Being on board any National Geographic Expedition ship is a magnificent experience for myriad reasons, not the least of which is the incredible staff of naturalists. It’s wonderful to be having a nice cup of tea and listening to a talk about whales, then glancing out the window and seeing the very animal being discussed in its natural habitat, just off to the side of the ship. This type of expedition travel also happens to be fantastic for photography. The captain and the expedition leader make it a priority to take us to the most beautiful places. Their keen local knowledge all but guarantees an enormous amount of wildlife sighting, which makes for fantastic picture-taking opportunities.
Last August, I was invited to be the National Geographic Photography Expert on board the National Geographic Sea Bird for the expedition to Alaska’s Inside Passage. Every day was packed with great opportunities to see wildlife, such as humpback whales and bears, experience unbelievable landscapes and, using their fleet of zodiacs, get up close and personal to calving glaciers. Here are a few pictures from our first full day on board. I hope this gives a flavor of what it’s like to travel with National Geographic and I encourage you to join us for one of our many adventures throughout the world.
The National Geographic Sea Bird docked in Juneau - Canon 5D Mark III + 24-105mm
Our first glacier! This is the South Sawyer Glacier in Tracy Arm Fjord. Photographed with a – Canon 5D Mark III + 70-200mm
The glacial ice is incredibly blue. We were here on an overcast day and the colors were just amazing – Canon 5D Mark III + 70-200mm lens
Along the steep walls of the Tracy Arm Fjord, we were treated to a small herd of Mountain Goats with their yearlings, grazing just few hundred yards from our zodiac – Canon 7D + 70-300mm lens
I can’t think of any place else that will deliver hot chocolate to your zodiac while waiting to witness calving glaciers – Canon 5D Mark III + a 24-105mm lens
As we were transiting out of Tracy Arm Fjord, we came across this black bear, foraging for food along the water’s edge. The colors of the water and foliage really stand out against the black fur of this animal. Canon 7D + 70-300mm lens
Later that afternoon, a wet landing at Williams Cove took us to the pristine rain forest. These colorful mushrooms were everywhere – Canon 5D Mark III + 24-105mm lens
In a couple of weeks, I am heading next to Central America with National Geographic Expeditions, where we’ll be in the Monteverde Cloud Forest, then on board the National Geographic Sea Lion which will take us down the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica and Panama to explore the parks that are filled with wildlife, and, for the grand finale, a transit through the Panama Canal. See you on board!
Posted in adventure photographer, Alaska, Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-300 lens, Canon 7D, editorial photographer, Expedition, outdoors, photographer, photography, Stock Photography, Travel, travel photographer, wildlife photographer | Tagged 5D Mark III, Alaska Inside Passage, Canon, Canon 5D Mark III, editorial photographer, National Geographic, National Geographic Expeditions, National Geographic Sea Bird, national geographic traveler, nature, outdoors, Stock Photography, tourism, Tracy Arm Fjord, Travel, travel photographer, travel photography | Leave a Comment »
This was one of the most challenging assignments I’ve had in recent years. I received a call from my editor at the Smithsonian Magazine asking if I would be available to shoot in Washington, D.C. It was going to be in July, (read: hot!), and would take about a week. The editors at the magazine were busy coordinating seven photographers from around the United States, including Dan Winters, David Burnett and Albert Watson, to photograph a collection of objects at various Smithsonian Museums. I have been working in wet-plate collodion for about five years now, and was surprised to learn the photography department was interested in that work for an assignment. It was the first time anyone had ever commissioned work from me based on my “fine art” portfolio.
The title of the issue is called, “101 Objects That Made America.” The segment I photographed is entitled, “America In the World,” and all the objects that were chosen have to do with America as it relates to the world. You can see the pictures online here.
The pieces I was assigned to photograph span five centuries. The oldest “object” was a Novus Orbis map from 1532, based on tales from Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci. It depicts the world as round, which at the time was a new idea, South America takes up most of that hemisphere and Cuba is where North America lies. The youngest object that I was assigned gave me the most pause and I felt a bit of a chill when the curators brought it to our makeshift studio. It is from 2001 and was donated to the Smithsonian by the New York City police. The stairwell sign from the 102nd floor of one of the twin towers that was destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11th was gently put on the set. It had been found at the dump where the debris from the site had been taken in order to find any human remains or other significant evidence from that terrible day in American history.
When the issue was launched, the letter from the editor invited people to discuss the objects chosen for the special issue and to participate in a dialogue about what was included and why. I cannot imagine the vetting process of choosing only 101 objects out of 37 million. However, to be in such close proximity to things such as the Pocahontas engraving – the oldest piece in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection – was an extraordinary experience and one I will never forget.
The opening spread in Smithsonian Magazine for the section I illustrated, “America In the World.”
The second spread in Smithsonian Magazine where the oldest and newest objects are placed alongside a gas mask from World War I, the sign from the TV show, Mash, and a salvaged nuclear fallout shelter.
Posted in alt process photography, assignment photography, collodion, conceptual photography, editorial photographer, fine art, fine art photography, magazine work, photographer in Portland, photography, still life photography | Tagged alternative process, ambrotypes, America, black and white photography, collodion, editorial photographer, fine art photography, magazine photography, museum, photography, Smithsonian, Smithsonian Magazine, Smithsonian Museums, still life | Leave a Comment »
Last year, I was lucky enough to be assigned to photograph two of the 2012 Travelers of the Year for National Geographic Traveler Magazine. I wrote about it in a previous post, and a lot of what I said then remains the same today. The most interesting part of my job is having the privilege to meet and photograph many interesting people. This year was no exception. The stars aligned and it turned out that two of the nominees happened to be in my hometown of Portland, Oregon, so I ended up photographing two of the 2013 Travelers of the Year for National Geographic Traveler Magazine.
The first assignment was to photograph a couple – Seth McBride and Kelly Schwan who were preparing to leave on a year-long, 10,000-mile bicycle adventure from Portland, Oregon to Patagonia in Argentina. The most amazing part of their story is that Seth has quadriplegia and must travel using a hand-cycle. Meeting and working with these two was incredibly inspiring. We tried a couple of different approaches to making pictures of them and both of the locations ended up in the story – in print and on the web. The print version (below) shows Seth and Kelly biking on a country road outside of Portland. We got the shot by hiring a truck so I could make pictures of them while they were cycling, which was a great way to illustrate in picture precisely what they are about. You can follow them on their epic journey online via their blog, www.longroadsouth.com.
Seth McBride and Kelly Schwan, National Geographic Travelers of the Year for 2013
The second photo-op turned out to be another couple who are referred to in the article as the, “New Pioneers,” and their portrait ended up being the opener for the print version of the story (see below). John Ellis and Laura Preston ditched their jobs in New York City, got an airstream trailer and started on a journey that seems to keep on going. They “crowd-source” their itinerary and wound up just outside of Portland in a small trailer park along the river. John and Laura are taking advantage of being able to do their jobs on the road – they are both web developers – so they can work while exploring America. It’s an inspiring story, filled with the romance of chasing dreams while traveling and earning a living. You can follow their journey online at www.thedemocratictravelers.com.
2013 National Geographic Travelers of the Year John Ellis and Laura Preston
Posted in editorial photographer, editorial portrait, magazine work, National Gegoraphic, outdoors, Pacific Northwest, photographer, photographer in Portland, photography, portrait, portrait photographer, portrait photography, Travel, travel photographer | Tagged editorial photographer, editorial portrait, John Ellis, Kelly Schwan, magazine photography, National Geographic, national geographic traveler, national geographic traveler magazine, National Geographic Travelers, outdoors, photography, portrait photographer, Seth McBride, tourism, Travel, travel photographer, travel photography, Travelers | Leave a Comment »
It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. MIX Magazine, a food magazine published by the Oregonian, is publishing its final issue this month and they chose one of my images for the cover. MIX was so much fun to work for, not only because the assignments always focused on my favorite subject, food, but also because of the great editorial staff with which I had the pleasure of working. The photo editor I worked with on my projects was the illustrious Mike Davis, now the Alexia Foundation Chair for Documentary Photography at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He gave me complete freedom of approach to every story and also followed up with terrific feedback. The writer I most often worked with was Martha Holmberg, former food editor for The Oregonian, who is now busy writing cookbooks, teaching, giving talks and continuing to pursue all things food. Martha and I worked on several stories together, including one about Nick’s Italian Cafe in McMinnville, as well as another about how to make your own Nocino with green walnuts from the back yard, (and throw a neighborhood party in the process). “Hope springs eternal,” I often hear, so my hope is that I not only get to continue to work with Mike and Martha on other projects in the future, but that another food magazine based in my hometown of Portland, Oregon will spring forth in the near future.
I raise a glass to the fine people at the Oregonian and MIX! May our paths cross again in the very near future. Cheers!!!
The October 2013 cover of MIX Magazine, image by Susan Seubert
Posted in assignment photography, commercial photographer, editorial photographer, food, Food Photographer, magazine cover, magazine work, Oregon, Pacific Northwest, photographer, photographer in Portland, photography, photojournalism, Stock Photography | Tagged Documentary Photography, editorial photographer, food, food magazine, Food Photographer, magazine, magazine cover, magazine photography, Martha Holmberg, Mike Davis, MIX Magazine, Oregonian, photo editor, photography, photojournalism, Portland photographer, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, travel photographer | Leave a Comment »
Greetings! In an earlier post here, I wrote about a brand new Canon 5D Mark III body shutting down with an Error 70 message. My home town camera store replaced the body because it was DOA. I then purchased a second 5D Mark III body plus the 70-200 f2.8 L Series II lens, as well as all new CF and SD cards that are dedicated to these cameras. I chose to use the Sandisk Extreme 16GB, and those seem to work well with all of my bodies. I have a separate set of cards for my two Canon 7D bodies and this system seems to work well. So far, the cameras have performed beautifully. One of the new features of the Mark III that I like the most is the silent shutter mode. It really makes a difference when shooting in many situations. It seems that if people are less aware of the noise of the camera, they are much more natural and relaxed. I also like the HDR option on these bodies for when I’m shooting architecture that would otherwise require merging to HDR in Photoshop or Lightroom. I haven’t taken the 5D Mark III cameras into any seriously extreme conditions yes, but when I head to Svalbard in June with National Geographic Expeditions, we’ll see how they hold up to the arctic. Right now I use my 7D cameras for wildlife and underwater, which is really great. I enjoy being able to have 8 fps when photographing subjects like sea lions or surfing. The 5D Mark III cameras perform well for most editorial and commercial purposes.
While snorkeling at Champion Islet on an expedition with National Geographic in the Galapagos, we encountered some very playful sea lions who had no problem posing for the camera! Photographed with a Canon 7D with a 10-22mm lens in an SPL under-water splash housing
Posted in adventure photographer, assignment photography, camera technical, camera technical problem, Canon 7D, Galapagos, National Gegoraphic, outdoors, photographer, Travel, travel photographer, underwater photography, wildlife photographer | Tagged 5D Mark III, Canon, Canon 7D, editorial photographer, Galapagos, National Geographic, National Geographic Expeditions, nature, outdoors, photography, tourism, Travel, underwater photography | Leave a Comment »
Beaujolais, France for National Geographic Traveler Magazine
Bonjour! Last April, I had the pleasure of being assigned Beaujolais for National Geographic Traveler Magazine. It had been many years since I had been to France, so I hired a French tutor in order to brush up on the language. At one point in my life I was fluent, yet living in the US and traveling to countries that spoke just about any language but French, my skills had gotten a bit rusty. When we landed in Lyon, I was pleasantly surprised at how easily my French returned and I was quickly on my way to 10 days worth of adventure in this beautiful area of France. Because we were arriving at the very beginning of the tourist season, we had to stay in two different hotels. We checked in to Auberge du Paradis, a lovely, well appointed boutique hotel located in the region of St. Amour in the heart of Beaujolais. The room was very modern and the cuisine nothing short of incredible. What was so surprising was the flavor of the food that was served. The owner and chef, Cyril, was delightful as a host but also a master in the kitchen. The food was infused with incredible flavors informed by Cyril’s time in Morocco. The other hotel we stayed in was not technically in Beaujolais, but just over the border in Burgundy, La Source des Fees. Half of this hotel was built in the 13th century, and the other half, the 17th century. The rooms were spectacular and the cooking was what I would expect, but better. The meal style at this hotel was classic French, prepared by a lovely young woman who used her grandparents’ recipes. They hailed from the countryside around Bresse, the area made famous by Julia Child when she declared their chickens to be the finest. Besides the amazing food, beautiful countryside and historic architecture, we had a few specific things to cover before our job would be complete.
One of the most joyous parts of this story was to photograph a Fete des Conscrits. We were lucky enough to find one in full swing in the beautiful hill town of Oingt. This celebration is unique to this region in France and occurs in different villages on different weekends throughout the spring. The celebration revolves around birth years and descends from the time of World War One when young men were conscripted into the army. Now, it’s more of a community celebration. I met several people who had moved away to other countries, yet came back to Oingt to celebrate their fete as well as see old friends, dance in the streets and, of course, drink wine from the neighboring vineyards.
The heart of this assignment was to investigate the area through the lens of two winemakers, Julien Sunier and Mathieu LaPierre. Both Sunier and LaPierre are making excellent wines in Beaujolais, a region most noted for its, (much maligned), Beaujolais Nouveau. These two, along with a handful of other vintners, are making wines based on the old practices of French winemaking. Their methods include working with old vines, not using any synthetic herbicides or pesticides, and following organic and biodynamic vineyard practices. They also age their wines in old barrels which makes a tremendous difference in the depth and complexity of the final product. You can see more pictures from the assignment on National Geographic Traveler’s web site here. Merci et a bientot!
Posted in assignment photography, editorial photographer, magazine work, National Gegoraphic, photography, photojournalism, Travel, travel photographer | Tagged Beaujolais, editorial photographer, France, magazine photography, National Geographic, national geographic traveler, national geographic traveler magazine, photography, photojournalism, tourism, Travel, travel photographer, travel photography, wine country | Leave a Comment »
Aloha from Maui, the Valley Isle! I’ll be taking over Smithsonian Magazine’s Instagram Feed this week, featuring photos of the island’s flora and if I’m lucky, some of its fauna. You can follow me here and read about why Smithsonian Magazine let me take the reins of their photo feed here. Mahalo for visiting and a hui ho!
tiny shells, collected on the beach, to welcome you to the island, wherever you may be
Posted in assignment photography, editorial photographer, Hawaii, instagram, iPhone, iPhone photography, just for fun, magazine work, Maui, maui photographer, outdoors, photography, Travel, travel photographer | Tagged editorial photographer, Food Photographer, Hawaii, Instagram, iPhone, island, magazine photography, Maui, Smithsonian, Stock Photography, Travel, travel photographer, travel photography | Leave a Comment »
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