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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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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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Last run through the Boneyard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

First morning run through Boneyard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1st morning run through Boneyard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lower pasture, panning exercise

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

 

 

 

 

 



Antarctica, S. Georgia, Falklands/Malvinas, part deux

Moon setting over Gerlache Straits

Moon setting over Gerlache Straits

 

On short notice, I’m back aboard the National Geographic Explorer for another trip to Falklands/S. Georgia/Antarctica.  Having been here on the first trip of the summer in November of 2012, I was very curious to see how different it would be traveling on the last voyage of the season (summer is winding down in the Southern Ocean).

Major differences: most of the snow is gone on many landing sites, and in its place are thousands of penguin chicks.  Early season saw a lot of ice accumulated in bays, now we see more open water in most places-along with many whale sitings.  In November, daylight was extended by a few minutes each day, creating longer and longer days as we traveled.  Now, the hours of sunlight are being decreased as the days grow rapidly shorter.

We also reversed the direction of travel: November saw a clockwise trip; Falklands (Islas Malvinas) followed by South Georgia and finishing in the Antarctic.  This voyage, Antarctica was our first site; we’re now heading to South Georgia and will finish the trip in the Falklands.  The rapidly diminishing hours of daylight are one reason for this reversal.  After this Expedition, the Explorer will transit to Capetown in South Africa for another “West Coast of Africa” trip.  I was aboard the Explorer for the inaugural West Coast of Africa trip in 2012, and you can see my blog from that trip by scrolling down through this site.

Crossing the Drake was a “boisterous” experience, and as much as I’d like to say I am 100% seaworthy, that would be an inaccuracy.  15-20’ foot seas produced, in me, a discomfort that was handled with pharmaceuticals.

Once you do reach the Antarctic Peninsula, the jutting landmass into the ocean helps to considerably calm things down and the discomfort of constant ups and downs disappears quickly.

Our first landing was Half Moon Island, which is a small Antarctic Island with a large rookery of chinstrap penguins, nesting Antarctic terns and kelp gulls.  Our son, Matt accompanied me on my first Antarctic trip in 2009 and this was one of our landing sites as well.  Beautiful rock formations with malachite intrusions produces a dramatic landscape in which penguins with chicks complete the visuals of this island.

Next day found us in the Gerlache Strait, first explored by Adrien de Gerlache during his expedition of 1897-99.  It certainly was a small world of polar explorers at that time, as Gerlache’s chief officer was Roald Amundsen, who was making his first trip to the Antarctic.  Our afternoon was spent at Port Lockroy and Jugla Point, with a good-sized colony of gentoo penguins and blue-eyed shags on Jugla.

21st February, we landed on King George Island, home to both the Chilean (Frei) and Russian (Bellingshausen) research stations.

22nd February, Gerlache Strait, Ciera Cove and Mikkelsen Harbors were our places to explore.

23rd February was spent in the Weddell Sea, including a fantastic time watching sunset and viewing a large iceberg with a group of scrambling gentoo penguins hanging on its side.

24th February, we actually were able to land on Elephant Island, which is a rarity as wind and/or surf conditions usually creates impossible landing conditions.  This is the site made famous by Shackleton’s 1914-1917 Expedition of the Endurance.  That expedition, locked in ice for 281 days as well as the sinking of the Endurance, forced the party of 28 men, using lifeboats and ice flows, to make their way north towards land.  Adrift for 3 months, they finally saw the rugged mountains of Elephant Island and landed there.  Shackleton and 5 others made their remarkable sea passage in a small lifeboat to South Georgia, more than 700 miles away for help.  The other 22-crew members camped on Elephant Island under upturned boats on Point Wild.  They survived for 137 days on penguins and whale blubber until rescue by Shackleton.

We’re now at sea heading to South Georgia, a 2-day passage.

Working the scene  When in a photo-rich scene, it’s easy to get so fixated on a great interchange between two critters.   What the aspiring photographer will often forget is to watch the edges of the frame in this situation.  The general tendency is to center the subject when things get “hopping,” forgetting to let your eye scan the whole frame for non-relevant stuff.  Branches sticking in the frame, a blown out bit of sky in the background, something protruding thru the subject, these are things that could be possibly dealt with/eliminated by a simple movement to left or right, or by stepping back or forward.  Everything in the frame serves a purpose; it either adds to the photo or detracts from the final image.  Work the scene.

In the Gerlache Straits    Olympus OM-D

In the Gerlache Straits Olympus OM-D

 

On Mikkelsen Harbour, a Skua watches a gentoo penguin nest, as the adult strikes a defensive pose

On Mikkelsen Harbour, a Skua watches a gentoo penguin nest, as the adult strikes a defensive pose

In the Weddell Sea, a group of penguins hang on the side of an iceberg  Oly OM-D

In the Weddell Sea, a group of penguins hang on the side of an iceberg Oly OM-D

a gentoo penguin chick rests on a rocky surface on Port Lockroy

a gentoo penguin chick rests on a rocky surface on Port Lockroy

Ice formation on iceberg at sea        Olympus OM-D 75-300mm

Ice formation on iceberg at sea Olympus OM-D 75-300mm

photographing a sunset from the Explorer   Oly OM-D

photographing a sunset from the Explorer Oly OM-D

Elephant Island beach scene

Elephant Island beach scene

Zodiac in Ciera Cove

Zodiac in Ciera Cove

gentoo penguin adult being chased by chick for food

gentoo penguin adult being chased by chick for food

pushing through ice in the Gerlache Strait

pushing through ice in the Gerlache Strait

penguins on an ice flow in the Gerlache Straits

penguins on an ice flow in the Gerlache Straits

Russian Orthodox church at the Russian research station at Bellinghausen on King George Island,

Russian Orthodox church at the Russian research station at Bellinghausen on King George Island,

a penguin scrambles to get a grip on iceberg in Weddell Sea

a penguin scrambles to get a grip on iceberg in Weddell Sea

Gentoo penguin colony on Half Moon Island

Gentoo penguin colony on Half Moon Island

Blue eyed shags on Jugla Point

Antarctic shags on Jugla Point

sunset in the Weddell Sea

sunset in the Weddell Sea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Antarctica: Entering this world, Deception Island, Cuverville, Neko Harbor, Lemaire Channel, Grandidier Channel, Booth and Petermann Islands

In the Antarctic.

In the past few days, we’ve entered the Antarctic waters…the scenery radically shifted from South Georgia:  instead of greens of the Tussock grasses, we are in a very monochromatic world.  Black and whites in varying degrees of intensity with almost no intrusion of color.

One of first stops was Whalers Bay on Deception Island.  An old whaling station, this landing introduced us to Antarctic weather.  A heavy wind turned into near blizzard conditions ashore, it was wonderful.  Blowing snow, the landscape almost obscured by the snow and the penguins hunkering down in the 30+ knot winds.

Included in our stops so far has been Cuverville, Neko Harbor which were accomplished yesterday, and a passage through the narrow and gorgeous Lemaire Channel.  Booth and Petermann Island took us through Friday.

I’ve been shooting more and more with the Olympus OM-D, it was hard at first making the transition to such a smaller camera. Old habits die hard!  But, if you’ve been reading my blogs in the past, I have been championing this Micro Four Thirds (MFT) format for a while.  I constantly hear from photographers, but also from travelers aboard these trips that they are tired of carrying heavy cameras.  So, often these DSLR’s are left at home.  Many people depend on their smartphone for the main core of their photography.

But, I believe that there is a “look” that is found with most of the cell phone photos:  a slightly removed, generally more un-involved image.  And, how can it be any different when the photographer is holding the phone at arms length, trying to make critical decisions about the “choreography” contained within the photo?  How do you capture a decisive moment when you can’t see the subtlety of a facial expression, or watch through the viewfinder for the subtle glance between your subjects.   Holding that camera-phone at arms length, the background I also thinks creates “interference” in that creative process.

Seeing these mirrorless system cameras becoming a real-world tool for the serious photographer is wonderful.  Between Olympus and Panasonic, many serious lenses have been released in this format.  Included are the Olympus 12mm f2, 45mm f1.8, 75mm f 1.8.  Panasonic has released a 7-14mm f4, a 12-35mm f2.8  and the 35-70mm f2.8. As always, double the focal length to obtain the shooting field of view, thus the 12mm becomes effectively a 24mm, the 75mm a 150mm, etc.  I’m anxiously waiting to see a serious, “super-telephoto” in the MFT series.  With this great stable of lenses, I can do my international travel, often in carry-on, size-restricted airlines, with all my cameras/lenses with me.  The smaller size factor reduces the weight considerably, as well as the “intrusion” created with larger cameras.  Working in many places today, a large camera is not desireable to carry as the photographer becomes more of a target for theft and/or harassment.

It’s an evolving world, with the photographer benefiting from  these technical developments.  I can’t imagine where technology will take us in the next 5 years.  Please look below text block for photos

 

Hello AXL and Miss D’s class!  I’m in the Antarctic; the number of penguins we’ve seen must now be in the half-million or so.  Wow.  In addition to those penguins, we saw a group of killer whales that were very close to our location.  In fact, one of our “Zodiacs” (big, rubber rafts with powerful engines) was checked out by a group of killer whales yesterday.

The Killer whales do a cool thing called spy-hopping, which means the whales will swim up to something of interest, then stick their heads out of the water to check out that object.  This is a hunting method as well.  The favorite dinner of the killer whale is a Weddell seal, which love to sleep on bits of floating ice.  The killer whales will be swimming along, looking up for the shadow of the seals on the ice. Once they find one, the group of whales will “spy hop” to visually confirm the sighting.  Then, acting as a group (the females are the leaders in a group of Killer whales) they will swim away from the ice, turn and all swim together near the surface. This will create a wave in front of the dorsal fins of the whales, the wave washes over the ice and sweeps the seal off…you can guess what happens to the Weddell seal!

The Antarctic is a wonderland of incredible shapes, many of the large icebergs looking like magic castles, dragons or other fantastic forms.

Here’s a question:  What season is it now in Antarctica?  Is it summer, winter, spring or fall?

The answer: we’re coming into summer down here.  Because we’re below the equator, seasons are reversed.  Pretty weird, huh?  The penguins will celebrate Christmas in summer!

Hi from Antarctica! My thumb is covering the "A"

Entering the cold waters of Antarctica Olympus OM-D 9-18mm lens

Entering the cold waters of Antarctica Olympus OM-D 9-18mm lens

Blizzard conditions on Deception Island

Whalers Bay on Deception Island, Olympus OM-D 12-50mm lens

Lone penguin on Booth Island Olympus OM-D 9-18mm

Booth Island penguins Olympus OM-D 9-18mm

Entering Lemaire Channel

Ice sculpture within Ice Olympus OM-D 14-150mm

Hiking across Petermann Island

iceberg base

Grandidier Channel late afternoon

Dusk on the Grandidier Channel with tabular icebergs

Tabular iceberg in Grandidier Channel

dusk on the Grandidier Channel

Tabular iceberg in Grandidier Channel

Crabeater seal near Port Lockroy

cave in iceberg

penguins leaping on ice

penguins leaping on ice 2

penguins leaping on ice - 3

penguins leaping on ice - 4

penguins leaping on ice - 6

penguins leaping on ice - 7

penguins leaping

penguins moving about -- Olympus OM-D 9-18mm

penguin walk