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National Geographic Expedition: Iceland / Greenland / NW Passage

Polar bear sniffing the air

Polar bear sniffing the air
Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

More than three weeks on a National Geographic Expedition, “Iceland/Greenland/NW Passage,” and just recovered our Internet access!!  (I don’t think Franklin nor Amundsen had to worry about losing connection to the rest of the world during their exploratory voyages here.) An amazing trip, most of it spent within the Canadian archipelago.  Photographic opportunities were abundant, a few during late night/early morning, but such is the nature of an Expedition.  I found the noise handling of the Olympus E-M1 as a very powerful tool..the photo of the Inuit in Pond Inlet was shot at 6400, with virtually no noise.  Impressive. Photographing the wildlife in the Arctic does require patience..we’d see Polar bear miles out ahead of the ship, on a piece of ice..usually a slightly off-color looking continuation of the white background.  Pushing through ice, slowly as to not frighten off the animal, could take an hour-plus.  Several times, after standing on the bow in freezing conditions for that time, the bear would react to our presence by turning and taking off.  However, there were enough “close encounters” to provide many long sessions of watching/photographing these stunning animals in their world. We’re now in Resolute, Canada, one of the most northerly communities in the world.  Fog and weather eliminated our out-bound flight yesterday, and it’s snowing today (this is August 21) with a few inches accumulation expected.  As I type, the National Geographic Explorer is heading out for one more trips into the ice; the sound of ice sliding by the sides of the ship overwhelms the ambient sounds aboard the vessel.  Perhaps, more bears.

Mummy of Qilakitsoq baby in Nuuk, Geenland. Olympus E-M1 75mm f1.8

Mummy of Qilakitsoq baby in Nuuk, Geenland.
Olympus E-M1 75mm f1.8

Polar bear and two cubs crossing Petermann Ice Island Olympus E-M1 100-300mm lens

Polar bear and two cubs crossing Petermann Ice Island
Olympus E-M1 100-300mm lens

 

In the Davis Straits, near Baffin Island, this polar bear visited the ship.

In the Davis Straits, near Baffin Island, this polar bear visited the ship
Olympus E-M1 12-40mm f2.8 lens

Inuit artist in Sisimiut, Greenland

Inuit artist in Sisimiut, Greenland
Olympus E-M1 12-40mm f2.8 lens

near Baffin Island, a polar bear crosses the ice at sunset Olympus E-M1  50-200mm lens

near Baffin Island, a polar bear crosses the ice at sunset
Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

sunset in the ice near Baffin Island Olympus E-M1  50-200mm lens

sunset in the ice near Baffin Island
Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

Sled dog in Sisimiut, Greenland Olympus E-M1 50-200mm

Sled dog in Sisimiut, Greenland
Olympus E-M1 50-200mm

Fellow traveler on Ellesmere Island

Fellow traveler on Ellesmere Island
Olympus E-M1 12-40mm f2.8 lens

Canadian icebreaker Pierre Radisson, assisting us through ice near BellotnStraits in the Canada Archipelago  Olympus E-M1 9-18mm lens

Canadian icebreaker Pierre Radisson, assisting us through ice near Bellot Straits in the Canada Archipelago
Olympus E-M1 9-18mm lens

Canadian icebreaker Pierre Radisson, assisting us through ice near Bellot Straits in the Canada Archipelago  Olympus E-M1 9-18mm lens

Canadian icebreaker Pierre Radisson, assisting us through ice near Bellot Straits in the Canada Archipelago
Olympus E-M1 9-18mm lens

Ice Fjords near Ilulissat, Greenland Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

Ice Fjords near Ilulissat, Greenland
Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

Hare bell flower, Hvalsey, Greenland Olympus E-M1  12-40mm f2.8

Hare bell flower, Hvalsey, Greenland
Olympus E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

Near Baffin Island, this polar bear was watching us closely Olympus E-M1  50-200mm lens

Near Baffin Island, this polar bear was watching us closely
Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

Near Radstod Bay, Canada Archipelago, jaw of Arctic fox sits in tundra  Olympus E-M1  9-18mm lens

Near Radstod Bay, Canada Archipelago, jaw of Arctic fox sits in tundra
Olympus E-M1 9-18mm lens

Inuit in Pond Inlet, traditional Inuit game Olympus E-M1  75mm f1.8

Inuit in Pond Inlet, traditional Inuit game
Olympus E-M1 75mm f1.8

Flight of birds cross snowy strait near Dundas Harbour, Canada Archipelago Olympus E-M1 50200mm lens

Flight of birds cross snowy strait near Dundas Harbour, Canada Archipelago
Olympus E-M1 50200mm lens

Lindblad's Ralph Lee Hopkins, Queens Harbour Olympus E-M1  12-40mm lens

Queens Harbour
Olympus E-M1 12-40mm lens

Polar bear hunting on ice Olympus E-M1  50-200mm lens w/2x

Polar bear hunting on ice
Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens w/2x

Glacier in Icy Arm, Canadian Archipelago Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

Glacier in Icy Arm, Canadian Archipelago
Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

Walrus near Queens Harbour, Canadian Archipelago Olympus E-M1  50-200mm lens

Walrus near Queens Harbour, Canadian Archipelago
Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

In Queens Harbour, Canadian Archipelago Olympus E-M1  50-200mm lens

In Queens Harbour, Canadian Archipelago
Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Alaska’s Inside Passage

From the Yukon River, the Tatshenshini-Alsek River, a scientific program miles out on the Arctic ice from Barrow, sea-kayaking in Glacier Bay, trips in the Inside Passage, I’ve had the good fortune of working in Alaska many times over my career.  I just returned from two, back-to-back trips for National Geographic aboard the National Geographic “Sea Lion.”

 

In the Inian Island of the Inside Passage, an immature Bald eagle grabs dinner   Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

In the Inian Island of the Inside Passage, an immature Bald eagle grabs dinner. Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

 

Starting in Sitka a couple of weeks ago, this trip took me to a favorite place of mine, the Inside Passage.   Gray days with drizzle followed by stunning days of sun and blue skies really provide an all-around Alaska experience.  Wildlife, scenery, more wildlife and more scenery was the commonality on this trip.

 

In the Inian Island of the Inside Passage, an immature Bald eagle grabs dinner   Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

In the Inian Island of the Inside Passage, an immature Bald eagle grabs dinner. Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

 

During the past 8 years, I’ve been on nearly 40 different trips for National Geographic Expeditions, ranging from Antarctic and South Georgia, to the Arctic, the Cape of Norway, the British Isles, and multiple more for the Lindblad/National Geographic alliance. When asked which  is my favorite, a really impossible question to answer as each place has it’s magnetism, I still find that the Inside Passage really rates near the top.

As the “National Geographic Expert” aboard these trips, part of my responsibility is to share my photographic knowledge with those who are interested in this craft.  With a National Geographic photographer aboard many of the Lindblad/National Georgraphic trips, this provides a great resource for the  photographically –driven travelers, having access to that individual and the years of experience they bring to the ships.

In the Inian Island of the Inside Passage, an immature Bald eagle grabs dinner.   Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

In the Inian Island of the Inside Passage, an immature Bald eagle grabs dinner. Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

Over the 40+ years that I’ve been in this business, hopefully I’ve made enough mistakes and had the successes in terms of not only image-making, but in creating a pretty workable body of equipment I travel with.  I’d like to share a bit of my knowledge for anyone interested, so here goes:

Most of my work takes me outside the US, and I’ve spent enough time on aircraft, running through airports and dealing with the general hassles of the location photographer.  Lightweight gear with a small footprint is becoming more important to me all the time. This is a large reason that I use a mirrorless camera system.  My camera of choice is the Olympus OM-D E-M1.  About half the size of a standard DSLR, and with lenses at least half the size of their DSLR equivalents, I’ve found that this system gives me the quality I need, and eliminates a huge amount of the dead weight of a full-sized DSLR.

Glacier calving on South Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm    Olympus E-M1  50-200

Glacier calving on South Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Olympus E-M1 50-200

I carry my cameras on the plane, I won’t ship anything under, and if I can, I won’t gate-check a bag.  I’ve seen equipment ruined by the rough handling after bidding that case adieu due to a gate agent’s refusal to allow my case to go onboard.  And, if you think there is a real “international carry-on” set of guidelines that all airlines adhere to, well, I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you in New York.

Glacier calving on South Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm    Olympus E-M1  50-200

Glacier calving on South Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Olympus E-M1 50-200

One of the most critical components of travel/location photography is the ability to back up my work.   Digital technology is amazing, until you have failure or loss of images, then it’s voodoo magic..I always carry a small RAID system with me, I use the Wiebetech “Tough Tech Duo.”  In this device resides two 500GB hard drives, the RAID has a chipset onboard, that when plugged into my Mac, appears as one hard drive on my desktop.  Before re-formatting my card, I confirm that those images (after an edit session, eliminating the obvious and the lesser images) are backed up on my Tough Tech before formatting that card.  In addition to the RAID, a carry an additional, “bare” hard drive the same size and speed as those in my drive.  I’ll pop out one of the drives in that RAID and replace with this extra drive.  My Tough Tech then warns me that a new drive has been installed, and asks if I want to copy the contents of the existing drive in the unit to the new drive.  I’ll okay that, and at that point I have my two copies on the RAID of all my files, and I’ll have an additional drive (the one I popped out) that has the files as well.  This way, if I’m leaving my hotel room, that extra drive goes with me and I am pretty secure even if my room is robbed(worst case scenario, but I can’t be too careful with my images, as this is my living) as I’ll have that extra copy that is in my pocket that I can create a new RAID’d backup.

Glacier calving on South Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm    Olympus E-M1  50-200

Glacier calving on South Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Olympus E-M1 50-200

The Tough Tech is a “transition” unit, its primary function is to provide backup until I return home, at that point I’ll drag the files from my latest adventure onto my CRU-Dataport RSX400 RAID system.  After confirming that those files are on that drive (and a second RAID as well) are copied I’ll then erase those files from my Tough Tech.

Part of an iceberg, just after calving off of the South Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm, Alaska.  Olympus E-M1   50-200mm lens

Part of an iceberg, just after calving off of the South Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm, Alaska. Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

This is all part of a workflow, which doesn’t stop at copying to my main drives.  All photographers should have a plan in mind, and follow that plan religiously.  Hard drives are NOT a permanent medium for storage, one has to plan on updating the storage by moving your entire library to new medium every few years.

Developing and following a workflow is critical for the digital photographer; it’s an amazing technology, but you have to keep your files up to date or you could lose your entire library.

In Glacier Bay National Park, a Puffin on takeoff

In Glacier Bay National Park, a Puffin on takeoff

Glacier Bay National Park, a Mountain goat on mountainside   Oly E-M1 50-200

Glacier Bay National Park, a Mountain goat on mountainside Oly E-M1 50-200

Near Cascade falls    Olympus E-M1, 12-40mm lens

Near Cascade falls Olympus E-M1, 12-40mm lens

Petersburg, Alaska   Olympus E-M1  12-40mm lens

Petersburg, Alaska Olympus E-M1 12-40mm lens

Petersburg, Olympus E-M1, 12-40mm lens

Petersburg, Olympus E-M1, 12-40mm lens

Petersburg, later that day....Olympus E-M1 12-40mm lens

Petersburg, later that day….Olympus E-M1 12-40mm lens

Humpback whales in moonlight, Olympus E-M1  50-200mm lens

Humpback whales in moonlight, Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

Full moon in Icy Straits, Olympus E-M1 50-200mm

Full moon in Icy Straits, Olympus E-M1 50-200mm

Lindblad naturalist Larry Hobbs and his awesome hat    Olympus E-M1, 12-40mm

Lindblad naturalist Larry Hobbs and his awesome hat Olympus E-M1, 12-40mm

Glacier front

Glacier front

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Baja, “Remarkable Journey”

Laguna San Ignacio, a baby gray whale surfaces near a Zodiac raft, with hand of visitor reaching down to pet the whale     Olympus E-M5 7-14mm w/housing

Laguna San Ignacio, a baby gray whale surfaces near a Zodiac raft, with hand of visitor reaching down to pet the whale Olympus E-M5 7-14mm w/housing

 

The Remarkable Journey – Baja California and the Sea of Cortez

 

Once a year, National Geographic/Lindblad offers a very unique trip in the Sea of Cortez, “The Remarkable Journey.”   Two weeks long, this trip takes the traveler from the bays on the Pacific side, down and around Cabo San Lucas and far north in Baja California.  My second trip to this area, I’m posting just a few images from this trip as I was out of commission for a few days with a pulled muscle in my back, what fun that was…

I was shooting with an underwater housing for my Olympus O-MD, with the domed port so I could shoot the 7-14mm Olympus lens with the outfit, a favorite of mine for shooting underwater.

Hope you enjoy these few images from Baja….

 

Baby Gray whale in Laguna San Ignacio    Olympus OM-D E-M5 w/7-14mm in housing

Baby Gray whale in Laguna San Ignacio Olympus OM-D E-M5 w/7-14mm in housing

 

In Laguna San Ignacio, along the Baja Peninsula, a baby Gray whale surfaces to view visitors.   Olympus E-M5 w/7-14mm in housing

In Laguna San Ignacio, along the Baja Peninsula, a baby Gray whale surfaces to view visitors. Olympus E-M5 w/7-14mm in housing

A baby Gray whale meets a visitor

A baby Gray whale meets a visitor

 

A baby Gray whale rises to meet a visitor, who is reaching to pet the whale

A baby Gray whale rises to meet a visitor, who is reaching to pet the whale

Sunrise near Laguna Magdalena on Pacific coast

Sunrise near Laguna Magdalena on Pacific coast

Mexican fisherman at Laguna Magdalena

Mexican fisherman at Laguna Magdalena Olympus Stylus 1

Sea lion playing with housing near Los Islotes   Olympus OM-D E-M5, w/7-14mm in housing

Sea lion playing with housing near Los Islotes Olympus OM-D E-M5, w/7-14mm in housing

Blue whale surfacing in Sea of Cortez

Blue whale surfacing in Sea of Cortez

 

Cadron cactus on Los Islotes   Olympus OM-D E-M1, w/9-18mm

Cadron cactus on Los Islotes Olympus OM-D E-M1, w/9-18mm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Antarctica / S. Georgia / Falklands

     It’s been about a year since I last was in the Southern Ocean and I’ve just returned from another fantastic National Geographic Expediton to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands.  With my third trip to the trio, as well as several solo trips to the Antarctic, I’m always reminded of how special these places are.

I feel very fortunate to do what I get to do.  I consider myself a “generalist” photographer, not a sports/wildlife/landscape-specific photographer, and I think that is what keeps my passion for this craft going.  It’s forever a changing panorama in front of my camera; I love the ongoing challenge of finding a new way of capturing the image.

In the Antarctic/S. Georgia/ Falklands, neither the landscape, the wildlife, or the light is ever repeated.  It genuinely feels like a remote and pristine environment, a place that is inexhaustible in its photographic potential.

Hope you enjoy my take on this wonderful place.

Gnoman Rock off of Point Wild

Gnoman Rock off of Point Wild on Elephant Island, within sight of the spot Shackleton’s crew spent 135 days before rescue
Olympus OM-D E-M5 PT-EP08 Housing
9-18mm

 

Gnoman Rock off of Point Wild, very near survival camp of Shackletons group

Gnoman Rock off of Point Wild, very near survival camp of Shackletons group where they spent 135 days before rescue
Olympus OM-D E-M5 PT-EP08 Housing
9-18mm

 

 

Edge of an iceberg
Olympus OM-D E-M1 50-200mm

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A Zodiac heads to the “Bremen” in the early evening Antarctic light
Olympus OM-D E-M1
12-40mm

In Ciera Cove, a female Leopard seal dives into the ice, then attempts launching out of the water to the ice

Following series: In Ciera Cove, a female Leopard seal dives into the ice, then attempts launching out of the water to the ice
Olympus OM-D E-M1 50-200mm

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20140222_CieraCove_00858F_640W

 

 

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Gentoo penguin on Baily Head

Gentoo penguin on Baily Head
Olympus OM-D E-M1 50-200mm

Iceberg

Iceberg

    At Point Wild, on Elephant Island, a colony of Gentoo penguins in front of the glacier which abutted the Shackleton survival camp

At Point Wild, on Elephant Island, a colony of Gentoo penguins in front of the glacier which abutted the Shackleton survival camp Olympus OM-D E-M1 50-200mm

 

Macaroni penguin "porpoising"

Macaroni penguin “porpoising”
Olympus OM-D E-M1 50-200mm

Brush tail of King penguin

Brush tail of King penguin
Olympus OM-D E-M1 50-200mm

Water drops of chest of King penguin after emerging from ocean at Gold Harbour in S. Georgia

Water drops of chest of King penguin after emerging from ocean at Gold Harbour in S. Georgia Olympus OM-D E-M1 50-200mm

Water drops on chest of King penguin as it emerges from ocean at Gold Harbour

Water drops on chest of King penguin as it emerges from ocean at Gold Harbour
Olympus OM-D E-M1 50-200mm

Beach scene at Gold Harbour in S. Georgia

Beach scene at Gold Harbour in S. Georgia
Olympus OM-D E-M1 50-200mm

Gold Harbour, South Georgia

Gold Harbour, South Georgia
Olympus OM-D E-M1 50-200mm

King penguins on Gold Harbour, South Georgia

King penguins on Gold Harbour, South Georgia Olympus OM-D E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

On St Andrews in South Georgia, a Skua looks over colony of 200,000+ King penguins...

On St Andrews in South Georgia, a Skua looks over colony of 200,000+ King penguins…Olympus OM-D E-M1 w/50-200mm lens

In Hercules Bay, S. Georgia, a jellyfish as soon from underwater.  Olympus OM-D E-M5 in housing with 9-18mm lens

In Hercules Bay, S. Georgia, a jellyfish as soon from underwater. Olympus OM-D E-M5 in housing with 9-18mm lens

Macaroni penguin preening, Hercules Bay, South Georgia

Macaroni penguin preening, Hercules Bay, South Georgia

Near Stromness, in South Georgia, a fur seal pup reacts to my presence.  Olympus OM-D E-M1 12-40mm lens

Near Stromness, in South Georgia, a fur seal pup reacts to my presence. Olympus OM-D E-M1 12-40mm lens

Near beach on New Island, Falklands

Near beach on New Island, Falklands

Black browed albatross colony in Falklands....Olympus OM-E E-M1 w/12-40mm lens

Black browed albatross colony in Falklands….Olympus OM-E E-M1 w/12-40mm lens

Black browed albatross on Westpoint Island, in Falklands...Olympus OM-D E-M1 w/12-40mm lens

Black browed albatross on Westpoint Island, in Falklands…Olympus OM-D E-M1 w/12-40mm lens

Magellanic penguins near burrows on New Island in the Falklands...Olympus OM-D E-M1 w/50-200mm

Magellanic penguins near burrows on New Island in the Falklands…Olympus OM-D E-M1 w/50-200mm

Striated Caracaras (Johnny Rooks) on New Island, Falklands...Olympus OM-D E-M1 with 50-200

Striated Caracaras (Johnny Rooks) on New Island, Falklands…Olympus OM-D E-M1 with 50-200

On Saunders Island in the Falklands, a group of Macaroni penguin emerge from surf...Olympus OM-D E-M1 w/12-40mm

On Saunders Island in the Falklands, a group of Macaroni penguin emerge from surf…Olympus OM-D E-M1 w/12-40mm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



National Geographic “Around the World by Private Jet” 2013 India, Tanzania, Jordan and Morocco

 

Man in Kachhpura Village

Man in Kachhpura Village Olympus OM-D E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

Young woman in Kachhpura Village, India

Young woman in Kachhpura Village, India Olympus OM-D E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

Monday, October 28, and we’re in Petra, Jordan.  The last couple of stops were fantastic: Agra, India (for the Taj Mahal) and the Serengeti in Tanzania.

The intensity of India is wonderful.  The visuals are unmatched anywhere in the world and I don’t think one can be ambivalent about the place.

Early morning at the Taj is wonderful, as you can watch the sunlight intensify on the white domed marble mausoleum as morning progresses.  This is such a great time of day to be here as the crowds are light and the temperatures are comfortable.

We flew into the Serengeti, arriving in time for a game drive on the way to the Four Seasons Hotel.  I think the revelation hits everyone on the trip at this point-we watched sunrise on the Taj Mahal, and later that same day we were photographing elephants in the Serengeti.  Every stop has had that same feeling, it’s just here that it seems to strike you the most.  I can’t imagine how one would arrange their own trip with this amazing itinerary.

I’m always asked where my favorite places are in the world.  So many places we visit tend to fall short of expectations.  But the Serengeti meets, then exceeds those expectations. When you are photographing a female elephant with her calves, and then look around to see 20-30 other elephants surrounding you, it is startling.

Petra, Jordan was incredible. I’ve heard visitors rave about the ancient city.  The buidings were carved out the areas sandstone and contained a very early water conduit system.  The city was established as early as 312 BCE.  Discovered around 1812, it’s been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.  Wandering what appears to be a slot canyon, one discovers the really beautiful Treasury, appearing at the end of the narrow gorge called the Sik, or shaft..  The city was spread over quite a large area, and consumes a lot of time in visiting.

While in Jordan, we also visited Wadi Rum, famous as the place a considerable amount of “Lawrence of Arabia” was filmed.  Incredible rock formations surrounded by desert made famous in that movie

We ended the trip in Marrakesh, Morocco. The Souk, or old marketplace being a fantastic place in which to lose one’s self.  Carefully lose one self.  Hope you’ve enjoyed the blog, heading home now, and ready to be there!

 

 

Kids in Kachhapura Village, India Olympus OM-D E-M1 9-18mm

Kids playing with dyes in Kachhpura Village, India Olympus OM-D E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

Dancer performing Northern India traditional dance Olympus OM-D E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

early morning visitors at Taj Mahal Olympus OM-D E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

Visitor at Taj Mahal Olympus OM-D E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

Sweeper at Taj Mahal, early morning Olympus OM-D E-M1 9-18mm

Flying into Arusha, Tanzania, Mt. Kilimanjaro Olympus O-MD E-M1 12-40mmm f2.8

Leopard in Serengeti, first time I’ve seen a nest-dwelling leopard Olympus OM-D E-M1 50-200mm

Leopard in Serengeti, first time I’ve seen a nest-dwelling leopard Olympus OM-D E-M1 50-200mm

 

Elephants in river bottom in Serengeti   OM-D E-M1  50-200

Elephants in river bottom in Serengeti OM-D E-M1 50-200

 

Sunset over watering hole at Four Seasons Hotel, Serengeti Olympus OM-D E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

Zebras frightened by possible crocodile in Serengeti Olympus OM-D E-M1 50-200mm Four Thirds lens

Zebra beat a hasty retreat from stream Olympus OM-D E-M1 50-200mm Four Thirds lens

Petra, Jordan, and the Treasury in the background    Olympus OM-D E-M1   12-40mm f2.8

Petra, Jordan, and the Treasury in the background Olympus OM-D E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

Traditional military dance    Olympus OM-D E-M1, 12-40mm f2.8, 5000 ISO

Traditional military dance Olympus OM-D E-M1, 12-40mm f2.8, 5000 ISO

Birthday celebration, Jordanian waiter brings out cake with sparklers   OM-D E-M1  12-40mm  5000 ISO

Birthday celebration, Jordanian waiter brings out cake with sparklers OM-D E-M1 12-40mm 5000 ISO

Jordanian guide in Wadi Rum, Jordan   OM-D E-M1

Jordanian guide in Wadi Rum, Jordan OM-D E-M1

Wadi Rum, Jordan

Wadi Rum, Jordan

 

Story teller in old square and marketplace of Jemaa el-Fnna in Marrakech, Morocco  OM-D E-M1  12-40mm

Story teller in old square and marketplace of Jemaa el-Fnna in Marrakech, Morocco OM-D E-M1 12-40mm

Baker in Jamaa el-Fnna, old souk of Marrakesh

Baker in Jamaa el-Fnna, old souk of Marrakesh

An iron artisan in Jemaa el-Fnna, traditional marketplace of Marrakech  OM-D E-M1  9-18mm

An iron artisan in Jemaa el-Fnna, traditional marketplace of Marrakech OM-D E-M1 9-18mm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



National Geographic Around the World by Private Jet 2013 Cambodia, China & Tibet

 

A woman from a western Tibet village I photographed in the Sera Monastery of Lhasa

A woman from a western Tibet village I photographed in the Sera Monastery of Lhasa Olympus OM-D E-M1 75mm f1.8

Wow, these trips go fast!  Because we’re moving rapidly from one place to the other, I’ve gotten a bit behind on this blog.  Now sitting in the Oberoi Amervilas Hotel in Agra, with the Taj Mahal sitting outside my window.

We just flew in from Lhasa, Tibet, having spent a couple of nights in that incredible place.  Cool weather in Tibet has been tempered with 93-degree temperatures in India.

Since the last blog from Australia, we’ve made our way to Cambodia to visit Angkor Wat–then to Chengdu, China and onto Tibet.  The pace of the trip is fast, but one never feels as though it’s rushed.  Local experts are brought on, and the depth of information provided is astonishing.  When asking a question about a place, the expert’s answer is never a recorded response.  Instead, the answer is from a place of passion within that person, wanting to share their experience and depth of knowledge with the traveler.

Photographically, this is a tour of “greatest hits” with one iconic location following another.  I keep thinking ahead, “I’ll keep the shooting down in the next location,” then the density of incredible photographic potential opens up, and all holds are off.

One really couldn’t replicate what National Geographic provides the traveler, such as shooting the Taj Mahal in the morning then whisking them to Tanzania to watch a wildebeest migration that afternoon.  Tiring, yep.  But the rewards are incalculable, especially for the photographer wanting to immerse themselves in one amazing photographic opportunity after another.

A monk praying near Angkor Wat     Olympus OM-D E-M1, 12-40mm f2.8

A monk praying near Angkor Wat Olympus OM-D E-M1, 12-40mm f2.8

 

Angkor Wat at dawn    Olympus OM-D E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

Angkor Wat at dawn Olympus OM-D E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

Monk near Angkor Wat    Olympus OM-D E-M1

Monk near Angkor Wat Olympus OM-D E-M1

Floating city near Siem Reap, Cambodia, boy with snake    Olympus OM-D E-M1   9-18mm

Floating city near Siem Reap, Cambodia, boy with snake Olympus OM-D E-M1 9-18mm

Tibetan prayer flags on bridge in Lhasa, Tibet   Olympus OM-D E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

Tibetan prayer flags on bridge in Lhasa, Tibet Olympus OM-D E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

One of many Tibetans circling counter-clockwise around Patola Palace in traditional and daily ceremony   Oly OM-D E-M1  12-40mm f2.8

One of many Tibetans circling counter-clockwise around Potala Palace in traditional and daily ceremony Oly OM-D E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

Buddhist woman from western Tibet mountain village with Potala Palace  Oly OM-D E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

Buddhist woman from western Tibet mountain village with Potala Palace Oly OM-D E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

Buddhist pilgrims walking from small mountain villages to Sera Monastery in Lhasa   Oly OM-D E-M1 9-18mm

Buddhist pilgrims walking from small mountain villages to Sera Monastery in Lhasa Oly OM-D E-M1 9-18mm

Western Tibet village woman at Sera Monastery     Olympus OM-D E-M1   12-40mm f2.8

Western Tibet village woman at Sera Monastery Olympus OM-D E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



National Geographic “Around the World by Private Jet” 2103, Samoa & Great Barrier Reef

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Welcome to Samoa Olympus OM-D E-M1, 12-40mm f2.8

Samoan fire dancers

Samoan fire dancers Olympus OM-D E-M1, 12-40mm f2.8 3200 ISO

It’s early morning in Port Douglas, Australia.  Having arrived Wednesday from American Samoa, we had a choice of the Daintree rainforest or the Barrier Reef..my choice was the reef.  Waking to a driving rainstorm, it didn’t seem the day was going to be particularly spectacular for diving.  But, during the hour and a half trip to the dive spot on the reef, weather cleared to a stunning day.  The catamaran we traveled on was quite fast, and distance covered was about 50 kilometers.

I decided to shoot my underwater photos with the Olympus Tough camera, with a super-wide adaptor.  With a 40-foot maximum depth rating, this would cover my bases as most of the interesting and visual reef growth (and good light, as red is quickly reduced from the visual spectrum the deeper one dives) occurs in this zone.

A short dive, but enjoyable, followed by snorkeling in the shallow waters near our anchor point.

American Samoa was a rich event, albeit short, primarily used as a technical stop for the aircraft.  Visiting a women’s council in a nearby area was a highlight, and gave an interesting view into the structure of a village.  Women are the core of the families or clans, and create that strength that help hold the groups together.

We’re soon leaving for Siem Reap, Cambodia, and Angkor Wat.  The E-M1 has been a fantastic camera for this assignment.  The handling is superb and the image quality is spectacular.  I’ve been really impressed by the noise-handling of the camera — 3200 looks tremendous.  Plus, the 12-40mm f2.8 has become my favorite lens to use, especially if carrying only one camera.

The positive reviews continue to come in from everywhere on the camera and lens. So many photographers, from aspiring to pro, are discovering this system and the huge benefits of the smaller size, great lens selection and awesome quality.  My cameras are with me when I need them, not sitting in the bag because they are too heavy to carry constantly.  I’m also using the BlackRapid strap system, which allows me to carry my usual two cameras while out.

Here are just a few of the rave reviews that the E-M1 and lenses have received, you can click on the link to read:

Mirrorless Nature

The Phoblographer

SteveHuffPhoto.Com

PCMag.com

DPReview

ePhotozine

Pop Photo

As many of you know that have heard me speak, I am a tremendous fan of the Micro Four Thirds system, I think Olympus has it “right” in the design of this, moving towards the design ethic that 35mm photography was originally designed around; small, unobtrusive and available to you when you need it.

Workflow on the Road

Shooting on the road also demands a workflow system, and at the heart of that is a small and portable RAID unit.  This is a small hard drive, that on my laptop, is able to be bus-powered, meaning I don’t need to have additional power for the unit. This is a major feature, as I am often downloading photos in places where power is not available — a major consideration.  I’d provided input to the designers at Wiebetech (which is a part of CRU-Dataport) giving them my thoughts on a perfect backup system for the location photographer;  if you travel and shoot, you fit this criteria.  The result was the “Tough Tech Duo,” a very small and portable hard drive, that works via “RAID 0” or “RAID 1”.  Two hard drives are contained within, in RAID 0 the drives provide storage equal to the size of each drive combined.  I use RAID 1, which is a “mirrored” drive.  When I plug the unit in, it appears on my desktop as a single drive.  I drag my file of folders to that icon and the photos are copied to both drives simultaneously.  If failure on one of the drives, I get a warning, telling to replace the bad drive.  As soon as the new drive is inserted, the unit immediately starts backing the existing photos on that good hard drive to the new one.  This provides me two copies of the originals. At the end of the day, I’ll then pop out one of the drives, and put in a third….the unit “discovers” the new drive, and asks if I want to copy the existing drives content to the newly inserted drive. Okaying this, I then have my images on three drives.  One of those stays on me if I go out from my room for the evening, the two are in the room safe.  This gives me two physical areas where I’m protected.  Remember, backup, backup and if I didn’t mention it, backup.

Hope you enjoy this group of images, more later.

 

Collecting coconuts

Collecting coconuts Olympus OM-D E-M1, 12-40mm f2.8

 

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Some of the members of the Samoan women’s council in a village Olympus OM-D E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

Samoan women's council weaver    Olympus OM-D E-M1  75mm f1.8

Samoan women’s council weaver Olympus OM-D E-M1 75mm f1.8

Departing Samoa Olympus OM-D E-M1 12-40mm f2.8

Great Barrier Reef     Olympus tough TG-1

Great Barrier Reef Olympus tough TG-1

 

Diving on Great Barrier Reef Olympus Tough TG-1 with TCON lens adaptor

Diving on Great Barrier Reef
Olympus Tough TG-1 with TCON lens adapter

Diving on the Great Barrier Reef    Olympus TG-1 Tough

Diving on the Great Barrier Reef Olympus TG-1 Tough

 

 

 

 



National Geographic “Around the World by Private Jet” 2103

Near Cusco, the archaeological site of Sacayhuaman sits above the city.  Here, a llama is seen in profile-Olympus OM-D E-M1, 12-40mm f2.8

Near Cusco, the archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman sits above the city. Here, a llama is seen in profile-Olympus OM-D E-M1, 12-40mm f2.8

Greetings from Cusco, Peru.  I’m on the National Geographic “Around the World by Private Jet” Expedition, as the National Geographic Expert.  I’ve had the good fortune to have accompanied two other World trips as well as a Central and South America by Private Jet trip for Geographic.  As you can imagine, the photographic opportunities here are almost endless.

We flew out of Dulles Airport in Washington, DC yesterday, arriving in Lima about seven and a half hours later.  As on all these trips, the camaraderie starts building almost immediately—with the common experience of adventure and extreme travel, the 77 aboard the 757 aircraft start bonding quickly.  Becky accompanied me on the trip in 2009, and we still have deep friendships from that experience.

From Lima, we took a smaller charter flight into Cusco, as the airport here is not certified for the 757.  It’s always beautiful making the approach to Cusco with broken clouds providing glimpses of the rugged terrain below.  At around 11,200’, a long runway is a must.

We’ll head out early tomorrow on the Howard Bingham train for Machu Picchu-the ride is very photogenic, as it runs for some distance alongside the fast flowing Urubamba River.

For some time, I’ve been speaking of the benefits of the Micro Four Thirds camera system, and I’ve been shooting the Olympus OM-D E-M5 since it’s release.  On this trip, I’ll be primarily photographing with the newest Olympus release, the OM-D E-M1.  I’ve been using this camera for a few short weeks, and I’m really impressed with all aspects of this pro-level camera system.  The next couple of weeks will test many aspects of the camera, as I’ll be putting it through several equipment-unfriendly situations: rain, dust, banging around in safari vehicles, and a constant shooting process.

Hope you enjoy these early images from this amazing trip…

 

Final approach into Cusco Olympus OM-D E-M1, 12-40mm f2.8

Final approach into Cusco
Olympus OM-D E-M1, 12-40mm f2.8

 

 

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Fountain in town square of Cusco
Olympus OM-D E-M1, 9-18mm 40 second exposure

 

Baby at Sacsayhuaman site

With the stonework of the Sacsayhuaman site in the background, a merchant’s child is seen here. Olympus OM-D E-M1, 12-40mm f2.8

 

Around the town square in Cusco, I walked upon a children's parade

Around the town square in Cusco, I walked upon a children’s parade
Olympus OM-D E-M1, 12mm f2, 3200 ISO

 

Sacsayhuaman site near Cusco, a vendor with her child.  Olympus OM-D E-M1, 12-40mm f2.8

Sacsayhuaman site near Cusco, a vendor with her child. Olympus OM-D E-M1, 12-40mm f2.8

Often the beauty is in the detail.  I was amazed at the beautiful color of this llama's eye

Often the beauty is in the detail. I was amazed at the beautiful color of this llama’s eye
Olympus OM-D E-M1, 12-40mm f2.8

Late afternoon at Machu Picchu, as a Llama grazes in the grass OM-D E-M1

Late afternoon at Machu Picchu, as a Llama grazes in the grass
OM-D E-M1

Brazilian students at overlook of Machu Picchu

Brazilian students at overlook of Machu Picchu

We did a fly-by of Easter Island pre-touchdown

We did a fly-by of Easter Island pre-touchdown Olympus OM-D E-M1, 9-18mm

Moai heads on Easter Island

Light-painting of Moai heads on Easter Island Olympus OM-D E-M1 12mm, 60 Seconds @ f4

The Quarry on Easter Island

The Quarry on Easter Island Olympus OM-D E-M1, 12-40mm f2.8

Samoan fire dancers on American Samoa

Samoan fire dancers on American Samoa Olympus OM-D E-M1, 17mm f1.8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



National Geographic CM Ranch “Cowboy Country” Workshop

View from my cabin, CM Ranch

View from my cabin, CM Ranch

 

Months of preparation, weeks of intensity as the workshops grew near, sleepless nights worrying about the minutiae of the event, and before we knew it, we were immersed in the National Geographic CM Ranch Workshop in Dubois, Wyoming.  Two, back-to-back workshops, running from Sunday evening until the following Saturday morning.  Within this time frame, photo opportunities were created both early morning and late afternoon-it’s all about light and moment.

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

Horses running through pasture at CM Ranch

When I met Jeff Vanuga in 1988, during the fires at Yellowstone, little did we realize at that time that we’d be working together years down the road, both for my FirstLight Workshops, and now as my co-instructor for the CM Ranch event.  Jeff knows the area, he’s a tremendous photographer and he works incredibly well with people—all components of a successful instructor-student relationship.

 

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

Johnny Lucas after a bit of a fall

 

I had proposed this workshop to Deb Harris at National Geographic about two years ago. I’ve worked with Deb on several other National Geographic events, and she was very open to my CM workshop proposal.  During our FirstLight Dubois workshops in 2006, ’08, ’10, & ‘12, I’d visited the CM many times; it’s always provided great photographic opps, incredible wranglers & horses, and the people at the ranch were great to work with, making it an obvious choice for this new concept under Geographic. Luckily, Ranch managers, Hunter & Mollie Sullivan, were receptive to my idea and then worked with me over these two years to make it all happen.  Their enthusiasm continued through the workshops, receptive to whatever idea Jeff & I came up with – at least until we proposed some really wacked-out ideas, but we won’t go there.

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

Hunter Sullivan

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

Hunter and Buck Draney ride near Dubois Badlands

For those of you familiar with FirstLight, you know the mantra of the workshop is “Subject to Change,” with our schedule really a “best intentions” document.  We adapt accordingly, due to weather, horse moods, wrangler abilities, and many other considerations.  Our students at the two CM workshops really took this in stride, in large part because the photo opps were so incredible.  Try telling wranglers they need to hold 60 head of horses at a gate for an additional 15 minutes because the light’s not right.  Won’t happen.  But, it did happen with CM.  Daily projection sessions were held, and we’d always see Hunter and Buck (lead wrangler at the ranch) in the audience; I know that they were taking in the discussion on what went right and what went wrong with a particular shoot.  As the workshop progressed, things became more fluid, with the wranglers really becoming perfect subjects for our many cameras.

We also had two incredible assistants: Frank Varney and Anita Nowacka.  Frank recently retired as the Photography Chair of the Art Institute of Colorado, and was the tech editor for “Perfect Digital Photography”, the photography guide written my Jay Kinghorn and me.  Anita is a family portrait specialist from Seattle.  Both Frank and Anita did incredible jobs at the workshop.

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

Buck Draney overlooking Dubois Badlands

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

Opening night of second week, we had an amazing storm

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

Hunter with Ramshorn Mountain in background

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

Father and daughter, Buck and Mari Draney

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

Afternoon shoot after storm

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

Dawn overlooking Dubois Badlands

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

Morning shoot of Buck and Hunter, Dubois Badlands

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

East Pasture, CM Ranch

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

CM Wrangler Denny Ley with 2 friends

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

Wednesday night was our portrait session

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

Jeff Vanuga led shoot around teepee on CM

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

4th of July parade with Luke Sullivan

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

4th of July parade in Dubois

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

Mason Slider getting blasted during 4th of July parade

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

4th of July, fire trucks spraying crowd

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Last run through the Boneyard

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First morning run through Boneyard

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1st morning run through Boneyard

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Lower pasture, panning exercise

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Lower pasture, panning exercise

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

CM wrangler Denny Ley

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

Couple of mornings after “SuperMoon”

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

Hunter Sullivan and Anna Vanuga, Dubois Overlook

Photos ©Jay Dickman,

Dubois Badlands

 

I hope you enjoy the images. I shot the entire workshop with the Olympus OM-D, which is becoming my tool of choice for travel and location photography.  I can carry the camera all day, I have a choice of optics that are real-world for a pro, and the image quality is incredible.

 

 



South Georgia

Heavy winds approaching S. Georgia

Heavy winds approaching S. Georgia

It really is all about weather, or the continuing dance of weather in the Southern Ocean.  Bright and sunny hours are interspersed with blowing sleet, rain, overcast, gale-force winds, and then repeat those conditions.

South Georgia is sensory overload…what could have been a manageable population of King penguins instead becomes a massive colony of 400,000+ plus of these fantastic creatures. Late season finds us amidst the huge groups of incredibly cute fur seal pups.  If not trying to scare us away with an initial charge (almost always followed by a very fast retreat), the pups will scootch up to us with a great display of head-turning curiosity.

A morning spent in Zodiacs cruising Hercules Bay allowed us to watch and photograph the highly amusing Macaroni penguins.  Later, we followed Shackleton’s trail from Fortuna Bay to Stromness on a 4-mile hike.

leaving Antarctica and Elephant Island

leaving Antarctica and Elephant Island

crossing the Southern Ocean

crossing the Southern Ocean

Crossing the Southern Ocean

Crossing the Southern Ocean

 

 

 

King penguins, Fortuna Bay

King penguins, Fortuna Bay

Macaroni penguins entering water, Hercules Bay

Macaroni penguins entering water, Hercules Bay

King penguin chick and parent

King penguin chick and parent

Food covered king penguin chick

Food covered king penguin chick

 

Nesting Gentoo penguin in Tussock grasses, Hercules Islan

 

 fur seal pup, Prion Island

fur seal pup, Prion Island

Gold Harbour King penguins

Gold Harbour King penguins

Full moon

Full moon

 

 

20130228sunset3532f

sunset and clouds

Grey-headed albatross (Thalassarche chrysostoma) chick on cliff-side nest on Eleshul Island OM-D 12-50

 

Hello AXL!!  I’m back in the Antarctic, and have had a great time viewing and photographing ice, snow, chicks and pups of all sorts!  Adelie, Gentoo, Macaroni and King penguin chicks on many places and fur seal pups by the thousands have provided an amazing view into this other-worldly place.

Hi Miss D's 2nd Grade Class!!!

Hi Miss D’s 2nd Grade Class!!!

We learned that the Wandering albatross will go to sea for 4 or 5 years, never setting foot on land during that time.  This giant sea-bird can have a wingspan of 11 feet.  They’ll come back after those years at sea to lay an egg then fledge (raise)  their young. The egg can weigh as much as 11 pounds and can be up to 6 inches long!  Plus, the egg will take about 80 days to hatch, then it will take another 270 days for the chick to grow large enough to finally fly.    Pretty amazing birds!

Mad King penguin and fur seal pup

Mad King penguin and fur seal pup

Elephant seals, Gold Harbour

Elephant seals, Gold Harbour

Heading home     Olympus OM-D 9-18mm

Heading home Olympus OM-D 9-18mm