Portland Oregon Travel Photographer Susan Seubert in South Georgia

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.

The Brochure Cover for National Geographic | Lindblad Expeditions South Georgia and the Falkland Islands

The Brochure Cover for National Geographic | Lindblad Expeditions South Georgia and the Falkland Islands

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Susan Seubert featured on National Geographic’s “What We Liked” Blog

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.

Chinstrap penguins on Half Moon Island, South Shetland Islands, Southern Ocean, Antarctica

Chinstrap penguins on Half Moon Island, South Shetland Islands, Southern Ocean, Antarctica

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.

Thank you to the folks at National Geographic Creative for featuring one of my images!  You can see the full post here.

This image was made with a Canon 7D Mark II using a Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM lens.

Aperture Priority f7.1, ISO 400, shutter speed 1/4000s.

Susan Seubert Photography in Antarctica

I just returned home from just over three weeks in Antarctica on board the National Geographic Explorer, an ice class expedition ship, where I served as the National Geographic Photography Expert.  It was an incredible experience that I will never forget.  Words cannot begin to express the vastness of the continent. Here is a link to a gallery of images from the two expeditions that I attended.  I hope you enjoy the images of the three brush-tailed penguin species, the Weddell seals, the incredible ice formations and the most elusive of creatures, the mighty Emperor Penguin.  More to come about this adventure in later posts.  Thank you and season’s greetings!

The National Geographic Explorer parked in Cierva Cove, Antarctica

The National Geographic Explorer parked in Cierva Cove, Antarctica

Gentoo penguins on Cuverville Island, Antarctica

Gentoo penguins on Cuverville Island, Antarctica

Iceburgs, Antarctica

Icebergs, Antarctica

Emperor Penguins on the Fast Ice, Weddell Sea, Antarctica

Emperor Penguins on the Fast Ice, Weddell Sea, Antarctica

Chinstrap penguins on Half Moon Island, South Shetland Islands, Southern Ocean, Antarctica

Chinstrap penguins on Half Moon Island, South Shetland Islands, Southern Ocean, Antarctica

Here is a time-lapse from Cuverville Island, where people and gentoo penguins go about their day.  Enjoy!

Photographer Susan Seubert with National Geographic Expeditions in the Kimberley, Australia

The National Geographic Orion anchored at Prince Frederick Harbour, The Kimberley, Western Australia

The National Geographic Orion anchored at Prince Frederick Harbour, The Kimberley, Western Australia

I recently returned from a month spent in the Kimberley region of Western Australia working on board the National Geographic Orion as the photography representative for the National Geographic Society. This expedition is part of a larger program that National Geographic developed by partnering with Lindblad Expeditions to provide unique travel experiences for the adventuresome. I worked along side biologists, zoologists and geologists who illuminated the journey with their expertise. My contribution was pictures – documenting the trip every day and sharing these images with my fellow travelers. I also taught people how to make great pictures under sometimes challenging conditions.

The Kimberley is one of nine regions of Western Australia. It is in the northern part of the continent and is bordered by the Indian Ocean, the Timor Sea, and two Deserts: the Great Sandy and Tanami. The eastern border is Australia’s Northern Territory.

Because we were exploring by ship, most of our shore excursions involved landing by zodiac. This rugged area is sparsely populated, so there was rarely another soul in sight. The Kimberley embodies the true spirit of the Australian outback where one can observe saltwater crocodiles, dugongs, sharks and sea snakes in the wild. On land, furry animals are rare, but we were lucky enough to see a rock wallaby while exploring the Ord River. The Kimberley supports myriad species of birds, which made the trip that much more exciting.

A gray reef egret takes flight. Prince Fredrick Harbor, Mitchell River National Park, Kimberly Coast, Australia

A gray reef egret takes flight. Prince Fredrick Harbor, Mitchell River National Park, The Kimberley, Australia

At King George Falls, I was part of the expedition team leading a group hike up a 17-degree incline to the top of the falls. Because of the lack of rain during the wet season, there was no water at the top, but the view was worth the hot scramble up the rocky trail. Our group climbed without incident so we were able to have a good amount of time to explore the scrub-land that would be otherwise inaccessible during the wet season.

Me, at the top of twin falls. King George River, Kimberly Coast, Australia. Photo by Adam Cropp

Me, at the top of twin falls. King George River, The Kimberley, Australia. Photo by Adam Cropp

Below is a selection of images from my adventures on board the Orion in The Kimberley. I hope you enjoy them! You can see all of the images from the Kimberley adventure by clicking here.

Our technical stop at Timor Leste, where the local children sold textiles to us tourists on the pier.

Our technical stop at Timor Leste, where the local children sold textiles on the pier.

Vansittart Bay, Kimberley Coast, Australia

Hugging a Boab tree for good luck at Vansittart Bay, The Kimberley, Australia.  Photo by Cristiana Damiano

Man tasting ascorbic acid defensive spray from green weaver ants in the Kimberley, Vansittart Bay, Australia

Photographer and Naturalist David Cothran tasting ascorbic acid defensive spray from green weaver ants in the Kimberley, Vansittart Bay, Australia

B-24 Liberator plane crash site at Vansittart Bay, Kimberley Coast, Australia

C-53 plane crash site at Vansittart Bay, The Kimberley, Australia

Termite mounds, Vansittart Bay, Kimberley Coast, Australia

Termite mounds, Vansittart Bay, The Kimberley, Australia

A traditional owner explains the Wandjina Rock art at Ngumbri, Raft Point, Kimberly Coast, Australia

A traditional owner explains the Wandjina Rock art at Ngumbri, (Raft Point), The Kimberley, Australia

King George River, Kimberly Coast, Australia

The amazing sandstone formations at the King George River, The Kimberley, Australia

King George River, Kimberly Coast, Australia

Climbing up to the top of the waterfalls at King George River, The Kimberley, Australia

King George River, Kimberly Coast, Australia

King George River, The Kimberley, Australia

King George River, Kimberly Coast, Australia

A darter on the King George River, The Kimberley, Australia

Naturalist Anthony Capogreco checks underwater for jellies and crocodiles at Crocodile Creek, The Kimberley, Western Australia

Naturalist Anthony Capogreco checks underwater for jellies and crocodiles at Crocodile Creek, The Kimberley, Australia

Kimberly Coast, Australia, Mitchell River National Park

A venomous sea snake with a fish in its mouth swimming towards us at the mouth of the Hunter River, The Kimberley, Australia

King George River, Kimberly Coast, Australia

A basking saltwater crocodile, King George River, The Kimberley, Australia

Gwion Gwion, or Bradshaw Rock Art, dated to be perhaps 50,000 years old, at Jar Island, Kimberly Coast, Australia

Gwion Gwion, or Bradshaw Rock Art, estimated to be 50,000 years old, at Jar Island, The Kimberley, Australia

Sunset sail away from Slug Island

Sunset sail away from Slug Island, The Kimberley, Australia

Unless otherwise indicated, all of these images are copyright © Susan Seubert and may not be used in any form without express permission from Susan Seubert.  Thank you for respecting the images. 🙂

Susan Seubert Speaking at the OPTIC Event in New York City, May 3rd and 4th

Please join me in New York City on May 3rd and 4th for the first annual OPTIC event!  This is a free, 3 day conference taking place in venues around B&H Photo in Manhattan.  OPTIC is sponsored by B&H and Lindblad/National Geographic Expeditions.  OPTIC stands for “Outdoor Photo/video Travel Imaging Conference.”  I’ll be there alongside some of my friends and colleagues: Dan Westergren, Ralph Lee Hopkins, Art Wolfe, Cristina Mittermeier, David Middleton and Bob Krist, and am also looking forward to making new friends.

I’ll be giving two lectures over the course of the three day event.  You can see a detailed list of times and venues here.

On May 3rd, I’ll be giving a presentation about how to build a travel story.  I have been a contributing features photographer to National Geographic Traveler for 11 years.  Drawing from that experience, I’ll offer tips on how to best cover a travel story through photography.  This lecture is designed for anyone, from the casual point-and-shoot photographer to the advanced amateur or pro.  I firmly believe that we can all learn from one another, so I hope to elucidate by sharing my experiences as a professional travel photographer.

On May 4th the title of my presentation is, “Food Photography to Catch the Local Flavor.” I’ll show how food can be a unique way to document a culture or enhance a travel experience.  From technical tips about how to make food look great to documenting traditional harvesting methods as a gateway to a larger cultural dialogue, I’ll share what I’ve learned to enhance your travel experience through your lens. Like the previous day’s topic on travel stories, this presentation is designed for anyone at any experience level who is interested in improving their images.

There are 19 speakers slated for this event and I encourage you to look at the web site and tailor your days based on your interests.  Also, B&H will be hosting a trade show and likely have some great deals on gear.  With this arrangement, you can immediately add to  your kit based on the advice from all of the speakers.  I know I’ll likely be doing some shopping!

Thank you for visiting my blog and see you in New York!

 

Portrait Photographer Susan Seubert Shoots for the New York Times

Assignments from the New York Times are always a great exercise because the turn-around time is often very short.  For most other assignments, I have at least a week or so where I can research the subject, scout the location, and get a sense of what the weather will be like on the shoot date.  Last week I was assigned to photograph for Nicholas Kristof’s Op-Ed about empathy.  The subject of the story had passed away, and it wasn’t possible to cover the funeral because of the deadline for the paper, so I was asked to photograph the story subject’s brother.  I arrived at the location and had a quick look around.  The first image I was asked to make was of Mr. Green holding a photo of his brother.  The best picture available was on a smartphone.  That picture-of-a-picture worked well to show a current image of the subject, but was very literal. It served to illustrate what Kevin looked like prior to his passing.

The possibilities for making a stronger image unfolded within the hour or so I had to complete the job.  The subject was a kind, gentle man who, despite his hurt foot, was willing to walk a short distance to stand in the glorious sunshine.  The idea I had discussed with my editor was to place him in the context of the family farm.  It was a bucolic Oregon scene: an old barn, some rusty farm equipment, and a very willing beagle.  These together provided the setting for our subject.  Mr. Green moved naturally into this position which suggests sadness, so all I had to do was to be sure that the focus and exposure were set properly.  I think it worked well.  What do you think?

Here is a link to the story.

The photos that were used are below.

Clayton Green, brother of Kevin Green, at his family's farm in Yamhill, Ore.

Clayton Green, brother of Kevin Green, at his family’s farm in Yamhill, Ore.  Photographed on location with a Caono 5D Mark III using a 24-105mmL IS USM lens.

Clayton Green holding a photo on a cell phone of his brother Kevin Green, at his family's farm in Yamhill, Ore.  Photographed with a Canon 5D Mark III and a 24-105L IS USM lens.

Clayton Green holding a photo on a cell phone of his brother Kevin Green, at his family’s farm in Yamhill, Ore. Photographed with a Canon 5D Mark III and a 24-105L IS USM lens.

 

Susan Seubert Photography in 2014 : An Amazing Year, in Pictures

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 Wales Window at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama

The Wales Window at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama

The Bottletree restaurant, which offers vegan cuisine, and music venue located in the Avondale district of Birmingham, Alabama.

The Bottletree restaurant, which offers vegan cuisine, and music venue located in the Avondale district of Birmingham, Alabama.

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.

The Von Trapp children in Portland, Oregon

The Von Trapp children in Portland, Oregon

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.

Snorkeling with California Sea Lions at Los Islotes in Baja California Mexico

Snorkeling with California Sea Lions at Los Islotes in Baja California Mexico Photographed with a GoPro Camera

Elegant terns and other sea birds gathering on Isla Rasa, Baja California Mexico

Elegant terns and other sea birds gathering on Isla Rasita, Baja California Mexico

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. 🙂

A tree in the forest on Maui with a happy face made of natural materials.

A tree in the forest on Maui with a happy face made of natural materials.

pink flowers with a happy face in the grass with bare feet, Maui, Hawaii

pink flowers with a happy face in the grass with bare feet, Maui, Hawaii

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.

Street scenes from Vieux Quebec, the only fortified city in North America north of Mexico, Quebec City, Canada. Rue Saint Louis lighting up at dusk

Street scenes from Vieux Quebec, the only fortified city in North America north of Mexico, Quebec City, Canada. Rue Saint Louis lighting up at dusk

Lower Vieux Quebec, also known as Quartier Petit Champlain, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Lower Vieux Quebec, also known as Quartier Petit Champlain, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

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.

A polar bear with her cub on the pack ice in Svalbard, Norway

A polar bear with her cub on the pack ice in Svalbard, Norway

Austfonna Ice Cap on Nordaustlandet, Svalbard, Norway

Austfonna Ice Cap on Nordaustlandet, Svalbard, Norway

Ice floating in Svalbard, Norway

Glacial Ice floating in Svalbard, Norway

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.”

Our group portrait with all of the National Geographic Student Expeditions at the Sutro Baths, San Francisco, CA

Our group portrait with all of the National Geographic Student Expeditions at the Sutro Baths, San Francisco, CA

Our dusk shoot at the Golden Gate Bridge with Student Expeditions where we experimented with light writing and a group portrait

Our dusk shoot at the Golden Gate Bridge with Student Expeditions where we experimented with light writing and a group portrait

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!

Chickens and their Coops Calendar coming out in 2016, but it's not too late to get your 2015 copy!

Chickens and their Coops Calendar coming out in 2016, but it’s not too late to get your 2015 copy!

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.

A Swiss cheese-maker working on a batch of Alpkäse by hand in the traditional manner in a giant copper kettle over a wood burning fire at their cheese-making hut above Wengen, Switzerland

A Swiss cheese-maker working on a batch of Alpkäse by hand in the traditional manner in a giant copper kettle over a wood burning fire at their cheese-making hut above Wengen, Switzerland

A Swiss cheese-maker working on a batch of Alpkäse by hand in the traditional manner in a giant copper kettle over a wood burning fire at their cheese-making hut above Wengen, Switzerland

A Swiss cheese-maker working on a batch of Alpkäse by hand in the traditional manner in a giant copper kettle over a wood burning fire at their cheese-making hut above Wengen, Switzerland

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.

Street scenes in Chania, Crete, Greece

Street scenes in Chania, Crete, Greece

Evening street performers in the village of Paleochora on the southern coast of Crete, Greece, Europe

Evening street performers in the village of Paleochora on the southern coast of Crete, Greece, Europe

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.

A spotted eagle ray at the reef at Black Rock in Kaanapali, Maui

A spotted eagle ray at the reef at Black Rock in Kaanapali, Maui

A large, male Hawaiian green sea turtle swims peacefully over the reef at Kaanapali, Maui

A large, male Hawaiian green sea turtle swims peacefully over the reef at Kaanapali, Maui

Thank you to all of my clients for sending me on such remarkable journeys.

You’ve made 2014 marvelous!!!