The Desolate Beauty of Greenland

The Desolate Beauty of Greenland

Bucket List

A Place Like No Other may be an overused bit of hyperbole found on every other Trip Advisor or Lonely Planet article you read (I mean, how many places like no other can there be?), but when describing a country and experience like Greenland, it’s actually true.

Greenland, the largest island in the world not considered its own continent, is a place of raw natural beauty and desolation. Steep, craggy mountains, titanic icebergs of sparking blue adrift on the sea and in the fjords, some of the largest glaciers in the world, tidy and colorful Inuit fishing villages, the aurora borealis, and the list goes on.

Eastern Greenland is one of the loneliest places on the planet. Along its 13,000-mile coastline of sparse, rocky mountains and hulking glaciers, there are only two small towns and five settlements in total. There are no roads connecting these remote outposts (all travel is via helicopter, boat, or dog sled in winter) and life for the residents has remained relatively unchanged over the past hundred years. Hunting and fishing are the main source of the culture’s food and sustenance.

The primary natural element in Greenland is ice. It’s everywhere. Aside from rock – there are no trees and very little soil along the coastline – ice is what you see in almost nearly direction. In the area near Tasiilaq, the town where I stayed while on the eastern coastline, there are dozens of giant outlet glaciers from the immense Greenland ice field creeping their way down rocky canyons to the fjords, sounds, and sea. Thousands of icebergs, some the size of office buildings, litter the water’s surface in varying hues of blue and silver, scattering sunlight in a dazzling display.

I’ll be leading a Greenland 2019 Photo Adventure in August 2019.

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer is the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.


The Coastal Brown Bears of Alaska

The Coastal Brown Bears of Alaska

Bucket List

I just finished up a fantastic photo tour in Alaska’s gorgeous Lake Clark National Park and Preserve last week. With the incomparable Silver Salmon Creek Lodge as our gracious hosts, we all found the access to the majestic coastal brown bears to be unequaled anywhere in the world. We had a variety of weather – sun, rain, and fog – and an unending variety of world-class wildlife opportunities with enormous bears. Bears fishing, playing, foraging, and lots of interaction between sows and cubs. And rarely did we ever need a lens longer than 400mm!

Here are just a few of the many hundreds of photos from the trip. All photos were captured with a Canon 5D Mark IV and Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X Lens. Enjoy!

Coastal brown bears stalk the shores of Cook Inlet, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska

This brown bear sow took a unique, laid back approach to fishing. Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Two young cubs follow their mom through a sedge meadow, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Foggy coastal weather helped create this ethereal wildlife image, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

This alert sow stands guard over cubs, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Brown bear cub, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A tender moment between a mom and her cub, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A coastal brown bear munches on some tasty grass, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

For the best wildlife photography techniques, be sure to check out my new book available on Amazon, Wildlife Photography: From First Principles to Professional Results.

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.


Sri Lanka Belongs On Every Photographer’s Bucket List

Sri Lanka Belongs On Every Photographer’s Bucket List

Bucket List

The Island Marco Polo believed to be the “Most Beautiful Island in the World” is a true Tropical Paradise.

At the tender age of 24, Marco Polo was dispatched by Kublai Khan, Emporer of China, to the island now known as Sri Lanka, to receive the tooth of the Buddha, one of the holiest relics in Buddhism. That quest was ultimately unsuccessful but he did leave with a newfound respect and admiration for the tropical island. Marco, no slouch in the travel department, declared Sri Lanka as “Undoubtedly, the finest island of its size in all the world.”

Sri Lanka offers some of the best historic and cultural photography (the ancient cities of Anuradhapura, Kandy, and Polonnaruwa boast of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites), wildlife safaris that rival many itineraries in eastern Africa, and some of the most stunning tropical beaches in the world for the landscape shooters. There are tea plantations in the misty mountain highlands (a train ride through the tea country is a once-in-a-lifetime experience), colorful fishing villages and open markets, and much more. Many of these vastly different photography opportunities can be experienced within the same day. After a closer look, it’s easy to see why Sri Lanka should rank high on any travel photographer’s bucket list.

Wildlife and Nature

The wildlife of Sri Lanka is as varied as the general photographic opportunities. 12 percent of the country’s land is protected as wildlife and conservation sanctuaries so that many generations to come can enjoy encounters with nature and wildlife on the island. More than 400 species of birds live here as well as leopards, elephants, deer, monkeys, and prolific marine life such as whales and sea turtles, Yala and Minneriya National Parks are two highlights for wildlife and nature photographers.

Sri Lanka is also home to inland mountains with dozens of photogenic waterfalls and some of the most picture-perfect tropical beaches in the world. The seaside village of Tangalle in the southern part of the island is one of my favorite places for sunrises over the Indian Ocean and photographing sea turtles.

Sri Lanka and the Cultural Triangle

In 1972, the people discarded the country’s old name of Ceylon and officially introduced the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the world. In Sinhala, the language spoken by the majority of the people, Sri means “blessed” while Lanka is the name of the island. In Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle located in the country’s mid-section, there sits a host of ancient monuments, Buddhist temples, and historical royal cities that once served as the center of early Sinhalese people and civilization. The points of this geographic triangle are comprised of the hill capital of Kandy, Anuradhapura – a rich collection of archaeological and architectural wonders, and Polonnaruwa. This rich cultural area also contains the spectacular rock fortress of Sigiriya and the cave monastery of Dambulla (my favorite cultural location for photography).

 

People

A trip to Sri Lanka focuses not only on the cultural, historical, and the natural attributes of this stunning country, but also the beautiful people who live and work here. In all my travels, I have rarely met as many open, friendly, and cooperative photography subjects (on two feet anyway). On a train ride through the high-country tea plantations I met and photographed dozens of outgoing, friendly people in small villages, working the tea fields in the mist shrouded mountains.

Gray langur monkeys (Semnopithecus entellus) in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. In addition to the prolific monkeys, Polonnaruwa is home to ruins of a ancient city and was claimed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Sunrise over the Indian Ocean, in Tangalle, southern Sri Lanka. Tangalle is just one of the many world-class tropical beaches in Sri Lanka  that affords some amazing sunrises and sunsets.

Hunnasgiriya waterfall (Hunnas Falls) in Sri Lanka’s lush and beautiful mountain highlands.

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.


Free e-book: Iceland, Our Amazing Planet

Free e-book: Iceland, Our Amazing Planet

Bucket List

Iceland, Our Amazing Planet, explores the pure magic that is this small country in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Here are two dozen photographs of Iceland’s mountains, waterfalls, glaciers, wildlife, and beautiful light captured by renowned nature, wildlife, and travel photographer, Richard Bernabe. This virtual tour of Iceland will visually demonstrate why Iceland truly is one of our planet’s most amazing places. Come take the tour!

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Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.


Antarctica, Terra Incognita

Antarctica, Terra Incognita

Bucket List

Antarctica is sometimes known as terra incognita, the unknown land. It’s also the last untouched continent and one of the most pristine wilderness locations on Earth. With ten thousand foot peaks rising straight from the ocean, crystal blue icebergs the size of office buildings, hundreds of glaciers (on the Antarctic Peninsula alone), and beaches teeming with seals and penguins, my trip to the continent at the bottom of the world didn’t disappoint. With a turn of the ship into every harbor or bay, more of the same awaited us. And most of this magnificent  landscape has never had a human foot tread upon it. This amazing place most certainly is terra incognita.

Below are just a sample of the photos I captured on my recent trip. Sorry for the abundance of penguin images but they are so plentiful and such photogenic, expressive creatures. Enjoy!

Antarctica

“Adelie Waddle” Adelie penguins at Brown Bluff, East Coast of Tabarin Peninsula, Antarctica

“Terra Incognita” Iceberg and foggy mountains in the Gerlache Straight, Antarctica

“Half Moon Solitude” A chinstrap penguin surveying the icy landscape at sunset, Half Moon Island, Antarctica

“Weddell Seal at Yankee Harbor” A Waddell seal catches some rays while on the ice, Robert Island in the South Shetlands, Antartica

“Rock Thief” Chinstrap penguins at Half Moon Island, Antarctica. The penguin in the middle has just stolen a rock from a nest and the others are justifiably upset.

“Branford Ice” A lone seabird flies by the face of an enormous blue iceberg, Branford Straight, Antarctica

“Braving the Storm” A Gentoo penguin during a gust of harsh wind and snow, King George Island, Antarctica

“Nesting Gentoos” Gentoo penguins sitting on their nests, Useful Island, Antarctica

“Larsen’s Shelf” A giant iceberg from a broken piece of the Larsen Ice Shelf, Branford Straight, Antarctica

“Catching Snowflakes” A pair of gentoo penguins appear to be catching snowflakes – or singing. Actually, they are vocalizing, the method they use to attract mates, Paradise Bay, Antarctica

Extras

Extras

Extras

A fascinating website that offers information on conserving the southern continent’s ecosystem, promoting responsible tourism, and the latest news is the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition. Take a look when you get the chance.

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.


Chefchaouen: The Blue Pearl of Morocco

Chefchaouen: The Blue Pearl of Morocco

Bucket List

Nestled into the rugged Rif Mountains of Morocco is the brightly painted blue city of Chefchaouen. The city’s stunning mountain surroundings, brightly-painted blue streets and alleys, and the exotic culture and shopping make Chefchaouen a must-see location for the travel photographer and casual tourist alike.

Chefchaouen is most famous for being the blue city. That’s what most people call it – “The Blue City” or “The Blue City of Morocco” since most tourists cannot spell or pronounce Chefchaouen. The city was founded  in 1471 but didn’t receive its famous indigo hue until around 1492, when a large influx of Jewish refugees arrived, escaping the Spanish inquisition. The color, many say, was chosen since it’s the spiritual color for the Jewish people (also used on Israel’s flag), while some historians believe the color was a tribute to a nearby mountain spring that made this settlement possible in this arid land. Locals today will claim that the blue color keeps the mosquitoes away.

The most interesting (and colorful) part of Chefchaouen is the Old City or medina.  Here you will find a Byzantine maze of narrow streets and alleys through blue and whitewashed homes and buildings of Spanish and Moorish architecture. It’s a great (and fun) place to get lost.

The Plaza Uta-el-Hammam is Chefchaouen’s cultural and commercial center with excellent restaurants and shopping. There’s also a museum in the plaza that’s a converted kasbah, a medieval fortress. You can purchase spices, rugs, ceramic pottery, fresh tea leaves. and locally made leather goods for sale in the many shops, markets, and open air souks. Don’t pass up the Moroccan mint tea while you browse!

Chefchaouen is a 125-mile (200 km) drive from Fez and a 210-mile (340 km) drive from Casablanca. There are also daily flights to and from Casablanca to Chefchaouen on Royal Air Maroc and bus services as well. Once you’ve arrived, you’ll have dozens of hotels to choose from but try to stay in the medina if possible. For more information on visiting Chefchaouen, you can check out the website of Morocco Tourism on Chefchaouen.

All text and photos © Richard Bernabe

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.