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!
In spite of the evening cloud cover which thwarted our star photography, we had a great time in the Utah canyon lands near Moab. Studying and staring at all the rock formations is like looking at shifting clouds–how many faces and forms can you see? This is an excellent place to put your artistic eye into action, capturing graphic images of shadowed rocky columns silhouetted against a bright blue sky, or using the natural textures, lines and layers of the landscape to lead your viewer through your shot.
Overall this was a fantastic trip; it’s always humbling to visit such a massive wide-open landscape! Enjoy the photos!
Photographing in Patagonia I am running into people I know at every turn! Hopefully the variety in the slide show indicates all of the varied opportunities that have presented themselves on this trip – it’s been a good one! Save one miserable day that was spent chasing ghosts up a mountain in gale force wind and rain, but that’s all a part of nature photography. We have seen eight different cats, all responding differently toward us – some are prone to flee at first sight of our group, while others casually hang around not seeming to mind our presence at all.
Over all this has been a fantastic trip with great company, and I’m excited to sit down and edit what has been a satisfying batch of new captures.
India is always a dazzling adventure. This trip began with leopards and ended with tigers, with Holi and Varanasi were sandwiched in between. Holi is a spring festival, but has become a rambunctious free-for-all where crowds fling brightly colored spices and powders into the air to banish the gloom of winter. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the energy to photograph this event again!
I’ll be posting some terrific photos my workshop participants took very soon, so stay tuned for those!
It’s Wildlife Wednesday – the perfect opportunity to share a slew of recent images from the recent Japan Photo Journey. Japanese macaques, Steller’s sea eagle, fox, deer, Japanese crane, and Ural owls were present. A Blakiston’s fish owl also made an appearance – the largest owl species in the world, sporting up to a two-meter wingspan – and last but not least, the iconic Whooper swans of Hokkaido.
Revisiting a location such as this where the imagery is iconic can be a real challenge in terms of coming up with a new perspective. When I lead a workshop or provide guidance on a retreat, my goal is to not only ensure you’ll come away with iconic shots, but also to find a unique focus to your photos. I challenge myself no differently. As an example, I wanted my photos of the macaques to capture their action and agility as they would leap from rock to rock over the flowing water, as well as their relationships between one and other. I positioned myself lower to the ground to capture the cranes and swans, trying to choose decisive moments when their wingspans and beautiful feathers were on display.
One of my favorite things to do when I have a couple extra days at home is to take a quick day trip to the Fraser River Delta in British Columbia. It is a haven for birds and birders and I concentrated on the short-eared owls and harriers that were hunting for rodents in the tall grasses. As I did earlier in the month at Pt. Reyres, I practiced with my new Canon EF600mm f/4L IS III USM lens, shooting mostly with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.
In addition to the birds of prey, I captured some of the best bufflehead images I’ve ever taken. Usually they look like little black and white sea ducks floating in dark water, but in the low winter light their feathers become a colorful iridescent rainbow.