middle East, this was not what I was expecting. It is a microcosm of how well people of different faiths & cultures can live together and alternately how cruelly it tears people apart.
As with all my trips, we do our due diligence to find the best resources on the ground and much of what was captured wouldn’t have been possible without the access and insight provided by our fantastic guide, Simon Beni. I can’t recommend Simon enough if you’re planning a trip to the region – check out his website for more information!
In Jordan we drove up the Wadi Rum and I had flashbacks to Lawrence of Arabia, which is one of my favorite movies. Its rock formation are reminiscent of the desert southwest (without the camels), but instead of angular, the sandstone is pillowy.
We also visited the famous ancient city of Petra. It was fascinating to see in person, though the amount of tourists and the instantly recognizable features made it less interesting to me as a subject. Still, I’m thankful to have experienced it in person. Enjoy the pics!
Coming up in December, I will be giving the keynote at the Lowland Photo Festival in Antwerp, Belgium. I’ve been putting together quite the presentation, and I can’t wait to share it!
During the weekend of December 7th, 2019, thousands of nature photographers will once again settle in Kinepolis Antwerp to enjoy diverse lectures by famous nature photographers from around the world. Nature photography exhibitions with hundreds of works will be on display, along with a photography fair packed with demos and workshops.
Mis hét natuurfotografiefestival van de Lage Landen niet! Het Lowland Photo Festival is dit jaar al aan zijn zesde editie toe en tekent steevast voor dé hoogdagen voor elke natuurfotograaf.
Duizenden fotografen strijken neer in Kinepolis Antwerpen om er te genieten van de
* PRACHTIGE EXPOSITIES NATUURFOTOGRAFIE (GRATIS)
* GROOTSE FOTOGRAFIEBEURS & DEMO’S (3 EURO)
* SPECTACULAIRE LEZINGEN (VANAF 42 EURO/ DAG)
Behalve het kruim van de natuurfotografen uit Vlaanderen en Nederland maakt ook een rist internationale toppers hun opwachting tijdens het Lowland Photo Festival. Eén van de absolute headliners dit jaar is ongetwijfeld de wereldberoemde fotograaf ART WOLFE (USA)!
From the Cloud Forest of Ecuador to the icy shores of Greenland and a trip to visit the bears in Katmai, it’s been a productive few months! With as many trips as I take and so many factors that need to fall into place to ensure I get what I’m after, I can’t help but appreciate it when consecutive trips all happen according to plan.
Enjoy the photos, and as always don’t forget to check out the events page to see where I’ll be headed next – sign up and come along! I arrived in Portland last night, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone who’s signed up for Photography As Art – I’ll see you tomorrow! There are still a few spots left for both Saturday’s seminar in Portland as well as in Seattle on Sunday – come join us!
With the fall of Communism in 1989 and the integration into the European Union, Romania is changing quickly. We spent a day in Bucharest and then headed for the hills where traditional life can still be found. This time of year is beautiful in the Carpathians with fall color, morning mists, and agricultural landscapes.
Overall, I was happy with what I was able to capture here, from the golden landscapes to the flow of daily life here. I was also grateful to be able to observe traditional rituals and the celebration of religion here that will play nicely into an upcoming book project. Now it’s off to Israel! Stay tuned for more. . .
Currently I’m on the road traveling, but have some photos to share from our visit to Romania. While there, I was able to photograph the Bear Dancers whom parade through the streets of villages every year between Christmas and New Years in their bear-skin costumes. It was a privilege to photograph them in this way long before they will officially don the outfits.
This ceremony is a joyfulcelebration belying the fearsome appearance of the traditional costumes and demeanor of the dancers within. It is a tradition intended to scare away evil spirits – including an accompaniment of drums, flutes, and singing – with beginnings that have been difficult to pin-point due to sparse documentation of the region’s history.
To begin with, we assemble the performers! Dressed in a red military uniform, the “Bear Tamer” leads his group of dancers while a wool-clad shepherd stands with the musicians in blue and white garb. A more overcast day may have been ideal, but you must work with the circumstances you are given. By closing in close on the group of dancers themselves, we can put the focus directly on the savage costumes.
Here, a young girl peaks out from below her mask, giving us a great opportunity to capture a similar shot of the group, but with this reveal adding an extra sense of context to the photograph. The contrast of her face among the fierce, snarling bears only adds to the story.
Again, I want to isolate and emphasize the costumes and the dancers themselves without any other outside information informing the story – the subjects here are the elaborate costumes, their muzzles silhouetted against the blue sky, and the shadowed faces of the dancers themselves.
Of course, these ARE dancers after all – so action shots are necessary. Capturing the dancers in their furs against the rich evergreen background of Romanian landscape ties them together nicely. As complimentary colors, the rich reds of their costumes stand out against the forest green.
Here we focus on the procession of bears as they might appear in their journey through the village, usually ending up in a town square for further celebration. Whenever you are given an opportunity like this, take full advantage of it and get all the shots you possibly can – I’ll have more up soon along with the rest of our haul from Romania!
Photography As Artis just around the corner in the Pacific Northwest! On Saturday, November 9th I’ll be in Portland, Oregon – and the following day I’ll be back home to give the presentation in Seattle! Sign up today to ensure your spot!
This seminar is designed to completely change the way you view photography, and my intent is to inspire you to bring unique artistic visions to life using your camera as both brush and canvas. With an emphasis on the abstract, imaginary landscapes, and capturing metaphors the lessons learned here can be applied anywhere and with whatever equipment you have available – no globe-trotting or a plethora of fancy gear required.
2020 is shaping up to be an incredibly busy but fruitful year, and this will be one of the last chances to join me for a day-long seminar before kicking of another year of constant travel. If you’re interested in joining me on a trip, click the banners below to find out more information. Many of these trips are already sold out, but don’t hesitate to join the wait list! Not only will you be notified if a spot opens up, it also gives me a good idea of which locations you’re most interested in visiting – great information to have when I’m looking to add new trips to the calendar!
Also, if you missed out on my Japan tour last year my associate Gavriel Jecan will be leading another tour in February of 2020 – see his page for more details!
I recently returned from my second trip to Eastern Greenland in the last two years and once again it lived up to expectations. From ship to Zodiac, there was a lot to capture in between the wide seascapes and ancient detail in the upheaval of rock formations.
The bedrock of Greenland is some of the oldest on the planet, up to 3.8 billion years old and it shows in the tortuous folds and striations around the ice-free edges of the island. One of the most fascinating spots is called the Skaergaard intrusion, a relatively young formation of igneous rock extruded from the Earth 55 million years ago. Its layers, texture, and line make for a photographer’s dream.
The aesthetics and geological history is all well and good – but the REAL question is, can you find the bacon?!
Wildlife photography can be a frustrating pursuit at times, but you roll with it! In August I had the opportunity to photograph sea wolves in the temperate rainforest of Canada. It rained and rained and rained and the wolves made themselves scarce. Apparently they had moved their den site to another area, but I am pleased with the fleeting images I was able to create.
The surrounding landscape is so varied, from lapping water to rocky shoreline to impenetrable forest that it creates an extraordinarily lush backdrop to these elusive wolves. It was important to me to include the context of the environment, as you don’t find wolves in these kinds of surroundings often. Portraits and ‘hero’ shots of animals can be important to illustrate their personality and demeanor, but may not always inform you of what that creature’s environment and life might be like to the extent of capturing them in the vastness of their natural element.
Think about context and story when you photograph wildlife – and you’ll often come away with a winner!
Every now and again I like to take a break from promoting my own books (Elephants! Human Canvas! – I’m shameless. Oh well – I tried!) to share my recommendations of the works of others with you. Sometimes they are simply educational, while others are inspirational. . . and in this case, both. World culture and tradition has always been as fascinating to me as wildlife. As I have accrued decades of world travel and come to identify the similarities and differences in our cultures, Ive only come to appreciate them that much more.
In Divine Encounters: Sacred Rituals and Ceremonies of Asia by Hans Kemp, we have an excellent photo book that explores the many varied esoteric beliefs of the region both prevalent and obscure.
“The breadth and scope of Hans Kemp’s superb photography captures the expansive yet intimate nature of Asia’s ancient and thriving spiritual traditions.”
I found this book to be inspirational and highly motivating. It’s spawned so many ideas for possible future trips and projects. If you’re planning any trips to Asia in the near future and are looking to fill up your schedule, if you have an interest in world cultures and rituals, or if you simply want to check out some excellent photography, give it a look! Grab your copy on Hans’ website!