Tonight is the awards ceremony for the 2010 International Conservation Photography Awards at the UW’s Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. The exhibit opens to the general public tomorrow. My image of a Steller sea lion underwater won 2nd Place in the Underwater category. It is featured on most of the promotional materials, including this poster that is currently displayed all around Seattle. I also received an Honorable Mention in the Landscape category for my “Badwater Salt Crust Sunrise 1″ image from Death Valley National Park. I am really looking forward to seeing some of my friends, like Stuart Westmorland & Sean Bagshaw, and meeting a number of photographers that I only know online, including Todd Mintz, Jim Patterson, & David M Cobb.
I am pleased to announce that my image is featured on the cover of the February 2010 issue of Alaska Airlines magazine! Be sure to check it out if you are on an Alaska Airlines flight this month. Also, the opening double page image to the humpback whale article was photographed by my friend Brandon Cole during a previous trip that we took together. I have the exact same image, since we were next to each other in the water when we both almost got run over by a humpback whale mother & calf. Photographing whales above or below water is my favorite kind of photography. It also helps that I am comfortable swimming in the open ocean in 10,000 feet of water and enjoy staring down into the blue depths underneath my fins.
This is a great blog post to transition from my dramatic landscape photography to more of my new wildlife images from the last year. I’ve been tightly editing my image archives the last few weeks and have come across a few keepers that are worth sharing in the days ahead. If you are like me and admire these creatures, check out my gallery of available humpback whale photos.
Yesterday was my last day in Hawaii. Overall, the trip was exciting and adventurous, yet the photo opportunities were limited. The volcanic haze (vog) foiled almost every sunset landscape image that I tried to shoot. I also went boating 4 days to try and shoot some underwater wildlife. Even though I encountered spinner dolphins, pilot whales, and oceanic white tip sharks, none of them came close enough to me in the water to capture a publishable image. I always say that you better enjoy the boat ride when you are looking for pelagic critters. The chances of finding them are few and far between, yet when you do, it is an incredible experience.
I lucked into this image yesterday morning while snorkeling near the Place of Refuge. My flight home was not until the afternoon, so I decided to go for one last swim. Almost immediately, I found some green sea turtles feeding underwater, but soon turned my attention to a large school of yellow tangs that were moving back and forth in the wave surge. I noticed how dramatic the waves appeared in the background of my useless fish photos, so I turned my attention to capturing the drama of the large waves breaking over the coral reef. After some trial and error, I got my timing down for when I should dive underneath the surface and how to angle my camera up to shoot as the waves boiled over the reef. Of course right after the waves hit me, I felt like I was on the inside of a washing machine! It was challenging, but I had a lot of fun shooting something different.
Here is another great image from my recent Steller sea lion shoot. This sea lion is biting the front of my dome port. Even with the dome and a +2 diopter, you can still see that it is a little soft around the mouth, but is that close or what? This images was created with my Canon 5D digital SLR in an Ikelite underwater housing with 2 Ikelite DS160 strobes set on Manual to -4, at f4 and 1/125 second.
For any of my regular visitors, I have to apologize for not keeping up with my promise to try and post more the past few weeks. The economic uncertainty that we are all facing has started to demand my attention, as well as some personal family issues. I canceled my trip to return to Argentina this week, and am trying to work on some other projects for the time being as I try and sort everything out that is going on. It might be awhile, so I am just trying to regroup and focus on what I can do for my business and family at this time. Some of the bigger concessions that I am trying to make include selling my boat up in Alaska and eliminating my film expense by going all digital. I’m looking into trading in my Pentax 67 and Canon 5D so I can upgrade to the new Canon 5D mkII. I’ve got some new projects in the works to lead more photography workshops next year, so it only makes sense that I should shoot digital so that I have something to show to my clients, rather than waiting for my film to get processed after the trip. I think that I will keep my Fotoman 612 panoramic camera to still shot some film once in awhile, because I really like the detail I get in my larger prints.
I’ve got some more editing to do from my recent dive trip with the Steller sea lions, but this is one of my favorite images. I shot about 2600 images over 3 days during 8 hours of diving. I deleted at least 1800 in my first cut. Now I need to process the top 40 or so images from the shoot. This images was created with my Canon 5D digital SLR in an Ikelite underwater housing with 2 Ikelite DS160 strobes set on Manual to -4, at f4 and 1/125 second.
I have had a great week scuba diving with the Steller sea lions. This is my 4th visit to Hornby Island, but the first time that I have chartered the resort with only 3 other photographers. I have been mobbed by 20-40 sea lions on 5 out of my 6 dives. I routinely disappear into a ball of sea lions as they gently bite on my drysuit covered legs and pull on the back of my wetsuit hood! When it gets too much, I just sink to the bottom and hold my camera over my head until they lose interest and go bother someone else. It is impossible to take pictures in the middle of that much chaos. They are constantly chasing each other and dive bombing me from the surface. I think they are having as much fun as I am. This is one of my favorite images of a juvenile blowing bubbles at me underwater. It was shot with my Canon 5D digital SLR, 17-40mm f4 lens, B+W +2 diopter, Ikelite underwater housing with an 8″ dome port and two DS160 strobes set to -4 at f5.6 and 1/200 second.
It is pretty pathetic outside in Seattle today. I have been home all day listening to NPR while working on several submissions and doing a printing project for a client. Both I-5 and I-90 are closed due to extensive flooding throughout the state. We even made the national news for how miserable it is. I’ve only been back from Panama for 1 week, but I am already vowing to not be here at all next winter from my daughters Christmas break through January. I really get bummed out and depressed in this weather so that is why I started traveling and working for myself 8 years ago. I am really looking forward to my diving trip next week. The weather forecast is starting to look very promising, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed. I am also looking forward to going back to Patagonia for a backpacking and photography trip in 2 weeks.
My February trip to Hawai’i was my best trip that I have ever had for humpback whale photos. I talked Paul Souders into joining me for 2 weeks on the water and we had a great time together. (Paul is also going to Hornby Island with me and Ken next week.) I created this image using my Canon 5D digital SLR and 20mm lens in my Ikelite underwater camera housing at f2.8 and 1/250 second.
I just got back from a very relaxing family holiday in Bocas del Toro, Panama. We missed all of the bad winter weather in Seattle while working on our sun tans and drinking too many pina coladas. I lost a lot of my motivation to do anything other than sit around in a hammock. My kids are now going to bed at 7 pm and waking up at 4:30 am, since there is a 3 hour time difference between Panama (EST) and Seattle (PST). With all my free time early in the morning, I’ve been thinking about a new blog entry and came across an idea on an acquaintances website for posting my Top 10 Favorite Images of 2008. That sounds like the right amount of effort to ease me back into reality. So, over the course of the next 10 days, I will endeavor to add a new image and story each day for you my visitors.
This image of “Humpback Whales Underwater” was taken in March in Hawai’i. It takes weeks of patience on the water in order to have the opportunity to get this close to a whale, let alone photograph it. I have always said that if I could do only one thing photographically, it would be to follow whales everyday of the year, but it is also the most difficult and expensive thing that I do. This image is of 2 enormous males that were pursuing a female and her calf during what is called a “heat run”. I created it using my Canon 5D digital SLR and 20mm lens in my Ikelite underwater camera housing at f2.8 and 1/200 second. You can enjoy many more spectacular photos of humpback whales in the multiple galleries on my site.
This is another one of my favorite images from my recent trip to photograph great white sharks down in Mexico. As I mentioned in my previous post, it was a tough trip, but I did come away with a few new images that are worth sharing.
I have been working on updating my website and moving some of the galleries and pages around. The new layout is a work in progress, but it should be all straightened out by the end of the month. The major change that is coming to my site is the e-commerce update. Soon you will be able to order and purchase fine-art prints directly from my website. Please visit more of my Great White Shark Photography.
I recently returned from my second trip to remote Guadalupe Island to photograph great white sharks. Guadalupe is located in the eastern Pacific Ocean 180 miles west of the central Baja Peninisula. I first visited Guadalupe in 2002, shortly after my first daughter was born. Maddy is now 6 and in 1st grade. Time flies. I was hoping to greatly improve my coverage by joining a 7 day trip, which would allow me 5 full days at the island. The weather and sharks did not cooperate as much as I was hoping they would. Most of my better images were taken on the first day at the island, including this one. Please visit more of my Great White Shark Photography.