This is my favorite underwater walrus image from my Svalbard sailing expedition last summer with my co-leader Tony Wu. Early in our trip, we encountered walrus resting on iceflows with ideal blue sky conditions that allowed for great underwater visibility. As both the trip leader and inflatable boat driver, I cautiously motored towards a group of walrus to allow my clients to photograph them without disturbing them. Eventually, I delicately approached them and got close enough to extend my underwater polecam out to shoot the most curious animal. I love how he is looking right at the camera and the detail in this image is truly amazing. I created this image using my Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera body and 15mm fisheye lens inside my Aquatech 5DmkIII housing with an Aquatech 8″ dome port and remotely triggered it on the end of my monopod. I processed the RAW file using Adobe Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC 2015, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.
Last June, Tony Wu and I lead our first expedition to Norway’s Arctic Svalbard archipelago. We departed Longyearbyen for 14 days of exploration with our incredible captain Heinrich and three of the best clients that a photo tour leader could ever wish for. Like any truly worthwhile adventure, we experienced a lot of down time while sailing and due to bad weather. Our primary goal was to photograph walrus, but of course we were also hoping to encounter polar bears during our voyage.
I tend to stay up all “night” during the Arctic summer and sleep from 6am to noon, or so. Imagine my delight when I woke up one afternoon to discover that we were anchored to some solid fjord ice and had a bear in view, albeit over a mile away. Looking through a pair of binoculars for several minutes, I observed a female bear and her small cub before resigning myself to patiently waiting to see if they would eventually approach us. I went back down below to prepare myself some food, but in no time at all one of my clients alerted me that the bears were already walking towards us! I hurriedly finished my meal and got dressed in anticipation of our encounter.
I was hoping to get some nice images of the bears on the ice using my medium telephoto lens, but the momma bear walked right up to our boat, stood up on her hind legs, and proceeded to check us out. This was way too close for anything but a wide-angle lens. Our captain assured me that she was just curious and that he had the situation under control, so I grabbed my underwater polecam and set to work. I began photographing her by cautiously leaning over the railing of the sailboat while gently lowering my camera down to the ice. Early in our encounter she stuck her nose against my dome port which left snot all over it. It took me a few minutes to clean off and from that time forward I did not allow her to touch my camera again. She walked back and forth along the ice edge for over an hour, but her cub mostly stayed by our anchor. Towards the end of our encounter, the cub finally decided to join her close to the boat. I could not see what I was photographing, but realized that the cub was beneath her and quickly repositioned my camera in order to capture this incredible moment. I created this image using my Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera body and 15mm fisheye lens inside my Aquatech 5DmkIII housing with an Aquatech 8″ dome port and remotely triggered it on the end of my monopod. I processed the RAW file using Adobe Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC 2015, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.
I want to start sharing some of my incredible new images from my spectacular Svalbard expedition that I co-lead with Tony Wu this past June. I have been hesitant to publish what I consider to be some of my best work ever given the fact that publishing photos is not what it used to be, not to mention that a lot of my work gets used without compensation by copyright infringers. However, I can not be afraid of holding back my new photos forever.
This is an underwater walrus image that I created while standing in the Arctic Ocean, holding my polecam, and waiting for a walrus from the nearby colony to swim up to me. Eventually, this very curious walrus took interest and swam directly at me as I nervously stood my ground with my polecam held under the surface in front of me. I blindly fired away as this extraordinary encounter unfolded. After the walrus grew tired of staring at its reflection on my dome port, it gently settled into the shallow water in front of me and proceeded to scratch itself for what seemed like an eternity. It was truly an unimaginable experience as both of us were just relaxed and hanging out at the beach while enjoying each other’s company. I created this image using my Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera body and 15mm fisheye lens inside my Aquatech 5DmkIII housing with an Aquatech 8″ dome port and remotely triggered it on the end of my monopod. I processed the RAW file using Adobe Lightroom 6 and Photoshop CC 2015, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.
Over the last decade, I have focused much of my travel and photography on Alaska. However, my only trip up north this year was in early August when I lead a small group tour in search of my favorite subject, humpback whales bubble-net feeding. There were some ups and downs associated with this particular trip that I do not need to get into, but it was definitely my most productive tour photographically for bubble-net feeding. I told my clients that they should be proud of what we accomplished. The exhilaration of photographing over a dozen humpback whales cooperatively hunting and feeding on schools of herring never gets old. It does get frustrating, but never boring. This image shows a very close encounter where I had to zoom back to 70mm as the whales erupted above the surface with their mouths about to slam shut. If you look in the mouth of the whale on the right, you can even see a silver herring flying through the air about to be engulfed. I created this image using my Canon 7D and Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS II lens. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CC 2014, plus Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.
I’m pleased to be able to share that my article “Winter in Japan” has been published in the current issue of Popular Photography. In my article, I offer advice about how to visit the best wildlife locations and technical information about how to photograph these amazing animals. You can read the full article online at, www.popphoto.com/how-to/2013/12/travel-photography-winter-japan.
The opening double page image of the Japanese macaques, or snow moneys, was created during my Japan photography tour last winter. I highly recommend a visit to the Jigokudani Monkey Park to anyone traveling to Japan. I created this image using my Canon 5DmkIII and Canon 17-40mm f4 lens. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS6, plus Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s white balance filter.
Last February, I took my surf housing to Japan in order to create some unique images at the well-known wildlife locations. This image of a Whooper swan (pronounced hooper) nuzzling up against my dome port is a dynamic result. I created this image using my Canon 5DmkIII and 17-40mm f4 lens inside my Aquatech 5DmkIII housingwith an Aquatech 8″ dome port. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS6, plus Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s white balance filter.
I created this image while co-leading my Japan Wildlife Photography Tour last March. The Japanese macaques are unafraid of people, as you can see from this close-up, wide-angle perspective. This particular macaque came right up to where I was standing at the edge of the hot pool and posed for me. I had never photographed a macaque before, but I am sure that it had seen more than its share of humans based on how busy the Jigokudani Monkey Park was with tourists.I don’t think that it was as impressed with me as I was with it. I made this image using my Canon 5DmkIII and Canon 17-40mm f4 lens. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS6, plus Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s white balance filter.
This is an abstract image of an endangered red-crowned crane in flight from my recent Japan Wildlife Photography Tour. While photographing the cranes, I was surrounded by hundreds of other photographers at the crane centers. I’m not used to being around so many people and have to admit that it is not an experience that I am going to repeat anytime soon. The harsh, middle of the day light also wasn’t the most ideal to shoot in. So, I experimented with my camera and this is one of my better images. I intentionally slowed my shutter speed while panning in an attempt to record subtle movement of the flying crane, as well as blur the busy background. I created this image with my Canon 7D, Canon 500mm f4 IS lens, and Canon 1.4X Tele-Extender III. I also used my Gitzo GT3830 tripod, Acratech GP ballhead, and Wimberley Sidekick. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3, Photoshop CS6, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.