December 7, 2017
Katabatic winds are usually generated by gravity as colder air flows down a glacier’s ice field, but in Antarctica, they are often caused by wind from a weather front spilling over a mountain range. I encountered the 50mph version of these winds on Half Moon Island, as it generated a ground blizzard that the penguins just ignored.
This Chinstrap Penguin seems to be really enjoying the strong wind, maybe wishing that he wasn’t a flightless bird!
Canon 5D Mark IV, EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 IS II lens at 142mm, exposure of 1/1250 at f9, ISO 200, handheld.
November 22, 2017
When I photographed the Palouse region last May, the emerging crops were a vibrant green and the precise rows of plants on the rolling hills made interesting compositions. On my return in early October, the crops had been harvested and the fields were being prepared for planting winter wheat or left in stubble for the winter.
Gone were the many tourists driving the dusty backroads looking for snippets of farming relics from the past, while ignoring all the modern machinery and farming methods. The locals have their Palouse back...
Canon 5D Mark IV, EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 IS II lens at 371mm, exposure of 1/400 at f8, ISO 640, Arca Swiss B-1 ballhead on Feisol CT3301 tripod.
September 20, 2017
In 1908, diamonds were discovered in the desert near Luderitz, and the village of Kolmanskop was built to support the German miners. Besides homes and offices, a hospital, school, theatre, casino and ice factory were built. As the diamonds played out and the workers moved on to other finds, the village declined and was finally abandoned in 1954.
This ghost town is now a tourist attraction, as the Namib desert slowly fills the buildings, creating interesting images like this.
Canon 5DS R, EF16-35 f4 lens at 24mm, exposure of 2.6 seconds at f18, ISO 100, Arca Swiss B-1 ballhead on Feisol CT3301 tripod.
August 24, 2017
Walruses are very inquisitive animals. For obvious reasons you are not supposed to approach them too closely, but if you sit on the beach or not move your Zodiac raft, they will invariably come to you. Our group of 12 sat on a beach and this male approached us, eyeing us, and basically put on a show.
Since they prefer eating mollusks like clams from sandy bottoms near shore, they are found in shallow waters.
Canon 5D Mark IV, EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 IS II lens at 400mm, exposure of 1/500 at f7.1, ISO 1600, handheld.
August 1, 2017
After a dip in the ocean of course you have to dry off. This Polar Bear, swimming from ice floe to ice floe searching for seals to share a meal with, tried to dry off by shaking. With so much fur holding water, the amount of spray made a dog’s spray look rather puny. Even after several good shakes, he still rolled on the ice to blot out some more. Then, with water still dribbling from his belly hairs, he jumped into the ocean towards the next ice floe. Wet, shake dry, repeat...
Canon 7D Mark II, EF100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II lens at 400mm, exposure of 1/1300 at f8, ISO 100, handheld.
June 30, 2017
After cancelling my visit to the Palouse area of Eastern Washington for the previous two years, I was finally able to photograph there in late May. Fairly well known to landscape photographers but lesser known to the typical nature photographer, the Palouse encompasses 4,000 square miles of farms and small farming towns; the attraction to photographers are the rolling hills. Unfortunately, the numerous red barns that once accented the landscape are disappearing, but at least the abstract designs of planted crops on the rolling hills will never disappear.
Canon 5D Mark IV, EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 IS II lens at 400mm, exposure of 1/400 at f8, ISO 125, Arca Swiss B-1 ballhead on Feisol CT3301 tripod.
June 4, 2017
For this Alaskan, shooting star images at 68º in Utah is much more pleasant than -30º in Alaska! Unfortunately too many other photographers had the same idea, and things resembled a circus as people jockeyed for position and one group's light painting messed up another's photos, etc.
I painted this rock formation with light reflected off my hand, easy to do when exposures are so long, but not that easy to get even illumination. The dotted line is an aircraft flying overhead.
Canon 5D Mark IV, Rokinon 14mm f2.8 lens, exposure of 20 seconds at f2.8, ISO 3200, Arca Swiss B-1 ballhead on Feisol CT3301 tripod.
April 26, 2017
Photographing the Milky Way for Alaskans is elusive—during the dark winter it appears low in the southern horizon, making a decent composition difficult, and during the summer when it higher in the sky, there is no darkness.
The tree, softly illuminated with light reflected off a hand, is the Quiver Tree, so named because natives hollowed out branches to hold their arrows.
Canon 5D Mark IV, Rokinon 14mm f2.8 lens, exposure of 30 seconds at f2.8, ISO 3200, Arca Swiss B-1 ballhead on Feisol CT3301 tripod.
March 26, 2017
While Alaskans are all too familiar with drifting snow, the coastal town of Luderitz in Namibia has a different kind of drifting problem. Relentless winds off the Atlantic Ocean cause traveling sand dunes that often cross roads and train tracks. The track cleaning crew, using heavy equipment, was probably only a kilometer away, prompting our driver to say that they must be expecting the train today.
Canon 5D Mark IV, EF 24-105mm f4 lens at 58mm, exposure of 1/320 at f10, ISO 100, handheld.
February 20, 2017
Living in a mountain pass has its pros and cons. Sometimes a snowstorm can’t quite push through the mountains, so only sends us warm temperatures. But when a cold air mass drops down from the Arctic, the cold air literally screams down the pass, giving us frost bite conditions.
We’ve had our usual share of cold winds this winter, producing these mini-snow dunes in the process, as the wind scours and reshapes the existing snow. Now all I need is a miniature Lawrence Of Arabia to insert in the picture, bundled in his parka, trudging along on his camel…
Canon 5D Mark IV, EF100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II lens at 241mm, exposure of 1/200 at f16, ISO 100, handheld.
January 25, 2017
A reasonable criticism of my photography might be that it is too literal. And I agree, but that is the nature of wildlife and nature photography--recording what I see, so others who aren’t able to see are able to see what I saw. Granted, what they see might have slightly exaggerated colors and contrast to make the image more pleasing, but no major deletions or additions.
Realizing this, I’m always on the lookout for ‘natural abstract’ images--something not obvious on first glance and open to interpretation--like this bow wave of the small ship I traveled around Svalbard in last summer.
Canon 5DS R, EF 24-105mm f4 lens at 105mm, exposure of 1/500 at f8, ISO 200, handheld.
December 26, 2016
It pays to always have your camera gear with you, even during such mundane chores as driving to the local Post Office. Granted, your daily drive might not have such a dramatic backdrop as mine, but I'm sure that every so often you see something worth photographing--something natural like weather, something artistic like an abstract detail, something human like an accident, some wild animal that found its way into civilization, etc.
I can't say I always follow my own advice, but on this day I was glad that I did.
Canon 5D Mark IV, EF100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II lens at 312mm, exposure of 1/320 at f10, ISO 100, handheld.