Greetings from Seattle! I won’t spend too much time talking about the elephant in the room, but I do want to wish each and every one of you the best through these difficult times and hope that you and yours are healthy and getting the support you need. In my limited excursions to get groceries and other necessities, I’ve witnessed nothing but kindness and support out there in the community, and that’s exactly what we need – we are truly in this together. I’m not one for standing still, and to that end I am working diligently to prepare some exciting new distance-based learning opportunities to unveil soon. Stay tuned!
One of my last trips before buckling down here was to Patagonia, with the primary goal of photographing pumas. These are notably solitary animals, whom rarely congregate or hunt with others until it’s time to breed. When cubs are born, they remain with their mother long enough to grow strong and learn to hunt before venturing out on their own. I was fortunate to capture not one but two such families on this trip – one with adorable young cubs, the other with rough-housing older siblings. To be able to follow these two groups and observe their similarities and differences kept me busy. They were surprisingly indifferent to my documentation of their days, whether they were lounging, scrapping, or enjoying some fine dining. Along the way I captured some other denizens of the area as well.
This has been an extraordinary trip capped off by several days spent in one of my favorite places on the planet: the Bolivian Altiplano. Salt lakes, many-hued mountains, and the surprise of flamingos living at 15,000 feet – it is an amazing place to be for a time, and I hope my travels lead me back here again.
It’s autumn in the southern hemisphere. It’s always windy; between the latitudes of 40 & 50 degrees, the Roaring Forties, strong westerly winds, smack the Andes and create the most amazing cloud formations. Lenticular clouds scud across enhancing the most spectacular of landscapes in Los Glaciares National Park, which includes Mount Fitz Roy Massif and Cerro Torre.
Flying into Antarctica can be a dicey proposition. We were stranded in Punta Arenas, Chile for a few days before the weather cleared enough on the icy continent, then hours later we couldn’t land and had to return for another try a day later. We did get a great view of Fitz Roy and the Patagonian Icecap, though.
“I have been extremely fortunate to travel and learn from Art on several occasions. Every opportunity that I’ve had to listen to him I’ve learned new things, even as recently as the Patagonia workshop. Art has transformed how I perceive a photograph. He’s worked with me in the field to get it in the camera, and has shown me stronger ways to create a compelling image in the critiques. The series of lectures that Art presents always deliver strong compositional tools which can be applied while out photographing as well as in the editing process. Art is a great teacher. He is generous with his knowledge, engaging in getting you to see creatively, and provides positive and enthusiastic feedback.”
It has become a year of firsts for me: in Japan I was able to photograph the Steller’s sea eagles for the first time, and now when I am in Chilean Patagonia, I have been able to photograph Southern South American pumas and their cubs. A couple of these photos will surely find their way into my next book project for 2014.
Patagonia offers a great opportunity to get close to wildlife. It really delivers the goods in that respect: foxes that walk right up to you, guanacos that are chilled out, and over 300 species of birds native to the region. And they are all surrounded by the really dramatic landscapes that are indicative to Patagonia. Big skies, big mountains, and wonderful wildlife. What more could you ask for?
This is one of the most beautiful and enchanted places on the Earth! I look forward to returning to Patagonia.