On March 14, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt established Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, along Florida’s Atlantic coast, as the first unit of what would become the National Wildlife Refuge System. There are now more than 560 refuges across the country that protect species and the landscapes they depend upon for survival.
My favorite refuge is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. After rafting rivers in the refuge several times over the years, I filmed an episode of Travels to the Edge there in 2006, which can now be streamed online!
As in 2020, we did what we could to get through 2021. There was a rush to a new normal, but then a backslide. Thanks to the miracle workers at Moderna and Pfizer I was able to get back on the road, traveling for projects and teaching in-person workshops.
I began the year photographing in Kenya, taught workshops in Arizona, Utah, Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Iceland, and made two trips to Mexico. The highlight of my year was photographing the Mundari cattle-herders and their royal cattle in the South Sudan. This was a trip that I had been dreaming of doing for decades and it finally came to pass.
In September Tequila Time morphed into Art Wolfe Live, a very informal monthly show on YouTube and Facebook Live riffing on current events and photo discoveries and techniques. Parimal Deshpande and I continued with Earth Is Our Witness and there are now over forty episodes featuring discussions with some of the top photographers.
After a long wait for books, Night on Earth was published by Earth Aware Editions. It garnered glowing reviews from both editorial critics and book collectors. In December I was joined by Ruskin Hartley of the International Dark-Sky Association at Town Hall Seattle for a presentation. I also wrote the foreword for Private Gardens of the Pacific Northwest.
2021 keynotes included the Outsiders Landscape Photography Conference, the North American Nature Photography Association, and the Photographic Society of America. It was a distinct honor to be the recipient of the first Fine Art in Nature Photography Award.
I was pleased to be a part of the latest Remembering Wildlife book on African wild dogs as well the We Are Puget Sound: Discovering and Recovering the Salish Sea group exhibition here in Washington.
Despite an inauspicious start I hope that 2022 brings better things. I look forward to doing international workshops that have been rescheduled from 2020 (I am eternally grateful to those who have kept their reservations), working on new book projects, and doing ever more experimentation with photography. Even after decades of shooting, it feeds my soul and is a never-ending source of happiness. I hope to see you in the field or online!
This year’s bear tours in Katmai National Park didn’t disappoint. The salmon were plentiful, the bears were actively fishing for them, and we were happy to capture it. It was great to visit some locations that I had previously avoided due to crowds, and myself and our participants were rewarded with plenty of opportunities to capture great photos.
This being one of our more popular workshops, I wanted to feature the great photos our participants took on this trip. Fortunately they were gracious enough to accept this request and send me several photos to post and attribute.
Be sure to comment below if you have any favorites!
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/!
As you may have heard there has been a record salmon run in Bristol Bay this year. In Katmai there are always a lot of bears and salmon, but this year the numbers were off the charts!
Though I haven’t been in many years because of the crowds, we made the effort to go to the famous Brooks Falls and were rewarded with great light, patiently fishing bears, and leaping salmon. Elsewhere in the park we discovered some deep snow patches that were favorite play and sleep areas for the bears. It was a great place for them to cool down in T-shirt weather for humans—I can only imagine how hot they get with all that fur.
The cubs had discovered channels and tunnels in the snow and would pop up to bite their siblings only to disappear again. There was an abundance of sows with two, even three cubs. It takes a lot of salmon to fuel mothers and cubs, and the fish did not disappoint.
Overall, it was great to be back in Katmai after taking a hiatus last season, and I can’t wait to be back here next year with another group of amazing participants!
Short but sweet today, as our group arrives at the lodge up here in Katmai, Alaska. I missed out on visiting last summer, so I’m excited to see how things have changed in the past couple of years. My visits to this region have been so frequent that I’ve grown to recognize individual bears over the years – hopefully they haven’t grown up or changed too much in that time! Here are some of my favorite shots from this location over the years. Each time I go to this location, I have a new goal in mind. It’s interesting to look back and see how my shots and focus has changed from year to year. This time I definitely want to get some artistic shots of the beautiful vibrant salmon to illustrate many of the things I talk about when I speak of “changing the way you see”. I mean it! Stay tuned for new photos when I return!
This will be the first of two sold-out tours happening back to back – check out my events page to get your name on the list early for next year’s tours so you don’t miss out!
Happy Friday! Currently packing for a couple tours in Katmai, and I can’t wait to get out there with our group. I missed this last year, so it’ll be great to get back to it – and good to see our associates on the ground here as well that help our workshops run smoothly!
In the immediate future, there are limited spots left for both the Abstract Port Townsend and Iceland tours happening in August. Two very different experiences! Iceland has been filling up incredibly fast for being a new addition, so if it’s a trip you’ve been thinking about – now is the time!
it’s also a good time to be looking ahead to next year. I’ll be back here in Alaska – so if you missed it this year before they sold out, you’ve got another chance with lots of time to prepare, but don’t hesitate to grab your spot as these always sell out. I’ll also be heading to Japan, Africa, and Mongolia next year as well. Lets go shoot!
I took a hiatus from visiting Katmai last year; not necessarily as a consequence of the pandemic, but due to some other trips that I had to fit into my calendar. I’m as excited as ever to return this salmon season to check on on the bears I’ve observed on a regular basis for years now.
This year’s trips are already sold out – however you can guarantee your spot now to join me on this exclusive workshop photographing the denizens of Katmai National Park in 2022. Space is very limited, and while most workshops end up selling out as their dates approach, the Katmai tours often fill up very early on – don’t miss your opportunity!
As usual, there are two tours back to back happening next August. Not only is this a fantastic opportunity to photograph these animals and capture their very unique personalities and character traits – it’s also a chance to meet like-minded photographers who simply like to share in the knowledge and adventure of travel and wildlife photography.
Today is “Nature Photography Day” – I think I might have something to accomodate! This day was designated by the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) to promote the enjoyment of nature photography, and to explain how images have been used to advance the cause of conservation and protect plants, wildlife, and landscapes locally and worldwide–a cause I couldn’t agree more with and one I’ve been pursuing my entire career.
Thankfully I’m home for a couple days between workshops & I will be posting some new photos from the last three weeks along the Pacific coast of California and Oregon. I encourage everyone to get out there and explore your corner of the world!
I’m excited to share the results of the global vote to create a New Big 5 of Wildlife Photography. Thousands of wildlife lovers around the world have voted for their favorite animals to photograph and see in photos.
The 5 animals in the New Big 5 are: Elephant, Polar Bear, Gorilla, Tiger & Lion.
“These 5 animals – elephants, polar bears, gorillas, tigers and lions – are such beautiful and remarkable species, and are wonderful ambassadors for the world’s wildlife, from iconic species to little-known frogs, lizards, fish and birds. So many face threats to their survival from issues such as poaching, habitat loss and climate change. A million species are at risk of extinction. If we work together, we can stop this happening. There is always hope. Change is possible if we each play our part.”
– Dr Jane Goodall
The ‘Big 5’ is an old term used by trophy hunters in Africa for the most prized, dangerous animals to shoot and kill: elephant, rhino, leopard, Cape buffalo and lion. The New Big 5 project had a better idea: to create a New Big 5 of Wildlife Photography, rather than hunting. Shooting with a camera, not a gun.
More than 250 of the world’s photographers, conservationists and wildlife charities have come together to support this international initiative, which is raising awareness about the crisis facing wildlife, including habitat loss, the illegal wildlife trade and climate change.
Each of the 5 species in the New Big 5 face serious threats to their existence and are listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable. They’re the tip of the iceberg. The world’s wildlife is in crisis. More than a million species are currently at risk of extinction, from elephants, cheetahs, orangutans, lions and polar bears to ‘unsung heroes’ and little-known cats, frogs, birds, lizards and other species, each too valuable to lose. The next 10 years are critical.
We hope the New Big 5 can stand for all the world’s wildlife and highlight the urgent need to act globally to save these animals, our planet and ourselves. These 5 animals are a powerful reminder of what we stand to lose.
The project’s message is that all wildlife deserves to exist and every single species needs to be protected. From bees to blue whales, all wildlife is essential to the balance of nature, healthy ecosystems and the future of our planet.
Change is possible.
Find out more about the 5 animals in the New Big 5 of Wildlife Photography!