Tag Archives: Nature Photography
The image above was taken in April of this year in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. This is an excellent example of what I try to teach my students when photographing waterfalls: We are not taking a portrait here. We are creating a landscape image with a waterfall as one of the elements. Walking up on the rocks and filling the frame with the waterfall would have been an easy thing to do but the end result would have been boring and banal. This composition includes the waterfall as a crucial element – as well as the primary focal point – but the image has an elegant visual design that goes beyond being just a portrait or documentary photo. Primarily, the flow of the stream and the placement of the rocks below the falls gets the eye moving back and forth through the frame giving it a dynamic quality that a static portrait would lack.
Speaking of workshops, there are two new workshops listed for the first quarter of 2014. For the 4th straight year, Ian Plant and I are leading another tour to Patagonia on March 10 – 19.
For the very first time, I am offering a Winter in Yellowstone photo tour and workshop in February that will combine the very best winter landscapes with wildlife photography. Jackson Hole professional wildlife photographer, Jared Lloyd will be my partner on this trip.
I’m sorry to announce that Arches and Canyonlands, Utah in November is now full, as is Acadia in October. Joe Rossbach and I still have a few openings for the Tetons in September so let me know if any of you have questions about this trip.
Last week I was listed as one of the top 100 travel photographers in the world for 2013 by ChiliSauce, a travel blog in the United Kingdom. When I made the announcement on Facebook and Twitter, as a courtesy to the the owner of the blog, I made the announcement with a controversial preface: the words, “For whatever it’s worth…..” This was met by more than a few emails and private messages by annoyed fans and followers. Most began with a mocking, “For whatever it’s worth….” and eventually got around to making the point that I was not being grateful or gracious about the “honor.” For whatever it’s worth, you’re acting like an ass.
Look, this is not merely false modesty on my part. I do appreciate being listed with at least 99 other very accomplished photographers. But the list is just one person’s opinion and there are some very conspicuous names missing as well as some people I’ve never even heard of. So that’s what it is, one person’s opinion and that’s about what it’s worth. Sorry to offend.
So now I’m off to Africa for two weeks. I’ll try my best to post some crappy phone images here as well as a report or two on how I’m doing. Be sure to Subscribe to Earth and Light to keep up with my latest travels realtime.
May 13, 2013
Ian and I ended our Epic Patagonia Photo Workshop this afternoon and are now resting comfortably in Calafate, Argentina. I am flying home tomorrow morning and images will be forthcoming. We experienced some of the best light we’ve ever seen down here during the past ten days. But then again, Patagonian light is always amazing. To keep up with some of the recent images from this trip, be sure to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss a thing.
Patagonia 2014 is scheduled for March 10-19, 2014 and we have taken registrations already. Let me know if you have any questions about next year’s event.
March 27, 2013
The new Earth and Light E=store has officially been launched, although it is, and will be, a work-in-progress for quite a while. There are lots of things happening behind the scenes with new videos, phone and tablet apps, tutorials, plus 2 or 3 new eBook additions every month. Things will be changing quickly over the next few months so bookmark the site and check back often.
The site address is www.earthandlight.biz. Hope to see you there.
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February 15, 2013
It’s that time of year, once again, when we look back at the year that was and weigh our accomplishments. Well, you always hope that there are accomplishments worthy of looking back on. If nothing else, there’s always weighing the regrets.
Anyway, last year I posted my favorite images from 2011 – Eleven for ’11. Naturally, this year it’s 12 for ’12. They are all favorites of mine for a reason, although the reasons may not be so obvious to everyone else. Nonetheless, I’ll try to give some insight. So here they are listed in chronological order, starting this past January.
Just another brutal day in paradise, I posted earlier in the year. I think what I liked best about this image is that it was completely secluded. I didn’t have to clone out a single human.
One of my favorite things about this image is that it was taken from a very popular vantage point in Yosemite National Park. Still I was able to come away with something unique and original, thanks to the thickening fog in the valley.
The location, the light, and the effort to get there (I led three of my clients who opted for the backcountry extension to the Patagonia workshop up this steep, ice-covered trail to be here by sunrise) were all factors in this image making the cut.
The low-angled light sweeping over the textured sandstone, the dynamic leading lines, the cloud movement during this 30-second exposure make this a clear favorite of mine. I don’t practice many black and white conversions but I was surprised to find two in my favorites for 2012.
I love night photography and Arches National Park is one of my favorite places to “do it in the dark.” Ok, shameless plug here: Night photography, Arches National Park, November 6-9, 2013. Thanks for listening.
Amazing sunset. Paris, France. What else is there to say?
Persistance. I waited four nights in order to get light that I was looking for at this location. I was prepared for a 5th, if necessary.
The Decisive Moment, as Henri Cartier-Bresson might describe this image. This is only one image frame in an entire sequence I posted back in September: Life and Death in Katmai.
If I had a “home” national park, the Smokies would be it. This image captures the essence of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park perhaps better than any other I have taken in the past dozen years or so.
Rain, rain, and more rain with some impenetrable fog and gloomy skies – but for a brief 40-seconds of optimism. And I was ready.
This is as much sun and light as you will get in northern Iceland in December. But oh what lovely light it is…
I had never seen the northern lights before, despite two previous summer trips to Iceland and two summer trips to Alaska. The aurora is what brought me to Iceland in the depths of winter and I was not disappointed.
Thanks for sharing 2012 with me.
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December 27, 2012
Once or twice a week in an email, I’m asked to give advice on how to become a professional nature or travel photographer. Should I go to school to study photography? Should I fully commit and quit my job to “follow my dream?” How do I even get started?
My response is usually none at all or I say that I really don’t know how to answer the question. Aside from my discomfort with giving anyone advice on what they should do with their life, the overriding reason is that I just don’t know. What is this person’s strengths and weaknesses? What drives them? Are they even driven at all?
I’m an extremely driven person and it would be unfair to assume that their drive and intensity matched mine. What worked for me, as well as the lessons I gleaned from my own experience, might not work for someone else – particularly a total stranger. I concluded that my advice would be unhelpful at best, or possibly even harmful.
Then my conscience got the better of me. I felt awful that I wasn’t even trying to be helpful. I could offer platitudes: work hard, stay focused, dream big, etc. but platitudes are hollow and empty. I might as well say nothing.
So I’ve had a lot of time alone up here in Iceland and a lot of time to think. This question, and my lack of a response, has been weighing on me and I believe I’ve finally come up with something helpful. The answer can be found in the form of two questions.
1) How passionate are you?
I’m not talking about every day, garden-variety passion here. I’m talking passion bordering on insanity. I think you have to be a little insane to make it in this business, I really do. This is hard work, despite the mythicized fantasy that persists. I’m not saying photography is hard work, although to do this seriously, it ought to be. What I’m saying is that making a living as a photographer is hard and incredibly difficult.
So why is passion important? I personally believe that passion is important in every aspect of life and that includes your work and career. If you do work that you love and are passionate about, you’re going to be happy and happiness is important.
But beyond that, having passion for what you do is what allows you to persevere when things get difficult. While the casual practitioner simply quits when the going gets tough, the insanely passionate pushes on because he or she doesn’t have any choice. If you’re not sure which category describes you, the former or latter, you just don’t have it. Sorry to be so blunt.
2) What are you willing to sacrifice?
If the answer isn’t everything (with the exception of your core principles, your family, and your health) don’t even bother. Seriously. You have to be willing to give up everything in your life that you hold dear. You like golf, you say? Give it up, all hobbies for that matter. Financial security, middle or upper class lifestyle, house, car, personal life, friends, vacations, sanity; all to be completely sacrificed if need be. You need to know this in advance, before you even begin.
None of this might even be necessary, but If you’re not prepared to give up everything to be a success (or if you even have to think about it) save yourself the time and trouble and keep your photography as a nice diversion from the rest of your comfortable life. You’re not going to make it.
If you are one of the insane, congratulations. You have an amazing adventure ahead of you. But you really didn’t even need to ask, did you? In your heart, you already knew.
If you’re not, congratulations to you as well. I just saved you from making a huge mistake, and an expensive one at that. You still have photography as an incredibly meaningful hobby and refuge from stresses of modern life that we all have to endure. But you shouldn’t give up on being one of the insane either. Find exactly what it is that you’re insanely passionate about and go all in. When that happens, you will never be the same again.
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December 12, 2012