Yours truly in Baja on board the National Geographic Sea Bird. Photo copyright © 2014 Ralph Lee Hopkins
Tomorrow I will board an airplane bound for Oslo and then on to one of the most fascinating archipelagos on Earth, Svalbard. It is located about halfway between Norway and the North Pole. I am excited to be the on board National Geographic Photography Expert on the National Geographic Explorer - a beautiful, ice-class expedition ship. I’ll be on the expedition, “Land of the Polar Bears,” until the end of June teaching photography, giving lectures about being a photographer for the National Geographic Society and joining the guests in exploring this incredible environment. During this trip we will have opportunities to explore the Svalbard archipelago both on land and at sea. There are a few types of megafauna that call Svalbard home, the most notable being Ursus maritimus, commonly known as the polar bear. Other marine mammals include several species of whales, including the Narwhal of unicorn legend, along with seals, walruses and many migratory and endemic sea birds. Having never been this far north before, I’m thrilled at the possibilities for photography. This time of year the wildlife will likely be searching for food as this is the Spring season and the sun will not set. We will be traveling through 24 hours of daylight which should make for magnificent lighting possibilities. You can follow my travels on my new Facebook Page.
Here’s a sneak peek at my camera kit
Lots of Canon Glass for this trip!
Other news on the home front
I’m proud and thrilled to now be represented by Jenna Teeson! Jenna and I met ten years ago when she was a photo editor at National Geographic Traveler Magazine. As the years passed, she moved on from the Geographic back to her hometown, Boston, and has since been working as artist representative for Heath Robbins, a very talented food and lifestyle photographer. Jenna has worked on global campaigns with some of the country’s top advertising agencies and I’m excited for what’s next for us. I know we can go far together as Jenna brings greater exposure to my work and the opportunity to collaborate with new partners. Jenna is one of the most well organized and pleasant people I have had the privilege to work with, so when we reconnected, I jumped at the chance to work with her again.
In my absence, please contact Jenna for assignments.
She can be reached at jennateesonreps(at)gmail(dot)com
or by phone at 202-302-7384
For stock requests, please visit my stock site here.
Thank you for visiting!
Posted in adventure photographer, editorial photographer, Expedition, National Gegoraphic, National Geographic Expeditions, nature photographer, outdoors, photographer, photography, Svalbard, Travel, travel photographer, wildlife photographer | Tagged adventure photographer, editorial photographer, island, National Geographic, National Geographic Expeditions, National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Photography Expert, National Geographic Sea Bird, National Geographic Society, national geographic traveler, national geographic traveler magazine, nature, outdoors, photography, Polar Bears, Svalbard, tourism, Travel, travel photographer, travel photography | Leave a Comment »
Our kitties are on the cover of the Healthy Cats Calendar! I was interviewed by Amber Lotus about their story.
Originally posted on Amber Lotus Publishing:
In Honor of Adopt a Pet Month we wanted to feature the story behind the kitties on the cover of our Healthy Cat Calendar.
2015 Healthy Cat Calendar
We interviewed Susan Seubert, the cover photographer for The Healthy Cat Calendar, about her adopted furry family.
Q AL – Where did these beautiful cats come from?
SS – These kitties were part of a litter of 3 that a stray cat gave birth to in a friend’s backyard. The momma cat and one kitten disappeared, leaving two tiny kittens behind. They had just opened their eyes when my friend found them.
Q AL – When did you get them?
SS – My friend posted photos of them on her Facebook page in hopes of finding a home for the two of them. We had just lost our cat of 17 years and had decided that we didn’t want to go through…
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Beautiful clouds mimic the breaking waves at Neakahnie Beach in Manzanita, Oregon
One of the best places on the Oregon Coast is the town of Manzanita. It’s only about two hours from Portland and Neahkahnie Beach, which fronts this beach town, is one of the best beaches in the state. The beach is 7 miles long and very flat, making it ideal for walking, throwing a Frisbee, or finding a nice piece of driftwood on which to sit and watch the gorgeous and powerful Pacific Ocean. It never feels crowded here, yet there’s always someone walking a dog or playing with their kids, or even riding horses! The town of Manzanita has an amazing grocery store with a fantastic deli for a picnic lunch as well as a marvelous bakery where you can get hot cinnamon rolls and a great cup of coffee along with hand-made bread. On top of all this there’s the Cloud and Leaf book store, so if you are there on a rainy weekend, you can pop in and find a good read. With its Bed and Breakfasts and lovely little restaurants, for a weekend getaway at the ocean, Manzanita is hard to top. I was very excited when I received this assignment because I have spent many weekends and day trips here, so I know the place well. However, being able to frame my adventure with a photo assignment gave the trip an added dimension. Since the story wasn’t simply about Manzanita but part of a larger story about Great American Beach Towns, it was a way for me to demonstrate my Oregon pride. I moved here from the Midwest in 1988 and never looked back, largely because of the natural beauty Oregon has to offer, from its grand beaches like Neahkahnie, to the Cascade Mountains, the wine country, the high desert, the Painted Hills, Crater Lake and the Columbia River Gorge. Manzanita is a perfect example of what makes living in Oregon so wonderful. I hope that this story inspires you to visit Oregon. You can see the online gallery of pictures from National Geographic Traveler’s American Beach Towns here.
Dennis and Peggy Awtrey entertain guests at their hillside B and B in Manzanita, Oregon
Chef Brian Williams stands outside of his restaurant The Big Wave Cafe in Manzanita, Oregon
Posted in assignment photography, editorial photographer, landscape photographer, landscape photography, magazine work, National Gegoraphic, Oregon, outdoors, Pacific Northwest, photographer in Portland, photography, Travel, travel photographer | Tagged editorial photographer, Lifestyle photographer, magazine photography, Manzanita, National Geographic, national geographic traveler, national geographic traveler magazine, Neahkahnie Beach, Oregon, Oregon Coast, outdoors, photography, photojournalism, Stock Photography, the Oregon Coast, tourism, Travel, travel photographer, travel photography | Leave a Comment »
Meeting new people is a bonus in the Maui surf lineup. Nice to meet you Ashley.
Thank you for the shout-out! :-)
Originally posted on ashleydias:
So yesterday morning when I paddled out to try to catch a wave or two, there was only one chick out in the water. She looked like she knew what she was doing so I asked for some tips. She coached me a little bit, then we got to chatting while waiting for some waves. I asked what she did, and turns out she’s a national geographic photographer.
, an award-winning national geographic photographer. If you know me you know this was like meeting a celebrity for me. In this photo she had just noticed a couple spinner dolphins right next to us, probably 50 yards away. I asked her questions and her opinion on the GoPro (which she says she loves the GoPro). She’s a cool chick, for sure.
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I was sent to Thailand to photograph a story about Bangkok for National Geographic Traveler Magazine. This was my first time in Thailand and it was a wonderful experience. Since the coverage was limited to the old area of the city on Rattanakosin Island, I spent days wandering the streets and making pictures. Dusk and dawn were the best time due to the extreme heat during the time of year I was there. One day it was so hot that my tennis shoes melted apart!
My photo editor included one of the images from the take on National Geographic’s “On Assignment” web site: a photograph I made at Wat Intharawihan of the 105 foot tall Buddah which is covered in gold. I had seen many photos at this place, mainly of people at the feet of this giant statue. When I arrived, it was in terrible mid-day light and all of the people were gone so it seemed that I was not going to be able to make a good picture. Then, one of the caretakers arrived to dismantle some banners and I lucked into an opportunity to shoot the feet with a sense of scale that normally one wouldn’t have seen published. You can read about the photograph on National Geographic’s web site here.
Wat Intharawihan in Bangkok, Thailand
The story will run in the 2014 June/July issue. I hope to write more about the assignment when the issue hits the news stands.
Thank you for visiting my blog and have a great day!
Posted in assignment photography, editorial photographer, magazine work, National Gegoraphic, photography, photojournalism, Thailand, Travel, travel photographer | Tagged Bangkok, editorial photographer, magazine photography, National Geographic, national geographic traveler, national geographic traveler magazine, outdoors, photography, photojournalism, Thailand, tourism, Travel, travel photographer, travel photography, Wat Intharawihan | Leave a Comment »
It’s that time again – the beginning of the travel year in earnest. I’ll be traveling to 4 countries in the next three months which requires some necessities for the road. Tomorrow, I am heading to Baja with National Geographic Expeditions. One of the most important things to consider in the tropics is SPF protection. After I complete my assignment in Mexico, I’ll be headed to our Maui headquarters. Both places require sun protection but also a little bit of dress code. Some of my favorite pieces have been with me for a long time, so it was time to find replacements. I hope that this blog post helps all of the women photographers out there who might be in the same boat. :-)
The first thing I’d like to discuss briefly is skin care and a wee bit of make-up. These are the items that I generally pack in my carry-on:
cosmetics for the camera bag
I’ve found the Neutrogena ultra-sheer SPF 55 sunscreen to be the best for my face. It seems to adhere well, isn’t greasy and doesn’t burn my skin like so many other products I’ve tried over the years. The absolute best sunscreen I recently discovered is the Susan Posnick brush on sunscreen. It’s a full spectrum powder sunscreen, so you don’t have to worry about it being confiscated by TSA. It also is very handy to carry around and apply often, particularly to the nose, and it works. It fits in my sunglasses case for protection from crushing. Once you buy the brush, you can buy refills as needed which saves money and packaging. The tiny Vaseline is the best for dry, chapped lips and although it doesn’t offer sun protection, it keeps my lips from getting too chapped by wax based products. When I’m working on ships, wind is a factor and the Vaseline prevents wind burn and can be applied to other areas on the skin. I prefer the cocoa butter version, but the regular does just fine. For a quick dress-up look, BLINC mascara can’t be beat. It washes off with warm water and doesn’t tend to flake, so you don’t have to carry any strange cosmetic cleaners to get the stuff off at the end of the day. These mini-dental floss dispensers are about the size of a quarter and for those long haul flights, it’s a great way to keep dental hygiene on the up and up.
I’ve been buying and testing SPF clothing for several years and was disappointed when Patagonia discontinued their fly fishing tops for women. The ones they’ve re-introduced this season aren’t nearly as tailored as the older models, but luckily, Kuhl has a top that is very similar to the old Patagonia model. It’s tailored for a flattering fit and has two zipper pockets for whatever you want to keep on your person such as currency, identification, keys, etc. It’s also SPF 50 and has roll-up sleeves with a blue lining. I chose white because of the heat factor for my next few destinations. I like to layer these over some kind of tank top to help wick moisture away from my body. An REI tank top that breaths but is form fitting does the trick. Not only does it add a little color to the outfit, it can double as a sports bra for those of us who are, ahem, not as endowed as others. Hiking in the islands in the Sea of Cortez can be very hot, so I’ve found that a skirt is often more comfortable than pants if there aren’t many sticky things around, (hello, cactus). Cargo skirts, which are my absolute favorite for hiking, are starting to go out of fashion, but Marmot has one available now. This particular skirt is also SPF 50, but it sits just above the knees, so sunscreen or other coverage will be necessary. The waist band is soft which is great because I’m often using a holster type camera bag and sometimes other materials can cause chafing.
The last detail for the outfit is sun protection for the ears and neck, but can also be used as a headband or other head protection. Buff makes a 50SPF gator. It’s pictured below and not only adds a little color to the outfit, but keeps you from getting a red neck from either the sun or chafing camera straps.
Kuhl 50 spf top with side zippers and a tailored fit for women
An REI tank top to layer underneath really helps to wick sweat away from the torso
Marmot’s short cargo skirt keeps things cool while allowing you to zip in a driver’s license, keys or passport
Buff spf 50 gator for a versatile look – either around the neck or as a head band for sun protection
Voila! Cute and practical outfit for warm weather shooting. Just add whatever leg-wear is appropriate
Hasta pronto and a hui ho! Thank you for visiting my blog.
I hope that you found the information helpful. I am not sponsored in any way by any of these companies, so the opinions of this blog are solely my own.
Posted in adventure photographer, editorial photographer, Expedition, hawaii photographer, just for fun, Maui, maui photographer, National Gegoraphic, nature photographer, outdoors, photographer in Portland, photography, photojournalism, Travel, travel photographer | Tagged editorial photographer, hike, National Geographic Expeditions, outdoors, photography, sun protection, Travel, travel photographer, travel photography | Leave a Comment »
When the phone rang, my assistant and I were on the road shooting a short piece for VIA magazine. It was April 1, 2004 and the woman on the line identified herself as a photo editor from National Geographic Traveler and wanted to know if I would be available for a shoot. Thinking this was a joke, I handed the phone to my assistant and asked her to take a message. Well, it turned out to not be a joke at all. Instead, it was the beginning of a now decade long relationship with a client that I treasure. National Geographic Traveler has sent me to 5 continents, countless cities with assignments ranging from luxury hotels in the Caribbean to food in Sydney. Earlier in 2004, I had received a very nice letter from the illustrations assistant but it was so similar to all the other letters that had piled up from magazines throughout the years of schlepping my portfolio around that I just added it to the pile. Little did I know that that letter would end up being the beginning of a beautiful relationship with a magazine I had dreamed about being a photographer for since I was a child.
My first assignment was a one day shoot. I was so nervous! The story was about the Panama Hotel in Seattle. It’s a tea shop and bed & breakfast located in the city’s historic International District. I spent the whole day making pictures: from details of the tea to interiors with people, to the picture that ended up running, an exterior of the tea cafe at dusk. Here’s the shot that ran – my first image published in National Geographic Traveler:
The historic Panama Hotel Bed and Breakfast in Seattle, WA
After I completed this assignment, the magazine requested that I do a shoot on Cortez Island, part of the Discovery islands in British Columbia, where there is a retreat center. This was part of a larger story about Canada. After I sent in the film from that shoot, the editors called and told me that they had decided to assign me to cover the rest of the story entitled, “Canada Coast-to-Coast.” I covered four provinces in just under three weeks. The story ran in the November/December issue of 2004. Here is the opening spread of the 13 page story:
Canada Coast to Coast for National Geographic Traveler
Since that first assignment, I’ve been working with them ever since. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about how fortunate I am to have such a wonderful relationship with a magazine I’ve admired for so long. Thank you National Geographic for all of the adventures! I look forward to what the future holds.
Posted in assignment photography, editorial photographer, magazine work, National Gegoraphic, photographer, photographer in Portland, photography, photojournalism, Travel, travel photographer | Tagged editorial photographer, magazine, magazine photography, National Geographic, national geographic traveler, national geographic traveler magazine, outdoors, photography, photojournalism, tourism, Travel, travel photographer, travel photography | 2 Comments »