Gold Harbor King Penguins Abstract 1

Gold Harbor King Penguins Abstract 1

This is an abstract image of king penguins that I created while visiting Gold Harbor during my South Georgia Island expedition. I initially photographed this scene with the aid of my tripod using traditional depth of field and sharp focus techniques, but later decided to explore it using slow shutter speeds and hand-held camera movement. I like how this image represents the dynamic chaos of the penguins as they group together, but constantly move about. I searched for repeating patterns and then used a shutter speed of 0.5 second while panning my camera from side to side. Hundreds of experimental images eventually produced a few, like this one, that realized my artistic ambition. I created this image using my Canon 5DmkIII and Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS II lens. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3, Photoshop CS6, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

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Salisbury Plain King Penguins 33

Salisbury Plain King Penguins 33

Baby king penguins are simply adorable. I was very fortunate to be able to spend as much time as I did photographing them at Salisbury Plains. The juveniles, like this one, were especially curious. I think that it was hungry and hoped that I would feed it. Keep in mind that in order to visit South Georgia Island, I chose to sail on a small sailboat and suffered for almost a week each way. It was much more difficult than what your average cruise ship visitor experiences. However, I did not join the trip for the misery of the sailing. I paid to be able to spend time photographing wildlife up close and personal. I hope that everyone who admires my photography appreciate the special risks and challenges that I undertake in order to create images that are truly unique. I also hope that people appreciate the drama and humor that I strive to integrate into my work. I created this image using my Canon 5DmkIII, Canon 17-40mm f4 lens, and Singh-Ray LB Warming polarizer & 2-stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density filter. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3, Photoshop CS6, plus Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

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Prion Island Wandering Albatross 10

Prion Island Wandering Albatross 10

Another cute baby animal picture! One of the first locations that I visited during my South Georgia Island ordeal expedition was Prion Island, which is home to a declining population of wandering albatross. The reason that the population is in trouble is due to long-line fishing. The albatross are attracted to the baited hooks that the long-liners use. Once they bite a hook, they get pulled underwater and drown. It is very sad. There were not many albatross around during my visit, so I was fortunate to be able to spend the better part of an afternoon with this beautiful, photogenic creature. I created this image with my Canon 5DmkIII, Canon 17-40mm f4 lens, and Singh-Ray LB Warming polarizer & 4-stop Soft Graduated Neutral Density filter. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3, Photoshop CS6, plus I applied Nik Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

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Salisbury Plain King Penguins 11

Salisbury Plain King Penguins 11

This is a photo is of juvenile king penguin chicks, which are also called “Oakum boys”. I created it while visiting Salisbury Plain on South Georgia Island in October 2012. My senses were completely over-loaded by the smells, sounds, and scale of the king penguin colony containing several hundred thousand penguins, as well as the grandeur of the landscape. It really is one of the most spectacular settings on Earth. These juveniles were very curious about me, mostly because they were getting hungry and must have thought that I looked enough like mom or dad that maybe I would offer them a free meal. I was focused on getting “the shot”, but it was hard while doubled-over laughing at the hilarious antics of the penguins hopping around, flapping their wings, and running into each other. I created this image using my Canon 5DmkIII, Canon 17-40mm f4 lens, Singh-Ray LB Warming polarizer & 2-stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density filter, and processed the RAW file using Aperture 3, Photoshop CS6, plus Nik Software’s Dfine 2.0 to remove noise & Color Efex 4‘s white balance filter.

Also, check out this image published in The Guardian.

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Salisbury Plain King Penguins 2

Salisbury Plain King Penguins 2

Aren’t these king penguins just adorable? I can not adequately describe how mind-blowing my visit was to Salisbury Plain during my South Georgia Island expedition this past October. After spending a week sailing in horrendous seas with terrible weather, I had finally arrived at my dream photography destination. Upon landing, most of the king penguins were somewhat skittish, but these guys walked right up to greet me! Oh, boy. It was cold, too. However, the fresh snow on the normally rocky beach helped make this already dramatic scene even more photogenic. In order to photograph this spectacle, I got down on my knees and used a wide-angle lens as these curious penguins inspected me. I created this image using my Canon 5DmkIII, Canon 17-40mm f4 lens, Singh-Ray LB Warming polarizer & 2-stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density filter, and processed the RAW file using Aperture 3, Photoshop CS6, plus Nik Software’s Dfine 2.0 to remove noise & Color Efex 4‘s white balance filter.

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Hartney Bay Sandpipers 32

Hartney Bay Sandpipers 32

This is another image from my visit to Cordova, Alaska last month. The focus of my trip was photographing the shorebird migration that takes place each spring along the Copper River delta. Naively, I anticipated millions of shorebirds, but I never saw more than perhaps 10,000 all at once. This was still a spectacular sight to photograph, and how many birds did I really need? The best time to photograph the shorebirds was at high tide, which fortunately corresponded with sunrise and sunset that week. I was also lucky that the sky was clear so that I was able to take advantage of the golden light. This is one of my favorite pictures of the birds in flight. I created this image with my Canon 7D and 400mm f4 DO IS lens plus 1.4X tele-converter. I slightly cropped the original image to make a stronger composition, otherwise, it required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.

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Hartney Bay Sandpipers 2

Hartney Bay Sandpipers 2

While visiting Cordova, I saw flocks of several thousand shorebirds, but never the millions that I had read about. If there were millions, they were spread out over the entire Copper River delta region. The shorebirds that I saw were scattered all over the mudflats of Hartney Bay which made photographing them difficult. The best opportunities to photograph them was when they grouped together at high-tide. During the week of my visit, high-tide luckily corresponded with sunrise and sunset. There were also no clouds just clear sky, so I was able to take advantage of the good light. In this image, I positioned myself on the sunlit side of the birds and added some color by including the reflection of the blue sky in the mud. I was attracted to the repetitive patterns of the resting shorebirds, but even when they were resting many of them still moved around. I created this image by hand-holding my Canon 7D and 400mm f4 DO IS lens with my 1.4X tele-converter. Depth-of-field was a real challenge, so I stopped my lens down to f18 and chose ISO 400 to give me a reasonable shutter speed for hand-holding my camera. This image required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.

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Hartney Bay Sandpipers 1

Hartney Bay Sandpipers 1

ALASKA!!! That sums up my feelings about my recent trip north. I began my trip by teaching some classes in Anchorage and Fairbanks, but then my friend and fellow photographer Steve Kazlowski joined me for a week photographing the Copper River shorebird migration near Cordova. It was the first time that either of us had been to Cordova. I was prepared for a week of terrible weather based on what I’ve heard, so imagine my surprise when the sky was clear the entire week! Not only was the weather perfect, but high-tide (when the shorebirds were best photographed) actually corresponded with the prime light of sunrise and sunset. I could not believe our fortune, since neither of us did any research before our trip. It was very difficult to photograph the flocks of mostly Western sandpipers, but this is one of my favorite images. I like how the shorebirds are landing towards me and a few of them are in sharp focus amongst the chaos. I created this image with my Canon 7D and 500mm f4 IS lens (which Canon Professional Services was kind enough to loan me). I slightly cropped the original image to make a stronger composition, otherwise, it required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.

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Atlantic Puffin 7

Atlantic Puffin 7

I want to share another one of my favorite Atlantic puffin images from the bird cliffs at Latrabjarg in the Northwestern Fjords of Iceland.  It took me 9 years to return to this fantastic location so that I could photograph these cute birds.  I was fortunate that the clouds parted late in the evening allowing the sun to bathe the cliffs in golden light.  I like this puffins open beak with the fantastic bokeh background of the cliffs behind it.

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Atlantic Puffin 18

Atlantic Puffin 18

Yesterday, I spent 6 hours editing, processing, keywording, and sizing my Atlantic puffin photographs for the web. As busy as my summer is, I am not going to finish processing the rest of my Iceland trip any time soon. This is one of my favorites. I like how the puffin’s breast is pointing forward with the orange bokeh from the sunset illuminating the cliff. I always preach that the most important part of a great wildlife image is not the subject, but what is going on behind it. Clean, simple background like cliffs and mountains in the distance yield the best results. I created this image with my Canon 7D and 400mm f4 DO IS lens on a Gitzo GT2931 tripod with an Acratech Ultimate ballhead and Wimberley Sidekick.

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