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.
Travel these days is a lot of hurry up and wait – hurry up and get a COIVD test, wait for the results. Rinse and repeat. Still, I’ve managed to get to quite a few locations I’ve been meaning to visit and come away with images I’m super happy with. Here you’ll find new images from Brazil, Morocco, Indonesia, Spain, and Washington. I’m just getting warmed up, with several international and domestic destinations on my list!
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.
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!
I made my first international trip in some time a couple of weeks ago, and my goal was two-fold – yes, get some amazing photos! Also – get an idea of what international travel is like at the moment. I have to say the experience was smoother than expected, and I felt safe throughout my travels.
If you missed it, I shared photos and stories about the trip on the latest episode of Tequila Time – give it a watch if you weren’t able to join us live!
I started off the month of October by leading a small workshop on the Olympic Peninsula for a handful of intrepid photographers who were ready to be safely out and about. Much of what appears to be fog in the photos is more than likely smoke still heading up north from the many devastating fires in California.
I’m so fortunate to live in such a varied and beautiful location where so many lessons can be taught in one place – from the varied lighting conditions on beaches versus the shadowed canopies of trees along their edge, majestic old-growth trees, and waterfalls to practice longer exposures.
Never be afraid to alter the location around you, as in the shot with the stacked rocks. It’s still possible to stage a scene while staying true to the natural wonders of the location, and in some ways enhance it while getting comfortable with the creative process!
In the photo below, the stacked rocks are not just an attempt to manufacture a subject, or add an interesting foreground element to capture the eye. While both of these things are happening, it’s really the smoothness of the rocks that informs the viewer about the location – the timeless rounded edges that speak of centuries of erosion. it so happens their rounded shape makes them easy to balance and stack.
As mentioned on Tequila Time, here is a gallery of photos from my recent trip to Yellowstone. It was quite crowded, but I did manage to get some shots I’m very happy with!
As always, if you missed any live broadcasts of tequila time we’ve done our best to archive them all on both Facebook and Instagram – check out the TT page to catch the ones you missed! This week we will have to shuffle things around a bit, so Tequila Time will once again be on Tuesday, this time beginning at 7:30 PM. I realize that ends up being late for some of you, but my time is a bit crunched this week between a couple of Pacific Northwest Workshops. Hope to see you there!