Packing for the Desert of Antarctica and the Desert of Namibia

In a few hours I will start the trek to South America where I will lead a twelve day photography Weddell Sea Expedition to Antarctica. On this expedition we are looking forward to giant tabular icebergs in the Weddell Sea as well as vast Adelie Penguin colonies. At the conclusion of this expedition I will travel to Iceland (poles apart) where I am going to spend ten days completing my project on the Arctic Fox before guiding my annual Winter Workshop with friend Daniel Bergmann. At the conclusion of our workshop I am flying to Lofoten where I will lead a new workshop for landscapes in winter with my good friend Martyn Lucas. I then fly to Namibia for a ten day workshop in the oldest desert in the world – the Namib. Its going to be quite the adventure!

This extensive travel schedule means I need to pack my Arctic / Antarctic winter gear as well as clothing suitable for the deserts in Namibia. I have juggled this packing challenge before (two years ago when I co-led a trip to Namibia with Andy Biggs) and found that it was possible to survive in Namibia with just a couple of pairs of light weight trekking pants and shirts (which thankfully don’t take up much space). As a specialised Polar photographer it does feel a tad strange to be packing a wide brimmed sunhat and sunshirts with my arctic boots and winter clothing. The issue of packing is somewhat compounded by the fact that Antarctica, Iceland, Lofoten and Namibia require very different approaches in terms of camera gear which adds both weight and complexity. Perhaps doubly so as I am carrying long and heavy telephoto lenses for my project on the Arctic Fox.

Two Canon EOS 1DX’s and a EOS 5DSR  will be my cameras of choice for these trips. Although the new Canon EOS-1DX MKII has been announced it will be some time before actual delivery and as such I will continue to shoot with the EOS 1DX as my primary cameras.

Gura Gear Bataflae 32L: (carry on luggage – Believe it or not this does all fit in the one camera bag!)

  • Canon EOS 1DX Pro Body Camera x2
  • Canon EOS 5DSR Body
  • Canon 16-35mm F4L IS
  • Canon 11-24mm F4L
  • Canon 24-70mm F2.8L MKII Lens
  • Canon 70-200mm F2.8L IS MKII Lens
  • Canon 6000mm F4L IS MKII Lens
  • 1 x Spare Battery for the 1DX’s
  • 2 x Spare Batteries for the 5DSR
  • Leica Ultra-Vid HD Binoculars
  • Cable Release
  • Assorted CF and SD Cards totalling around 100 Gigabytes
  • Rocket Blower and Dust Cleaning paraphernalia
  • Complete LEE Foundation and Filter Kit with Soft and Hard ND Graduated filters and LEE Polariser

On my last visit to Namibia I carried two TSE lenses specifically for photography at Kolmanskop ghost town in Namibia. This abandoned town is the ideal location for Tilt and Shift lenses and I found them extremely useful during my time there. However, I decided against TSE lenses for this trip as I am already carrying an extensive array of lenses and I want to try a different approach to this location on this trip.

Gura Gear Chobe Bag: (carry on luggage)

  • 15″ Macbook Pro with Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CS6 with the Nik Plugin suite
  • MacBook Power Adapter
  • Canon 200-400mm F4L IS Lens with inbuilt 1.4 TC (Watch the Unboxing Video)
  • 1 x LACIE Thunderbolt External 1TB Hard Drive for in the field Back Up.
  • Various Power Adapters / Chargers and Associated Cables
  • Canon 1DX / 1DS MK3 Battery  Charger
  • Sandisk USB CF and SD Card reader
  • Passport / iPhone / Wallet
  • Portable battery for charging iPhone and other devices
  • A lot of these items I store inside Gura Gear Etcetera cases inside the Chobe. (These cases are fabulous for organising accessories)

On top of the above I have two North Face duffle bags with the rest of my clothes and gear. Getting all of this to Antarctica and then onto forward destinations is always a challenge, but once on location the benefit of having the right equipment makes all the hardship worthwhile. See you in South America…

 

Read more.. Saturday, February 6th, 2016

New Website Launch for Joshuaholko.com

I am extremely pleased today to be launching my new Live-Books HTML 5 mobile responsive website at www.joshuaholko.comwww.photographyexpeditions.com and www.wildphototravel.com (all three links will take you to the same new website). The move to an all new HTML 5 platform has been some time in the works (quite honestly it is at least twelve months overdue). When I launched my original flash website many years ago, it was at the cutting edge of internet website technology. Flash offered features difficult or impossible to achieve via other platforms. It also offered some degree of protection against unauthorised use of photographs. The world and web have long since moved on however and with so many people now choosing to do their browsing from tablet and other mobile devices (which, in the majority do not support Flash) the move to a mobile responsive platform has become mandatory. Over the years my previous flash based website has undergone numerous updates – many of which added complexity that has been difficult to replicate in HTML5. Now these barriers no longer exist and we can offer all of the functionality I was looking for in a fully mobile aware and mobile responsive site. There are many other fringe benefits in the move to the new HTML platform including much larger images, faster loading times and the new Store. To help celebrate the launch of the new site I have some new Folios that are now available for sale. Orders for these still need to be placed manually via email until such time as the e-commerce part of the web-build is complete. If you would like to order one or more of the Folios please just email me in the meantime. I want to thank Live-Books for their continued support over the years and for their efforts in helping me to transition to the new platform and site.  If you stop past for a look please be sure to drop me a note and let me know what you think.website

Read more.. Friday, February 5th, 2016

Falkland Islands Expedition November 2015 Report

In late November 2105 I lead a seven day extension expedition for a small group of photographers to the Falkland Islands after we completed the 2015 South Georgia Expedition. The Falkland Islands are well known amongst birders and bird photographers as one of the best places in the world for observing many different species in such a small area (many of them at close proximity). Our intention, was to visit two of the world’s best hotspots for photography – Saunders Island (the Neck) and Sea Lion Island. We also payed a visit to one of the local areas (Gypsy Cove) in Stanley on our last evening in the Falklands.
FalklandIslands2015-3179-EditAccess to these two islands is only obtained by first flying into Mount Pleasant near the capital Stanley and then taking a much smaller B-2 Islander plane out to the smaller Saunders and sea Lion Islands. The weather around the Falklands is a constantly changing variable and as such flights to these islands are never assured – everything is a weather dependant. Our first stop at Saunders Island was roughly a forty five minute flight from Stanley. We were touch and go for this flight due to very low cloud and fog in the area, but in the end we made it by flying under the cloud and super close to the water. I knew we were low when I looked out the window at the passing cliffs and saw a flock of sheep looking down on us.FalklandIslands2015-1614On arrival at Saunders Island we made the 45 minute drive by 4-wheel drive out to the ‘Neck’ area which would be our home for the next few days. The Neck is a remote part of the island with only basic self contained accomodation. The wonderful thing about this location however is the sheer plethora of bird life literally right outside the window. The Neck is really a very special area and we certainly got our moneys worth with changing conditions and amazing wildlife. In addition to Gentoos, Magellanic and Rockhoppers there was also a group of King Penguins out here, as well as one pair of Macaroni Penguins in the Rockhopper colony. The Caracaras (Johnny Rooks) and the Turkey Vultures were also very active here and there were a great many small birds including Meadowlarks, Black Throated Finches, Plovers and more. In addition there were Oyster Catchers, Gulls and other sea birds. Some of us also made the trek out to two of the remote ponds where we were able to photograph Black-headed Swans and the beautiful Silver Grebe. At the Rookery we enjoyed the Rockhoppers and also a huge number of breeding Black-browed Albatross in spectacular landscapes. I know of no other place in the world where you can photograph Black-browed Albatross in flight with a wide angle 16-35mm lens!
FalklandIslands2015-2787-EditFalklandIslands2015-2897-EditWhen we had finished at the Neck we took another small plane ride to Sea Lion Island where we spent three more days photographing Gentoo and Magellanic Penguins and also Rockhoppers and Cormorants a short drive from the lodge. In addition we had some fantastic  shorebirds, Caracara, Blue Eyed Cormorant as well as several different species of the wetland birds found in the Falklands (several of them endemic to the islands). One of the highlights for me personally was the short-eared Owl which I spent the better part of two days to locate and photograph.FalklandIslands2015-4675The Falkland Islands is a world class location for bird photography and is a remarkable location for any wildlife photographer to spend time. With so many of the birds being approachable the photographic opportunities are extensive. As yet I have only had time to process a small handful of the photographs I made in the Falkland Islands, but hope to find time to work through many more over the course of this year. I am also looking forward to returning to the Falklands for a future workshop.

Read more.. Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Photo of the Month February 2016 – Namibia Dune Field

The photo of the month for February 2016 was taken on my first workshop to the desert of Namibia back in 2014 with Andy Biggs. We were driving back from an afternoon photography session at Deadvlei and pulled over by the side of the road to explore a sand dune area. I chose to take a short hike up into the dunes and was rewarded with some really lovely golden light in the late afternoon. I was fortunate that there was also some strong wind blowing the sands around which has created a nice surreal sense of movement in the image. I am very much looking forward to returning to Namibia in late March this year for a small group workshop. I am particularly looking forward to more time to explore and photograph in the giant sand dunes at Sossusvlei.Namibia

Read more.. Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

Canon EOS-1DX MKII – First Look Video

B&H Photo have posted a pretty thorough introduction and first look to the new Canon EOS-1DX MKII. The Canon EOS 1DX-MKII is now available for Pre-order with a delivery date of April 2016.

Read more.. Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Canon EOS-1DX MKII Performance

I have received quite a lot of email in the last twenty fours hours asking about the performance increase in the new Canon EOS-1DX MKII in terms of both Auto Focus and ISO. I can tell you from demonstration only that the ISO performance in the new EOS-1DX MKII is at least 3-stops better than the current 1DX (and thats being conservative). ISO 10,000 files are effectively clean and free from noise. How much Auto Focus has been improved is going to depend on what you are shooting and in what sort of lighting conditions you are working in.  For me, the auto focus performance of the current 1DX is superb and it is really only difficult back-lit situations that pose an issue (from time-to-time). I wont know how the new EOS 1DX MKII performs in this regard until I get it out in the snow and ice in low light with a back lit subject.

The Canon EOS 1DX-MKII is now available for Pre-order with a delivery date of April 2016.eos1dxmark2-728x403

 

Read more.. Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Canon Announce the EOS-1DX MKII

Canon have just announced the EOS 1DX MKII – The successor to the EOS 1DX. The world’s best wildlife camera just got better! This is a very exciting announcement and I am very much looking forward to putting the new camera through a full field test over the coming weeks. Full Details included below:

Update: The Canon EOS 1DX MKII is now available for Pre-Order.

Immense power. Phenomenal speed. A remarkable combination of innovation and refinement.

The new EOS-1D X Mark II camera is nothing but legendary every step of the way. Building on a heritage of sophisticated innovation, the EOS-1D X Mark II is blazingly fast. Up to 14 fps*(up to 16 fps* in Live View mode) can be captured at a burst rate of up to 170 RAWs with a CFast™ card, and an improved 61-point AF system helps deliver clean, sharp images quickly, even in dim light. This remarkable speed means faster recording too: 4K video can be recorded at up to 60 fps with smooth AF and strikingly clear detail. Combined with superb low-light performance thanks to its powerful sensor and expandable ISO range, the EOS-1D X Mark II performs brilliantly, swiftly and stunningly no matter when or where the photographer is shooting. From the stadium, safari or studio to virtually everywhere in between, the EOS-1D X Mark II maintains and enhances all the hallmarks of what Canon has to offer, marking a new page in the legacy of the EOS series of cameras.EOS1DXMKII-1

  • Fastest shooting EOS-1D, capable of up to 14 fps* full-resolution RAW or JPEG, and up to 16 fps* in Live View mode with new Dual DIGIC 6+ Image Processors.
  • Achieves a maximum burst rate of up to 170 RAWs in continuous shooting at up to 16 fps, and 4K movies using CFast™ cards in the new CFast 2.0™** slot.
  • Experience less noise in higher ISO images via a new 20.2 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, with an ISO range of 100–51200; expansion to ISO 409600.
  • Improved AF performance through 61-point High Density Reticular AF II system with 41 cross-type points, improved center point focusing sensitivity to -3 EV and compatibility down to f/8***.
  • Accurate subject tracking for stills and video with new EOS Intelligent Tracking and Recognition AF with 360,000-pixel metering sensor.
  • 4K video (4096 x 2160) up to 60 fps (59.94), with an 8.8-Megapixel still frame grab**** in camera. Full 1080p HD capture up to 120 fps for slow motion.
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF & Movie Servo AF for high speed, high frame rate and continuous autofocus during video shooting.
  • View and control high quality stills and videos via the 3.2-inch touch panel LCD with 1.62 million dots.
  • Increased resolution and fine detail, with lens aberration correction and diffraction correction via new in-camera Digital Lens Optimizer technology.
  • Built-in GPS***** provides geotag information including auto time syncing with Universal Time Code via satellites.
  • The new optional Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E8A is compatible with IEEE 802.11ac/n/a/g/b, supporting both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi® bands.
  • Durable and rugged magnesium alloy body with dust- and-weather resistance for demanding shooting situations.

* Continuous shooting speed may vary depending on the shutter speed, the aperture, the lens being used, the battery charge and various camera settings.

Fastest shooting EOS-1D, capable of up to 14 fps* full-resolution RAW or JPEG, and up to 16 fps* in Live View mode with new Dual DIGIC 6+ Image Processors.EOS1DXMKII-2Up to 14 fps* Full-resolution RAW or JPEG, Up to 16 fps* in Live View Mode
Delivering outstanding performance at speeds of up to 14 fps*, and up to 16 fps* in Live View, the EOS-1D X Mark II camera is loaded with technologies that help facilitate speedy operation at every step of image capture. The EOS-1D X Mark II features a new mirror mechanism designed for highly precise operation with reduced vibration even at incredibly fast speeds. The shutter unit is rated for 400,000 frames and captures at up to 16 fps*, while the CMOS sensor has high-speed signal reading that enables speedy image capture. A fast AF/AE system, Dual DIGIC 6+ Image Processors and high-speed recording with its new CFast™card slothelps ensure that camera operations are performed quickly and precisely.

Dual DIGIC 6+ Image Processors
Key to the performance benchmarks achieved by the EOS-1D X Mark II camera, Dual DIGIC 6+ Image Processors not only convert the light that passes through the camera’s sensor into high-quality photos and movies, but also enhance the camera’s overall performance. Improvements include high-speed processing, up to 16-fps* operation for stills and 4K/60p movies, lens distortion and diffraction correction during operation with virtually no effect on the camera’s speed, plus fast write times and much more.
* Continuous shooting speed may vary depending on the shutter speed, the aperture, the lens being used, the battery charge and various camera settings.

Achieves a maximum burst rate of up to 170 RAWs in continuous shooting at up to 16 fps, and 4K movies using CFast™ cards in the new CFast 2.0™** slot.

The EOS-1D X Mark IIcamera can capture an incredible amount of images and movies with amazing speed. When recording to CFast 2.0™* cards through its new CFast™ card slot, the EOS-1D X Mark II can record up to 170 full-size RAW files, and JPEGs up to full card capacity at 16 fps. 4K/60p and Full HD/120p video can also be recorded with virtually no restriction, and with exFAT format support, movie files of larger than 4GB can be recorded without the need to merge files. Performance with CF cards through the camera’s CF card slot is impressive as well: the EOS-1D X Mark II can capture up to 73 full-size RAW files and JPEGs up to full card capacity when recording to CF UDMA7 media.

As of February 2016, compatibility has been verified for the following CFast™ memory cards:

Proper operation cannot be guaranteed for all recording media. Long-term usage may reduce a CFast™ card’s write speed. We recommend users regularly fully format and refresh their card using the “Full Format and Refresh Tool.”

* Canon is an authorized licensee of the CFast 2.0™ trademark, which may be registered in various jurisdictions.

Experience less noise in higher ISO images via a new 20.2 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, with an ISO range of 100–51200; expansion to ISO 409600.

20.2 Megapixel Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
The EOS-1D X Mark IIcamera features a Canon-developed 20.2 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor that not only helps it record more pixels, but also includes gapless micro lenses for enhanced low-light performance. This results in noise reduction in dark portions of the image even at high ISO speeds, and increased sensitivity that contributes to the EOS-1D X Mark II’s high-speed image capture rate, accelerating frame-to-frame performance as well as enabling 4K movies (60p/30p) and improved playback. The new sensor is also Canon’s first full-frame sensor to include Dual Pixel CMOS AF for high-speed, precise AF during Live View still and movie recording.

ISO Range of 100–51200; Expansion to ISO 409600
The EOS-1D X Mark IIcamera delivers high standard and expanded ISOs, and a score of options to enhance shooting in varied and fast-changing lighting situations. With a standard range of ISO 100–51200, the EOS-1D X Mark IIis incredibly sensitive, and thanks to a high signal-to-noise ratio as well as powerful noise reduction, the EOS-1D X Mark II can shoot at expanded sensitivities down to ISO 50 (L) and up to 102400 (H1), 204800 (H2) and even 409600 (H3)! Beyond the obvious advantages of its wide ISO range, the EOS-1D X Mark II has automatic ISO settings, found on the dedicated ISO menu. Minimum and maximum ISO settings can be specified, as can a user-defined range, plus full auto and manual.

Improved AF performance through 61-point High Density Reticular AF II system with 41 cross-type points, improved center point focusing sensitivity to -3 EV and compatibility down to f/8***.
Improved AF Performance
The EOS-1D X Mark IIcamera incorporates a number of significant improvements to help deliver highly precise, reliable AF and AF tracking, both faster and available in more situations. It features a new 61-point High Density Reticular AF II system with 41 cross-type points that expands the AF area approximately 8.6% in the top and bottom of the central AF area, and approximately 24% at the top and bottom of the peripheral frame. A wider subject tracking area improves the AF system so that challenging focus tracking in scenes with sudden changes of speed and subject position is easier than ever. The AF system’s low-intensity limit has been improved to EV-3 and all 61 AF points are compatible down to f/8* for excellent low-light performance. The EOS-1D X Mark II’s AF algorithm has also been improved: it’s equipped with AI Servo AF III+, which remembers the AF path and helps refine precision. Whether choosing individual AF points manually, using the Large Zone AF area or any of the camera’s automatic AF selection modes, the EOS-1D X Mark II is designed to exceed users’ expectations for high-precision AF.

Improved Intelligent Viewfinder with Enhanced Visibility for AF Point Display
The EOS-1D X Mark IIcamera features a new Intelligent Viewfinder II for convenient composition and setting changes without taking an eye off the subject at hand. The camera’s viewfinder can show significantly more information in the LCD display and presents AF points in red, increasing visibility in dark locations where AF is typically difficult and in situations where the ambient light makes the AF frame difficult to see. Features like the electronic level, a grid, flicker detection, white balance, metering mode, AF information and more can be glanced at easily without drawing attention away from the subject.

* Except when using the Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM, EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM and EF 28-80mm f/2.8-4L USM lenses.

Accurate subject tracking for stills and video with new EOS Intelligent Tracking and Recognition AF with 360,000-pixel metering sensor.

The EOS-1D X Mark II camera has an amazingly advanced 360,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor and processor that greatly contribute to the camera’s impressive AF performance for both stills and video. Thanks to a high resolution and infrared sensitivity combined with a refined detection algorithm, this new sensor improves the color and shape recognition of the EOS-1D X Mark II’s iSA (Intelligent Subject Analysis) system, increasing the camera’s ability to recognize subjects for faster, more precise AF, metering and exposure compensation. This additional exposure and subject information also helps the EOS-1D X Mark II’s iTR (Intelligent Tracking and Recognition) AF system maintain focus on a moving subject with a greater level of consistency.

4K video (4096 x 2160) up to 60 fps (59.94), with an 8.8-Megapixel still frame grab**** in camera. Full 1080p HD capture up to 120 fps for slow motion.

The EOS-1D X Mark II is an incredibly capable camera for moviemaking. Thanks to its Dual DIGIC 6+ Image Processors and its advanced sensor, it can capture huge 4K (Motion JPEG)video at up to 60 fps, recording smoothly to CFast™ cards. It’s the first EOS camera able to record Full HD video at 120 fps, easily displaying minute details imperceptible to the human eyeand ideal for slow-motion video capture. With the camera’s new touch panel display, AF points can be easily selected while the camera’s rolling, and focus can be quickly confirmed with the EOS-1D X Mark II’s 4K still frame grab feature*, wherein an 8.8-Megapixel still image can be selected for review and saved. Low-light performance is improved as well, with video recording at ISOs of up to 12800 in 4K and 25600 in Full HD.The EOS-1D X Mark II also features uncompressed HDMI output for Full HD videos, helping to facilitate video editing with minimal image degradation. Not to mention, it can also save videos as MP4s for easy playback on mobile devices.

* Saving a still image from a single movie frame does not result in the same image quality as a normal still image.

Dual Pixel CMOS AF & Movie Servo AF for high speed, high frame rate and continuous autofocus during video shooting.

With significant improvements in AF operation, the EOS-1D X Mark IIcamera can be an indispensible and remarkably portable moviemaking tool. Continuous AF, even during 4K recording, is made easy thanks to the EOS-1D X Mark II’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF, which is compatible with all Canon EF lenses. Focus points can be selected automatically, or specified on the camera’s new touch panel LCD screen. Critical focus throughout the frame can be easily confirmed by enlarging stills grabbed from video recordings. The EOS-1D X Mark II’s Movie Servo AF is compatible with all frame rates and resolutions, and can be customized to set tracking sensitivity, AF speed and even Face Tracking priority. These advanced features help make the EOS-1D X Mark II a truly versatile and convenient camera for 4K and Full HD moviemaking.

View and control high quality stills and videos via the 3.2-inch touch panel LCD with 1.62 million dots.

The EOS-1D X Mark II camera’s 3.2-inchtouch panel TFT LCD monitor has approximately 1.62 million dots, anti-reflective construction and features Canon’s Clear View LCD II technology for bright, sharp display in any number of shooting situations. Its new touchscreen function allows AF point switching and image magnification during Live View shooting and movie shooting, providing convenient operation. The LCD monitor can be ideal for reviewing settings and images, as well as for shooting in Live View mode. In Live View, grid lines can be displayed in 9 sections, 24 sections or 9 sections with diagonals, as well as the dual-axis electronic level, which helps ensure accurate level by displaying both roll and pitch in 1-degree increments. For image review, the EOS-1D X Mark II has a dedicated Magnify/Reduce button. While pressing the button, zooming in or out (up to 10x) is achieved simply by turning the Main Dial. Images can be protected or erased quickly, individually or in batches, and slideshows can be created with some or all images and can be sequenced by date, folders, movies, stills,protection or rating. A feature guide can be accessed for the selected menu, providing detailed reference information when needed.

Increased resolution and fine detail, with lens aberration correction and diffraction correction via new in-camera Digital Lens Optimizer technology.

To combat any possible image degradation from lens aberration and diffraction, the EOS-1D X Mark II camera is equipped with a number of in-camera optical correction functions for clear and high-quality images. The EOS-1D X Mark II even stores lens aberration data, helping to eliminatethe need to register lens data on previously released lenses, and correcting images with virtually no delay in-camera. The EOS-1D X Mark II not only corrects peripheral brightness and chromatic aberration, but also features distortion correction plus diffraction correction, which has been included for the first time in an EOS camera. Distortion correction helps resolve barrel and pincushion distortions,while diffraction correction virtually eliminates the blurring effects from diffraction that can be created when capturing an image at a small aperture. The camera’s Dual DIGIC 6+ Image Processors help ensure these corrections can be made with virtually no effect on operational speed. In-camera RAW processing is also made fast and convenient with Canon’s Digital Lens Optimizer, helping to improve image quality and giving photographers the ability to work confidently in more complex environments.

Built-in GPS***** provides geotag information including auto time syncing with Universal Time Code via satellites.

Providing crucial location and time data, GPS has become an indispensible aspect of the professional workflow, especially for professionals who work on location and capture thousands of images each day. The EOS-1D X Mark IIcamera has GPS* built in, helping photographers and filmmakers not only tag their images with critical location data, but also adjust the time and timestamp on the camera automatically. Thanks to built-in GPS*, and Wi-Fi® connectivity throughthe optionalWireless File Transmitter WFT-E8A accessory, the EOS-1D X Mark II can use both GPS andWFT (Wireless File Transfer)together, making it easy to upload a great amount of images both quickly and from increasingly far-flung locales. Offering compatibility with American GPS satellites, Russian GLONASS satellites and Japanese quasi-zenith satellites Michibiki, the EOS-1D X Mark II’s GPS information is reliably accurate virtually anywhere you go.

* In certain countries and regions, the use of GPS may be restricted. Therefore be sure to use GPS in accordance with the laws and regulations of your country or region. Be particularly careful when traveling outside your home country. As a signal is received from GPS satellites, take sufficient measures when using in locations where the use of electronics is regulated.

The new optional Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E8A is compatible with IEEE 802.11ac/n/a/g/b, supporting both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi® bands.

The Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E8A, the EOS-1D X Mark II camera’s new optional accessory, provides both a fastthroughput for image uploading andseveral new features that make dynamic wireless photography simple and fast. It has 5GHz 802.11ac support for high-speed image transfer, a revamped user interface that enables speedy set-up and configuration of wireless networks and even compatible smartphone connection.Accommodating both iOS* and Android** devices, the Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E8A makes it simple to use a smartphone as a remote control for still and video capture. It can even transfer recorded images back for viewing on the device’s screen. The Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E8A is both compact and durable, with excellent dust- and water- resistance for unfettered operation in difficult environments.
* Compatible with iOS versions 7.1/8.4/9.0, Android smartphone and tablet versions 4.0/4.1/4.2/4.3/4.4/5.0/5.1. Data charges may apply with the download of the free Canon Camera Connect app. This app helps enable you to upload images to social media services. Please note that image files may contain personally identifiable information that may implicate privacy laws. Canon disclaims and has no responsibility for your use of such images. Canon does not obtain, collect or use such images or any information included in such images through this app.

** Compatible with Android smartphone and tablet versions 4.0/4.1/4.2/4.3/4.4/5.0/5.1.

Durable and rugged magnesium alloy body with dust- and-weather resistance for demanding shooting situations.

For professionals who demand nothing less than the best, the EOS-1D X Mark IIcamera is designed to perform superbly even in the most treacherous environments, every time. The body is constructed of rigid, high-strength magnesium alloy for rugged performance and features a grip design for easy finger placement and reduced hand fatigue. Its shutter has lightweight, carbon-fiber blades, and is rated to maintain up to 16 fps performance without compromise, for up to 400,000 cycles. The EOS-1D X Mark II and accessories like the new Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E8A have extensive gasketing for improved dust and water resistance, even at their connection points.

Price:

  • $5999 USD (List Price in Australia TBA – I would guess around $8000 AUD)

What’s in the box:

  • EOS-1D X Mark II Camera Body
  • Battery Pack LP-E19
  • Battery Charger LC-E19
  • Wide Strap
  • Eyecup Eg (Not shown)
  • Cable Protector
  • Interface Cable IFC-150U II
  • EOS Digital Solution Disk (Not shown)
Read more.. Monday, February 1st, 2016

Birds of the World – Key Wording in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

One of the key functions of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (hereafter referred to as just Lightroom) is its database and the capability for users to store and manage tens of thousands of photographs. Key-wording is an integral and core component of the database management. For those who might be unfamiliar with the concept of key-wording: Key-wording enables you to very quickly find a specific photograph or a specific series of images that have been tagged with one or more keywords. I know a great many photographers who use key-wording to various degrees in their work-flows. Personally, I keyword extensively on import so that I can effectively manage the more than one hundred thousand images in my Lightroom Library.

When it comes to wildlife I like to keyword with with the species type (Mammal, Crustacean, Reptile etc.) and then break this down by individual animal in each category. Its a hierarchical keyword structure that works well for me in my work-flow.  Once set up in Lightroom its very quick for me to keyword my wildlife images on import. But what about key-wording for Birds?

Birds can be problematic to keyword for several reasons. Firstly, there are more than ten thousand different species across the globe which can make identification difficult, and secondly its massively time consuming to create keywords for them as you import your photographs (especially if you want to add Latin names and appropriate synonyms). I ran into this problem head-on on my recent Falkland Islands workshop where I spent a concentrated week photographing many different species of birds. I shot over 5000 photographs of birds that week and subsequently nearly gave up trying to identify them all, let alone create keywords for them all (and forget synonyms).  Thankfully, there is now a solution to at least the second part of this problem….

Good friend and expedition partner Ole Jorgen has recently completed the herculean effort of creating a complete hierarchical list for Lightroom of all of the birds of the world (yes – all  ten thousand four hundred plus of them). Not only has he put them all into a suitable structure for Lightroom and made it available for photographers to purchase, but he has also offered a number of different versions depending on your needs. You can check them out in his Web Shop or by clicking on the image below.birdsoftheworldOver the last few days I have been extensively testing the Birds of the Word UK Latin Edition and have found it absolutely invaluable in key-wording the many thousands of bird photographs in my Lightroom library. Integrating the list into your existing keyword structure is as simple as importing the list in the Meta-Data drop down menu of Lightroom. The lists are built in a hierarchical structure which makes them easy to manage as well as easy to understand. The UK Latin Edition I have been testing also contains synonyms for added granularity and detail. One of the added benefits of using a complete species list such as these is to actually see how many of a given type of bird you have photographed as well as what other types might be similar. Wether you are a keen bird photographer, or want to save time with your key wording of birds (as well as increase your accuracy and add finer granularity), or just wanting to increase your knowledge of birds I believe you will find these keyword lists to be extremely useful in your work-flow.

Anyone up for creating a complete list of the Mammals…?

Read more.. Saturday, January 30th, 2016

South Georgia Island Expedition Report November 2015

In November 2015 I co-lead an extended 15 day expedition to South Georgia Island with my good friends and partners Ole Jorgen and Roy Mangersnes. As is customary for me I like to write up a trip report on our experiences; both, so that there is a record of the trip for the photographers aboard, but also so I can share the experience with a wider audience.

I have lead expeditions to South Georgia Island in past years, but this was the first time I had spent an extended period of time at the Island. Our plan for a 15 day expedition took a fair amount of logistical planning and permitting, but the end result was a fantastic amount of time for photography in what is in all likelihood the best location in the world for wildlife photography. As it so happens South Georgia is also home to some incredible landscapes with soaring Himalaya style peaks that provide the perfect back-drop.

At the conclusion of the South Georgia Island expedition I lead a week long extension in the Falkland Islands for a small group of photographers. During this expedition we flew to both Saunders and Sea Lion Islands where we spent a number of days exploring the area and photographing the bird life. I will have a seperate report on this trip in the coming days.

Photography guide and co-leader for the South Georgia trip Roy Mangersnes has actually beaten me to the trip report writing on this occasion so I am going to share  his report from our expedition as it provides a really nice day by day insight into the expedition. I have added in my own thoughts and comments where appropriate.

South Georgia Expedition 2015 Trip Report Notes by Roy Mangersnes

Day 1-2 – 7-8.11.2015 We had very favourable winds and not much swell so the majority of people on board enjoyed the crossing eastwards. Unfortunately the lack of wind resulted in fewer seabirds following the ship, but some Wandering, Southern Royal, Black-browed and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross were photographed. Also different petrels were sighted and documented including the Diving Petrel.SouthGeorgia2015-0578Day 3 – 9.11.2015 In the morning of day three we passed Shag Rock (which was hidden in fog) and soon after we spotted Bird Island and the north western point of South Georgia. After lunch we headed to shore in Right Whale Bay for our first landing of the trip. On the beach we were welcomed by a good number of Fur Seals, Elephant Seals and King Penguins. With some snow still on the ground several of us took the opportunity to photograph the Kings against a white backdrop. During the afternoon it started to snow lightly and the clouds covered the dramatic mountains. The last Zodiac left just as it was getting dark. A Great start.SouthGeorgia2015-8365-EditAddendum: This was in my opinion our best landing during the expedition. The opportunity to photograph King Penguins in snow was something I and many others aboard had really been hoping for. I personally spent my entire landing with the King penguins in the snow and made several photographs that I am extremely happy with.SouthGeorgia2015-8462-EditDay 4 – 10.11.2015

Strong winds and a bit of rain made landing at Salisbury Plains at dusk difficult and we waited until after breakfast before heading to shore. As we landed the wind died of and the clouds scattered, leaving us with beautiful weather. As photography in these conditions rarely is rewarding several of us took the opportunity to enjoy the extreme wildlife density at Salisbury by talking walks in the area. In addition to the King penguins and the seals on the beach there was also a good number of the endemic South Georgia Pipit and South Georgia Pintail. Both seem to do well, as the final rat culling has been very successful.

Addendum: I was extremely pleased to note the significant increase in the South Georgia Pipit as a result of the rat cull. Just twelve months prior on my previous South Georgia voyage I spotted very few of these small birds. Now, with the rats gone their population seems to be rebounding.

In the evening we were lucky to get access to Prion Island. Here we would follow the boardwalk to the top of the hill. The view over Bay of Isles is amazing up here, but the target was the breeding Wandering Albatross. Everyone was treated with a couple of large chicks on the nest near the trail, being very photogenic. The size of this bird is difficult to grasp until you stand next to it. With a wingspan of 3,5 meters it has the widest reach of any bird in the world.

Day 5 – 11.11.2015

After breakfast we headed for the old Norwegian whaling station at Grytviken to register with the authorities. During the few hours we spent ashore several of us enjoyed shooting the local wildlife that has taken the bay back after the whalers left it in the late 60’s. Pintails and Antarctic Terns were numerous, and also seals and penguins were found among the rusty buildings and stranded ships. Some also took the opportunity to update themselves on the dark history of whaling in the southern ocean at the local museum.

The evening was spent in the small bay of Godthul. Some took the opportunity to hike up to the Gentoo rookery and got some really nice sunset colours up there. Others shot birds and seals from the zodiac while others spent all the time on the beach with Gentoos and seals. The last boat returned to the ship long after sunset.

Addendum: Personally I hiked to the top of the cliff to photograph backlit Gentoo Penguins at sunset with several other photographers. This was a fabulous shooting session that resulted in some really interesting images. Back light is something I look for more and more in my wildlife images. Used effectively it can make for some really dramatic images. It was back light that lit the Polar Bear on the sea ice in Svalbard in winter that helped me win the 2015 Global Arctic photographer of the Year award.SouthGeorgia2015-2022Day 6 – 12.11.2015 St. Andrews Bay is possibly the best wildlife destination in the world and after detailed planning and a bit of luck with the weather we were able to land everyone on the beach long before sunrise. The operation started before 2am and by 3 o’clock everyone was ready to shoot. 15 minutes later, when the sun washed over the beach, thousands and thousands of King penguins and seals were covered in golden light. The photography was out of this world and we were only back for breakfast 5 hours later.

Addendum: I would agree with Roy that St. Andrews Bay is quite possibly the best wildlife location in the world. The opportunities at this incredible Bay for both wildlife and landscape photography are breath taking.SouthGeorgia2015-9593-EditAfter a well deserved rest mid day we landed on Moltke Harbour after lunch. This small beach is a peaceful place compared to St. Andrews, but the many Elephant seals kept everyone busy until the night.

Day 7 – 13.11.2015 The weather was good and the team was on a roll, and already the next morning we did another sunrise landing. This time we had moved to another hotspot – Gold Harbour. A bit of drizzle in the early morning didn’t stop us, and as the sun broke through we were even rewarded with rainbow in front of the classic glacier backdrop. The King penguins were lined up along the river and displayed eagerly as the sun sent warm light through the colony. People spent the time onshore well and went for hikes to discover their own little paradise. Gold Harbour has many of them.SouthGeorgia2015-0816Mid day we arrived in Cooper Bay. The area is exposed to the weather and since the conditions were favourable we went for a mid day landing at the Macaroni penguin rookery. This is one of the easiest places to see this flamboyant bird at the nesting place. A short climb over snow and tussock grass we found ourselves pretty much in the colony. Heading out some of us were also treated with a Chinstrap penguin on the nearby rocks.

As expected the wind picked up as we headed for the Drygalski fjord in the evening. All around we saw large icebergs coming up from the Antarctic Penninsula, and they made perfect subjects for photography in the rough conditions. We decided to spend time with the icebergs and not go into the dark fjord. As the evening came to an end we were lucky to spot a small group of Chinstrap penguins on a beautiful iceberg, and we all enjoyed some great photography in the last hour of the day.

Day 8 – 14.11.2015 As the conditions seemed to improve during the night we went for another sunrise morning at St. Andrews Bay. As the sun was painting the mountains in the background everyone was scattered around the beach and enjoying their own little paradise. It was incredible to think that many travel down here without being able to land on St. Andrews due to heavy swell and strong wind, and we were able to land twice before sunrise.

As a slight contrast from St. Andrews we landed late in the evening at Ocean Harbour. The wind had picked up, but this bay was nice and sheltered. Here we photographed seals and cormorants, as well as some nice landscapes from the zodiacs.SouthGeorgia2015-2056-EditDay 9 – 15.11.2015 We did try for our fourth sunrise landing, but the weather was grey and wet when we got up. Therefore we waited until after breakfast before landing at Salisbury Plains. Its was still wet, but after a couple of hours the clouds lifted and we had some very nice moods as the mist and clouds covered the nearby mountains. Just as we packed up and started bringing clients back, the katabatic winds came falling from the mountains and within minutes we had 60 knot winds offshore. It did make our departure difficult, but with a sturdy expedition leader everyone was relaxed on the beach.

The evening was rather windy and we cruised with the ship in the Bay of Isles, shooting petrels following the ship in beautiful evening light.

Day 10 – 16.11.2015  The morning was rather brutal with a landing at a very dense Fur Seal colony. When we made it through the first ranks of territorial seals, the valley was perfect for a scenic hike or for shooting seals and Giant Storm petrels.

Being able to spend this much time on South Georgian beaches is quit unique and we wanted to make the most of it. Therefore we went for one more landing at Salisbury Plains in the afternoon on our last day. The light was very nice, but some clouds deprived us from the sunset we were hoping for.

Addendum: The opportunity to spend so much time in South Georgia was a very special experience that provided us multiple opportunities for different landings. We were able to choose based on location, weather and light when really maximised our time in the area.

Day 11-14 – 17-21.11.2015

The forecast for our crossing back to the Falklands was not very good, with strong winds straight ahead. We decided to start one day early to make sure we reached the only flight that leaves the Falklands per week, but as we started our crossing the storm died of as we were looking. It turned out to be just another normal crossing with a bit of rock and roll, but nothing big. We think most people were happy for this.

South Georgia can be a quit challenging destination due to exposure to heavy weather systems. This is one of the reasons we wanted to spend more days here, and make sure we could land on all the prime locations. In the end we were extremely lucky and spent a total of 60 hours on the beaches and did 14 landings in just over 8 days. This must be some kind of record!

Addendum: To those of you who have already enquired about the possibility of a future expedition to South Georgia Island. I will be leading an expedition this November to both South Georgia Island and Antarctica – Photographers First Light. The expedition will run from the 19th of November until the 6th of December. I will have details on my website (which is about to be updated) in the workshops section within the next week. If you are interested in joining this expedition you can also email me for further information.

Read more.. Monday, January 25th, 2016

2015 Global Arctic Photographer of the Year Winner

This morning I awoke to the very exciting news that I have won the grand prize of the 2015 Global Arctic Photographer of the Year award. Winning the Global Arctic Photographer of the Year award is a huge thrill and honour for me; the incredibly high standard of photographic work being produced in Europe is very intimidating and I am deeply humbled to have had my work chosen from a pool of such amazing photographs and amazing photographers. In total I took out five medals across the different categories including Gold, Silver and the FLAP Special award in two categories as well as the overall Grand Prize of 2015 Global Arctic Photographer of the Year. As an added bonus, I am told that I am the first photographer outside of Norway to win this award. From the Arctic Photographer of the Year website:

The purpose of the Global Arctic Awards – 2015 contest is to show the magnificence of the diverse North and Arctic world through photography. The contestants works represent the beautiful variety of northern nature and wildlife, depict the peculiarities of the “icy” world of the Arctic, and narrate unforgettable photo stories about the culture, life and centuries-old customs of the Northern minorities . Through the prism of photographic lenses the coldest, deeply frozen Earth regions, covered with ice and snow, will appear in a new perspective.GlobalArcticAwardsSvalbard-9725-Edit

Read more.. Thursday, January 21st, 2016