My image “Delicate Arch Sunset 2” is featured on the cover on the 2012 Audubon National Parks calendar! I just checked the image’s meta-data and saw that I created this image almost 5 years ago this March. I remember flying down to Salt Lake City and then driving to Arches National Park to catch a clearing storm that afternoon. I created this image using my Pentax 67II medium format film camera, Pentax 105mm f2.8 lens, and Singh-Ray Warming Polarizer using Fuji Velvia film. I also set up my Fotoman 612 panoramic film camera to create a panoramic version of this same scene. I do not miss carrying all of that weight around. I scanned the original slide with my Imacon Photo desktop scanner and processed it using Photoshop.
My latest article “Desert Song” is featured in the March 2011 issue of Popular Photography! The article gives suggestions for photographing California desert locations including Anza Borrego Desert State Park, Death Valley National Park, the Alabama Hills Recreation Area, the Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve, and San Elijo State Beach, all of which are best photographed this time of year. The article is 6 pages long and showcases 6 of my images, including the double page opener of wildflowers in bloom from Anza Borrego. I created this image almost exactly 2 years ago. This was first trip using a digital camera to photograph landscapes rather than with my beloved Pentax 67II medium format film camera. I used my Canon 5DmkII body, Canon 17-40mm f4 lens, and Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer. It required minimal processing using Aperture 2. I also clearly remember signing up for Twitter during that trip at the urging of my client-friend, Mark Teskey. Wow! That seems like a lifetime ago back in the social media dark ages.
Since I won’t be visiting the desert this spring, I won’t be able to offer my own wildflower reports, however, you can read about the latest conditions by visiting the Desert USA Wildlflower Report.
I have consistently been part of the Nature’s Best Photography Awards the last 7 years, but each year the photography is more amazing and the competition more difficult. I am honored to have even one image accepted and especially pleased that this year it was one of my underwater images. I love photographing dramatic landscapes, but I am equally excited by underwater and wildlife photography.
My underwater portrait of a Steller sea lion had an excellent 2010. Last summer, it received 2nd Place in the 2010 International Conservation Photography Awards in the Underwater Category and was featured on the promotional poster for the event. The poster was highly visible around Seattle all summer and even made a cameo appearance in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. This image is currently Highly Honored in the Underwater Category in the 2010 Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice International Awards and is one of 6 images featured on the cover of the current issue. I’ve also been told that it will be displayed in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.
I created this image with my Canon 5D and Canon 17-40mm f4 lens with a +2 diopter inside an Ikelite 5D underwater housing with dual Ikelite DS 160 strobes attached with ULCS arms. The image initially required minimal processing, but I spent a lot of time cloning out backscatter in Photoshop.
A few months ago, Gray Line of Alaska contacted me about licensing my image of a brown bear surrounded by lupine for the cover of their 2010 brochure. Here is what the cover looks like. You can also download the brochure here. I photographed this brown bear during my week-long visit to Lituya Bay on the remote outer coast of Glacier Bay National Park in June 2009. You can read how I created this image in my original blog post.
I was recently interviewed by the Gesellschaft Deutscher Tierfotografen (Society of German Nature Photographers). Previously interviewed photographers include Andy Rouse, George and Verena Popp, Norbert Rosing, and Kevin Schafer. My interview is currently featured in their triannual magazine Forum Naturfotografie. It spans 14 pages and showcases 12 of my favorite photographs. The double page opener is my image “East Pond Vent 1”, taken in Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii. You can view the entire article here, however, it is in German.
My image “Spray Park Wildflowers 1” is featured as the double page opener of the hiking feature in the June 2010 issue of Seattle Met. Spray Park is my favorite alpine location at Mount Rainier National Park and is the closest side of the mountain to my home in Seattle. During the brief summer hiking season, I depart my house in the early afternoon, drive for about 3 hours, and hike the 3 miles up to the wildflower meadows to photograph the sunset. It is both a blessing and a curse if the wind is not blowing, a blessing because the fields of lupine and paintbrush are not blowing around in the wind, but a curse because of the swarms of blood-thirsty mosquitoes that rival any that I have seen in Alaska or Canada. Spray Park is higher than Paradise on the south side of the mountain, so the wildflowers peak about 1 week later, typically mid-August. Based on the cold summer that we are having, I estimate that the wildflowers are going to be a little late this year, which is similar to the year that I created this image during the last week of August.
I am pleased to share my latest cover image on Alaska Airlines. This is the 3rd time this year and the 2nd month in a row that they have selected one of my photographs for the cover of their in-flight magazine. I photographed this brown bear diving for a salmon when I visited the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary & Refuge in August 2006. My buddy & I were fortunate to be the only visitors the last week of August, so the ranger gave us a private tour. Even he said that he had never been to some of the areas that we hiked to. I had applied several years in a row for the lottery but never got a permit. Like most people, I had applied for the height of the salmon run and the bear congregation in July. This time I applied for the last week of the season and received a permit. So did 8 other people, but none of them showed up. I’ve was told that it is also easy to get a permit for the first week or two of the summer. So, keep those shoulder season dates in mind if you ever want to photograph brown bears and have McNeil River all to yourself.
One of my underwater humpback whale images appears on billboards in New Zealand this month. (Anyone in NZ able to send me a picture?) When I first set out to make a living as a professional photographer, I initially found success selling fine-art prints through galleries & art shows. That business model ceased being effective with the down-turn in the economy, so I turned my focus to my website. Many of my modest sales now come from having good SEO. This sale is a perfect example. A design firm contacted me a few weeks ago after searching the web, offered me a reasonable usage rate, I emailed them the file, and they wire-transferred the money to me. How easy was that?
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 share my latest publishing accomplishment. My “Paradise Wildflowers” image from Mount Rainier National Park is the June 2010 cover on Alaska Airlines! This is also my 2nd cover with them this year. This picture is my all-time most successful art print and has been licensed numerous times since I created it in 2003. Most of my regular readers will know that I shot all of my landscape images up until last year with a Pentax 67 system. One of the challenges of that system was that I had limited depth-of-field compared to a 35mm system. In order to overcome that limitation, I created this image with Toyo 4×5 view camera, a Rodenstock 65mm large format lens, and a Horseman 6×9 roll film back. (Did I lose you, yet?) With the large format camera, I tilted the lens so that the flowers would be close to the camera while keeping the summit of Mount Rainier in focus. I also used my Singh-Ray Warming Polarizer and 2-stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density filter with Fuji Velvia film. I think that the exposure was about 10 seconds at f32, which is a life-time when waiting for a slight breeze to stop rustling the wildflowers. Now when I photograph flower landscapes like this, I use my Canon 5DmkII with a wide-angle lens with camera settings more like f16, 1/4 second, and 200 ISO. Since this was the first image that I ever took with my 4×5, I was still learning how to use it that morning. I mentioned that I used a 6×9 roll film back. All of my images that I shot were the 6×9 format except for 1 frame that overlapped the frame before it. That image perfectly cropped itself in the camera to 6×7 which is my favorite photo that you see here. Beginners luck?