I hadn’t been to Easter Island since 1986 and if you’ve checked out Photographs From the Edge, you’ll know that despite my “scientific” western brain, I had quite the spiritual experience here, miles away from the closest human and surrounded by monuments of ages passed. It is places like these where despite our different backgrounds one can come and feel an almost metaphysical presence that was partially my inspiration for an upcoming book on international faith and ritual.
For that project, among others, I thought it would be great to revisit it during the Tapati Festival. Rightly so, Rapa Nui people are very proud of their heritage and this festival highlights their culture. Of course, everyone is familiar with the moai, monumental statues of ancestors. We got up at three in the morning to photograph them under the Milky Way, running around with flashlights to illuminate them in various ways.
I was also able to pull photograph three Rapa Nui men in traditional garb, overlooking the ocean. In the past, men would brave the currents and swim out to the small island in the distance and bring back seabird eggs. If they succeeded they would be regarded as heroes for their efforts.
Enjoy the photos, and stay tuned to the blog for more photos from my first couple months of 2020 travel!
Here be Dragons! I spent most of the month of January in Asia – Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines. In Japan, I was able to return to the place I photographed ducks and swans three decades ago for Migrations. As you can see, the congregation of waterfowl was a crush of feathers and beaks that mostly obscured any sight of the water beneath them. We also visited the beach, where storms in the region have discarded all kinds of garbage onto the shore – it was awful, but also quite a sight.
From Japan, we visited Indonesia and most notably Komodo island where I was able to capture the massive and menacing Komodo Dragons. I’d been planning this stop for a while and wasn’t disappointed, using some rigged up gear to get in nice and close.
The trip closed out in the Philippines, and this time the congregation was of revelers and worshipers at the Sinulog Festival and the – *deep breath* – Solemn Procession of the Miraculous Image of the Santa Niño. That’s quite the name, for quite the festival! I was most impressed with the variety of colorful costumes on display. I was also the sole photographer willing to get in the water with whale sharks – no regrets, enjoy the photos!
One of my last trips to close out 2019 was a visit to Istanbul, Turkey. I’ve been making my way through several countries with an eye on the different ways cultures express and practice faith for an upcoming book project where I wish to illustrate the various ways we humans, so similar in many ways, celebrate our faith with such varied ceremonies, icons, and other forms of expression. The domed mosques shining at sunrise or sunset, illuminated and shining over the city provided an excellent backdrop for capturing those practicing their faith as well as portraits, and I was even extended an invitation to photograph the Whirling Dervishes as they engaged in their frenetic reeling dance. Enjoy, and stay tuned for some exciting new photos from my current trip. Here’s a hint – There be Dragons!
I made multiple trips to India this year, including a trip this past November. I’m now an expert on old Delhi, where I was able to capture a number of abstracts before setting out in search of wildlife, namely tigers. My last trip here was focused mostly on the Holi festival, and while I came away with some shots I’m happy with the crush of people made for a chaotic environment to shoot in. This trip was more my speed, and I’m happy with what I came away with. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!
At the beginning of November I pried a few friends away from their families and obligations and had a great time exploring the canyonlands of Utah; A simple excursion for photography’s sake of the sort I haven’t had in some time! Usually I’m leaping from location to location, itinerary in hand and a clear goal in mind – to fulfill a book project, or fill a gap in my catalog with previously unexplored location, creature, or culture.
This time it was a relaxed trip with friends to feed the soul and recharge the batteries with no expectations that would elicit success or failure. It was a great trip and I’ll definitely make time for these kinds of trips in the future. Enjoy!
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!
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. . .
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!
May began with our second Carmel-By-The-Sea workshop in as many years, and this is fast becoming one of our most requested Photography Retreats! Not only is it a beautiful and accessible location that doesn’t require leaving the states, there is just so much to see and do in the area that each trip is a little different.
Sea otters, seals, and a variety of shore birds can be found here and we usually take a relaxing kayak tour to photograph them from the water. If you’re not an avid or even mildly experienced kayaker, fear not – we just go along for the ride and hire professionals to do the work for us so we can be free to photograph!
Next year’s retreat is already on the calendar – get signed up today to reserve your spot. Spaces are already spoken for, and this trip will be a sell out!