Aloha from the beautiful island of Maui! On Monday, we had the great pleasure of visiting O’o Farms located on the slopes of Haleakala in what is referred to as upcountry Maui. The farm is located in the little town of Kula, just off of the main road and the property overlooks the valley and ocean. O’o Farm is the only true farm-to-table operation on the island and for a nominal fee, one can visit the farm and learn about their coffee, vegetables and even pick the greens to be served for lunch! It’s a nice way to spend the day in the cool, misty outdoors and an unexpected pleasure to experience fine dining in a unique island setting. Below are some images from our visit that I hope you enjoy. Mahalo for visiting and a hui ho!
It’s been a whirlwind of travel for the last few years. Now, I’m officially bipolar, meaning that I have visited both extremes of the earth, both by virtue of traveling with National Geographic Expeditions. The first trip was towards the North Pole in Svalbard, exploring the Norwegian archipelago by icebreaker. Then, most recently, down to the Southern Ocean to the Antarctic Peninsula and the islands of South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.
South Georgia is one of the most incredible, and remote, places on the planet. During the turn of the last century, South Georgia was home to numerous natural resource extraction operations. Animals were harvested to the point where a number of species, including whales, fur seals and penguins, were hunted to near extinction. Since these operations were shut down during the 1960’s, a number of species have now recovered. Since South Georgia has a tiny human population, the animals are completely perplexed but not frightened by human presence. For wildlife photography, it’s difficult to find a more interesting and beautiful place.
One of my images from South Georgia at a landing called Gold Harbour was used on one of the expedition program guide’s covers. I’ll never forget this morning. We had gotten up before daybreak to catch the morning light and although we only had it for a few moments, we were able to capture a number of gorgeous images of the King penguins in the golden hour of dawn.
I just returned from an amazing photography expedition in Panama and Costa Rica where I served as the Photography Expert for National Geographic on board the small ship, the National Geographic Sea Lion.
Our journey started in Panama City where we spent a morning strolling through Caso Viejo before paying a visit to the Biomuseo, a museum designed by Frank Gehry and dedicated to Panama’s biodiversity.
We transferred to Colón, located on Panama’s Atlantic Coast, where we boarded the ship and started our transit through the Panama Canal.
Our first land stop was at Barro Colorado, an island in the man-made Lake Gatun, located in the middle of the canal.
The island is the site of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute which is dedicated to studying tropical forest ecosystems. It is here where we saw Tent-making bats, birds like the Rufous motmot as well as Mantled howler monkeys.
After we passed through the third and final lock, we headed up the Pacific Coast of Panama and Costa Rica, stopping at beautiful parks where we swam, hiked and enjoyed the tropical beauty of the area.
What a great way to begin 2016!
National Geographic Creative maintains a blog of what pictures they like, and for January 1, 2016, they featured my photograph of a chinstrap penguin. This image was made on Half Moon Island in Antarctica and the blissful bird appears to be dancing its way across the snow.
I love this image because the penguin is seemingly so happy, and joy is something that I strive to express in many of my photographs.
Aperture Priority f7.1, ISO 400, shutter speed 1/4000s.
From the North Pole to the sands of Hawaii, my cameras and I saw many incredible places.
Here are some of the highlights.
My year began in Birmingham for National Geographic Traveler for a story about the history of Civil Rights in the city, but from a traveler’s perspective. The assignment took me to the Civil Rights Museum and the inside of the 16th Street Baptist Church, both sobering experiences. Birmingham also has a fabulous food scene from down home BBQ to some seriously delicious high-end Southern Cuisine. The lively arts scene was a surprise, complete with small music venues and vegan restaurants.
The next great assignment came from the Smithsonian Magazine : photographing the Von Trapp children who have made Portland, Oregon their hometown. We spent time climbing trees and jumping on rooftops with umbrellas to get some wonderful images of these multi-talented youngsters.
From there, it was off to Baja, where I taught photography on board the National Geographic Sea Bird. We traveled throughout the Gulf of California experiencing all kinds of wildlife. Swimming with sea lions at Los Islotes, Orca whales bow riding at midnight under a full moon and huge flocks of elegant terns choosing their mates at Isla Rasita are just a few of the amazing encounters we had during our eight day voyage. The wildlife experts on board kept our shutters flying.
After a few loads of laundry and some face time with the kitties, it was off to Maui for the month of May, where I shot a story about Happiness for Prevention Magazine. We had fun making smiley faces on trees in the lush, tropical forests. We did street casting to choose our lovely models who expressed joy with their smiles and their feet. 🙂
From Maui, I flew directly to Quebec City for National Geographic Traveler where I spent ten days on assignment. The European vibe and French speaking Vieux Quebec made me feel as though I had crossed two oceans.
In June, I headed to Svalbard to work as the Photography Expert for National Geographic Expeditions on board the Explorer, a beautiful ice breaker. We sailed among the ice sheets, spotting polar bears and photographing the most incredible blues I’ve ever seen. The landscape around the North Pole cannot be properly captured in pictures, but we all did our best.
Teaching photography has been a focus of 2014. In July, I taught a group of aspiring young photographers through National Geographic’s Student Expeditions program in San Francisco. We explored Muir Woods, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the streets of San Francisco and magnificent Big Sur. Later in the year I taught two one-day seminars in L.A. and Portland for National Geographic on “The Travel Assignment.”
After wrapping in San Francisco, I photographed for several days on beautiful Bainbridge Island in Washington. The subject? Chickens. Chickens and their coops for Amber Lotus, a calendar and card company. Keep your eyes peeled for the 2016 edition of City Chickens and Their Coops!
It was off to Switzerland in September for two weeks covering 1000 miles of Swiss bliss. Every village and mountain peak was as picturesque as one would expect from this iconic country. One of the many highlights was visiting a small creamery in the Alps that makes Alpkäse, a traditional cheese made entirely by hand. I also hiked around the mountains, explored the country by train, car and boat, and (how could I resist?) sampled lots of chocolate.
What could be better than this? Crete. I flew directly there from Switzerland and was met by my husband — and my fixer. We proceeded to spend just over a week shooting the western half of the island. The food, people, landscape and architecture were outstanding. That story has already hit the newsstands in the Netherlands for the Dutch edition of National Geographic Traveler.
After Crete it was off to another island, our home on Maui, where we spent October and November surfing, stand-up paddle-boarding and, of course, making more pictures. This time the assignment was for me: to explore the underwater world with a Canon 7D and an SPL water housing. I photographed turtle after turtle, had a few octopus encounters and enjoyed a beautiful moment with a very large spotted eagle ray.
Thank you to all of my clients for sending me on such remarkable journeys.
You’ve made 2014 marvelous!!!
A photograph from a story I shot about Idaho, Wyoming and Montana for the Dutch edition of National Geographic Traveler was recently named one of the top 6 images published by the magazine in 2014. When I think of the thousands of images each photographer shoots and submits for each story, I feel humbled to have an image so honored. I can only marvel at the editorial work needed to winnow so many images into just 6 for an entire year.
The image that was chosen is a picture of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, (shown above). There are two Amish girls skipping stones on the lake. I remember this moment vividly. The editor and I had stopped for a break. I noticed a group of women and girls reading the interpretive signs next to the lake. These women were so striking in their dresses and head coverings that I couldn’t resist making some images of them. The color of their clothing seemed to come out of the landscape itself, which had a very blue cast that afternoon. I thought my timing was off as they were just leaving when I started to approach them, but luckily I had started to take pictures of the unfolding scene while on my way over to where they had gathered to admire the lake. I had my regular, two camera set-up at the time: one 5D Mark III with a 70-200mm and a second 5D Mark III with a 24-105mm. First, I began using a 200mm to photograph the women from the back, which made a very pretty picture. However, I had gotten close enough to use a shorter lens when I noticed the girls skipping stones. Although I was only able to take a few frames before they darted off, I managed to get the shot. This experience was a nice reminder that it only takes one frame to capture a beautiful moment.
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.
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!