New Photos From the Carmel Coast!

The Carmel coast in California is a captivating blend of rugged natural beauty and abundant wildlife, making it a haven for photographers. This coastal landscape offers the rocky cliffs and pristine beaches you’d expect, with seals, sea lions, otters and shore birds animating the landscape. When I’m here, I’m keeping an eye out for the abstract opportunities reflected upon the water, and familiar forms on oxidized rocks and minerals.

Variety is an important factor when I’m picking out workshop locations. Many of my personal trips in specific for book projects have me making a long trip just hoping to capture a few iconic shots of a certain species, event, or culture. When I have the opportunity to lead a workshop, variety is a huge factor in determining how frequently we might revisit a location. The Carmel coast has variety in spades as described above, but also the many forests, redwoods, and other inland sights within striking distance.

Needless to say, this is also a top-tier location for enjoying wine and food with good company as well. Looking forward to the next visit!

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New Photos From Kyoto, Japan!

Earlier this month some good friends and myself visited Kyoto, Japan to photograph the culture and spiritual ceremonies for one of my next book projects, “Act of Faith”. Here, we had the opportunity to photograph Shinto priests and priestesses performing rituals at a sacred Shinto Shrine.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve visited Japan to capture photos for Faith. I was here a few years back to capture the Oto Matsuri purification ceremony. This trip was definitely more harmonious, without the fire and drunken shenanigans!

Shinto is Japan’s native faith, and though Buddhism nearly matches it in terms of practitioners, the way these two religions have managed to not only co-exist, but compliment one and other is just one of the many heartening aspects of world faith that will be highlighted in this upcoming project. Prominent Buddhist figures were assigned Shinto identities, while Shinto Kami, or the divine spirits that inhabit the natural world, strove for Buddhist enlightenment.

I’ve made many trips to Japan over the years, primarily to photograph the Snow macaques, cranes, and other wild life. However, the Japanese culture and reverence for nature has always fascinated me as illustrated in the way I’ve styled my West Seattle home environs as a Japanese Garden. I look forward to seeing this all come together in a celebration of world spirituality, and I highly recommend a visit to Kyoto!


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New Photos from the Southwestern US!

March was a return to two favorite places for US workshops – Moab, Utah and Sedona, Arizona. You’ll find photos of these locations adorning postcards and in establishing shots of any films that might take place in the region. While we are there, participants are encouraged to get these iconic shots. However, our focus is on a process I mention a lot – seeing beyond the obvious. To that end, abstractions in reflections or studies of texture become works of art using your camera as your brush – unique shots most tourists won’t be coming away with!

During this trip we made a stop at a local junkyard where shots of old, rusted vehicles became our subjects. It’s an interesting transition to go from shooting an actual landscape to visualizing an abstracted vista in the rusted side-panel of a dilapidated truck. Unless I have very specific goals in mind for a wildlife trip, or something absolutely dedicated to culture, I try to find the time to shoot abstract images everywhere I go. It’s an exercise akin to keeping a sketchbook as a fine artist – a way to exercise your photographic muscles, and perhaps creating your own inspiration for future projects along the way.

I recently used a shot from this trip to illustrate the importance of using a polarizing filter, so don’t forget to pack yours if you head Southwest! it’s an invaluable tool for any landscapes to ensure colors are vivid, and especially important in a location with clear, sunny skies with so much reflected light.

Enjoy the new photos!

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#MammalMonday – Sand Orcas from Arrakis National Park!

Photographer Art Wolfe perches on the bank of a Sand Orca to capture the migrating pod in action.
Photographer Art Wolfe perches on the back of a Sand Orca to capture the migrating pod in action.

Happy #MammalMonday!

One of the most fascinating and unique creatures I’ve photographed over the years is the Sand Orca, a rare species that returns to the desert of Arrakis National Park every year to breed. The dry sands are inhospitable for the natural predators of young orcas, while also providing them with sustenance of their own in the plentiful oryx that dot the landscape.

When the young orcas are old enough to traverse the more rocky sediment between their sandy breeding grounds and the rocky shores, they’ll return to the sea, their dusky and ivory skin hardened by their desert experience. One day, they’ll return to these arid sands to begin a family of their own.

I have to say the Sand Orca is right up there with things like the duck-billed platypus, or perhaps the Short-necked giraffe of Wakanda as far as one of the wierdest creatures I’ve had the pleasrue of capturing.  What’s the strangest or most unique animal you’ve ever photographed? Leave a comment below!

Sand Orcas generally migrate from left to right in relation to the frame, making them an ideal subject for western photographers.
Sand Orcas generally migrate from left to right in relation to the frame, making them an ideal subject for western photographers.
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2023 Year In Photos!

Happy New Year! The highlight of this past year for me was of course the release of Wild Lives, a book years in the making and the end result of tens of thousands of miles of travel. It’s also available in the UK, in Italian, and an Australian version is set for release in February. In March, the gorgeous limited edition version will be available in a stylish and protective clamshell case and will include a signed print. It will make a fantastic accompaniment to the fine art editions of Earth Is My Witness and Trees: Between Earth and Heaven.

2023 started out in Thailand photographing the mesmerizing eruption of bats as they streamed out of their cave and into the sunset, and stops in Honshu and Hokkaido allowed for one more crack at Japan’s winter wildlife. I then found myself on the highest plateau of India, the Ladakh region, where I was able to capture the elusive snow leopard – just in time to get it in the book!

Workshops from Moab, Utah to the Appalachian Highlands of North Carolina came prior to the annual Katmai bear trip. We also fit in an incredible adventure in Glacier Bay where we were treated to plenty of breaching whales putting on a show as well as fantastic cuisine aboard the Alaskan Story yacht.

Fall began with my next book Act Of Faith top of mind, and I was fortunate to visit Benin and Chad and capture incredible shots of ceremonies unique to each region. The year came to a close with a few more U.S. workshops and another trip to India, this time with an amazing group of tour participants capturing the wildlife in Kanha and Kaziranga National Parks.

It was a loaded year – and 2024 is shaping up to be busy as well!

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Wildlife Wednesday – New Photos from India!

In November the first Wild Lives photo journey took us to Kanha and Kaziranga National Parks in India. Set on The Chhota Nagpur Plateau in Madhya Pradesh, Kanha provides breathtaking vistas of grassy plains and sal forests. It is the ideal habitat for both tigers and their prey, and we were able to see and photograph these magnificent cats, chital (axis deer), and langurs. Located to south of the great Brahmaputra River, Kaziranga National Park is home to the largest number of one-horned rhinoceros in the world. The swamps were purple with water hyacinths which made a painterly backdrop for wildlife photography.

I have several Wild Lives photo journeys on the calendar for 2024 and beyond. These immersive, small group tours focus on providing the best opportunities for capturing awe-inspiring moments of untamed beauty.

Reserve Your Spot Today!

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New Photos – Polar Bears in Manitoba, Canada!

This past week has been Polar Bear Week – observed during the fall polar bear migration to Churchill, Manitoba. Here the bears await the winter season and the cold that will freeze-over Hudson Bay, granting the bears access to hunt seals. One of the symptoms of a changing climate has been a shortened ice season. This provides an opportunity to photograph the bears with their stark white fur against darker backgrounds than the ice and snow we are used to seeing.

This was a great trip as several of the bears turned out to be real characters, mugging for the camera and putting on a show for us. Visiting Churchill is always unique experience. This is a town that exist on the fringe where the frozen north pole meets the rest of the earth, that has learned to co-exist with a local bear population that at times rivals the number of people living in the area.

Enjoy the photos!

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New Photos From Grand Teton!

Happy Friday! The Grand Teton workshop is a wrap & it was fantastic, to say the least. Never before have we had such great luck with finding wildlife, bears in particular. We were blessed by the presence of Grizzly 610 and her three second-year cubs. Not only is 610 a hero mother, she is a tough survivor—in early October she was struck by a car, but came out of it OK. Born in 2006, She is a famous bear with her own Instagram and X accounts with thousands of followers (including me). Bison abounded, moose were off foraging in the lakes and willow thickets, and birdlife was all aflutter. Of course, the landscapes were breathtaking, with robust fall color.

All-in-all, a fantastic workshop full of variety and most importantly, great company. Check out what’s coming up this spring and take a trip with us!

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New Photos from the Palouse, Eastern Washington!

After eight years away (even though it’s only a 5 hour drive), I led a small group of avid photographers through the rolling hills of grain in the Palouse. This is an area of graceful landscapes shaped first by nature then by man, subtle shadows cast by passing clouds, and opportunities for challenging abstracts. We were unaffected by the recent fires in the area, much of the smoke had dissipated, but it was constantly in the backs of our minds. Many families have lost their homes in Spokane County wildfires this summer, if you would like to help please donate to Red Cross Disaster Relief.

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New Photos from Katmai, Alaska

There’s no place like Katmai, there’s no place like Katmai, there’s no place like Katmai. I wish it were that easy to be transported to this extraordinary living laboratory of Alaska’s brown bears. This year we had better than ever photographic opportunities with the bears. From afar with our 100-500mm lenses set at the upper end of the focal length we witnessed at-times violent interactions between older siblings over salmon, tender moments between protective mothers and their cubs, and diverse birdlife of the tundra and waterways. The landscapes are vast and glorious, the wildlife abundant–truly a privilege to behold!

I’ll be heading back to Katmai next summer for two workshops – take your pick and join me next year! Save a few hundred bucks with early bird pricing through October.

Wild Lives Photo Tour: Katmai 1
July 25 – 31, 2024

Wild Lives Photo Tour: Katmai 2
July 31 – August 6, 2024

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